6 Recommendations for Healthy Living With Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is both physically and mentally stressful. Chronic pain can lead to resentment against yourself and your loved ones. For this reason, patients suffering from chronic pain require coping methods to manage discomfort and prevent complications. Coping with chronic pain isn’t limited to one method, therefore it includes different approaches like cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physiological treatments.

Learn more about strategies and methods for managing chronic pain. 

1. Quit smoking

Unfortunately, patients with chronic pain who use smoking as a coping mechanism are caught in a vicious cycle. Tobacco interferes with pain management in a variety of ways. People may find themselves smoking more to cope with chronic pain while it stays unresolved and even worsens. Furthermore, smokers are less receptive to chronic pain treatment, such as pain meds. Smoking can aggravate chronic pain, increase pain sensitivity, and interact with pain treatments, making it difficult to cope with pain. 

2. Limit alcohol

It's a frequent misconception that alcohol is a good pain reliever, but it has no direct pain-relieving properties. Alcohol doesn’t directly ease pain symptoms. Instead, it influences the central nervous system, making pain seem less severe. When alcohol is used as a regular pain management "tool," the body and brain get used to its presence and develop tolerance. 

As a result, larger doses of alcohol are required to get the same level of pain relief. In the end, you start consuming extremely high doses of alcohol. When a person stops chronic heavy alcohol use, withdrawal symptoms frequently enhance pain sensitivity.

3. Try alternative treatments

Conventional therapies like prescription medications aren’t always effective in managing chronic pain. Some people who suffer from chronic pain find relief from alternative therapies like:

  • Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy that involves inserting small needles into specific "acupuncture sites" on the body to treat pain. Acupuncture reestablishes a healthy flow of energy, enhances blood flow, and boosts healing processes in the affected area, helping reduce pain.

  • Massage involves massaging to boost blood flow and healing processes. This helps ease pain, reduce stress, and decrease anxiety and depression from chronic pain. 

  • Biofeedback is a procedure that teaches people how to adjust their physiological activity to improve their health and performance.

  • Herbal remedies and supplements work well with certain chronic pain conditions. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking supplements as they can interfere with your current medications. 

4. Eat healthy

A well-balanced diet is good for your health and pain management in many ways. It assists digestion, lowers the risk of heart disease, helps control weight, and helps manage blood sugar levels. For more health benefits include in your diet:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables

  • cooked dry beans and peas

  • whole-grain bread and cereals

  • low-fat cheese, milk, and yogurt

  • lean meats

5. Exercise regularly

Endorphins are brain chemicals that help you feel better by suppressing pain signals. Exercising regularly has a great pain-relieving effect by boosting the production of endorphins. Besides, exercise strengthens your muscles, which helps to prevent recurrent injury and more pain. Furthermore, exercise can help you lose weight, lower your risk of heart disease, and regulate your blood sugar levels. 

6. Try meditation to manage stress

Deep breathing and meditation are relaxation practices that can help your body relax and assist in relieving pain. Although there are many different techniques to meditate, the soothing impact of repetition lies at the heart of most of them. The body relaxes by focusing on the breath, dismissing thoughts, and repeating a word or phrase called a mantra. While you may learn meditation on your own, it can be helpful to take a class.

Besides, meditation is a powerful technique to lower your stress levels. Negative emotions, depression, worry, tension, and stress can make the body more sensitive to pain. You may find some relief from chronic pain if you learn to handle your stress. Several approaches can aid in stress reduction and relaxation. Listening to relaxing music and meditating might improve your mood and help you cope with chronic pain.