The choices you make affect all aspects of your physical health and can lead to chronic pain. Research shows diet, exercise, smoking and stress levels have a direct impact on pain levels.
A sedentary life, poor nutrition, and elevated weight will put additional stress on your joints, muscles and bones. Inflammation and malnutrition can contribute to increased pain and decreased mobility. As we age, these problems only worsen.
Fortunately, by identifying existing lifestyle concerns, you and your doctor can develop a plan together to reduce pain without the need for surgery or medication. Lifestyle changes, including diet, smoking cessation, and stress management programs, provide patients the opportunity to take an active role in their own pain treatment program.
Pain Control May Start with Weight Loss
A healthy body weight is important to the physical health of your body, including joints, back, neck and feet. An unhealthy amount of stress or strain put on your body by an excess of fat and tissue on your frame can cause chronic pain. Joints that are stressed and strained by bearing the burden of excess pounds show more wear and tear, inflammation, and stiffness, leading to several chronic pain conditions.
Common lifestyle changes:
- Exercise: Our physical therapists establish individual exercise programs and goals and assess progress for our pain patients.
- Nutrition: We assist patients with determining the best dietary plan.
- Supplements: It is critical you have the proper intake of vitamins and minerals to help support the goal of managing your pain.
- Relaxation: Pain can often cause stress and depression. We will help you learn relaxation techniques that will help you avoid painful flare-ups.
Smoking leads to Chronic Inflammation and Pain
Almost all doctors and healthcare researchers agree on this one thing: Smoking is bad for you. Beyond the link to increased risk of certain cancers and respiratory problems, regular smokers also have an increased chance of acquiring a chronic pain condition. A significant number of medical group studies agree that smoking increases the likelihood of developing joint pain and increases the intensity and severity of all kinds of pain.
The same tobacco that gives you a nicotine rush also impairs the delivery of oxygen-rich blood to bones and tissues. Decreasing blood and nutrient flow can cause degeneration, particularly in spinal discs, and may lead to lower back pain and sometimes osteoporosis.
Physicians also link smoking with fatigue and slower healing, factors that heighten painful conditions. Researchers are exploring even more physiological reasons why smoking makes people with fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other chronic pain hurt more. Significantly reducing smoking — or stopping your habit entirely — can be a significant part of helping you to reduce the chronic pain you’re experiencing.
Stress Management Is Pain Management
Stress is another critical component in most chronic pain conditions. Undue stress can cause muscle tension, fatigue, and inflammation. It also reduces the body’s ability to heal itself after injury. All stress takes a toll on the nervous system whether depression and insomnia or relationship and financial problems.
Stress makes us tense and nervous, literally. Our muscles become tight, particularly in certain areas of the body — the low back, mid and upper back, shoulders, neck, head, forehead, and jaw are the most common. Over time, the chronically tense muscles can ache and spasm. In other words, the persistent stress that results from chronic pain can cause painful chronic muscle tension.
Overcoming the persistently stressful problems occuring while living with chronic pain, such as insomnia, depression and anxiety, may assist in reversing the negative effects on your health. You might not be able to change them entirely, but in most cases you can significantly reduce pain with proper lifestyle management.
Comprehensive Centers for Pain Management will work with you to create a plan to help address these issues and provide you tools for managing and reducing the stress in your life.