Your lifestyle as a direct impact on your overall health, the choices you make in can affect all aspects of your physical health. Choices such as diet, exercise level, smoking and stress levels have all been proven to have a direct relationship to a patient’s pain levels. Often, simply by identifying hat these lifestyle issues are, and planning to correct them, can we reduce and sometimes eliminate, chronic pain issues without the need for surgery or medication.
A sedentary life, along with 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 become even more pronounced, compounding the problems cause by our poor lifestyles. 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. We’ve found that in many cases, chronic pain is caused by unhealthy amount of stress or strain put on the body by an excess of fat and tissue on the body’s frame. 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.
Some common lifestyle changes that we assist our patients with are:
- Exercise Our Physical Therapist establish individual exercise programs, goals and assess progress for our pain patients.
- Nutrition We assist patients with determining the best dietary plan.
- Supplements It is critical that you have the proper intake of vitamins and minerals to help support your goal managing your pain.
- Relaxation Pain can often cause stress and depression we will help you learn relaxation techniques that will help you avoid pain flair-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 have also had an increased chance of acquiring a chronic pain condition. Several studies from all number of medical groups agree that smoking increases the likelihood of developing joint pain, and increases the intensity and severity of all kinds of pain.
That 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 discs in the spine, which already have more limited blood flow. The result can be lower back pain and sometimes osteoporosis.
Physicians also link smoking with fatigue and slower healing, factors that make painful conditions more prominent. Researchers are exploring even more physiological reasons why smoking makes people with fibromyalgia, arthritis and other chronic pain hurt more. Significantly reducing, or stopping your smoking habit entirely, can be a significant part of helping to reduce the chronic pain you’re experiencing.
Stress Management is Pain Management
Stress is another critical component in most chronic pain conditions, as undue stress can cause muscle tension and fatigue, inflammation and reduces the body’s ability to heal itself after injury. Whether it’s from depression, insomnia, relationship or financial problems, stress affects us by its effect on the nervous system.
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 areas. Over time, the chronically tense muscles can ache and spasm. In other words, the persistent stress that results from chronic pain can cause chronic muscle tension, which, is painful.
It’s generally accepted that by overcoming the persistently stressful problems that occur because of living with chronic pain – such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, you can make some headway in reversing these changes. You might not be able to change them entirely, but enough to reduce the pain itself. Colorado Injury and Pain Specialists 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.