Chronic pain is strongly influenced by the ways in which the brain processes pain signals. So in addition to medical care, it’s equally as important to consider psychological treatment and lifestyle changes.
When it comes to diet, choose foods that fight inflammation like tomatoes and dark leafy green vegetables. Try nuts like almonds and walnuts, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, fruits that are high in polyphenols like berries and apples, and cooking with unsaturated oils like olive oil. You also want to select foods that nourish your nervous system by incorporating more Vitamin D, B vitamins, calcium, and potassium. Try pomegranates, bananas, beets, more leafy greens, mushrooms, and eggs.
Next, you’ll want to choose the right exercise regimen. Research shows that lifting weights can greatly reduce pain if done properly. It may be best to work with a trainer to progressively increase your resistance.
And lastly, manage your mental health. Persistent pain increases stress, and stress increases chronic pain. It’s a vicious cycle. Additionally, up to 90% of people living with chronic pain fit the diagnosis of clinical depression and anxiety, all of which release hormones and chemicals that increase muscle tension and inflammation. So it’s critical to incorporate 10 to 20 minutes of some relaxation technique daily. Deep diaphragmatic breathing, and meditation have been proven to turn off the body’s stress response and trigger its relaxation mechanisms. You can also adopt practices like yoga, tai chi, mindfulness, and progressive muscle relaxation.
Comment below with some of your favorite coping strategies.