Self Help -Solutions for Chronic Pain

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Chronic pain is now affecting more than 100 million people in the United States. The obvious choose for treating chronic pain is medications.  There is other way out there to treat it with the same result, if not better.

What causes chronic pain?

Pain results from a signal sent from your nerves to your brain. It can serve as an alarm, a warning — that you’re stepping on a nail or touching a hot stove. But sometimes the signals keep firing, and the pain continues. That’s when it becomes chronic.

Relief: Walking

Walk more: It’s one of the best prescriptions we have to help chronic pain. Daily pain tends to make people less active, and that often makes pain worse. Exercise also releases endorphins — the body’s natural painkillers. Aim to walk — or exercise in other ways — five times a week for 30 minutes a day. Work up to it slowly, adding a few minutes a week.

Relief: Distract Yourself

We sometimes think of distraction as a bad thing that stops you from getting stuff done. But it can actually be a treatment if you have chronic pain. Studies show that when you’re distracted — by a conversation, or a crossword puzzle, or a book — the areas in your brain that process pain are less active. Getting your mind off your pain really does help — even on a neurological level.

Relief: Acupuncture

Could food be affecting your pain? It’s possible. People with migraines often find that specific foods — like red wine and cheeses — trigger attacks. Fatty meats or milk may worsen the pain of inflammatory arthritis. Keep a food diary for a few weeks to see whether any foods seem to increase your pain. Then cut them out and see if your symptoms get better.

Take a minute to breathe deeply and slowly. Put your hand on your belly and feel it rise and fall. After a few minutes of deep breathing, you may feel some pain and tension melt away. What’s great about deep breathing as a pain treatment is you can do it anywhere — when you’re stuck in a traffic jam or at your desk.

When it comes to pain treatment, don’t do it yourself. Over-the-counter painkillers — such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen — are good for occasional pain, but they may be risky if you take them in high doses or for a long time. Always follow the instructions on the medicine bottle and don’t use OTC painkillers for more than 10 days in a row unless a doctor is supervising.

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