It is hard to believe that we are rolling into the holidays and soon the New Year will be upon us. If you are considering what you should resolve to do in the upcoming year, tackling your chronic pain effectively should be a number one priority. Living in pain lessens your quality of life and can detract from your overall well-being. Make 2024 the year that you tackle it once and for all by incorporating these 15-minute exercises that can “future-proof” your body from pain.
Hydration Is the Key
Most people think very little about their hydration status and how it affects chronic pain. When you are dehydrated, it increases your discomfort and can lead to aches, pains, and overall stiffness. If you want to reduce pain, it is important to drink plenty of water and limit alcohol consumption. Excessive intake of coffee and tea can also lead to dehydration, so be aware of what your hydration intake is.
Watch What You Eat
Not only will alcohol and caffeine increase your pain symptoms, but inflammation that comes from what you eat is also a concern. Try to manage your pain by focusing on foods that have anti-inflammatory properties such as omega-3 fatty acids, leafy greens, soy, cranberries, and asparagus, to name a few. Try to avoid foods that increase inflammation such as red meat, eggplant, tomatoes, eggs, dairy, and chocolate.
Meditation and Yoga
When you are in pain, it is easy to limit movement to avoid it, but the more you limit your activity, the more weakness you’ll experience in your muscles and joints, leading to systemic pain. Yoga is not only an excellent activity to help lengthen and strengthen your muscles, but it also increases blood flow, builds core musculature, and helps to relieve tension and stiffness. Meditation involves deep breathing exercises to reduce stress and aid in relaxation. Pain is not only physical; it affects you psychologically. By incorporating meditation and yoga into your weekly routine you can confront chronic pain on both fronts.
Massage therapy is an excellent way to reduce stress and increase blood flow and relaxation. Massage increases necessary blood and oxygen flow to your muscles and joints to help rejuvenate and heal them. It also works to reduce the stress that can accompany chronic pain, releasing tension and increasing flexibility.
Stretching doesn’t get the proper attention that it should when it comes to chronic pain. When you are in pain, you stop moving around and avoid activities to curb the pain. The problem is, that is a cycle of disaster. The more you limit your movements and exercise, the more your muscles shorten, tighten, and become weak, leading to more pain and disability. Stretching is not just something you do before exercise or once in a while, stretching should be a necessary part of your day. It only takes a couple of minutes a day to make a significant impact on your strength, flexibility, and range of motion, which all translate into less pain!
It is difficult to live with chronic pain, and sometimes it can feel like a never-ending cycle. Again, pain is not just physical; it impacts your psychological well-being as well. A positive attitude can help you to stay active, maintain good nutrition, and do the things that will help to improve your daily life, one day at a time.
As we head into the New Year, many will resolve to make positive changes for 2024. If you suffer from chronic pain, there are things you can do to help. Maintain a positive attitude, eat well, stay hydrated, and make regular massage therapy a part of your New Year. This is your year to live pain-free, and we are here to help. Contact us today to get started on a healthier new you.