Chronic pain plagues hundred of millions of Americans everyday and while disease, injury, and depression can be at the root there are plenty of other factors that can dictate the intensity and frequency of the pain itself. I have created an infographic to provide a series of steps to lessen symptoms of chronic pain by decreasing any factors that increase pain and inflammation. In combination with these steps I would pair this with an anti inflammatory diet – download your copy here. This is in no way meant to diagnose, treat, or cure, any illness or injury but by decreasing any factors that contribute to our pain it provides us a clearer view on the root issues and allows us the ability to take charge and feel powerful in a time of weakness.
Some additional tips for reducing pain:
1) Kick the butts
Cigarette smoking slows healing, worsens circulation, and increases the risk of degenerative disc problems, a cause of low back pain. I can appreciate the fact that smoking can lessen the immediate stress of pain, I would encourage you to look at the big picture and understand it is a habit that serves no purpose for your health or lifestyle. Explore hypnosis, support groups, and finding a cause that you can get behind to finally kick the habit.
2) Skip the booze
While alcohol can temporarily reduce pain and may help you fall asleep, as it metabolizes, it promotes shallow sleep, reduces important REM sleep, and may even wake you. If pain is keeping you up at night I would strongly encourage you to try self hypnosis/guided meditation. I have a download in my store that I use constantly to help me fall and stay sleep. If this idea of trying self meditation/hypnosis sounds wacky to you, I would challenge you that everything you are doing hasn’t worked so far, so what do you have to lose?
3) Set limits
How you care for yourself dictates how your pain is managed. Over-booking, over-extending, and over-committing to events can lead to stress, anxiety, and in turn will cause a pain spiral. Mitigate expectations to all the people in your life so they are aware of your limitations and are not hurt when you can not be present for certain events. This will make you feel vulnerable and possibly embarrassed but trust me, people do better with more information, not less. Be bold, speak your truth, and trust in the fact that if anyone refuses to understand your situation they shouldn’t be in your life in the first place. Your health is your number 1 priority so cut out the noise and put your needs first.
4) Just breathe
Try meditation, breathe work, and self hypnosis. Staying in control during pain can feel like an impossible task but trust me its very important to not allow your pain to overtake you. I know for a fact that our minds have incredible powers if we take the time to tap into them.
“If you cannot let go of your exhale, don’t be surprised if you cannot let go of physical pain. If you cannot let got of your exhale, don’t be surprised if you cannot let go of fear or anxiety. If you cannot let go of your exhale, don’t be surprised if you cannot let go of painful thoughts. If you cannot let go of your breath, don’t be surprised if you cannot let go of habits and patterns from the past.”
The next time you are in an episode of pain try this breathing exercise :
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. When you take a deep breath in, the hand on the abdomen should rise higher than the one on the chest. This insures that the diaphragm is pulling air into the bases of the lungs.
- After exhaling through the mouth, take a slow deep breath in through your nose imagining that you are sucking in all the air in the room and hold it for a count of 7 (or as long as you are able, not exceeding 7) while internally saying the word “relaxation”.
- Slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of 8 while internally saying the word “pain”. As all the air is released with relaxation, gently contract your abdominal muscles to completely evacuate the remaining air from the lungs. It is important to remember that we deepen respirations not by inhaling more air but through completely exhaling it.
- Repeat the cycle internally repeating the words to signify the pain leaving your body on the exhale and filling your body with relaxation on the inhale for four more times for a total of 5 deep breaths and try to breathe at a rate of one breath every 10 seconds (or 6 breaths per minute). At this rate our heart rate variability increases which has a positive effect on cardiac health.
If you find that you are still struggling to control your pain and your attitude surrounding your pain I would encourage you to reach out to me to see if one on one coaching is the right fit for you. I know the struggle inside and out so never think you are alone. We are all in this together.