Pain can drastically affect quality of life. Mobility, stamina and appetite can all be affected. This can impact the ability to do the things we love—or worse, the daily things we need to do such as walking, preparing meals and performing household chores. Sometimes pain is caused by an injury, but in many cases aches can also manifest suddenly without a clear cause. Chronic pain is most often described as pain that lasts more than 12 weeks.
It’s recommended that you consult with a health professional to discuss your symptoms, but if you have already been diagnosed with a cause, here are some tips that may help you manage pain.
Though it can be tempting to limit mobility when in pain, being sedentary can weaken muscles and limit range of motion. Exercise can also provide benefits such as weight loss, which may decrease strain on joints or muscles; swimming, t’ai chi or yoga are some fantastic, low-impact choices that can provide some pain relief. Stretching may also alleviate some aches, depending on the cause of your pain.
Adding key foods to your diet can also help manage pain. Anthocyanin compounds in blueberries and purple cauliflower may help suppress inflammation, while gingerols and shogaol found in ginger may help provide some relief. Active compounds in turmeric are also said to promote healing; turmeric can be used as a spice in meals, or it can be enjoyed as a tea.
Stress can cause muscles to tighten, so it’s important to take some me-time and partake in activities that help you unwind. Studies have shown that colouring re-focuses attention, helping the mind to relax. Meditation is also hailed as a tool for pain management, as deep breathing slows the heart rate and can relieve stress. Additionally, massages or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)—as found in Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy System—can help relieve inflammation on a muscle-fibre level.
Estimates in 2018 indicate that approximately 6 million Canadians have reported suffering from chronic pain. Have a conversation with your healthcare provider if you believe your pain has become unbearable of unmanageable.