Being diagnosed with a condition that causes chronic pain can trigger a wave of contradicting emotions. One on hand, there’s the relief that knowledge brings - finally, an end to the uncertainty behind why you’re experiencing your symptoms. However, fear often lurks close behind. No one wants to hear that pain will be a long-term - or even permanent - part of their life.
These emotions (not to mention the myriad others you might be feeling right now) are normal. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with both the physical and the psychological aspects of a chronic pain diagnosis. Depending on your condition, pain medication might be appropriate - talk to your doctor about what’s best. Beyond that, lifestyle may have a massive impact. EatStrong Nutrition is proud to bring you advice not only on how to use your diet to your own advantage, but also for how to stay active and develop a healthy relationship with your pain. Let’s get started:
Nutrition for Pain Management
The right diet can help keep pain to a minimum, although some conditions respond better to diet changes than others.
● Start by doing a simple audit of your current nutritional habits. Do you eat an appropriate amount of food each day? Do you get all the vitamins and nutrients you need? What about fiber?
● If you’re unsure or unable to figure this out on your own, connecting with a dietician can help you make sense of your current diet and help you come up with a game plan going forward.
● Reach out to your doctor to see if there are any specific diet changes that your condition is likely to respond to.
● You can also add some of these foods to your diet, which are linked with a lower risk for depression and other mental health disorders.
● Depending on your situation, a weight-loss focused diet plan may be wise to reduce pressure on muscles and joints.
Finding the Right Exercise
Regular exercise is vital for chronic pain management, not to mention overall wellness.
● That said, it’s important to find the right exercise for your condition. Intense exercise, for example, can cause many chronic pain issues to flair up.
● Flexibility exercises can reduce issues caused by some conditions such as sciatica and injury-induced chronic pain.
● Strength training and cardio are great tools for general wellness, and should be used regularly as part of a generally healthy lifestyle.
● Some conditions, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, make exercise especially complicated. Seek a physical therapist or other medical professional who can help you find the right movements for your condition.
Addressing Emotional Health
Chronic pain takes a toll on your mental health - here’s how to counter it.
● First and foremost, you do not have to go it alone. Here are some tips for finding a therapist qualified to help patients with chronic pain.
● Consider practicing daily mindfulness. Not only will it help with mood regulation, but some studies have shown it makes pain flare-ups less intense.
● Identify supportive people in your life, and turn to them when you need help, whether it’s running an errand, helping around the house, or just lending an ear.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that a chronic pain diagnosis doesn’t define you or your future. The choices you make can have a big impact on the intensity of your pain, as well as your relationship with it. Be sure to connect with EatStrong Nutrition for more information, tips and services that can help you conquer your pain.
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