Could Diet and Exercise Be The Solution?
What’s an everyday activity that brings you joy? Is it playing with your kids? Walking your dog? Having a dance party while loading the laundry? When suffering from chronic pain, these ordinary moments can seem impossible to enjoy.
Solutions to Chronic Pain
Chronic pain isn’t necessarily curable, but physical therapy and massages may help reduce it. However, the best ways to decrease chronic pain are following a healthy diet and regularly exercising.
Exercise improves your body’s muscular and skeletal health and releases your body’s pain-fighting molecules. It also improves your mental health, boosting your mood and releasing endorphins. Several ways to lose weight and treat back pain include:
1. Exercising consistently
Regular physical activity may reduce chronic pain by building muscle strength and by decreasing fatigue, pain sensitivity and inflammation. Going for a walk or taking the stairs each day are a few ways to add a bit of exercise to your schedule.
2. Eating smaller portions
The saying “you are what you eat” applies to chronic pain. Chronic pain is partially linked to inflammation. Reducing portions and eating foods rich in polyphenols like whole fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains may help reduce inflammation.
3. Maintaining proper posture
It may be more relaxing to slouch, but when you practice proper posture, your bones and joints stay in alignment and help relieve chronic pain. Sitting up straight reduces stress on the spinal joints’ ligaments and allows your muscles to work more efficiently.
4. Trying water therapy
When the body is submerged to the chest, about 80% of the body’s weight is afloat. This allows a patient to retrain muscles and joints in a soothing setting where the body can heal faster and exercise more easily. Warm water also works directly on the skin as a pain reliever while exercising.
5. Setting an earlier bedtime
Getting adequate rest on a regular basis helps the body function to the best of its ability. Sleep reduces levels of stress, and sleep decreases levels of stress. Try getting at least seven hours of sleep each night and set a consistent bedtime to help ease chronic pain.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain lasts three months or longer and may not improve with typical medical treatment. Although it’s most commonly felt in the back, hips, knees or feet, it can be experienced in any part of the body.
About 50 million U.S. adults reportedly experience chronic pain every year. They often describe having “good days and bad days.” One day, they may feel fine and the next, their pain may flare up again unexpectedly. Chronic pain lowers your capacity to work, participate in social activities and maintain interpersonal relationships. It also negatively impacts your mental health and may increase feelings of isolation, frustration and anxiety.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
According to Dr. Austin Horrocks, DO, common causes of chronic pain include poor eating habits and a lack of exercise. “Processed food and foods high in sugar can directly trigger or worsen inflammation that may already be present,” Dr. Horrocks says. “By eliminating or significantly decreasing these foods in your diet, you can decrease the level of inflammation in your body.”
How Obesity Affects Chronic Pain
Due to obesity’s ability to increase mechanical stress on your body, obesity is associated with an increased risk of chronic lower back pain. By nature, body fat is pro-inflammatory, and an unhealthy diet may cause even more inflammation. Obesity also increases fatigue and suppresses normal hormone levels.
Extra weight adds strain to the back’s muscles and ligaments. As a result, the spine may tilt to compensate for the extra weight. Excess stomach weight typically pulls the pelvis forward, which increases lumbar lordosis and may lead to aggravated lower back pain, herniated discs or osteoarthritis.
If you or a loved one are experiencing chronic pain, Coryell Health’s team of physicians can help you manage or lessen the symptoms. We help patients lose weight every single day through our Ideal Protein program, bariatric surgery and other services. Consulting a doctor to establish weight loss goals is a great place to start. Call (254) 865-2166 today to schedule an appointment!