Are you in pain and struggling to manage your symptoms at home?
Here are some really useful tips that I recommend to my patients when talking about how to manage pain.
Some of these tips are actually advice about general health. When your body is healthy, and you are physically and mentally well, your body is in a much better place to repair itself.
I follow Dr Rangan Chattergee, an inspirational GP who stipulates that a huge percentage of patients that walk through his door could be best treated with lifestyle changes that address four areas, sleep, stress, diet and exercise. His philosophy links really well with the Osteopathic principle that your body is it’s own medicine cabinet and that if your structure is well aligned and you are taking good care of yourself your body can heal itself.
Rest is extremely important when managing pain, when you rest or sleep your body has the opportunity to repair, if you are not getting enough good quality rest or sleep then your symptoms will take longer to resolve and your body will find it harder to repair itself. Aim for at least seven hours of good quality sleep per night. You will find some tips to help you get a good nights sleep here.
If you are in a lot of pain and this is affecting your ability to sleep make sure your bed/pillows/sleeping position is not contributing to your pain, if you are taking pain medication try to take a dose before you go to bed to help you get a decent block of sleep, and read this article to find out how to generally improve your sleep hygiene.
Stress is a big contributor to our physical health, the effects of long term overproduction of Cortisol, the stress hormone, causes imbalance of hormones in our bodies that affect our immune system, our digestive system, and our bodies ability to repair itself. It is important to find ways to relieve stress and relax. Click this link for some tips on ways to help reduce stress.
If you are in pain and feeling like you need to rest, this is generally your bodies way of telling you that you need to do so, what I suggest is that you rest when you can. Get comfortable and relax, but every 45mins you must get up and walk around, not far, even if it is just around your coffee table, just to keep everything mobile and prevent poor circulation.
You are what you eat! So make sure you fill your body with fresh, nutritious foods. If you are suffering with pain your body needs to be well fuelled and full of nutrients to help it repair. I suggest at least 5 vegetables a day, and two to three fruits. Plenty and protein and healthy fats. Drink plenty of water, your body works best when you keep well hydrated, this promotes the repair process. Read here for more detailed hydration and nutrition advice.
We need to exercise to stay fit and healthy, it improves our immunity (ability to heal and repair), our mobility, and our mortality. But this can be difficult when you are suffering and in pain. Most conditions will benefit from a gentle exercise routine, gentle stretches and light, short, walks should help. When applying gentle stretches you should feel a pull but no pain, if a stretch or an exercise is causing pain then you should back of,f or stop, and consult a healthcare professional. Once your symptoms have started to improve then a good walking regime combined with some strength training, for example a work out using weights appropriate for your ability.
Using this combined approach you should start to feel better and reduce your pain. Some pain conditions will need a bit more help for using manual therapy such as Osteopathy, Physiotherapy or Chiropractor treatment. If you would like any advice please do call our clinic on 07919163053