Chronic pain is one of the most crippling problems affecting overall health. It is also a major contributor to depression and anxiety.
It can be quite difficult at work to explain to your boss that you can’t sit down all day because you have a constant pain in your lower back and its bad for your health. It’s not like losing a leg or an arm, it’s not a visual symptom.
There is no doubt pain can affect both physical and mental health, hampering your ability to work and earn an income. About 65 percent of people with chronic pain report interference with daily activities including sleep, work, exercise and routine self-care, which can have a negative effect on personal relationships, social interactions and lifestyle.
In a nutshell it impacts ALL areas of your life.
So what can we do about it?
There are many ways to approach pain. Below are my top tips to help reduce and manage pain:
Diet– what you eat and drink can have an effect on the inflammatory responses in your body. I recommend a diet based on moderate amounts of protein, lots of fresh vegetables and healthy fats (olive oil, oily fish, avocados and coconut oil). Bone broths are a great addition to the diet for healing our connective tissue.
An alkaline body– A high level of acidity in the body creates more pain! Pain and local tissue acidosis are closely related. This type of pain is normally in the joints (muscles and bones) and the skin can be tender to touch. The key to this type of pain is to alkalise the body. This often results in pain reduction.
Some things which can help to make the body more alkaline include-reducing your red meat intake, caffeine and alcohol or drinking dandelion leaf tea.
Supplements– fish oils in high doses can reduce inflammation. Magnesium can also help with muscular pain and cramps, including restless legs syndrome. There has been much research on the use of Turmeric and pain syndromes. Using it in cooking is a great start but in order for it to have a therapeutic effect you probably need to be taking it in a supplement form.
In the latest study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility, whereas the control group, which received no curcumin, had no significant improvements.
Sleep– sleep would have to be one of the best ways to lessen inflammation in the body and therefore pain. It gives your body a chance to recharge and is important for cell renewal. Sleep is often difficult to achieve when you are in pain, taking a herbal sleeping supplement may help.
Weight– if you suffer from lower limb joint pain and you are overweight without doubt losing a few Kilos will reduce the stress on your joints and ultimately your level of pain.
Stress– this makes your body release higher amounts of cortisol from the adrenal glands and in turn has a detrimental effect on connective tissue. Reducing the stress in your life or finding ways to manage it better can help.
Know your triggers – learn what exacerbates your pain; you can try using a pain diary to help you work out if it is relating to something in your lifestyle such as foods, stress or workload. Knowing these triggers can help you to work around them and manage them better.
Note: Always check with your Naturopath before using supplements if you are on any medications.
This article was written by Cody Kennedy Naturopath. Cody believes the human body is smart. Smart enough to heal itself with just a little help. As principal naturopath at the National Award Winning Clinic CK Health she offers this help via her extensive knowledge of natural medicine and a passion to steer clients toward their version of optimal wellness. CK Health won National Clinic of the Year in 2018 with the ATMS awards.
You can read more about Cody at http://www.ckhealth.com.au