Chronic pain affects 116 million American adults. That’s more than a third of the US population. We all know that pain can stop us from doing the activities we enjoy most,but also we need to know that the pain is usually a warning sign of an injury or inflammation in the body that could be occurring for a variety of reasons.
Some common causes of pain include:
1.obesity causing increased tension on muscles and joints
2.degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, degenerative disk disease, or rheumatoid arthritis
3.poor posture and spinal misalignmen
5.tight muscles or strains
Fortunately, there are many natural ways to deal with pain without relying on medication for temporary relief.
1.To find out why
The first step to get rid of pain is understanding why it is happening in the first place. Getting a proper workup done by your healthcare professional can help to identify or rule out serious injuries or conditions.
Once you have ruled this you can put a plan in place to start reducing pain.
2.Reduce inflammatory foods
Here are certain types of food which can cause an increase in inflammation in the body. One way this happens is the increase in omega-6 fatty acids vs omega-3 fatty acids, which increases arachidonic acid pathway.
Foods that increase inflammation include:
1.animal fats from grain-fed animals
Foods that decrease inflammation include:
1.good fats such as wild fatty fish, avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil
2.colorful vegetables and fruits
3.herbs & spices such as turmeric, garlic, and ginger
3. Insulin sensitivity
Insulin resistance and obesity are highly related, and with them so is chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is correlated with systemic pain, including joint pain. The standard North American diet and lifestyle is correlated with reduced insulin sensitivity and increased insulin resistance. One way to alleviate your pain is to reduce consumption of all refined grains and sugar.
4. Stay hydrated
One of the effects of dehydration is muscle stiffness leads to pain in different parts of the body, including headaches. Dehydration can occur due to lack of adequate water intake, reduced intake of electrolytes or increased intake of coffee or tea. Ensure you are drinking at least 1-2L of water per day, and remember to replace each cup of coffee with 2 cups of water.
5.Solve your stress
Our body and our mind are intimately related, and stress can manifest itself in many ways in the body. One of our first reactions was a tightening stress and tension of the muscles, especially the muscles of our back, shoulders and neck
Chronic stress is also associated with sleep disturbances.Sleep is restorative and regenerative and without adequate sleep our body doesn’t get the chance to heal. This can contribute significantly to aches and pains throughout the body.
In order for our muscles and our joints to receive nutrients, stay healthy, and work for us, we need blood flow to these areas. Blood flowing properly through the body when we move our muscles and joints, and also to promote proper blood flow, we need to dedicate time every day to movement.
Many of us spend most of our days sitting at a desk or in the car while traveling. To incorporate more movement into your day, try taking the stairs instead of elevators and escalators and get up every 30 minutes to go for a brisk walk. The best way to incorporate exercise is to find something that you enjoy to move and do it several times a week.
In addition to the move, we also need to stretch our muscles to prevent stiffness. Narrow stiff muscles not only contribute to back pain, but can also lead to headaches and joint pain. Yoga is an excellent way to increase blood flow and to stretch all the muscles in the body that would otherwise not be stretched. If you are new to yoga, take a few classes with yoga instructor to prevent injury.
8. Vitamins and minerals
I had a few patients come to see me with pain in various parts of their body due to inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals that are needed to keep all of our machines in our body to work, including any injury healing taking place.
We need certain vitamins and minerals for many processes and reactions in the body, and unfortunately the standard North American diet of processed packaged foods often doesn’t provide enough nutrition. An example of this is the lack of magnesium in our top soil, which is required for muscle relaxation, and many other processes in the body.
A magnesium deficiency can manifest itself in various ways, including muscle aches, joint pain, chronic headaches, and constipation. Improve your vitamin and mineral status by including a variety of vegetables and fruits and to focus on getting more whole natural foods in your diet.
9. Address Digestion
Another road block to getting adequate nutrients from our diet is poor digestion. If you suffer from frequent gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, it is a sign that your digestive system need some healing.
A poor digestive tract hinders the breakdown of food and assimilation of nutrients in our bodies. If you think you suffer from digestive problems, consult your Naturopathic doctor to see how you can improve your digestive function. In the meantime, you may want to invest in a good multivitamin and mineral formula to improve the status of your nutrients.
10. Increasing good fats
Fats are essential for our bodies to work well. From hormone production to keeping inflammation under control, fats are an essential part of our diet. However, not all fats are equal. North American diet is high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.
To help reduce inflammation and pain, and improve circulation, invest in incorporating the “good” fats in the diet: wild oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds, olive oil and coconut oil are good sources of fat that should be increased in the diet. Another important way to increase the omega-3 fatty acids is by taking good quality professional fish oil or krill oil supplement.