In the first part of this article, we looked at the different types of pain and how miserable it can be for people who suffer from chronic pain. While some pain is due to trauma or other issues, there are definitely things we can try to help keep as many situations that lead to chronic pain from happening in the first place.
Overall, the following 10 tips can help prevent chronic pain. If you can incorporate all of these into your daily life, great! But trying just a few is better than nothing, or you can add in one or two gradually so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
1—Nip initial pain in the bud. For example, have you been diagnosed with shingles? Work aggressively with your physician to treat it, through things like anti-viral and pain medications. Some people even require epidural injections to help with shingle pain. If you are having surgery, don’t be shy about managing your post-operative pain. As we know, acute pain now can lead to chronic pain later. But research is showing that if we successfully treat and manage the pain while we are initially enduring it, it seems to reduce the chances of it rearing its ugly head again later on.
2—Eat well. Lower your amount of fat and cholesterol and eat smaller portions. This can improve your health and also really decrease your risk for developing a painful health issue.
3—Up your calcium levels. The mineral calcium is the most prevalent one in our bodies, and it is needed to help keep our bones and teeth strong. It is important to have enough calcium in order to reduced the chances of fractures and breaks. Women may especially need calcium as studies have linked shortages to a greater chance of developing osteoporosis. Many people take a calcium supplement every day to make sure they are getting enough of this vital mineral.
4—Sleep well. More and more studies are showing the importance of a good night’s sleep. Shoot for between seven and eight hours of sleep a night. It helps your body relax and regenerate.
5—Eliminate unhealthy habits. If you smoke, please consider stopping. If you drink a lot of alcohol, please think about cutting way back. Both of these steps can vastly improve your overall health and may reduce the chance of developing chronic pain.
6—Maintain a healthy weight. As we talked about earlier, overweight people are at a higher risk of developing chronic pain because the excess pounds, over time, can really put a strain on your joints and be detrimental to other body parts. If you have some weight to lose, try the old-fashioned approach of eating a bit less and moving a bit more. It really can make a difference and help the weight begin to slowly fall away.
7—Get regular exercise. You don’t have to hit the gym every day for an hour or two to make a difference. Put on your walking or running shoes, and walk around your neighborhood for 30 minutes. If you work outside the home, use your two 15-minute breaks to walk. Or take your dog out for a brisk walk once you are back home. If you prefer biking, swimming or hiking, that’s fine too! Just do what you like and do it regularly and your body will really benefit.
8—Watch your posture. Some chronic pain issues stem from poor posture, and with many of us spending hours a day in front of computers, it’s more important than ever that we are aware of how posture can affect us. Take short breaks from sitting in front of the computer screen, and be sure your chair is at a good height. Be aware of how you are sitting too—do you slouch or slump down? Sit up straight as much as you can and if you are on the phone, try not to hold it between your head and shoulder while you type—that is a recipe for shoulder and neck pain.
9—Know your family tree. Many health issues have a genetic component, so knowing what your close relatives had or have is important so you can be proactive about trying to avoid them as much as possible.
10—Wear proper shoes with good support. Yeah, those high heels you just found at DSW are adorable, and wearing them for short periods might be okay. But for every day, most-of-the-time shoes, go with supportive ones that fit well and don’t have you up on your tippy toes when walking. A lot of people have chronic back and neck issues that can be very painful, and wearing good supportive shoes may really help.
Again, sometimes pain just happens and we can’t help it. There might be a fall or an accident or some other reason that we can’t often control. But lots of times, pain can and does happen due to reasons that we can help prevent.