On any given day, roughly 15% of American adults have neck pain. Most of the time, it’s not serious. But if you have neck pain that just doesn’t go away, you should see your doctor. Here’s why.
Pain relief does not always have to come from medications. A few lifestyle changes can help ease pain and improve the quality of your life. Even when paired with medications or your other treatment methods, certain lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
Many pain doctors are beginning to see the benefits of a comprehensive and multimodal approach to pain management. This means that there is more to pain management than just prescribing pain medications. Lifestyle changes and good health habits are important parts of this comprehensive approach.
Did you know that tobacco can increase your pain sensations, slow wound healing, and damage your body? In fact, research has shown that smoking even affects your pain resiliency. With regards to pain resilience, smoking increases connectivity and activity between two regions of your brain - the nucleus accumbens and the medial prefrontal cortex. The increased activity and connections leads to a reduction in pain resilience.
Eat a Balanced & Healthy Diet
Eating well not only helps you get the nutrients and vitamins you need to stay healthy, but it also helps you maintain a healthy body weight. Being overweight or obese can cause or lead to a wide range of health problems including diabetes and heart disease. Also, maintaining a healthy body weight is important for pain management.
In fact, studies have shown that weight loss can help reduce headache frequency in obese patients, decrease back pain in chronic pain patients, and improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain.
Additionally, it is important to limit processed foods and foods high in saturated fat and sugar. Even consider trying an anti-inflammatory diet. An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on whole foods that reduce inflammatory responses. These types of foods are nutrient rich and contain antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your body from free radicals and reduce inflammation. While an anti-inflammatory diet won’t cure your condition, it may help improve symptoms.
Keep a Pain Journal
A pain journal can be a useful tool for both you and your doctor. Keep track of your pain levels, when pain occurs, what causes it, what makes it worse, and what makes it better. This information can help your doctor better diagnose your condition and provide the best treatment. It can also help you avoid certain triggers that cause your pain.
Many migraine sufferers, for example, keep a migraine journal to keep track of a wide range of important details, such as: what triggers their attacks, what eases their pain, what makes the pain worse, what the pain levels are, and when these headache attacks occur.
Stay Connected with Loved Ones
Chronic pain has a both a mental and physical component. In other words, it takes a toll on both the mind and body. Staying connected with your loved ones - friends and family - can help improve your health and cope with your pain. When you feel loved and cared for, you often feel less stress and anxiety. Chronic negative stress can have a dire impact on your mind and body. It can also increase your perception of pain.
Additionally, studies have shown that many health problems are related to stress - such as heart disease, obesity, depression, headaches, and diabetes. Therefore, cultivating relationships that reduce stress and bring us happiness is an important part of pain management and your overall health.
At some point, chronic pain may be too much to handle on your own. Consider visiting a pain doctor. These pain specialists will work with you to diagnose your pain and find the treatment plan that works best for you. If you are looking for a Las vegas pain doctor, contact Apex Medical Center. We specialize in pain management and have three convenient locations in the Las Vegas and Henderson area.
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