Understanding Chronic Pain Triggers
No matter what causes your chronic pain, you know how miserable it can make your life during a flare up. The first step in natural chronic pain management should be knowing what the most common chronic pain triggers are and taking the steps to reduce their impact on your life.
Weather and Atmospheric Changes
When the weather changes to an extreme, whether from hot to cold or cold to hot, it can affect certain types of chronic pain. This is especially true when your pain is related to your joints, such as with arthritis or fibromyalgia but is also true of many other conditions. It can be helpful to keep a pain journal and record what’s going on the days you had a bad flare up. You might notice that your neck, back or knees hurt worse on rainy or extremely cold days. Understanding how weather changes can affect your chronic pain will help you to better prepare for them in the future.
Elevated Stress Levels
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, and some of us have a lot more than others. For most people with chronic illness, stress just makes everything even worse. You’ve probably noticed that when life stresses have increased, the chronic pain soon follows. This is why knowing how to reduce stress is an essential part of chronic pain management.
Hormonal Changes in Women
For women, a big flare trigger for chronic pain can be when you have hormonal changes during different times of the month. These could be related to PMS, during the time of your cycle or as you begin to head toward menopause. This is another reason to note what’s going on in your pain journal, because writing things down will help you to notice these patterns. And the more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to manage these potential triggers.
Eating Inflammatory Foods
If your pain is related to your digestive system, such as with inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome, you already know you should be careful about what you eat. But this also applies to most chronic pain patients as well. Refined carbs such as white bread, rice and pasta are very inflammatory and can make many chronic pain conditions worse. Know your condition to learn what the potential food triggers are.
Tips for Natural Chronic Pain Management
Reduce stress in your life. Negative feelings such as depression, anxiety and anger can make your chronic pain worse. Learn how to reduce stress and you may find some relief from chronic pain.
Ditch the sugar. As mentioned above, inflammatory foods such as sugar and refined grains can contribute to elevated pain levels. Many people find relief following a low carb or paleo diet.
Cut back on alcohol, or eliminate it entirely. Chronic pain can make sleep difficult, but drinking alcohol is just putting a bandage on it and can make sleep problems even worse.
Getting regular exercise is a very effective part of a natural chronic pain management program. Not only that, it will help to keep your weight down, reduce heart disease and help to control blood sugar levels. Ask your health care professional about what the best exercise routine would be for you. If your energy levels are low or your mobility is limited, you can still find gentle workouts that won’t tax you. Yoga can be very accessible for most people.
I’ve been living with the chronic pain condition cervical dystonia since 2010. While there is no cure for it, I have been able greatly reduce pharmaceuticals by using these natural chronic pain management methods in my life.