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Small Things You Can Do To Relieve Chronic Pain

Small Things You Can Do To Relieve Chronic Pain

As the word “chronic” suggests, this is a form of pain that persists for a very long time or is constantly recurring. In medicine, any pain that continues beyond half a year qualifies as chronic pain. There are varying degrees of chronic pain, ranging from mild to extreme, recurrent, to constant,  and so on.

Considering the lengthy amount of time many people spend suffering chronic pain, it is not surprising that it can also contribute to negative emotional side effects. Suffering from a kind of continuous pain only known to yourself and fellow sufferers can have a detrimental impact on mental health and personal relationships. Thus, it is critical that you take initiative and responsibility for your chronic pain and be aware of things that you can do to alleviate your suffering. Of course, when the chronic pain suffered reaches a point where you are unable to continue with your daily life, seek medical attention immediately.

If more serious issues have been ruled out as the cause of your pain, here are 15 small things that you can do to relieve chronic pain:

Do Not Ingest Foods Containing Solanine

Solanine is a glycoalkaloid poison that is found in common foods such as potatoes, with its pesticidal properties serving to enhance the plant’s natural defenses. These backyard foods are popular and often served with meals. The source of the problem is that some people are unable to metabolize solanine; it consequently accumulates in their major organs and creates health problems for them, potentially including chronic pain. Avoid nightshade vegetables (e.g. tomatoes, eggplants, chilies, goji berries). Also avoid products/foods that utilize potato starch as this can help alleviate the chronic pain experienced by some people.

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Do Take Supplements

Even though there has been a lot of debate about the use of natural and synthetic supplements, the consumption of either one can help to complement everyday meals that may be lacking in certain vitamins and minerals. Moreover, for people suffering from chronic pains, there are certain kinds of supplements that help with nerve functions, muscles and joint recovery. Although supplements are recommended, you should always check with your certified general practitioner for more information and to advise you accordingly.

Do Light To Moderate Exercise

As a sufferer of chronic pain, engaging in heavy or intense exercise would be difficult for you, but yet it is still hard to ignore the incredible benefits exercise can bring. Exercise can help to reduce your chronic pain and improve your quality of life. By exercising, you enjoy the effects of better sleep which reduces your reliance on pain medication; whilst also contributing to healthier mood with a greater release of endorphins.

Avoid Alcohol

An ever-present beverage culturally, alcohol is drunk for a range of purposes, for enjoyment- and even for pain management. When suffering from chronic pain, it is essential to get a good night’s sleep in order for the body to be able to heal well and to avoid further physical tension accumulating. By partaking in alcohol consumption, you are depriving your body of deep sleep as alcohol is known for promoting shallow sleep. Thus, you give yourself a less restful night whilst increasing your levels of chronic pain.

Distract Yourself From The Pain

Another simple trick that you can do is to simply distract yourself from the pain. Albeit not a very wise choice in the long-run, the reality is that it still works for a short period of time. Upon feeling the onset of your chronic pain, turn on your favorite TV show or enjoy a board game with your loved ones. Focus on that activity and choose to ignore the pain. Eventually, the intensity of the pain should subside and you’ll emerge stronger and more prepared for future attacks.

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Avoid Vibrations

There have been plenty of reports alerting us to the risks of long-term exposure to vibrations, particularly for people suffering from chronic pain. Chiropractic research has suggested that long-term exposure to vibrations are one of the main causes of chronic pain, in particular – repetitive vibration and hand-arm vibrations. If you are currently in a job where you are regularly exposed to either type of vibration and you also suffer from regular pain attacks, it is possible that vibrations are your primary “trigger”. Take action and visit a medical professional as soon as you can in order to create an effective treatment plan.

Educate Your Friends And Family About Your Condition

It’s important for your family, friends and loved ones to understand your condition and the kind of pain you are suffering in order to prevent any misunderstandings, miscommunication, and also to equip them with the relevant knowledge and skills to help you when the chronic pain hits. It’s important to always talk about your feelings and experiences; this is highly recommended by psychologists since it promotes healthier mental well-being, encourages a person’s spirits, whilst allowing both you and your loved ones to be well-informed and actively involved in their pain management. Take the time to talk to your loved ones to prevent your personal life and relationships from being negatively affected by chronic pain.

Join A Support Group

Not only is it important to let you friends and loved ones be there for you during your time of need, there are other forms of support you can rely on, including support groups. Attend a support group for people going through chronic pain. Although you may suffer from different types and varieties of chronic pain, you’re confiding in people who understand your pain, and this can make you feel like you are less alone in your struggle. Not only do you gain pillars of support through joining such a group, but some of these people will likely be survivors of extreme chronic pain, or people who have been suffering from chronic pain for longer than you have. From these meetings, you can learn important lessons and new approaches to coping with the pain.

Don’t Stress – Relax

We are all human. We need to accept our limits and flaws, and learn to not be afraid to acknowledge them. By taking control of our emotional and physical health, you are taking control of your battle with chronic pain and are on the path to recovery. Have the courage to say no to activities that may tire you, and be firm when you decide on what is the best choice for your health. Schedule in activities that bring positive emotional effects like boosting your morale and don’t be afraid to customize your own schedule for maximum relaxation, because truly, it is all up to you.

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Don’t Smoke

Once again, it is common knowledge that smoking is a health hazard and this is even more so for people suffering from chronic pain. Smoking is known for being able to increase a patient’s chronic pain and is linked to other severe diseases and health conditions. Naturally, some may turn to smoking as a stress reliever or as a form of pain management, but this does the body more harm than good as smoking can make it harder for a person to respond to chronic pain treatment. If you live with someone who smokes, consider getting an air purifier for cigarette smoke. Smoking also negatively influences a person’s perception of and sensitivity to pain. Stay away from smoking.

Stay Hydrated

The health benefits of drinking water are clearly established as we need water to live and our bodies consist of 75% water, and our brains, 85%. Dehydration is one of the primary causes of many illnesses and diseases, with chronic pain being one of them. It is important that we consume enough water to keep ourselves hydrated, eliminate toxins from our body and replenish any water that we have lost during this process. You need to provide your body with the essential tools it needs to fight chronic pain, and water is one of these tools.

CONSUME TURMERIC

Turmeric is a household Asian spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This medicinal root also contains antioxidants, has been associated with cancer prevention, and due to containing curcumin, it has the ability to reduce inflammation naturally without causing any liver or kidney damage. One of the reasons why chronic pain occurs is due to the occurrence of inflammation in the body. This can lead to severe chronic pain if you ignore any form of treatment. Turmeric is particularly useful for assisting medical conditions like arthritis or sports injuries, for example. Scientific research has revealed that turmeric may also potentially aid those suffering from asthma and cancer, so go ahead and try this miraculous spice for yourself.

Do Yoga And Meditate

Yoga advocates for a perspective to chronic pain that involves unlearning harmful reactions to pain that only exacerbate the problem. The use of relaxation exercises can help sufferers to teach their body healthy ways to cope with pain. Relaxation has been proven to be particularly healing for sufferers of chronic pain. It switches off your stress response, reduces your stress levels and thus turns the energy within your body towards growth, repair and other beneficial health processes. Make a point to learn and practice a few yoga relaxation poses to help further your healing process.

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Maintain Good Posture

We get so busy these days that it’s often hard to make time for any exercise, and often we forget about maintaining good posture. Whether we are at work or slouched in front of the TV, good posture is essential in fighting chronic pain. Avoid slouching (also fondly known as the “C-slump”) as slouching is known to make a person particularly vulnerable to back problems. Slouching prevents your weight from being evenly distributed between the joints and muscles in your back, and uneven weight distribution taxes the lower back muscles and tendons, thus increasing the risk of sprains and strains. Bad posture can weaken or damage your nerves and blood flow as well. Make it a point to maintain proper posture, or even just consistently sit up straight throughout the day and you’ll begin to see wonderful results.

Use Heat Pads

This is probably the most commonly used solution for temporary relief for your chronic pain. Simply apply cold packs or hot packs (according to your preference) to any area you feel pain to enjoy quick and effective relief. Heat packs help to direct heat to the source of pain and the heat helps to encourage greater blood flow in that area. Application of a heat pack to the source of your chronic pain will stimulate the sensory receptors in that area, impeding the transmission of pain signals to the brain, and creating pain relief.

Although chronic pain may seem incredibly dreary and tiresome, with small changes to your life, and making sure that you receive professional medical advice, you can and will begin to see a great difference in your quality of life. Think about it: no one is going to be able to make that pain go away except for you. Have courage, and take the initiative to step forward and be actively involved in your healing process. Only then will you reap the fruits of what you have sowed.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via static.pexels.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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