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In staying home, those with chronic pain can experience reduced access to familial and medical support, essential exercise, food sources, physiotherapy appointments and more. At DR-HO’S we understand how important these things are when you’re living with chronic pain.

The seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to take difficult but essential measures to slow the spread of the virus. Health professionals and government officials at all levels have reiterated how important it is for all of us to stay home and practise social distancing in order to protect ourselves and our communities. And while these measures are crucial, there’s no denying the impact they can have on those suffering from chronic pain.

In light of this, we want to help. Read on to learn about some essential steps to take to manage and relieve chronic pain at home during this challenging time.

Managing chronic pain at home starts with a healthy diet

There is no magic diet that will cure chronic pain; our bodies are too varied and pain means different things to different people. That said, there are anti-inflammatory foods that are rich in antioxidants, high in protein and dense in vitamins and minerals that can be very beneficial to those suffering from chronic pain.

These nutrient-rich foods can positively influence painful symptoms and spike energy resources in long-time pain sufferers. Focusing on these healthy options will help keep weight off, which is especially important for those with pain in the lower back, hips, knees and feet. Excess body weight will only serve to further aggravate pain in these areas.

managing chronic pain at home

What foods should I focus on?

Focus on eating fruits, vegetables and healthy fats (such as avocado and extra virgin olive oil) multiple times a day. Legumes and whole grains should be a priority at least once a day. Additionally, fish, nuts and seeds should be a staple multiple times per week. Unhealthy fats, simple carbs and refined sugars should be significantly limited and if possible, eliminated completely.

How can I access these healthy foods from home?

If you are uncomfortable leaving or unable to leave your house, look into grocery delivery services in your area. These services will allow you to select the foods you want online and have the food delivered directly to your home.

More resources on a healthy diet from DR-HO’S:

  1. Eating for Energy: How a Healthy Diet Keeps You Moving
  2. 6 Foods That Target Inflammation
  3. Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid to Sleep Better All Night
  4. The 5 Best Diets for Pain Relief
  5. What is the Mediterranean Diet and Can it Help with Chronic Pain?

Finds ways to reduce your stress and to stay positive

Given the growing seriousness of the COVID-19 situation and the significant disruption to our daily routines, it can be very easy to succumb to stress, anxiety and negative thoughts during times like these. This is especially true for chronic pain sufferers, as these types of afflictions are already commonly linked to mental health issues. It’s crucial for those with chronic pain to find ways to reduce stress and stay positive at home. Here are some ways you can help deal with any stressful, negative thoughts you may have:

Avoid prolonged periods on social media and the news

Stay informed and cautious, but find time to unplug, unwind and reduce tension.

Stay in contact with friends and family

Just because we should be reducing physical, face-to-face contact as much as possible does not mean we should isolate ourselves entirely. Pick up the phone or video call those closest to you. This is a great way to talk through any issues you may be having with your pain or to just simply stay connected.

Do what makes you feel happy

Take the time to do things that make you feel good, reduce stress and take your mind off your pain: take a hot bath, light some candles and read a book, write about your thoughts, listen to music, watch your favourite movie, or again, talk to your loved ones whenever possible.

Think positive thoughts!

It’s no secret that pain can be mentally and physically uncomfortable and that it can lead to self-defeating thoughts. It may seem difficult to challenge or drop these beliefs but the truth is, they're making your pain more unbearable. A good place to start is by reinforcing positive thoughts. Try repeating the following:

  • Pain is normal and okay to experience
  • Activity helps me feel more energized
  • I can continue doing the things I love
  • I can manage the pain
  • Pain is not a permanent condition

managing chronic pain at home

Invest in an at-home pain therapy device

Whether the current situation with COVID-19 has made it harder to access pain relief medication or you’re looking for drug-free, non-invasive relief, TENS therapy is a powerful alternative to harsh drugs or invasive treatments. DR-HO’S TENS machines help people experience clinically-tested pain relief from home.

And during these challenging times, you can count on us delivering these devices directly to you, to help you in managing chronic pain at home.

TENS machines work by sending electrical impulses to the sensory nerves that flood the nervous system, essentially working to “block” pain signals from reaching the brain. This provides effective pain relief in the body without the need to ingest medication or undergo manual manipulation or surgery.

DR-HO'S TENS DEVICES ALSO:

1. Use Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) therapy to contract and expand tense, painful, strained muscle groups. Aside from stimulating and activating the muscles, this action can ease tension and improve circulation in the body.

2. Produce electrical stimulation that aids in the production of endorphins. Endorphins produce many physiological effects, but most significantly, they act as the body's natural painkillers. The benefit of this kind of painkiller is that it is completely natural and absent of harmful side effects or dependency issues.

Learn more about at-home TENS therapy devices from DR-HO'S

managing chronic pain at home

Find ways to stay active, no matter what.

Engaging in any type of physical activity can often seem like an unbearable part of managing chronic pain at home. But in reality, practising even the most gentle, moderate exercises can be incredibly beneficial. Exercise can result in:

  1. Less pain
  2. Fewer tender points
  3. Higher levels of fitness
  4. Greater ability to complete tasks
  5. Reduced stress
  6. Reduced depression and anxiety

Yoga can help with managing chronic pain at home

If done properly, yoga is an easy and effective way to stretch out and activate your muscles, increase strength and boost circulation from your living room, bedroom, kitchen, balcony, patio or wherever else you feel most comfortable.

Aerobic exercise

Aerobics pumps blood to the heart and delivers oxygen to the muscles. It can also help guard against diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. A few simple aerobic activities include: performing household chores (sweeping, dusting, washing the floor), walking, gentle yoga, dancing and pilates.

If you aren’t feeling well, it’s highly recommended that you don’t go walking outside in crowded areas during this time. However, if you are feeling well and if you can avoid close contact with others, walking and/or a light jog is an excellent way to engage in aerobic activity. Just make sure you’re taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of yourself and others.

exercise for women over 50

More resources on exercise and chronic pain from DR-HO’S:

  1. 5 At-Home Knee Exercises for Arthritis
  2. At-Home Exercises to Alleviate Lower Back Pain
  3. Sciatica Exercises: 6 At-Home Exercises for Sciatic Nerve Pain
  4. Fibromyalgia Exercises: Work Out Chronic Pain
  5. 5 Tips to Reduce Muscle Tension and Soreness 

Remember: always consult your doctor before engaging in a new exercise program

A good night’s sleep helps when it comes to managing chronic pain at home

Sleep is an absolute necessity for reducing pain and enhancing well-being. Getting sleep is one thing, getting quality sleep is another. On average, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night to function properly the next day. And while many chronic pain sufferers know this, actually achieving this number can be very difficult.

Try sticking to these do’s and don’ts to sleep better, longer and more consistently:

DO: Keep a Regular Schedule

Our bodies react well to a rhythm. If you make a concerted effort to go bed and wake up at the same time every day, weekends included, it will help your body develop a rhythm and a better internal sleep clock.

DON’T: Drink Alcohol Before Bed

Alcohol makes falling asleep easier and then haunts you later. Alcohol is also high in sugar which can interfere with your body’s ability to fall asleep. If you’re going to drink anything, focus on water or herbal tea.

DO: Stick to Your Exercising

Exercise reduces fatigue over time. It also makes it easier to fall asleep when you want to. That said, be mindful of when you exercise; too much activity right before bed can boost adrenaline and make it harder to fall asleep.

DON’T: Use Phones or Electronics in Bed

Our body recognizes that when the sun goes down, it’s time to rest. This means that the bright lights on our phones, laptops and tablets send conflicting signals to our brain. These lights also affect melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone produced in our brains that regulates our sleep patterns. Essentially, it tells our bodies when it’s time to sleep. For better sleep results, unplug at least a few hours before you go to bed and keep your room as dark as possible.

DO: Have a Warm Bath or Shower

Our bodies have a way of naturally cooling down roughly two hours before we fall asleep. This gradual cooling has a relaxing effect and helps our bodies transition into sleep mode. Having a warm to hot bath a few hours before you sleep can help to induce this cooling sensation. As you bathe, your body temperature will rise on account of the water. The rapid cool down afterwards can produce a relaxing effect.

DON’T: Have a Big Meal Before You Sleep

Having a large meal right before you go to bed can lead to your digestive system working furiously as your body is simultaneously trying to rest. Sticking to your diet should help you avoid the need to eat right before bed.

Learn more about sleep and managing chronic pain at home from DR-HO’S:

  1. 6 Ways to Sleep with Sciatica and Feel Rested
  2. 5 Tips For a Deeper Sleep
  3. Help Prevent Neck Pain During Sleep By Adjusting These Five Things
  4. Fibromyalgia Fatigue: How to Get a Restful Sleep and Beat Fatigue
  5. Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid to Sleep Better All Night

Managing chronic pain at home is possible!

At DR-HO’S, we are acutely aware that managing and overcoming chronic pain is about more than just taking pain relief medications. Effective pain management is about committing to a healthy diet, staying as active as possible, looking after our bodies, building a support network and finding relief without relying too heavily on drugs and chemicals.

That said, we also know that it’s difficult to remain committed to change when battling pain. This is especially true in extreme circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic, where even committing to a normal routine becomes a challenge.

The steps above are intended to help pain sufferers stay committed to managing their pain even as their routines have involuntarily changed. More than that, though, they are steps you can take at any time to change your story, manage your chronic pain at home and make a positive change in your life regardless of the type of pain you’re experiencing.

LEARN MORE ABOUT DR. MICHAEL HO AND HIS APPROACH TO PAIN RELIEF

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