Jackie WatersFor people living with chronic pain, it can feel as if life is one long quest in search of relief.
From visualization therapy (a technique used in psychology) to various combinations of painkillers, medical professionals work with you to minimize pain and make life more manageable.
But, if you have yet to find the relief you seek, you may be surprised to learn that some answers very well could be within your home. Many people living with chronic pain find that with a few adjustments to their homes and their lifestyle, they reduce their overall pain levels.
Here are three strategies for minimizing chronic pain at home.
1. Get Help at HomeBeing sedentary is not helpful for anyone with chronic pain. That being said, there are some tasks that you perform at home that most likely exacerbate your pain. For example, many people with chronic pain find that chores such as bending and stretching to open and wash heavy windows, scrubbing down the walls of the shower and bathtub, and carrying overloaded clothes baskets up and down the stairs make their pain worse and that symptoms last for a few days. If you find that this is the case for you, you should hire a housekeeper to do the cleaning tasks that exacerbate your pain.
When you interview applicants, explain your situation and determine whether they are willing to do the cleaning tasks that you cannot. You may not need a housekeeper to clean your entire house from top to bottom once a week, but you probably do need someone to help lighten the laundry load and do the heavy-duty cleaning that increases your level of pain. You may continue to do your dishes, run the vacuum, and dust lightly, but a housekeeper may be the better option for the tasks that require more movement and result in more pain for you.
2. Start Eating Healthier MealsDoctors agree that one lifestyle change that can minimize chronic pain is eating healthier meals. First, a diet that is high in fat and sugar leads to weight gain. Being overweight puts more strain on your joints and back and contributes to chronic pain. Even if you are not overweight, eating healthier meals and avoiding certain foods reduces the amount of inflammation you have, which in turn reduces the amount of pain you have.
When planning meals, incorporate as many foods that fight pain as possible. Add ginger and turmeric to your dishes or start drinking ginger tea because these ingredients ease inflammation and ease discomfort. Incorporate extra-virgin olive oil in your cooking to reduce inflammation. Eat foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon. Snack on red grapes, berries, and peanuts because these foods contain resveratrol.
If you struggle with planning meals and getting to the grocery store because of your pain, consider subscribing to a meal delivery service that brings fresh produce, meat, and other ingredients directly to your door and guides you through the process of cooking healthy meals from scratch. Cooking at home provides a much-needed distraction from pain and gives you the chance to learn how to prepare healthy meals that can minimize your pain.
3. Start Exercising at HomePeople with chronic pain often do not sign up for gym memberships or join fitness classes because the workouts are too intense for their level of pain. But, being sedentary increases chronic pain. Rather than get caught in a catch-22, you should begin exercising at home by doing workouts that soothe your pain. Begin walking on a treadmill, around your home or property, or around your neighborhood.
You may want to start with a 10-minute walk and build up to 30 minutes of walking each day. Walking is a low-impact aerobic activity that delivers oxygen to muscles and decreases pain and stiffness. Other exercises to do at home to relieve pain include water aerobics in a heated home pool, stretching, yoga, and light weightlifting.
If you live with chronic pain and are looking for more ways to minimize your pain, try hiring a housekeeper to help with chores that contribute to your pain, eating healthier meals, and exercising at home.
Jackie Waters is a mother of four boys, and lives on a farm in Oregon. She is passionate about providing a healthy and happy home for her family, and aims to provide advice for others on how to do the same with her site Hyper-Tidy.com.
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