Chronic aches & pain is one of the most debilitating conditions many of us face today. Every time I look around, more and more people suffer with one form of chronic pain or another. In every case, I have to have one conversation that rarely anyone wants to hear initially. However, once you understand this concept, it can do wonders to help relieve your pain.
You may think you have little or no control over your pain. And the little control you do have often comes in a prescription bottle. Though you may still have some pain, you can manage and dramatically reduce it. Without the aid of prescription drugs.
What three things should you focus on?
Focus on having fortitude and determination improve circulation, nutrition and the removal of waste (toxins). It does take effort on your part, and when you're in pain and exhausted, effort is hard to come by. By minimizing triggers and supporting your own body's natural ability to heal itself, the less overall pain and more energy you will have.
I recently had a conversation with a man on how to relieve his chronic back pain due to nerve damage. Initially he came to me for help with food choices. And noticing he also had severe back pain, I thought I could recommend a few things he could try. But every time I mentioned something he could do, he would say “no.” He insisted nothing could help. It's nerve damage and so there's nothing he can do.
The thing is, there are things he can do. And you can too.
6 Foundations for Reducing Chronic Aches & Pain
First, reduce or eliminate foods that you are sensitive to. Food Sensitivities do not result in producing IgE antibodies, making them hard to detect. However, these foods have a direct effect on your brain and/or body. It is believed that about 80 percent of the population has undiagnosed food sensitivities. Contrast that with food allergies that occur in only about 5 percent of the population.
Food allergies create an immediate and pronounced effect like breathing difficulties or anaphylactic shock and IgE antibodies are present. Food sensitivities are usually delayed or hidden and the symptoms are not as recognizable. For example, I have clients on the look out for worsening pain symptoms, headaches, bloating, gas and even itchy toes. There are many more, and even with a list you may experience something completely new. However, severe fatigue, wide-spread muscle pain, arthritic pain and more are very common symptoms.
Remove pain triggers by removing food sensitivities.
If you don't want to spend a long time searching out what foods you're sensitive to, I can offer you a simple blood test that checks 150 common foods, email me at email@example.com for more information.
You will have the added benefit of reducing food cravings and more by adding in more veggies. To curb sugar cravings, eat more sweet vegetables. Choose red, yellow and orange peppers, cucumbers, carrots, cooked onions, etc. Try including in vegetables with every meal. For breakfast, I usually have a green smoothie or eggs with sauteed spinach.
Third, add movement. I'm not talking heavy-duty exercise here. I'm talking movement. When you move and stretch you provide information to your central nervous system. This stimulates your muscles to become stronger at the points where you are weak.
This doesn't take a lot of effort. If I have a client who can't move, I tell them to start fidgeting first. Find reasons to stand up more, rotate hips, lifts arms and make circles with your legs and shoulders. You can even try turning your feet toward the center and then out.
Any movement which stretches the muscles actually stimulates them to become stronger. And movement that stretches the connective tissue allows fluid to flow through the tissue keeping it well hydrated. Most pain receptors are actually located in the connective tissue, not muscle tissue. By keeping your connective tissue hydrated and free of blockages, you reduce pain. Additionally, the improved structural alignment further alleviates pain. It's also this same fluid which transports oxygen and nutrients to and waste away from cells.
Muscle spasms, cramps and aches in any part of your body are often related to poor blood circulation. Movement also promotes blood flow. This is another reason why exercise and body movement is important for managing overall pain.
Fourth, try bodywork. There are many forms of bodywork you can do to include self-treatment techniques. Try massage, Rolfing, Feldenkrais. MELTMethod, rollers, balls, massage sticks and more.
Just like movement, bodywork helps to break up knots, bunchy or fibrous soft tissue. Bodywork improves circulation, activates the lymphatic system and calms and/or stimulates the nervous system.
Fifth, work with pain relief methods that reduce toxic load or at least doesn't add to it. When your body has to process toxins, it struggles to filter them out and causes stress and inflammation. Since prescription drugs are usually synthetic, the body doesn't immediately recognize them causing the liver to process them as toxins. So though they are meant to help with pain, they can actually contribute to pain over the long-term.
And as mentioned previously, cramps and muscle pain are often associated with poor circulation. When there is poor circulation, your muscle pain increases as you build-up of metabolic waste and starve muscle tissue of oxygen.
Therefore, you want to stimulate your circulatory system, support your lymphatic system and the liver to support the filtering out the metabolic wastes and toxins.
Try using heat, cold compresses, essential oils, and herbs or foods like the following:
- Cherries –arthritis and muscle pain
- Ginger – migraines, arthritis, sore muscles
- Cranberry Juice – ulcers (many pain medications cause stomach ulcers)
- Salmon, Herring, Sardines – Achy back, neck and joints
- Turmeric – achy joints, colitis (inflammation of the colon, which pain medications can contribute to too.)
- Yogurt – IBS
- Mint – IBS and headaches
- Sesame Seeds – arthritis, joint and muscle pain
Finally, practice relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, mediation and conscious muscle release. When pain sensory signals are activated, surrounding muscle tissues contract to protect or offer support to the injured tissue. However, what begins as a good thing can turn bad when sustained for a long period of time. This reflex reaction can cause more damage to the surrounding muscle tissues than the original injury.
Sustained contractions can become widespread and cause even more pain, which spreads to surrounding muscle tissues. Sustained muscle contraction reduces blood flow in the constricted area. This restriction and the lack of oxygenated blood getting into the muscle tissues can be very painful.
Along with pain, comes anxiety, which can further complicate both the pain symptoms and the healing process. Increased anxiety and emotional stress from sustained muscle contractions will lead to even more oxygen starved muscle tissue, further preventing waste from properly circulating out of the muscle tissue.
Why go on about wastes and lack of oxygen? If this continues it can cause your cells to die off and the body will form scar tissue and fibrosis. Fibrosis can permanently limit the ability of connective tissues to lengthen and stretch, preventing muscle movement. Stuck tissue, blocks fluid necessary for feeding and removing waste from surrounding cells, and triggers the pain receptors within the soft tissue itself. And toxins (lactic acids) can buildup to the point where they will periodically start depositing small amounts into the bloodstream. This process, aggravates not only your local muscle tissues and cells, but also your nervous system.
It's a cycle that spreads throughout the body and one which increases your pain. By slowing down and consciously allowing your body to relax, you stimulate the healing process. Nutrients and oxygen are able to flow through tissue and cells, while supporting waste removal.
The key is to remember that you do have some options when it comes to pain management. It's up to you to consciously find ways to improve circulation, provide optimal nutrition and reduce the toxic load. Many of these options seem simple and can be, but when you're in pain, it makes everything hard to do. That's why want fortitude and determination to muscle through the pain, and do what will help you.
You now have some ideas to start with. Experiment and determine what works for you. Just remember, that many of these options require consistency, even when you don't feel pain. It's so easy for the pain to come back. I was where you are now, but I no longer have chronic page now that I focus on; circulation, nutrition and the removal of waste.
P.S. What are your thoughts? Do you want to expand the conversation? Share your comments and insights on my Facebook page; Justine Cécile Coaching.
And if you are a woman and would like to dig deeper, come join me over at Designing Oneself on Facebook. Designing Oneself is a place for women who have seen a few things, experienced a few things and want more.
It's a place where we can gather and overcome conventional norms that say we have to slow down as we age. That stomach upset, fatigue, body aches & pains, and cognitive slowing down is normal. (They may be common, but certainly NOT normal.)
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