Hundreds of millions of Americans are currently living with chronic pain, fibromyalgia and related conditions. Many of these same people often feel like there is no light at the end of their tunnel. Chronic pain – or pain which lasts three months or longer – can make you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. You might wonder if you will ever regain your joy, or if your life will ever be the same again.
Luckily, hope is not lost for those with chronic pain. There are a few lifestyle changes you can make in order to help manage your pain and bring joy back to your life.
Some Lifestyle Changes to Make
Here are a few heart-centered lifestyle changes – including alternative healing modalities – which can help you live (and even thrive!) with chronic pain:
- Stop smoking and drinking. Many individuals who have chronic pain use cigarettes and alcohol to help manage their condition, not realizing smoking and drinking may actually be making them worse. Both substances are known to disrupt sleeping patterns, which are extremely important for pain management and improving mood in those with chronic pain.
- Ease off the prescription pills. This is especially true of opioids. Chronic pain conditions are one of the leading causes of prescription opioid addiction. In fact, the National Institutes of Health state that prescription opiate abuse is “not rare.” Although they are commonly prescribed by many doctors with good intentions, these substances can create a physical dependency – even when used correctly. Therefore, it’s important to implement holistic therapies into your daily life to supplement (or in some instances, completely replace) your opioid prescription.
- Try alternative healing therapies. Yoga, tai chi, massage and craniosacral therapy are just a few of the diverse healing modalities that can assist with easing chronic pain. In fact, some of these therapies are so successful in helping patients treat and manage chronic pain that they are now being recommended by respected organizations such as the AARP.
In a recent blog post, author Glennon Doyle Melton compared the feeling of hitting rock bottom to being in a valley when you really want to be on top of the mountain. She says, “Everybody wants to be on the mountaintop, but up there the air is so thin, you can hardly breathe… [In] the valley, that’s where the river runs…. That’s where all the power is.”
In other words, by taking each day one moment at a time, breathing through the pain, and being patient with our bodies, we can find the strength to move forward. It may not be easy – but by making the lifestyle choices listed in this article, you can help yourself ease into your journey towards a happier, healthier life.