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Chronic Pain: Will Adopting Lifestyle Changes Cure Pain?

Only recently has medical research started to catch on to what patients suffering from chronic pain have long known.

As reported in a New York Times Well column written by Tara Parker-Pope in 2011, a study by the Institute of Medicine discovered that pain can endure long after the illness or injury that caused its initial onset has been treated or healed, until it eventually evolves, or devolves, into its own disease. That is, pain is no longer indicative of another prognosis — it is the prognosis, and a disabling one at that.


“You don’t look sick”

For those battling “invisible pain" such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome), RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy), diabetic neuropathy, IBS or chronic pain after cancer treatment, accurately conveying the location, frequency and depth of the discomfort can be particularly challenging and emotionally taxing.


What would help at this point would be to have practitioners who are not only more well-versed in chronic pain, but are willing to acknowledge its disabling impacts on their patients. In other words, doctors should start believing their patients when they say they are hurting. 


Validation is the first step toward a solution, or at the least, toward offering alternative adjustments and treatments that can accommodate a pain patient and bring them a better quality of life in the absence of a long-term cure.


Creating a Healthy Lifestyle that Works as a Treatment


Eating the right amount of high quality and nutritious foods will give you enough energy to support regular exercise. This matters for people with chronic pain, because exercise has been shown to be one of the most effective natural pain-relievers, mood boosters, and stress busters. Having enough energy to participate in regular exercise will help you maintain strong muscles and limber joints. Meanwhile, avoiding excess calories can help you stay lean or lose excess body fat. This is important because being overweight or obese is a known risk factor for chronic pain.

Healing Foods That Fight Pain

Nutrition that supports a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods is the key to anti-inflammation and chronic pain management,




This essential curry spice has been used for years in Ayurvedic medicine to relieve pain and speed up digestion. But researchers like it for another reason: its anti-inflammatory properties, courtesy of a substance called curcumin. " Turmeric can protect the body from tissue destruction and joint inflammation and also preserve good nerve cell function,"


Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It’s been found to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. It matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs, but without the side effects. It does so by blocking the molecule that moves to the cells’ nuclei and activates genes related to inflammation.




Moringa is on the front lines of medical research, and investigators have only scratched the surface of its health benefits. Its antioxidants – flavonoids, polyphenols, and ascorbic acid – fight free radicals, the molecules that lead to inflammation, cell damage and oxidative stress.

Moringa improves digestive health, fights diabetes, balances hormones, slows the effects of aging, protects and nourishes the skin, helps stabilize mood, and protects brain health


Omega-3 Fatty Acids


Omega-3s help by improving blood flow and tamping down inflammation in blood vessels and nerves. Omega-3s interfere with immune cells called leukocytes and enzymes called cytokines, which are both main players in inflammation. The omega-3 fatty acids stop the process before it even starts.

Research also shows that people who eat fish regularly, especially fatty fish like salmon, are less likely to develop RA. Those who already have RA report having reduced joint swelling and pain when they incorporate salmon into their diet.

Adding supplements into the mix

It can be difficult to downright impossible to incorporate foods that fight pain to your daily diet. However, a solution has presented itself that can substantially help get all the right nutrients without the pain of calculating the perfect combination to achieve success.


Supplements, especially natural ones, can increase your nutritional intake. Making sure to take supplements that are made organically and naturally is key.


Staying well-hydrated helps make everything in your body run more smoothly. It can also help you manage your pain because adequate hydration keeps your joints lubricated and your tissues pliable. Keep a water bottle handle and drink up! Aim to drink about half your body weight in fluid ounces per day (your urine should be clear and regular).












Inactivity leads to stiff muscles, decreased mobility, and decreased strength. These effects can worsen the symptoms of chronic pain. Engaging in a regular exercise routine can help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall health. 


If you have chronic pain in your low back or neck, stretching can relieve tension and stiffness.


Best exercises to do


Walking 30 minutes 3 to 5 times per week can help increase strength, endurance, and heart health. If walking is challenging for you, start slow and work your way up to longer walks as you get stronger. If you use a walker or a cane, make sure to take it with you.

Swimming and water aerobics

This is an excellent alternative to walking for people with mobility issues. This low-impact cardiovascular exercise can help keep you moving without putting added stress on your joints and muscles. Swimming can often be therapeutic, and it’s a great way to clear your mind.


Turning to Supplements to Achieve Maximum Support

Try to incorporate more of these nutrients in your daily diet, but it may not be as easy for many people. Supplements can plug dietary gaps. 

The idea behind food supplements is to deliver nutrients that may not be consumed in sufficient quantities. Taking supplements leads to an increased level of total nutrient intake. 

Supplements aren't for everyone, but older adults and other people who have a hard time absorbing nutrients may need them to get the nutrients they might otherwise lack.



New research, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, finds that sleep deprivation increases sensitivity to pain by numbing the brain’s painkilling response.


A lack of sleep impairs the brain’s natural mechanisms for relieving pain, finds the new study, which draws attention to potential links between the public health crises of sleep deprivation, chronic pain, and prescription opioid addiction.

Adopting lifestyle changes reduces pain

The human body has an amazing ability to heal itself when it is properly cared for, even more so if you are experiencing pain. For some chronic pain sufferers, making lifestyle changes is one of the best ways to minimize their pain. If you have chronic or persistent pain, making lifestyle changes and learning about pain is a helpful way to manage and reduce your symptoms.




It’s important to take steps to reduce stress, spend more time in nature, get better sleep, avoid alcohol, and eat a healthy diet and exercise if you want to minimize your pain. A healthy lifestyle won’t totally remove pain to a 0% but armed with this and western medication, your quality of life could vastly improve. Many specialists encourage patients to notice the benefits that a healthy lifestyle can bring, especially when it comes to pain management.


Not only would pain be tolerable, to almost non-existent, you enjoy the benefits of what a healthy lifestyle can do for you.