Chronic pain is a problem shared by a growing number of Americans each year. In fact, according to statistics published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), pain currently affects one of every four, a number that adds up to slightly more than 76 million members of the population. Chronic pain also has a financial impact because it interferes with the ability to hold permanent employment and is now recognized as the leading cause of long-term disability. If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic pain, there are some surprisingly simple strategies that may be able to offer you some welcome relief.
Pain caused by muscle strains, tension, stress, or injury often results in muscle tension and ever increasing levels of pain. Alleviating this tension through massage can often help relax these muscles and provide positive results to lessen pain. If the pain is localized, affecting only a small portion of the body, pain sufferers may be able to perform limited forms of massage themselves, or ask their spouse or partner to assist them. However, if the pain you suffer is more serious or affects more than just a small area of your body, better results may be had by hiring a licensed, trained massage therapist who can use their knowledge of pressure points and anatomy to provide deeper relief.
When people feel pain, the natural reaction is often to limit movements and forego regular exercise in an effort to avoid making the condition worse. But in many cases, avoiding movement can actually cause the level of pain to be more severe because movement, especially the kind experienced when doing yoga, walking, or doing some types of stretches, causes the body to release pain-relieving endorphins, which help with pain and can also help to improve overall mood. When considering exercise, it is important to choose those forms that are low-impact and to seek approval from your medical care provider before beginning any activity.
Inflammation is now known to be a causative factor in the amount and type of pain someone suffers. Although inflammation has many causes, including stress, research suggests that some types of foods can cause or worsen inflammation in the body. If you feel that your pain may be the result of this type of inflammation, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet may be worthwhile as part of your pain management strategy.
Remember, however, that pain is the body's signal that something is wrong and should never be ignored, especially if the cause of the pain is not known. Before embarking on any strategy to relieve pain, be sure to consult your medical care provider to make sure that what you are planning to do is safe and appropriate for you.