Columnists

Daily At-Home Tips for Pain Management and Prevention

Issue 4.17

We live in an incredible age in human existence.  Never have we had more.  Our cars are high-tech marvels, we can cross the country in hours (not months) in airplanes, and our food supply has never been more plentiful.  The relative ease in the modern world we live in has caused our lifespan to lengthen (people who live to 100 are the largest growing segment of the population), but this also has led to an increase in the number of people who live in chronic daily pain (estimated to be over 100 million people in America).   So, if Americans are poised to live longer than ever before, aren’t there some steps we can take at home to prevent chronic pain or at least to lessen the symptoms of it?  I believe there are, and they are simple to perform.

Exercise: Movement is life.  If you are not moving, your brain has a difficult time inhibiting pain.  In fact, the more sedentary you are, the more likely you are to experience inflammation, which will make your perception of pain even worse.  The tricky part is, if we already have pain, we are unlikely to want to move like we should due to our fear that it will make future pain worse.  So, what activities do I like best?

  1. Walking: We were born to walk and even hike. This should be our primary activity. It can be done with your spouse and family, making it social.  In addition, look at your dog (if you own one), and if he/she is out of shape, likely you are, too.
  2. Qigong: Often confused with tai chi, qigong (pronounced chee-gong) has been used by the Chinese for thousands of years. It is very low impact and is done from a standing position, which improves your strength and posture and moves your body in symmetrical fashion, which your brain loves.
  3. Swimming/water exercises: These are perfect exercises for the body because they are low impact but have resistance from the water pull. Even walking in a pool is very beneficial.

Nutrition: Cleaning up your diet may be a very large factor in controlling inflammation and pain.  Primarily, people need to decrease their intake of processed foods and increase their vegetable intake.  Limiting red meat and dairy products can help as well.  In addition, turmeric, a spice native to India and Pakistan and commonly used in cooking, has well-known anti-inflammatory properties.  It has become popular to take in pill form (can be purchased at nutrition shops) or made into Goldenmilk, a type of hot soup or tea.

About the Author

Bart Hunter, FNP-C worked as a full time chiropractor in Barrow Alaska prior to entering the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Samford University in Dallas Texas.  He worked as an ICU nurse for two years while completing his FNP-C.  Bart then practiced as a family care provider prior to moving back home to Utah in 2014 to join the team at Southwest Spine and Pain Center where he can be contacted at 435-656-2424.

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