In the United States, the abuse of painkillers is a growing problem mainly because of the “every pain has its pill” mentality. Many individuals who suffer from chronic pain are more likely to pop a pill – or perhaps two for good measure – than to analyze the habits that feed their pain, so to speak. All of these habits, in fact, are considered unhealthy even among relatively healthy individuals (i.e., no symptoms of chronic pain).
The trick then is to learn the healthy habits that lessen the frequency, intensity and duration of chronic pain (i.e., headaches) so much so that a better quality of life can be enjoyed.
Get Your Endorphin Boost
Many types of headache worsen with physical movement. But there’s a catch – without exercise, you will be unable to enjoy the benefits of your body’s natural painkillers (i.e., endorphins). Plus, you can lose more muscle tone and strength that, in turn, will make your body pains worse.
What then can you do to avoid worsening headaches brought by physical movement yet enjoy the benefits of endorphins? Start with mild exercises, like stretching, which provide your body and head with a boost of endorphins and, hence, the pain relief that it craves.
Give Your Body a Nutrition Boost
If you have been living with chronic pain, then perhaps you should look more closely into your diet. Indeed, what you eat and drink will define your body’s reactions to a wide variety of stimuli including the triggers that precipitate or worsen headaches. Among sufferers of migraine, these food triggers include cheese and alcohol, to name few examples.
(Keep a headache diary where you will list down the foods and drinks you have consumed prior to suffering a headache. You can then pinpoint your possible food triggers and avoid these items in the future).
It is also important to adopt a healthy diet composed of fruits and vegetables, lean meat, fishes and poultry, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains. A healthy diet has many benefits in effective pain management including the regulation of blood sugar levels, hormone production, and proper digestion, all of which are connected in one way or another to headaches.
Give Your Body a Boost in Rest
Stress is one of the unseen triggers of migraines. It then makes sense to provide your body with the boost in rest that it requires to boost its defenses against chronic pain. A few tips:
Find the time to rest even in the middle of a hectic day. Even just 15 minutes of a quiet nap is sufficient to ward off the first symptoms of pain.
Engage in meditation at least once a week. You will be surprised at the benefits of just sitting still in a quiet room, being aware of your breathing, and just living.
Breathe deeply when you feel stressed out. The rush of oxygen into your body can stimulate blood circulation, thus, warding off a possible headache attack.
Ultimately, you can control your body but it takes practice so start now!