7 Habits That Can Intensify Chronic Pain

Once you’ve been diagnosed with chronic pain, it’s important to avoid certain life choices that can intensify chronic pain. So many people believe that taking their medication is the only method to alleviate pain. Some may even say, “I’m taking my medication, but the pain is still the same.” In reality, certain life habits can increase chronic pain intensity more than people may realize. If you want your pain to decrease, try kicking these habits. You’ll definitely feel a change.

Smoking

Smoking increases chronic pain. There are no ifs, and’s or buts about it! If you smoke and have been diagnosed with chronic pain, you need to consider quitting today. Your doctor may have already told mentioned this fact. Smoking causes a decrease in blood circulation and oxygen to the tissues. The lack of circulation will cause your body to heal slower or not at all. Smoking also causes fatigue and other health problems.

Junk Food

“You are what you eat.” Junk food may taste wonderful, but it isn’t doing anything good for your body. A spike in blood sugar can trigger inflammation. More inflammation leads to more pain. When you eat junk food, that lack of nutrition causes your muscles to work harder to function. As a result, you will feel more fatigued. Incorporating more fruits, vegetables and water to your diet will increase your energy and your muscles will be a lot happier.

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Medication Non-Adherence

If your physician wrote a prescription, please adhere to it. Deviating from your medication can worsen pain. Do not seek out other medications without your physician’s approval. Instead of quitting cold turkey, talk to your physician to discuss alternative treatments.

Alcohol

Happy hour after work may seem like a good idea, but if you are suffering from chronic pain, it may not be a good idea. Not only does alcohol interfere with neurotransmitters to the brain, alcohol also interacts harmfully with medications. Medication (prescription and over-the-counter) simply don’t mix and can lead to severe health problems. This goes for both moderate and heavy drinkers.

Skipping Doctor Appointments

If you make an appointment or your physician gives you one, stick with it. Never assume your doctor knows your pain levels or if your current medication is still working. Follow-up appointments are important for medication monitoring as well as communicating any changes in your health.

Overexertion

When you have chronic pain, it’s good to stay active… to a certain extent. Doing some forms of physical activity is good for your joints and muscles, but overexerting yourself can be disastrous. Even if your pain is nonexistent or moderate during your activities, you may end up feeling increased pain the next day or days later. This includes exercise and running errands. Remember to pace yourself!

Stress

Stress is not good for your overall health. The mind and body connection is more powerful than many realize. Stress hormones, called cortisone, can lead to anxiety. Your muscles will constrict increasing pain and inflammation.

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