It is estimated that one in four adults in the UK live with chronic pain. If you are one of them, you’ll know how debilitating it can be and what a massive impact it can have on your day to day life. I was one of those people at the peak of my endometriosis symptoms when I had three years of constant day and night pain. It’s a vicious circle as when you are in pain, it’s hard to do the things that you know can help manage the pain.
I found it helped to be prepared and always have the things in that I knew could help with pain. Getting others around you to remind you of the things that can help can also be useful.
As well as lifestyle measure that can help you try to cope with the pain, from a diet perspective we can use foods to reduce the inflammation that causes pain.
Here are some of the things that can help with pain:
Rest and get plenty of sleep when you can – dealing with chronic pain can be exhausting, so try to get plenty of rest when you can to help you body manage the pain. Prioritising sleep is also important as sleep has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. I know that can be hard though as pain can also prevent you from sleeping, so try to get as comfortable as possible and use some of the tactics below in the day to try and help you get the pain down to be able to sleep at night.
Managing stress – Stress increases levels of inflammation in the body, which can increase pain. Another difficult one as managing pain can also be stressful! Try to take small blocks of time in the day to do something relaxing, even if that’s a 10 minute walk in nature, a soak in the bath or some gentle stretches, have a look at my blog on managing stress to get some ideas.
Heat – anyone with endometriosis will know that your hot water bottle becomes your best friend. Heat can help to relax the muscles that we tense when we feel pain, so a warm bath can also be helpful. However some people find that cold applied to the area of pain can help, so it really is finding what works for you.
Omega 3 foods – there has been a lot of research to show that omega three foods can reduce levels of inflammation in the body, and also reduce pain in people with endometriosis. Some of the best sources of omega three are oily fish like salmon, mackerel or sardines. If you don’t eat fish, then walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds are also good sources of omega 3. Try to get these foods in your diet on a regular basis.
Fruit and vegetables – these are full of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds so can be really helpful in reducing levels of inflammation in the body.
Avoid sugary foods – if you’ve heard about the anti-inflammatory diet you’ll know that as well as there being foods that can reduce inflammation, there are also foods that can have an inflammatory effect in the body. Sugar is one of the big culprits in increasing inflammation so is best avoided if you have any inflammatory health condition. Often when we get pain we feel low, and feel like a treat. If this is you, then have a look at my blog on foods to eat when you have sugar cravings.
There is no quick fix to managing pain, and often it takes a while to get pain levels under control, but it’s worth trying some of these things alongside painkillers if needed as an extra way of supporting your body and reducing inflammation. Making diet and lifestyle changes and taking supplements gradually reduced my endometriosis pain and I’m lucky in that I only have a couple of days of mild pain a month now. I’ve seen other clients making these changes also see improvement in their pain levels.
If you would like some help in getting a personalised diet and supplement plan in place to help manage pain then do book in for a free hormone health review.