Diet and Nutrition
Proper nutrition and diet habits may help patients maintain a healthy weight, reduce joint pain and spinal pressure, limit the risk of long-term diseases (including chronic pain), and promote overall well-being. Importantly, it should be noted that your diet may play a critical role in pain management. Incorporating an anti-inflammatory diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, high in fruits and vegetables, fiber, antioxidants, and whole grains may provide beneficial results not only for pain, but other chronic conditions such as arthritis as well.
Sleep is an important aspect of overall health and there is ample evidence to suggest that sleep and pain are related. Sleep complaints are present in 67-88% of chronic pain disorders and at least 50% of individuals with insomnia suffer from chronic pain. Several studies have demonstrated that insomnia symptoms significantly increase the risk of developing future chronic pain disorders in previously pain-free individuals. Holistically, sleep plays an integral, yet somewhat unknown role in patient pain experiences and it is recommended to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
Activity / Environmental Modification / Posture / Ergonomics
When it comes to pain management, small physical adjustments can make a large difference. Identifying factors such as poor posture (i.e., slouching) and certain painful movements (e.g., lifting heavy objects resulting in lower back pain ) can provide insight into potential adjustments one can incorporate. Similarly, environmental modification aims at identifying positions that you may commonly rest, work, or sit in and providing more ergonomic solutions. This could be as simple as an office chair that has lumbar support or shoes that offer comfort/support, which can provide pain relief.
Temperature (Hot / Cold) Therapy
Temperature therapy involves the use of heat and cold to reduce pain by altering the local blood flow through an area in pain. Heat therapy helps with joint pain by relaxing stiff muscles and tissues to improve circulation and blood flow through that area. This may help to sooth the tissue, increase muscle flexibility, and provide pain relief. In contrast, cryotherapy (cold therapy) is used to decrease blood flow in a target area to reduce inflammation and swelling, particularly around joints, tendons, and ligaments.