Your body is made to move, it wants to move, and moving makes it healthier-but what happens when you have pain? Pain can be extremely debilitating, interfering with your daily activities, making you feel uncomfortable, and even increasing your risk of depression. As a naturopathic physician, I would advise a holistic approach that focuses both on the mind and body.
Food as Medicine:
Pain is linked to inflammation so an easy way to decrease pain in the body is to focus on anti-inflammatory foods. Eat a diet rich in fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and spices and avoid refined carbohydrates, French fries, soda, red meat, and margarine.
Eat more ….
- Olive Oil
- Collard Greens
Plants are an incredibly powerful way to reduce inflammation in the body. They can be taken in capsule form, as a tea, as an extract, or in a tincture.
- Boswellia serrata (Frankincense)
- Calendula officinalis (Marigold)
- Curcuma longa (Turmeric)
- Gaultheria procumbens ( Wintergreen)
- Matricaria recutita (German Chamomile)
- Salix alba (White Willow)
- Tanacetum parthenium (Feverfew)
One of the oldest therapies shown to reduce pain and improve mobility is hydrotherapy. Basically, it’s the use of water in various forms (water, ice, steam) and temperatures focused on specific areas of the body. A study published in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences found hydrotherapy to be a useful therapy for chronic pain and to improve immunity.
Use it to help stimulate circulation and can help reduce pain.
Use it to reduce swelling and can help reduce pain.
- Contrast Hot & Cold:
Use it to stimulate blood flow and move the lymphatic system through the dilation and constriction of blood vessels responding to the temperature change.
It might seem like the last thing you want to do when you have pain but light movement can help you recover faster in most cases. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found aquatic exercise to decrease pain and improve range of motion in MS patients.
- Aquatic exercising
It’s certainly no surprise that pain and depression are linked but did you know that up to 85% of patients who suffer from chronic pain are also affected with severe depression? There’s no question that there’s a considerable overlap between the two conditions and supporting mental health is an important component for pain conditions.
Increase the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin by increasing the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted to 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which is then converted into serotonin.
- Cottage Cheese
Other mood supportive therapies include…
- Supporting the microbiome
- Having an adequate vitamin D level
- Adaptogenic herbs to support your body’s stress response