Have you recently been diagnosed with arthritis? Or have accustomed your lifestyle around coping with chronic pain? Whether you are new or seasoned to the condition, here are five lifestyle tips that can improve your day. Self-care not only brings ease, but autonomy in a condition that you may feel is out of your own control.
- Heating blanket– Invest in a heating blanket if you experience stiffness. Have it ready to switch on first thing when you wake up in the morning. This time of day is quite often the most painful, with the added difficulty of getting out of bed. Allow the heat to relax the tense muscles around your joints for about 10 minutes, making getting out of bed an easier task.
- Gentle shower stretching– After getting out of bed, head for the shower. Allowing the warm water to run over your body allows for your muscles to relax further making this a good time to take gentle stretches. Stretches should only gently move the joint, not push it beyond comfort. If you have an unstable gait, shower stretching is not recommended.
- Work within your comfort– If you have an important meeting, or are scheduling social time, plan these events around when you will be feeling your best that day. For many this is mid-afternoon. Be firm, and put your needs first. If you are taking medication or supplements daily, set phone reminders to take them on time so you don’t end up chasing pain.
- Schedule around energy not time-Fatigue is often reported among those with chronic illnesses. It is common in western culture to push ourselves to accomplish as much as possible in waking hours. However, planning your scheduling through the lens of energy management, versus time, allows you to conserve energy for what is important.
- Positivity- A positive attitude has been shown time and time again to influence the outcome of your condition. With chronic pain conditions it is common to experience varying emotions such as anger, hopelessness, fear or sadness. If you find yourself in a negative thought pattern, reach out for help! Whether it is through a loved one, counselor, support group or health care professional.
At Marine Drive Naturopathic Clinic I am happy to work with clients experiencing all kinds of inflammatory conditions and chronic pain. This can include learning more about your condition’s cause and progression or providing symptom management. As with all conditions, I am happy to work alongside your current healthcare providers, medications and treatments.
Dr. Elizabeth Miller, ND