Tips for Managing Pain at Home
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of people to stay at home to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. While physical therapists and pain doctors have been deemed to be essential service providers, many patients find that they are not fully comfortable going into a doctor’s office just yet. Below, we outline some tips for managing pain at home. Please note that these tips do not replace a medical professional’s diagnosis. As such, individuals suffering from chronic pain or pain from an accident or surgery should still reach out to their pain specialist to schedule an appointment and inquire about safety measures being taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at their office.
Engage in Physical Activity
The thought of exercise and physical activity can be overwhelming, especially when you are experiencing pain. Despite this, you should still try to engage in some type of physical activity. This light physical activity can include walking a lap around your house or your neighborhood, depending on how comfortable you feel. If walking is too painful, try to engage in movements you can do while sitting down, such as drawing circles with your neck, your arms, or your ankle. Such exercises can help manage joint pain while you’re at home. As a rule of thumb, you should stop physical activity and consult your pain doctor if you notice your pain has increased.
Improve Your Diet & Nutrition
According to the Cleveland Clinic, a diet that is rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help prevent inflammation and therefore aid in managing pain at home. For a nutritious diet that can help prevent inflammation, it is advisable to reduce consumption of red meat, and instead replace it with fish or protein-packed alternatives. Patients should also restrict the amount of dairy products and simple carbohydrates they consume, opting for whole grains instead. Lastly, patients seeking to manage their pain with an improved diet should make sure they are consuming the recommended eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
Practice Yoga or Stretching
Harvard Medical School has stated that yoga can help relieve chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, and lower back pain. As such, patients suffering from chronic and acute pain should consider practicing yoga or active stretching. Much like exercise, patients should start with simple yoga and stop if pain increases. To manage pain at home, consider using free resources, such as this Yoga for Chronic Pain video available on YouTube.
Reevaluate Your Work Space
Pain in the neck and upper back can often be attributed to sitting at a desk for a prolonged period of time. While offices may have ergonomic furniture designed to reduce the strain of sitting at a desk, the same luxuries may not be available at home. If you find yourself working from home during this pandemic, consider reevaluating your workspace. Rather than work on a laptop from your bed or your recliner, take the time to set up a desk or work station where you can practice proper posture. By improving your home office space, you can reduce strain on your neck and back and avoid the pain that comes with it.
Consult Your Pain Specialist
While these tips may help manage some pain at home, it is best to seek professional treatment from a doctor who specializes in pain management. At Greater Austin Pain Center, our team of doctors is ready to help you treat and manage your pain. We are actively taking steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus in our office and are happy to discuss these preventive measures when you call to schedule an appointment.