As people age, they are more likely to experience chronic pain due to previous injuries, medical conditions, and degenerative diseases. Although the incidence or recurrence of pain may not be eliminated, seniors can make changes in their lifestyle and behaviors to better manage chronic pain and enjoy this chapter of their lives. The key is to find the technique or method that works best for you.
At Northfield, we understand how debilitating and distracting pain can be. Although we do not provide medical care, we offer residents opportunities to develop and pursue a healthy, active lifestyle. Learn more about the wellness programs offered at this residential independent senior living facility by calling 844.334.1490.
Deep Breathing To Manage Chronic Pain
The presence of pain increases muscle tension, which prompts a vicious cycle of chronic pain. Relaxation techniques have the effect of calming the mind and recharging the body, breaking the painful cycle. Research has shown that deep breathing helps the body to relax and ease symptoms of pain.
Deep breathing reduces muscle tension and, therefore, reduces pain. To engage in this technique, start by sitting in a quiet, comfortable place free of distractions. Then follow several steps to feel your breath flow through your body, carrying tension and pain away with it, including:
- Breathe through your nose, listening to your breath without changing its pattern.
- Use your diaphragm rather than your chest.
- Place one hand on your abdomen and one on your chest and focus on how they rise and fall with each breath.
- Breathe at your own pace and imagine that you are breathing into your hands.
- With each exhale, see the tension being carried away.
- With each inhale, envision a sense of calm and peace filling your body.
- Intentionally breathe in slowly and deeply for ten breaths.
Deep breathing helps regulate heart rate, reduce blood pressure, pushing more oxygen through the blood, and promoting relaxation.
Meditation To Manage Chronic Pain
Like deep breathing, the goal of meditation is to promote relaxation to reduce pain. The body’s perception of pain is connected to its state of mind. Improve your state of mind, improve the likelihood of managing pain. With practice, meditation can help to retrain the brain to use its own opioid system, the powerful natural painkiller we all possess.
There are several types of meditation to stimulate relaxation and mindfulness. The key is to find the one that best suits your needs and requirements.
Boost Pain Relief With Exercise
Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that control your mood and manage pain signals. While it may seem difficult to exercise with the presence of pain, exercise has a powerful pain-reducing effect. It also helps to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and increase oxygen through the body. Naturally occurring endorphins can provide a powerful boost to your mental state, helping to foster relaxation and reduce pain.
Eating A Healthy Diet
Eating a well-balanced diet is crucial to overall health and wellness, improving blood sugar levels, reducing heart disease risk, and pain relief. Since chronic pain is often the result of inflammation, it is important to consume foods that reduce inflammation and control pain. A balanced diet aimed at reducing pain should include:
- Whole-grain bread and cereal
- A healthy dose of vegetables
- Healthy proteins such as fish, poultry, beans, and nuts
- Low-fat cheese and milk
- Fresh fruits
Pursuing an active and healthy lifestyle is the best way to remain healthy and avoid chronic pain and other illnesses that arise as people age.
At Northfield, we encourage all residents to participate in the many programs geared toward health and wellness. Our experienced staff focus on community activities that foster and nurture the whole person, from regular exercise to a balanced diet, mindfulness and meditation, and social connectedness.
If you or a loved one is entering this stage of life, reach out to one of the specialists to learn how senior independent living may be right for you by calling 844.334.1490 or completing the online form.