In our most recent article, you saw how pain is one of the most common reasons folks come into the office. You also saw how pain can be effectively treated with alternative therapies, most notably through prolotherapy. But what if pain could be avoided all together in the first place? As it turns out, there have been multiple studies evaluating preventative measures one can take to avert pain and live a long, pain-free life.
Follow these well-proven methods to reduce your chances for acquiring complicated and chronic pain issues:
1. Make specific dietary changes
2. Improve your overall strength and range of motion through gentle weight lifting and stretching
3. Understand your predisposition (risk) to certain pain conditions through comprehensive genetic testing
Studies have shown that a diet full of foods that reduce your overall body inflammation also decreases your risk for generalized arthritis and muscle soreness. Dr. Christianson has previously discussed an excellent list of “superfoods” in the past here
, which is a wonderful place to get you started. The trouble is, however, most of us subscribe to Mark Twain’s way of thinking when it comes to healthy eating: “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like and do what you’d rather not.”
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Here in the office we’ve recently all started taking part of a food elimination program that removes sugar, eggs, wheat, soy, dairy, gluten and peanuts from the diet that lasts three short weeks after which some of these foods are added back into the diet. It’s through our new Fresh Start Fast Loss program and we couldn’t be more excited. So far, not only has weight started to come off, but general aches and pains are also improving. Simply put, a diet rich in fresh produce, lean proteins, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates, while limiting the above categories of foods, can be an extremely effective way of keeping inflammation under control and therefore avoiding pain in the body.
Secondly, our bodies are designed to move. Studies of individuals with sedentary jobs have a much greater risk of developing chronic pain issues (e.g., lower back and neck pain, numbness in the hands and feet, etc.) later in life. By improving strength through weight bearing exercises and increasing range of motion through stretching techniques, studies suggest that joint and muscle pain can be avoided entirely. Focus on low-impact, core-strengthening exercises (elliptical exercise machine, planks, and stability balls, to name a few) that help you maintain good posture and thereby keep the body in better alignment. In addition, exercise regimens that include stretching after exercise improves overall range of motion of your joints, which also decreases inflammation in those joints.
Finally, there is some exciting new technology available to the public (previously only available to research institutions) that involves measuring for specific genetic markers that can predict, with impressive sensitivity, your risk for certain pain conditions. This test, called the Pathway FIT Test (which is available at our office) can, for example, determine your risk for achilles tendon pain in the future. By knowing if you are at an increased risk for this condition, you can take steps now to avoid ever developing achilles tendon pain.
Pain is something that we will all deal with at some point in our lives. There are measures we can incorporate now such as diet, exercise and genetic interventions that can minimize or even eliminate the likelihood of having to manage chronic pain. Take proactive steps now!