50 Million Americans Suffer from Chronic Pain
The CDC published a report in 2018, estimating that 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. That’s roughly 20% of the adult population. Chronic pain is difficult to define with pin-point accuracy because of the myriad of sensory, cognitive and emotional factors that contribute when someone experiences it.
An interesting point to be made about chronic pain is that it can often follow a cycle, with one symptom leading-on to the next. If left untreated, the cycle can continue and further compromise daily living and work routines.
Consider the following in order, each symptom leading to the next:
Chronic Physical Pain
Loss of Sleep
And then repeat from the top again and again.
Acute Pain vs Chronic Pain
Different from how we treat acute pain, doctors and practitioners advise that we must be active participants in our own journey to manage chronic pain. Because chronic pain has so many contributing factors, the are many ways we can help our bodies fight back. Believe it or not, a lot of what we can do begins with taking better care of ourselves.
The old saying, “Garbage in, Garbage out” applies to many things in life. But it’s especially true of our food. Food is fuel for the body. Like any machine with multiple moving parts and connected systems, we must be mindful of what we put inside it. If you have poor eating habits, ie: Unbalanced diet, heavy fats like fast-food, snacks and sweets… your body most likely won’t run/ function as efficiently as it could with proper fuels. I’m talking about eating healthy foods.
There are certain foods much better suited in facilitating the production of blood. Foods like garlic, cooked spinach, yogurt, beets and broccoli are known to help with the production of healthy blood.
Healthy blood is vital for our bodies to function properly. Red blood cells are responsible for moving oxygen throughout the body and moving carbon dioxide to the lungs to be exhaled. White blood cells are responsible for helping the body fight off invaders like germs, bacteria and viruses. For more information on the importance of your blood type, check out our previous blog series "Why Blood Type Is Important".
Our bodies need to move to stay healthy. Muscles are made of fibers that are designed to stretch and contract. Stretching regularly helps the body keep the range of motion necessary for carrying out tasks. When we don’t move, the muscles will tighten and shrink over time. The body becomes more and more weak with less movement. The risk of pulling or tearing muscles increases after periods of having been less active and then called on to do work.
Something as simple as a 10-minute, daily routine of light stretching, first thing in the morning can have positive effects on the body. It helps reaffirm the body’s range of motion, its ability to stay mobile throughout the day and can make a world of difference to those who aren’t active throughout the day.
Exercise practices like Yoga and Pilates incorporate not only stretching major muscle groups, but also breathing techniques.
Stay tuned for part two of this blog series!