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Taking Care of Yourself During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Why does pain often make people feel out of control of their lives? Is it possible that with some straightforward changes in their daily living, along with expert help from pain medical specialists, pain levels could be markedly reduced?  A lot of medical experts think so, and so do a lot of patients.

A patient our practice started treating some time ago, started sharing with us how he felt his strenuous daily life was not helping his condition.  This patient lived a life like many, where he was continuously stressed with long hours on the job, no time for exercise, and poor eating habits. This may sound familiar to some of you, especially now during the Coronavirus pandemic where with spending more time in the home we may find the healthier of our practices dropping away.  In fact, reports show that now more than ever, many people are not eating as healthy as they normally do or are finding themselves anxious over COVID-19 and what’s going to happen in the upcoming days.  When your body starts responding to these signals, it will send in the stress hormones that put your mental and physical health at risk.  In contrast, reducing your stress levels releases endorphins that improve your mood and acts as a natural painkiller.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most people’s emotions are running high, and their established and familiar routines have been disrupted.  But, how would you feel if you were able to make some changes today that helped alleviate the confusion and stress during this time?  There’s a saying, “When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you are responding to what’s happening.”

FIRST, Reduce the Fear Factor as Much as Possible:

  • Stepping away from continuously watching COVID-19 reports could help reduce stress levels
  • Talk to people you trust the most, it might help to know that we’re all in this together and you have support from those you care about
  • Sometimes you need a little space, so creating one in the home where you can spend time away from others is a healthy and normal response at this time
  • Try not to focus on negative thoughts; even if your situation is particularly difficult right now, please know that there are several resources available to you today (check with local organizations for help)

SECOND, Take Care of The Body That Takes Care of You:

  • Try to eat healthy, even now during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a little creativity there are meals you can prepare that beat out the junk food options
  • Skip liquor and tobacco which could lead to poor health
  • Routinely exercise, you don’t have to run marathons right now, but you can sure turn on an exercise program or even do some simple aerobics in the backyard
  • Stretch out that body, it feels good, keeps body parts flexible, and helps with circulation
  • Avoid exhaustion, we know there’s a lot of time right now for taking on those long-awaited home projects, but make sure to pace yourself to help maintain consistent energy levels
  • Get sound sleep, and that means avoiding checking your phone if you wake up in the middle of the night

Tips to Deal with Pain While at Home:

  • Take a relaxing hot shower or bath to ease the day’s effects on your body
  • Sooth aching joints by placing a warm heating pad on areas of your body that are experiencing discomfort
  • Use a cold pack to reduce inflammation or minimize swelling of an injury
  • Try self-massage for intermittent relief from pain and to promote a feeling of calm and well-being
    Try wearing a pair of sunglasses to help with light sensitivity while experiencing a severe migraine