Lifestyle Changes to Help You THRIVE with Chronic Pain

Hundreds of millions of Americans are currently living with chronic pain. This shockingly high number is greater than the number of people who suffer from coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and colon cancer – combined.

If you’re one of the people affected by chronic pain, performing the smallest daily tasks (or getting enough sleep at night) can be difficult. Luckily, there is some good news. Reworking your home life and making some simple lifestyle changes can actually help you minimize your pain.

Here are some tips and advice that could help you thrive in spite of your chronic pain diagnosis:

  1. Get more sleep. Research has shown that getting more sleep helps us better cope with living with chronic pain. Of course, if you’re living with chronic pain, one of the biggest complications is that it can interrupt your sleep cycle and cause you to wake up many times throughout the night (trust me, I’ve been there).

    If you’re having trouble sleeping, try not to stare at the clock (as this can sometimes increase insomnia). Instead, some experts now recommend using pain psychology techniques to help manage your nighttime pain so you can finally get some rest. As we already know, getting better sleep is not only key to managing our pain; it also helps fight depression and allows us to better cope with fibromyalgia and other conditions associated with chronic pain.

  2. Avoid taking too many pills. Prescription drug abuse is a very real problem in our society, which has led to the current opioid epidemic. Although it is tempting to numb the pain with over-the-counter or prescription pills, you will definitely need to be conservative about your use. This is particularly true of prescription opioids, which can be addictive even when taken according to doctors’ orders, but it is also true of over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, which can damage the body if taken too regularly.

  3. Reduce your caffeine intake. In addition to disrupting our sleep and giving us the jitters, caffeine has been shown to stress the adrenal glands – which may actually contribute to increasing the amount of chronic pain within the body! That’s right. It might be safer to skip that cup of coffee in the morning…

  4. Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. This is solid advice for anyone, but it is particularly important for those individuals who are currently living with chronic pain. Because nicotine is a stimulant, it can keep us up at night and contribute to the side effects of our chronic pain. Meanwhile, alcohol can similarly disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to a lower overall quality of life for those with chronic pain.

Above all else, the biggest lifestyle change to avoid if you are living with chronic pain is simply: doing nothing at all. When chronic pain goes untreated, it can lead to depression, anxiety, and reduced quality of life – along with other physical and mental health conditions. By reading this article and committing to make lifestyle changes, you are already on the right track to getting your life back – with or without a chronic pain diagnosis!

Jackie Waters is a mother of 4 bustling boys and keeps herself busy with her family, their home and their farm. Her goals are to feed our family as much fresh and home-grown food as possible, focus on sustainability while doing so, and practice simplicity. Jackie’s website:

Louise Nonweiler (Dip Hyp DNLP GQHP GHRreg Dip Psych Dip. Mindfulness IAHT)

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