How Can Changing My Lifestyle Help Ease My Pain?

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Many patients get very frustrated when their doctors talk to them about making lifestyle changes to reduce their pain. I want you to understand that your doctor is not telling you that your lifestyle is the cause of your pain, but making lifestyle changes can help manage your pain or reduce your pain.

So, women, the first thing you need to do if you have back pain, hip pain, mid pain etc. or any kind of joint pain, is get rid of the high heels. I know how much you like them, I know how much fashion is important to you, but high heels are going to make the pain worse. I'm not saying they cause the pain, they're going to exasperate the pain.

Similarly, if you're carrying around a lot of baggage, whether it's that heavy over the shoulder [xx] or whether it's 10, 15, 20 extra pounds, you want to reduce the amount of weight that you're carrying. Especially if you have back pain, your doctor will probably tell you not to lift anything that's more than 10 pounds, but if you're already carrying your [xx], that's probably seven pounds and you've got only three to go.

Most patients find that when they lose weight, if they're overweight to begin with, I'm not talking to the poor people who are underweight, if you're overweight at all to begin with, losing 5 to 10 pounds will make you feel better. First of all, because of the cosmetic advantages but second of all because there is a change in your hormonal [xx] and you're decreasing the pounds of pressure per square inch that you're putting on each one of your joints. Similarly, even if you have chronic pain, we want to figure out a way to get you more of an active lifestyle.

Now, that seems like a contradiction. When you're in pain, all you want to do, is lie there and watch TV. Seems like a contradiction but work with your doctor, work with your physical therapist to find an exercise program that's right for you, and you may have to start out with walking from the house to the mailbox, and that's exercise.

When we say exercise, we don't mean you have to go to a gym for two hours a day, exercise might be one minute the first day and a minute and 15 seconds the next day, increase gradually, do better tomorrow than you did today. And finally, find out what the activities are, the activities of daily living that are particularly bothersome for you and figure out a way around it.

For example, many cities have online grocery stores which will deliver your grocery for a nominal fee directly to your kitchen counter. For people with back pain, this can be a life saver.