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Easing Chronic Pain for Improved Health

Radiation pneumonitis  Case 130Chronic pain appears to be a common experience for many people.  In my practice as a therapeutic massage therapist, persistent and sometimes debilitating pain dominates the reason people seek massage for relief.

The causes of chronic pain are many, but underlying pain is inflammation.  We understand inflammation as redness, heat, and pain with the most often prescribed treatment to be heat and ice along with rest.  But inflammation can be occurring within the body structures, in joints, organs, and muscle tissues affecting ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.  We often don’t recognize when some form of damage has occurred creating these pains.  The body’s natural response is to provide the necessary “pain chemistry” to alert us to protect the area.

One approach when one experiences chronic pain and inflammation is to focus on one’s lifestyle.  Are you overweight?  This puts tremendous strain on joints, especially hips, knees, and ankles.  We are all aware of the many people having to undergo replacements of these joints today.  Weight is a huge contributing factor to damage to these structures.  Are you eating a healthy diet?  We have to be ever so careful in our food choices today due to how our meats are produced, how our fresh fruits and vegetables are treated with chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides that overload our liver to detoxify, and the food products that are rarely nourishing foods but taste great because of their chemical additives so we purchase them.  Pain is much reduced by eating a whole foods diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, essential fatty acids, and clean contaminant free water.  Colorful foods provide antioxidants to support detoxification pathways along with vitamins and minerals, meats provide important amino acids from their proteins essential for cellular communication and energy needs. Essential fatty acids found in fish, fish oils, and flaxseeds, for example, provide Omega 3 fatty acids that strengthens all cellular membranes in the body enabling efficient transport of nutrients into and out of the cells important for energy production and hormonal balance.   Are you exercising adequately every day or two?  A good workout not only improves energy levels, sleep patterns, and circulation, exercise releases our feel-good hormones, those endorphins.  This helps to reduce the signs and symptoms of depression, another leading contributor to chronic pain.  Exercise helps to manage weight, improves digestion and elimination, and supports detoxification pathways.

Taking steps such as losing weight, exercising, and improving one’s diet begins the process of lowering inflammation responses leading to chronic pain.  Another benefit is lowered medical costs, so it is all win-win: a healthier pain free body and a fatter wallet (healthier mind!).   It is an easy choice:  let’s get moving and eat more conscientiously.

Krystle Shapiro, LMT, MSHN owns Touchstone Massage Therapy and Nutrition Plus!  She can be reached at 208/290-6760.

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