- Laurel Sampson MPT
Chronic Pain and Physical Therapy Part 2
Last time I shared a very basic introduction into how pain works and upregulated nervous system associated with chronic pain. Let’s review ways that you can help with bringing that elevated nervous system / sensitive alarm system down.
Spoiler alert! These are going to be all the lifestyle changes that we all know we should do. The goal is to both decrease the amount of input coming from the body that the brain is determining as a threat as well as to train the brain that you do not require non-stop protection from your daily routine.
Here are just a few ideas:
Sleep quality/ hygiene. If you cannot get quality sleep, the healing process is slow and limited.
*keep a journal of sleep habits to help identify patterns
* set a fixed bed time and awakening times. It is not just kiddos who benefit from a bedtime routine.
* avoid naps (or if you must nap keep it at 20 minutes)
* avoid heavy, rich, spicy, sugary foods before bed
* avoid alcohol and caffeine later in the day
* decrease screen time 30-60 minutes before bed
Diaphragmatic breathing instead of short, shallow breathing. This increases the amount of oxygen thru the body which is very calming for our nervous system.
Gradual increase in aerobic exercises – anything that gets your heart rate up. Try to have a little fun with it along the way. Again this is due to the oxygenated blood pumping thru the body when we get up and get moving which calms our nervous system.
Notice I said gradual. The idea with movement, completing your to do list or anything else on your schedule is to gradually increase the duration, frequency and intensity. The idea is that it may be somewhat uncomfortable but not to push yourself to your limit.
This again is just the beginning of the list of treatments and lifestyle changes that can help you manage your symptoms better. If you wish to learn more about receiving PT for chronic pain, call us at the Physical Therapy Specialist Center at 970-241-5856.