Aches and pains happen to the best of us, especially as we get older. I for one have found new ones have occured since lockdown, with all this sitting down and not moving!
Of course, anyone is prone to pains and aches. Whether you overdid it as an athlete in your youth or have recently been injured, you do not have to take aches and pains lying down. There are several things you can do to make your life a little less painful, no matter the cause.
For starters, reducing stress, taking better care of yourself, and even joining an online support group are all excellent ways to help you manage everyday discomfort. For me, I keep sitting on the sofa with my laptop and not moving as much, giving me tension in my back and shoulders. I for one need to keep moving more.
Similarly, reducing your alcohol intake and choosing to engage in healthier behaviors like meditation can help to lessen the unpleasant sensations you are feeling. Moreover, by following these additional tips and suggestions, you can get ahead of your aches and pains.
Set Realistic Goals
Generally, the easiest way to manage anything is with a plan or a clear set of goals. Managing on-going aches and pains is no different. You should take the time to figure out what your goals are here. Furthermore, the goals you set should be realistic. By having obtainable goals, you are more likely to accomplish them.
For example, let’s say you decide to take up running to improve your health. Instead of signing up for the 25-K run next week, maybe set a more realistic goal like running so many miles per week. Not only do reachable goals make the work more manageable, but they can also help you stay positive, especially as you celebrate milestones. Remember, even if you fall short, there is no need to beat yourself up—any progress is good.
Your Posture and Form Matters
If your discomfort stems from a physical injury, you might want to double-check your posture or form when participating in all physical activities. The proper position or form can make a world of difference, no matter what you are doing. In fact, simply having the correct posture at your desk can save you from a sore neck, stiff shoulders, and an achy back.
Likewise, the appropriate form when you swim, run, dance, or even sleep can prevent injury and undue stress on the body. In general, maintaining proper form and posture tends to help people stay focused as well as finish strong. Therefore, you should always take a few seconds before engaging in even the simplest of tasks to make sure your posture and form are up to par.
Change your Mattress
Speaking of sleep, everyone has had the pleasure of waking up on the wrong side of the bed at least once in their life. Whether you slept wrong or badly need to upgrade your sleeping arrangements, your mattress plays a pivotal role in easing or adding to your everyday aches and pains.
Most people that need a little extra support when they sleep have a medium-firm mattress. If you feel like you could benefit from additional support at night, then consider changing your mattress or investing in therapeutic pillows. You should also look at what sleep position you typically choose; if you sleep on your back or stomach, more support may be just what the doctor ordered.
Change your Footwear
Similarly, a change in footwear may be in order. The proper footwear is a must. If you have ever worked long hours that required you to stand on your feet or walked several miles in a day, you know there is a shoe for that. In other words, the wrong footwear can leave you feeling tired, worn out, and painfully sore.
Thus, to make your life a little easier, try to always wear the appropriate shoes. The same goes for boots—if you are planning on a hike, wear hiking boots, or if you work construction, buy the right boots. Ultimately, good support is crucial for all activities, and you will instantly notice a difference when you have on the right shoes.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Of course, all the shoes and mattresses in the world cannot make up for being overweight. The harsh reality is that being overweight causes a host of health issues, including unnecessary strain on one’s body. But the good news is generally with a balanced diet and exercise most people can maintain a healthy weight at any age.
What’s more, the health benefits are absolutely worth the salad and extra 15-minutes at the gym. If you are looking to lose weight, then set realistic goals and considering utilizing practical weight-loss tools such as a food journal or a tailored exercise program that fits into your schedule.
Besides aiding in weight-loss, staying active is a great way to manage your everyday aches and pains. In general, tension can quickly build up in a person’s body leading to stiffness and discomfort. Not only does staying active help to reduce this kind of stress, it also allows your body to release feel-good hormones (endorphins).
By increasing your mobility or adding onto your exercise regimen, your body’s endorphins will get to work, blocking pain signals and improving your overall mood. With that being said, if you have suffered an injury of any kind, you should not overdo it—stay within your comfort zone and speak with a medical professional about which exercises will help you, not hinder you.
Stretching and Targeted Exercises
Along those same lines, stretching and targeted exercises can help to lessen any physical discomfort. Stretching sore muscles can quickly provide you with some much-needed relief. Moreover, you should make it a habit to stretch before and after strenuous activities.
Doing so can help to reduce the chances of injury and allow for a more pleasant overall experience. Likewise, targeted exercises like strengthening your core or sculpting upper body muscles can make everyday aches and pains a thing of the past. A few activities worth considering that combine both stretching and targeted exercise are yoga, swimming, planking, Pilates, and basic push-ups.
OTC Pain-Relievers, Essential Oils, and Creams
Yet another way to reduce discomfort is by using essential oils, topical creams, and over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Regardless of which avenue you explore here, you should look for products that support quick and effective pain relief. Most OTC pain relievers can provide temporary relief, but typically, topical creams and essential oils tend to soothe body aches for longer. Furthermore, you can often apply/use holistic topical products more frequently without a host of adverse or severe side effects.
If you would prefer a more holistic approach to reducing everyday aches and pains, then you should peruse the wealth of topical products at online stores like Elite Health Products. There is a large selection of essential oils available as well.
Soothing therapies are also options when battling pain. Generally, massages, plus using hot or cold therapy, fall under this category. Massages, similar to stretching, are effective in lengthening shorted or tight muscles. Moreover, massages can be calming and therefore help to reduce stress as well as promote healthy sleep. Alternatively, hot or cold therapy can help to manage new aches and old pain.
By now, you probably know that ice therapy is best early on i.e. in the first 48-72 hours. When applied early on, ice can help to reduce swelling and ease discomfort. Heat, on the other hand, is ideal for non-acute injuries. If you decide on cold or hot therapy, remember 20 minutes at a time is more than enough (we do not recommend exceeding this amount of time).
As briefly mentioned self-care techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and finding healthy distractions can also help with pain management. Meditation and deep breathing tend to go hand and hand, plus they are incredibly effective at easing tension or discomfort. Both these self-care techniques focus on the art of relaxation—leaving very little room for aches and pains. Finding healthy ways to distract yourself, on the other hand, can be just as helpful.
Here, the goal is to focus on something other than the pain you may be experiencing. Try keeping busy or finding an activity that puts you at ease. Other self-care techniques may also be useful, so go ahead, try them all out and see what works best for you.
Track your Overall Progress
Finally, keeping track of your aches and pains may not sounds like a good time, but it can be beneficial to your overall recovery. By noting your progress, you can better understand your patterns and determine your best course of action. Having a better understanding of your condition also means you can communicate your concerns more effectively to your medical provider or pain management specialist. At the end of the day, you should not have to go through life in constant discomfort.
So, do not be afraid to step outside your comfort zone when looking for ways to manage your everyday aches and pains. Ultimately, exploring these tips and recommendations can add to the quality of your life. So, what exactly are you waiting for? Start today; take back control over your body, as well as your life.