Whether you have a bad headache or have recently been in a car accident, coping with pain can be challenging. Our chiropractic medical team has compiled the following tips for pain management. While we hope they’ll help you, they aren’t designed to take the place of the chiropractic pain consultation we hope you’ll have in our office soon.

Tip 1: Practice PRICE

Whether you’ve sprained your ankle or pinched your fingers while buckling your seatbelt, an acute injury can cause a lot of pain. While you might be tempted to reach for the aspirin or other pain pill, research states that PRICE effectively reduces pain and swelling from these types of injuries.

If you’ve played sports at all, you’re probably already familiar with RICE. PRICE is a newer model designed for similar purposes. Since we enjoy keeping our patients up to date on the latest advancements in medicine, we’d like to describe PRICE for you. The letters in the acronym price stand for:

  • Protect
  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

The crucial update to this popular sports medicine method is the “protect” portion. The first move you should make should be to a safe place where the risk of worsening your injury is reduced. Then, you can focus on wrapping your injury, placing ice on it, and propping it up as you rest.

Tip 2: Maintain Your Hydration Status

If you’re in pain, one of the last things you’re thinking of is staying properly hydrated. Unfortunately, becoming dehydrated typically makes it difficult for your body to heal the microtears caused by exercise or other activities. When you have an appropriate level of fluid onboard, your body can carry the oxygen and nutrients needed to repair muscular microtears, which relieves the pain associated with strenuous activity.

Tip 3: Balance Your Nutrition Choices

If you don’t consume adequate amounts of protein, vitamins, and phytochemicals, your body won’t have the rebuilding materials it needs to repair microtears and other injuries. This will prolong your pain after an afternoon of carrying moving boxes into your new home or refinishing your deck.

Inadequate nutrition also makes it hard for your body to maintain your brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Your neurological system is essential for processing sensation, including pain signals. When it malfunctions, you can feel more pain than is typical for your type of physical injury.

In general, you should build your body with a diet rich in phytochemicals from produce and lean protein from dairy or fish. Avoiding red meat as much as possible can help you avoid some forms of cancer and heart disease, as well as provide some protection for our climate.

Tip 4: Incorporate Strategic Movement

Since the body was designed for movement, exercise is always good. With a custom-designed movement plan, however, movement can be excellent.

When you visit our practice, we analyze how you move and what you need movement to do for your body. Then, we build a program that boosts your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses. If you have back pain, for example, our Foundation Training program can use movement to help you target specific muscles to calm your back pain.

Targeted stretches feel fantastic and can also help prevent worsening pain. This is because warmed and stretched muscles are less likely to be injured. Even though stretching might take a few extra moments at the beginning of your exercise session, a pre-workout stretching session can help save you time recovering from an additional injury.

If you haven’t yet come to our practice and would like to add some movement to your day, we suggest you start slowly. It’s much easier to make gradual progress than it is to recover from another injury that might result from taking an “all-or-nothing” approach. Gentle stretches or moderately paced walking are fine ways to begin moving your body.

Walking, stretching, or other types of movement help speed nutrients to injury sites for tissue repair. These activities can also help you shed a few pounds. If you have osteoarthritis, taking a few pounds off can help you feel quite a bit less pain. In addition to removing some of the stress on your joints, losing weight can help reduce inflammation-causing biochemicals that fat cells release. Reduced inflammation means reduced pain.

Tip 5: Turn Up the Heat

Heat is often used to ease the pain of tension headaches. This is because such aches are due to issues with the muscles. Heat can help relieve this pain by relaxing spasms out of the muscles, as it can provide comfort for other injuries at least 48 hours after the damage has occurred. During the first 48 hours, you should apply ice or cold exclusively.

If you’re using a heating pad, place a towel between the heating pad and your skin. This is to protect your skin from excess heat. Be sure to place the pad for no more than 20 minutes at a time, checking your skin for redness, blisters and another injury. If you notice any of these issues with your skin, please stop using your heating pad and give us a call.

Tip 6: Consider Massage

Massage is another intervention that our patients enjoy for managing pain. Massage mechanically relaxes the muscles and increases blood flow to the area being massaged. This extra blood brings revitalizing oxygen and tissue-regeneration-enhancing biochemicals to aching muscles, promoting their recovery.

Since everyone has different needs and preferences, massage therapy is highly individualized. Also, depending on the type of pain you have, some techniques may be more helpful than others. Fortunately, our licensed massage therapy team has experience in developing approaches for managing pain.

Tip 7: Investigate Mind-Body Systems

Although mind-body medicine has gained popularity in the last several years, it has always been one of the crucial foundations of our practice. Since chiropractic medicine is about optimizing the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, mind-body medicine is at the heart of what we do.

In our practice, some of the neurological system-enhancing therapies we offer include non-surgical spinal decompression, cold laser therapy, and shockwave therapy. We also use a variety of techniques, such as the Active Release Technique, flexion-distraction technique, and Graston technique to optimize the bridge between the brain and the body.

Whether you’re already our patient or are thinking of coming to our office, many mind-body approaches are used in pain management. Some research-based practices for chronic pain include journaling, meditation and yoga. Whichever activities you choose to incorporate in your own Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, be sure to completely focus on the activity at a slow pace while breathing deeply.

Reach Out to Us for Help Managing Your Pain

If you’re unsure where to begin managing your pain, you’re not alone. We’ve helped many individuals develop successful pain management programs, and we’d like to do the same for you. Our Denver Chiropractic staff is waiting for you to schedule an appointment online so we can begin working with you toward your pain-free future.