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Other Treatments for Chronic Pain: February 12, 2019

From back pain to headaches to arthritis, millions of Americans are living with chronic pain. “Chronic pain is when you have pain longer than approximately two to three months,” explained Sharon Krispinsky, a chronic health program coordinator with Lee Health.

Krispinsky works with patients living with chronic pain to help them better manage their symptoms without medication. “The people that come to our workshops very often tell us they do not want to be on pain medication, that they don’t like the side effects, “she said.

By focusing on their diet, physical activity, and sleep, the chronic pain workshop teaches patients other modalities in managing their pain. “First, we start with general healthy nutrition principles, which mean lots of fruits and vegetables, primarily nonstarchy vegetables. Then we can look at Omega threes like your fatty fish. We want to look at making sure patients have enough Vitamin D, magnesium-rich foods, and really limit caffeine,” Krispinsky explained.

A poor diet can not only cause more inflammation, but it can also increase your risk of developing a chronic health condition. “We do instruct very gentle flexibility programs and the importance of getting physical activity because it actually works to reduce your pain in many cases,” she said.

It’s also important to get eight hours of sleep a day and maintain normal sleep and wake time. “In the workshops we teach techniques and tools to help you get a good night’s sleep,” Krispinsky said.

Things like meditation, mindfulness, distraction techniques, and positive self-talk, can also help patients manage their chronic pain and better communicate their symptoms to their family and physician.

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