Chronic pain is debilitating. And, unfortunately, fatigue is a common side effect of pain that can have a profound impact on your quality of life and your ability to enjoy everyday activities.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to managing chronic pain, but there are ways to alleviate your symptoms and improve your overall well-being. Eric Fanaee, MD, and our team in Bethpage, Smithtown, and West Islip, New York, specialize in managing chronic pain.
We’re ready to help find a solution that works for you. Here, we describe five effective ways to fight fatigue and lessen chronic pain.
1. Nutrition and dietary changes
As the adage goes, "You are what you eat." This holds true when it comes to managing chronic pain and fatigue because certain foods can either exacerbate inflammation and pain or help reduce them.
An anti-inflammatory diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins — and following a diet like this can make a significant difference. Fatty fish (salmon and mackerel), turmeric, ginger, and green tea contain anti-inflammatory properties, too.
Along with adding certain anti-inflammatory foods, we may recommend avoiding others. Processed foods, sugar, and excessive caffeine can increase inflammation, so minimizing your intake may help you feel better.
2. Regular exercise
It may seem counterintuitive, but physical activity is one of the most effective ways to manage chronic pain and fatigue. Dr. Fanaee and our team may recommend engaging in low-impact activities like swimming, walking, or yoga.
Regular exercise helps improve muscle strength and flexibility, reducing pain and boosting your energy levels. Exercising also triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers that promote a sense of well-being.
Remember to talk with your healthcare team before starting any new exercise program to make sure it’s safe for you. Dr. Fanaee can help you develop a personalized exercise plan tailored to your specific needs and limitations.
3. Managing stress
Everyone experiences stress, and stress is a major contributor to chronic pain and fatigue. To reduce stress and enjoy enhanced well-being, we often suggest trying meditation and mindfulness techniques.
Regular meditation practice helps calm your mind, lower levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), and improve overall relaxation. Consider incorporating meditation into your daily routine, even if it's just for a few minutes each day. Many guided meditation apps and online resources are available to get you started.
4. Heat and ice therapy
Don’t overlook heat and ice therapy, which can provide immediate relief for localized pain. Depending on your specific pain condition, alternating between hot therapy and cold therapy can be an effective approach.
Applying heat, like a warm compress or heating pad, helps relax your muscles and increase blood flow to the affected area to relieve pain and stiffness. Alternately, ice packs can reduce inflammation and numb the area, offering a different type of relief from your discomfort.
5. Sleep optimization
The fifth method we often recommend to our patients living with chronic pain and fatigue is sleep optimization. Quality sleep is essential for your body's ability to heal and recover. If you're not getting enough sleep or you’re experiencing disruptions in your sleep pattern, it can exacerbate both pain and fatigue.
We can offer suggestions to help you establish a consistent sleep schedule, create a comfortable sleep environment, and practice good sleep hygiene habits so you get better sleep naturally. If pain interferes with your sleep, consider discussing additional pain management strategies with Dr. Fanaee.
Managing chronic pain and fatigue requires a multifaceted approach, but relief is possible. Let Dr. Fanaee and our team help reduce the impact of chronic pain and fatigue on your life with a personalized pain management plan. Schedule a consultation online or call us at 631-265-2020 to get started.