As someone who struggles with chronic pain, I’ve taken many steps over the years to heal my body. Following a gluten & dairy free diet, meditating, and using hypnotherapy and past life regressions are all an integral part of my life now. But there are also some smaller but simple steps that, when practiced regularly, have brought my pain levels down to practically zero. Most of these are not surprising, but what did surprise me was how long I ignored these simple steps, thinking that the answer had to be much more complicated.
Doing any one of the following drastically reduced my pain. Doing all of them together is nothing short of miraculous.
I’ve written about this before in describing how I finally stopped binge eating. Years ago, I worked for a weight loss company and became used to eating 1200-1500 calories a day. Even after I stopped working there, I continued to adhere to the dietary guidelines I had followed while there. I also developed chronic headaches but never made the connection to eating a low calorie diet. When I decided to start eating more food, I consciously ate 2000 calories a day until I felt like my body had adjusted, then I just ate however much I wanted without calorie counting. The chronic headaches went away, and the only time they come back now is when I’m sleep deprived.
When my daughter was around two years old, I realized that I had been dealing with headaches every day for a few months without even paying attention to them. As someone who is used to chronic pain, sometimes I just accept it and forget that it’s not the norm.
Knowing that I hadn’t gotten a good night’s sleep in – oh two years, give or take – I decided to start going to bed super early. That week, I went to bed at 8pm when I put my daughter to bed. Guess what? Within two days of more sleep, the headaches miraculously disappeared! Of course I don’t go to bed that early every night but if I feel a headache coming on, I make sure to get to bed early that night, and without fail, the headache is gone the next day.
Drink more water.
When I moved to Arizona, I went through a period where I had constant body aches. When I woke up in the morning, my whole body hurt and I could barely stand up. This went on for way too long before it finally occurred to me that I might be suffering from chronic dehydration. You see I had never been a good water drinker, but I had also never lived in a desert before.
Not really believing that drinking more water could have such an effect on me, I nonetheless committed to drinking 64 ounces a day (even though it meant peeing constantly). Just like the headaches and sleep, the very next day my body aches had reduced about 50 percent. Within a couple of weeks, they were gone. They come back quickly whenever I slack on drinking water, but it’s good motivation to carry around that water bottle and find ways to make water more enticing.
Use the computer/smart phone/tablet less.
My wrists and neck hurt considerably more when I am using technology (big surprise). Taking a day off here or there helps but never really makes a big difference. For me, the real difference came when I took a 40 day social media detox. Like with all of the above practices, I tend to forget how much of a difference it makes until I start slipping back into old habits (like staring down at my phone for too long) and the pain comes back.
Follow the stretching exercises in this book.
Live Pain Free Without Drugs or Surgery by Lee Albert is one of those little miracles that has come into my life. The book details simple stretches to do to rebalance your body and relieve chronic pain. In fact it was this book that convinced me to drink more water. It also relieved my sciatica and constant ear pain (caused by the same imbalance as the sciatica), which I had only been able to regulate previously by regularly going to the chiropractor. The exercises in this book have given me what I always wanted which is more control over how my body works. Now I don’t need to pay someone else to re-balance my body because I know how to do it myself!
Update: Since writing this post, I have also taken a course called DNRS (Dynamic Neural Retraining System). I wanted to explore a program that used the principles of neuroplasticity to retrain your brain out of symptoms associated with chronic illness, anxiety, depression and more. My main goal in using this program was to decrease my many food sensitivities, and while I can’t say I’ve fully achieved that, I did get something that was perhaps even better: more joy, less depression, and less anxiety. I still use the practices in this program and find it has created positive shifts in so many areas of my life. I will say that I think DNRS is a prime example of needing to find the right fit for your personality. The language used in the program spoke to me and made so much sense for me. But I’ve also shared the program with friends who didn’t like the language (although they still found it to be a helpful program when they did it). So this is really a matter of checking it out for yourself and deciding if it feels right to you. *Note: I am an affiliate of the DNRS program. If you purchase it using this link, I may receive a commission, which helps support my work. Thank you!