In my quest to help create wearable solutions to pain relief, I meet a lot of people with injuries, diseases or chronic issues along the way. Some of them have overcome pain and discomfort by fighting their own personal battles. Jackie Waters is one of them. In her 20’s, Jackie was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disorder. Her journey has been full of challenges in treating arthritis pain, but she has learned so much along the way through process of elimination and trial and error. Jackie has found that through careful diet and exercise, she has been able to minimize her pain and use of medication. Jackie shares her story with us below:
When I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I was overwhelmed. Faced with a lifelong battle of physical suffering and treating arthritis pain was a scary place to be. I wasn’t sure where to begin, so I decided that the best course of action was to get informed and take control. After listening to my Doctor’s directions, I also started to research other supplemental and holistic treatments. In the end, I found the best results focusing on my outlook, diet and exercise. Making these changes in my daily life were quite simple. They helped to reduce my stress and my overall pain.
Chronic pain is something experienced by 11% of Americans. For a common medical issue, it is surprising that we have so few options to treat arthritis pain and our symptoms effectively. In my experience, doctors typically prescribe some form of drugs like opioids. Although painkillers are highly effective at preventing pain, they also come with a slew of negative side effects and can be very addictive. I’ve personally seen the devastating effects addiction can have on the afflicted person, as well as their family. I did not want to rely on opioids for my daily long-term pain regimen.
Meditation is More Powerful than It Seems
Meditation at it’s core is the practice of learning to use the power of your mind for a specific purpose. Your brain has more control over your body than you may think! Buddhist monks, for example, are able to keep their body temperature stable even when spending the night on bare clifftops. When practiced properly, it is fully possible to think your pain away with meditation.
Meditation requires plenty of practice before it can become effective. Once I made the commitment to meditate each and every day, I started to see results. It became especially helpful on chaotic days when my stress levels made my pain even worse.
Exercise is the Most Common Drug-Free Tactic
Another great way of managing your own pain is through exercise, which is proven to help manage chronic pain. It also has the added benefit of being very good for you.
Although some days it can feel impossible to exercise when you’re in pain, be patient with yourself. It takes a lot of strength to get up and moving when your chronic pain flares up,. Practice at your own pace and try not to get upset if you miss a few workouts.
Your Diet Could Be Playing a Major Role
Like myself, many chronic pain sufferers experience inflammation as the root cause of their pain. While anti-inflammatories can be useful, you should work on altering your diet for long-term results in treating arthritis pain. It is important to know what triggers there are as many foods have inflammation-fighting abilities, while others have been shown to cause the inflammation.
I personally saw a lot of improvement once I made the conscious effort to cut out as much sugar and sodium as possible. It started with a few simple decisions and switches to ease my arthritis pain and feel better.
There are a number of options for treating arthritis pain without popping pills. Most of them do not come with side effects, won’t result in addiction and can help you in other facets of your life. There is no one right way to handle chronic pain; it’s whatever works best for you.
Jackie Waters is mom to four beautiful and energetic boys. She lives with her family on their three-acre hobby farm in Oregon. Her goals are to feed her family as much fresh and homegrown food as possible, focus on sustainability while doing so, and practice simplicity. Her “all-natural” focus on life became a priority when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in her 20s. Through careful diet and exercise, she has been able to minimize her use of pain medication. Her journey has been full of challenges, but she has learned so much and makes the most of every day.