Get Well Wednesday: What Aches And Pains You Should Take Seriously

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Dr. Ken Redcross says too many doctors get trigger happy when it comes to prescribing treatments for acute pain that may be better suited for more severe or chronic pain.  He says a better approach is to identify the triggers and opt for lifestyle modifications and non-prescription choices first to avoid serious problems.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES MANY PEOPLE ENGAGE IN THAT CAN LEAD TO PAIN THAT WE TRY TO “PUSH THROUGH”? WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ALLEVIATE THE PAIN?

Some everyday activities that can lead to pain in the neck, back and feet are texting, gardening and running.To alleviate the pain from these types of activities, you can take precautionary measures and make small lifestyle changes that will reduce the strain on your muscles and joints.

You should avoid sitting or standing in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time and avoid slouching over while texting or sitting at your desk at work. Always stretch before and after strenuous activities like gardening and running, and make sure you are taking frequent breaks.

DO YOU ALWAYS NEED TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR FOR PAIN COMPLAINTS? WHAT CAN YOU ADDRESS ON YOUR OWN?

Pain can be tough for doctors to pinpoint with patients since there can be so many different sources of pain from our regular routines that are easily overlooked. If pain is not severe or chronic, you can identify the triggers and try modifications before turning to prescriptions or expensive treatments.

WHAT FOODS NATURALLY RELIEVE PAIN THAT WE SHOULD INCORPORATE IN OUR GARDEN AND ON OUR PLATES?

Science is proving that certain foods can relieve pain as well as, or sometimes better than, drugs. Some foods that naturally relieve pain that can also be grown in the garden include mint, edamame, hot peppers, ginger and turmeric.

ARE THERE ACTIVITIES I SHOULD AVOID TO PREVENT THESE PAINS?

If an activity that you enjoy or must do is causing pain, try small modifications like avoiding hunching over your smartphone or computer for long periods of time and keeping screens at eye level. Avoid sitting all day by setting an alarm to go off every 2 hours to take quick break and stretch.

Avoid back pain from gardening or doing yard work by setting attainable goals and taking breaks every 20-30 minutes and stretching before and after yard work. When it comes to foot pain from activities like running or walking, avoid over-training and wearing improper or worn-out footwear.

You can also treat sore muscles with a gel or cream made from Arnica montana, an ingredient from a type of mountain daisy. Arnicare can help ease muscle pain and stiffness that result from these everyday activities and can even help relieve swelling and reduce discoloration from bruises.

CAN STRESS BE A FACTOR WITH ACHES & PAINS?

Stress plays a big role in your overall health. Adding regular exercise and stretching, like yoga, can improve your strength and flexibility while helping you relax.

WHAT PAINS SHOULDN’T BE OVERLOOKED?

No pain should be overlooked. For acute pain, it is best to try lifestyle modifications to prevent that pain from becoming worse in the future and decrease the chance of further injury.

SHOULD I STOP TAKING MEDICATION IF I FEEL FINE? IF I DECIDE TO GET OFF MY MEDICATIONS, CAN I JUST STOP OR DO I NEED TO GRADUALLY TAPER OFF?

Under most circumstances, it is not advisable to stop taking certain pain medications abruptly, especially if you have been taking them for long periods of time to manage chronic pain.

Dr. Redcross answers your Text Tom questions on the next page.

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