As we approach Thanksgiving week, many patients with chronic pain begin to ask us for tips to manage their pain symptoms during holiday celebrations. While many of our recommendations come as a result of knowing specific details about your specific condition, there are still some general tips we can offer anyone with chronic pain. So, without further ado, read on to learn more about what our back pain Bedford TX staff (locations also in Benbrook and Lewisville) have to say about minimizing pain at Thanksgiving!
Alternate Rest with Activity
The challenge with chronic pain is that inactivity is often just as much of a trigger as activity. This holiday season, try to avoid this trigger by alternating periods of rest within your preparation and celebration time.
We know that it’s easy to forget when you’re cooking, baking and visiting with family or friends. Try setting a timer on your phone or smartwatch for 30-minute intervals. When your timer goes off, swap out a physically active task for more of a mentally or socially active task. This will allow you to spend more time with your loved ones, too, which is certainly a reason to be thankful!
If you’re a fan of the sitcom Friends, then you know that one character switches out his pants for his friend’s maternity pants halfway through the meal in order to eat more food. While we definitely appreciate that character’s innovation, we don’t recommend this strategy. Instead, try incorporating reasonable portion sizes and food choices rich in color and nutrition. Some of innovative ways to do this (that don’t involve maternity pants) include:
- Fill at least half your plate with vegetables and/or salad
- Commit to only filling your plate once
- Drink two full glasses of water before you sit down for your main meal
- Limit high calorie drinks, especially alcohol
- Eat slowly, chewing your food thoroughly and even putting your silverware down from time to time
The more you stick to healthy choices and portion control strategies, the less holiday pain flair-ups you should experience. For some fantastic recipe ideas, check out Mayo Clinic’s blog on creating healthy and delicious food for Thanksgiving.
Stress and holidays often go hand-in-hand. But, as most folks with chronic pain can attest to, stress is not going to help anyone keep their pain under control during Thanksgiving celebrations. The stress of a family argument, trying to serve a meal or maybe even the lack of sleep can cause an increased sensitivity to pain. Some simple ways to minimize stress include:
- Focus on reasons to be grateful
- Choose recipes that you can make ahead of time and freeze them until the day of your Thanksgiving celebration
- Ask for help
- Stay on track with your pain medication schedule to avoid any gaps in pain management
CPI also has Bedford doctors accepting new patients (locations also in Benbrook and Lewisville) who can offer you additional tips specific to your condition. Read on to learn some ways that a pain specialist can help you better manage your pain throughout the Thanksgiving season.
Get Your Doctor’s Help
If you are already seeing a chronic pain specialist, that’s a fantastic step in the right direction towards controlling your pain during the Thanksgiving season. In fact, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with him or her a week or two before your Thanksgiving celebration to discuss helpful pain management strategies.
Be sure to share specific examples of holiday stresses or activities that might occur that would trigger your pain or symptoms. Your doctor can give you tips on how to best navigate those challenges with therapeutic techniques, stretches, treatments, medication and more.
Whether it’s Thanksgiving Day or just another Tuesday in March, we know your pain doesn’t take a holiday. No matter what day it is, we’re here to help. At CPI, we have special training in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different types of pain. CPI offers a scope of services depending on your specific set of needs as a patient. Call today to learn more!