An article on pain management, “Ease the Pain,” that we recently ran in Delicious Living magazine, hits close to home for me. Just over a year and a half ago, a severely herniated disk in my back resulted in surgery to mitigate debilitating pain and to keep me from losing the use of my left foot, which had gone numb.
Although surgery helped, I’ve been far from pain free. Reluctant to take pain medication, I have been stunned at how persistently doctors have encouraged me to take it. If I weren’t such an active, health–conscious person, I could see how easy it would be to slip into a pill-popping habit. Living with pain can be exhausting and depressing; pain pills offer a reprieve—and a slippery slope. (To that end, in 2007, the Associated Press conducted an analysis of statistics from the Drug Enforcement Administration and found that retail sales of five major prescription painkillers rose by 88 percent between 1997 and 2005.)
Luckily, I’ve discovered there are many things I can do on a daily basis to help quell the pain. Exercise, for one, is essential. But this has meant changing my ways from just focusing on cardio (running and cycling) to a routine that targets flexibility and rebuilding my core strength.
I’ve also had to tailor my diet to be anti-inflammatory by reducing saturated fats while increasing my intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids, magnesium, vitamin D, vegetables, and whole grains.
Recently, I opened up this conversation with our readers and I’ve received several suggestions, along the lines outlined above. One reader called to tell me that slow cadence weight training was what saved her from the pain of a herniated disc. Another reader, told me that a vegan diet has helped her manage inflammation. Someone else suggested that I try the herbal extract Corydalis Plus by Natura. Let me know if you have more suggestions.