I live with chronic pain and wanted to share some of the ways I manage it! I know that other people would benefit from this that don’t have chronic joint pain but also conditions like fatigue, fibromyalgia, low mood and anxiety. This advice should be taken alongside other treatments such as medications, therapy or seeking support. Everyone should be looking after their joint health and it’s something that is often dismissed by those who don’t currently have joint pain, but with age, most people will start to complain of joint issues. Wear and tear, accidents and sudden illness is inevitable, but if we can choose methods of approaching our joint health earlier on, the better chance we will have at living a happier and more active life. Joint pain whether it be in one place or all over can debilitate a person and their happiness. Firstly, I’m going to be listing the products that I like to use and then I will go onto a little bit about my lifestyle choices and diet.
CBD oil – The Drugstore 3000mg
In recent years CBD products have been legalised and traded in the UK after finding health benefits. I had been reading about CBD for a while but wasn’t convinced that this oil would make much difference. It was only when my grandmother had reported back so many physical and mental changes after only using it for a couple of weeks. She was expressing how amazing this product was and she bought me some. Note that 3000mg might not be necessary if you don’t suffer chronic pain. This bottle comes with a pipette so you can measure how much you’re doing, I usually do 25ml, two times a day underneath my tongue and let it absorb for around a minute.
This dose might be expensive but I can say from experience it has changed me as a person, especially mentally. I have always been riddled with anxiety and low mood because of my pain but since I have taken CBD, I haven’t experienced this at all, even when things have gone wrong. Most people assume you will be drowsy or too tired to function, it’s the opposite because it strengthens you mentally, in turn being more productive in the day and more rested at night. An example of how it has reduced my anxiety is I don’t catastrophize challenges that are simple to overcome, whereas before with a lot of anxiety, everything seemed like the worst scenario. There are smaller doses for a more affordable price on their site which would also be useful for anxiety or sleeping issues.
My joint pain feels easier to cope with, it hasn’t completely gone, but with a chronic illness that is expected and your mental wellbeing is important for the overall function and feel of your body.
Collagen supplements with Vitamin C – Holland and Barrett 1000mg
These are the collagen supplements that I take, but there are so many on the market to choose from. The reason that I wanted to try collagen was originally for my skin, but after some research, I noticed that it helps to protect the joints and the cartilage around them. I was overjoyed to see that the supplements would have more than just a cosmetic benefit. Collagen is something that will decrease with age meaning that joint, tendon and muscle pain are also related to the lack of collagen and elasticity in your body. So far, I have seen results in my skin feeling firmer and brighter.
Seaweed/sea moss – Holland and Barrett
I love seafood and how it makes me feel, I love that it feels lighter and easier for me to digest and of course the taste. I have never thought of sitting there and eating seaweed though. It wasn’t until I was reading about the health benefits of seaweed compared to other seafood that I was shocked that this wasn’t in my diet. Seaweed has so many health benefits and is packed with important vitamins and minerals. One of the benefits that stood out for me is the levels of iodine that help with thyroid health, I have had quite a few hormonal problems in my time and I find that hormonal imbalances worsen chronic pain symptoms. It will also assist with maintaining a healthy metabolism, which is also important for me because gaining weight isn’t desirable for someone with painful and weak joints. I decided that eating seaweed every day was probably not an attainable goal so instead, I bought these supplements. It says to take 2 a day, but I only take one because I don’t want too much iodine as this can cause other issues. One thing I would say about any supplement is to do your research on the negative impacts of that supplement, weigh the pros and cons, and if it is suitable for you. If you still want to try, take a smaller dose.
Turmeric and Black Pepper supplements – eBay
Turmeric is a well-known ingredient used in Asian cuisine, it is also a powerful anti- oxidant and anti-inflammatory which makes it good for arthritis. Studies show that adding black pepper, curcumin and ginger enhance the benefits by a massive amount which is why you usually find some or all of those ingredients used together in supplements. I use Turmeric and black pepper supplements but I only take one of these a day. I don’t get any negative side effects, but I take all of my supplements after dinner at night time and only one each. This way I’m still getting what I need, but I’m not relying on my full source of nutrients from a supplement and instead try to get the majority from my food. I like to add grated fresh ginger root to my meals and turmeric powder so that it is still incorporated in my diet.
Green-lipped mussel supplements – Holland and Barrett 500mg
Green-lipped mussel is a native mussel of New Zealand. What they do know about the health benefits so far is that it produces omega-3 fatty acids in the body which helps maintain joint cell structure and function. It has to be used alongside prescription medication like most other supplements, it shouldn’t be used as an alternative but instead in harmony with your medications for extra support. It has been known to alleviate the pain and damage to the joints. I have experienced no adverse effects to using it and so far, and have enjoyed taking this supplement.
Diet & Lifestyle
As I have mentioned above, maintaining a healthy weight is very important for those with joint problems. This may seem obvious as being overweight can generally cause health issues in itself, but not every person who looks big is unhealthy. This is one thing that I learned when I became unwell, that skinny doesn’t equal healthy and vice versa. I have been my most unwell when I have been skinny and most of the time when I feel great in myself, I’m a little bit podgier. But as of recent times, especially through lockdown, I have gained some more weight than usual. I have noticed that my knees are struggling even with just this small amount of extra weight I’m carrying. Sometimes it is really hard for those in pain to exercise or even consider any activity that will impact their body as it’s usually the last thing on our minds. Exercise is so important for chronic pain, but from personal experience, I do understand why a lot of people are scared of committing to an exercise plan.
My advice on having chronic pain and deliberating about exercise is to give yourself the credit and respect that you deserve by not pressuring or harming yourself by overthinking about your lack of exercise. I have found that the more I stress about not exercising, the less I enjoy or do exercise. I would suggest that focusing on your diet can be a more sensible place to start for those with chronic pain. Not because exercise isn’t important, but I do believe that high sugar, carb and processed diet is more harmful to your condition than not going for 3 runs a week.
|High salted content||Brocolli|
The exercise recommended for chronic pain is a low-impact sport like yoga, walking, Pilates and swimming. I try to do stretches quite often as I feel that they loosen up my joints and muscles well, don’t be ashamed if the only exercise you’re doing is just 10-minute stretches because that in itself is better than nothing. I also like to use resistance bands that come in different elasticities so that you can still build strength and get toned, without carrying weights which can cause you more harm than good.
I hope that these tips have been useful and can be used in conjunction with current medications or lifestyle choices for those with chronic joint pain. I also hope that other people with low mood find these tips useful as well as these will help many people and those who wish to optimize their joint health.