10 Healthy Rules for a Pain-Free Life

Make permanent gains in your long-term healthy lifestyle.

June 29, 2016
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Once you have discovered the root of your pain and fatigue issue—and have been on the lookout for signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia—and have begun to recover, you'll need to identify the types of changes that will support your new and hard-won health and well-being. The everyday choices you make have a profound effect on your overall health.

More: 71 Ways to Be Healthier in a Minute or Less

Which basic principles will contribute to your wellness? Is there some way to boil down the hundreds and thousands of health tips that we are barraged with in magazines, on TV, and from our friends, neighbors, and relatives? The answer is yes. Here are 10 easy-to-follow impactful recommendations that make a difference.

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1. Eat a healthy diet

Almost no topic is as important, as emotional, and as confusing as diet. The way we eat is personal--driven by our feelings, by our cultural history, by peer pressure and socialization. Your friends or your kids want to go out for pizza? It's hard to say no, but what about the gluten and cheese? It can be hard to stay on the diet that's right for you-- and yet perhaps nothing has a greater effect on your overall health and longevity than your diet. No amount of supplements, exercise, or stress management can change that fact.

That said, there are several universally-approved healthy eating strategies that can keep you on the right path:

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2. Supplement your diet with critical vitamins and minerals

In some cases, much larger amounts—therapeutic doses—of supplements are vital for healing and wellness. Although we call them supplements, the truth is that in today's world they are essential.

More: 10 Rules to Know Before You Start Taking Any New Supplement

Here is a minimal program of supplements that will support overall health, vitality, and cellular energy production.

  • B-complex, 50 to 100 milligrams twice daily
  • Carnitine, 500 milligrams 2 or 3 times daily
  • CoQ10, 100 milligrams twice daily
  • Curcumin, 200 milligrams daily
  • Fish oil, 1 to 2 grams per day (high EPA-DHA content in triglyceride form preferred)
  • Magnesium, 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day in divided dosages (glycinate or malate form preferred)
  • Multivitamin/mineral (professional-quality version), use per label instructions
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3. Exercise and move regularly

If you suffer from global pain and fatigue, you'll want to increase the variety and amount of movement and exercise you do. Include forms of exercise in your daily schedule that gradually increase your flexibility and strength, without resulting in metabolic overexertion—in other words, without overdoing it. Once you're no longer experiencing pain and fatigue, you can enjoy a wider range of exercises. 

The dangers to health of a sedentary lifestyle have been well documented and publicized. The new phrase "Sitting is the new smoking" is accurate and describes how being sedentary during the day has now replaced smoking as one of the most common health risks. Most significant diseases of our time—including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and many others—are much more common in populations that are sedentary.

But even under these conditions, there are ways you can exercise more without having to schedule a class or find time for the gym. Simple daily changes can have you moving more throughout the day

Recently, scientists found short-burst interval training to be effective for those who don't have a lot of time to exercise. New research has suggested that short bursts of high-intensity activity may have a greater overall effect than 20 to 30 minutes of low-intensity aerobic activity.

You could, of course, join a health club, as long as you remember to attend. Remember, the most expensive health club membership is one that's never used.

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4. Reduce your stress level

Stress can literally cause pain and undermine your metabolism, and it is a major component of classic fibromyalgia. 

More: 7 Steps to Instantly Shift Stress

The first step is to notice when your stress begins to ramp up. Mindfulness practices like meditation can help you do this. Similarly, doing yoga a few times a week or more can increase your physical function and help you manage stress. Whether it's yoga, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, guided imagery, tai chi, qigong, or a range of other cognitive behavioral therapy options, it's essential to find ways to calm your stress. 

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5. Make time for relaxation and sleep

The importance of quality and predictable rest and sleep can't be overstated. So many of us are trying to cram too many things into the day. Our Western societies have never fully embraced the need for proper rest. It's always go, go, go!  

While different individuals require different amounts of sleep, most people need between 8 and 10 hours per day. More importantly, that sleep needs to be predictable and consistent so our bodies can adapt and find a biorhythm. Most of us tend to go to bed too late and get up either too early or too late. I have found that the best pattern is generally to go to bed by about 10:00 p.m. and wake up between 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Sleeping significantly less, or more, than this can be detrimental in many cases, so follow these 50 tips for better sleep. It is also worth the reminder to avoid bright lights, including computer and tablet screens, later in the evening to prepare your body for sleep.

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6. Maintain a sense of purpose and accomplishment

Have you noticed that people who feel they are accomplishing something in life and contributing to the greater good seem happier and more con- tent? This sense of purpose and accomplishment can be achieved through your work, but it can also be generated through service to others of some kind or raising a happy family.

More: 10 Key Questions To Clarify Your Purpose

Sometimes a really major change will be required, such as a career switch or even ending a destructive and unrewarding relationship, but in many cases, it may just mean spending more time with family or dedicating some time to a worthy cause.

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7.Clean up your environment

A simple but important step you can take to improve your health and that of your family is to clean up your environment and reduce your body's toxic burden. This includes being aware of the larger environment and what is threatening it and getting involved when you can. But it also includes your immediate environment—your home.

Place toxin-reducing houseplants around your home. A water filter installed at the kitchen sink is one commonly used method. But if you can afford it, installing a large-capacity system on the main water feed to your home may be preferable. This way, filtered water will flow to your washing machine, your shower, and your refrigerator's ice maker. By using a water filtration system on your main water feed, your clothes will be cleaner and last longer, your hair will be healthier, and you'll feel a big difference after showering or bathing.

Finally, you can reduce toxic exposure in and around your home by using unscented products whenever possible and refraining from using pesticides and herbicides as much as possible. You can even make your own homemade house cleaners to be even more safe. Newer, organic pesticides, herbicides, and cleaning fluids are available, and I encourage you to use them for the sake of your health and the long-term health of the environment. This is particularly true if you have young children who play in your yard.

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8. Keep it simple!

The old principle "Keep it simple, stupid" is often referred to by its acronym KISS

In other words, think about the common causes for a particular complaint or symptom before diagnosing a patient with some rare, obscure malady. This is a useful principle in everyday life. 

More: 4 Eastern Practices You Shouldn't Live Without

Many of us put added stress on ourselves by avoiding KISS. Do we really need the biggest house we can possibly buy or that 20th pair of shoes? Is burning out your adrenals to acquire more objects that you're told by advertisers you simply must have really a good idea? Do you think they have your best interests at heart? Wouldn't we be healthier if we simplified our lives, uncluttered our homes, and reduced our stress?

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9. Have fun!

A colleague of mine once defined fun as something you do for the experience rather than the outcome. Labeling all the boxes in your storage locker or folding the fitted sheets may be useful and practical, but having dinner with friends, going to see a film, and dancing to your favorite music are all fun. Fun tends to be pointless. That's the point of fun!

Make it a point to engage in fun activities, particularly with those you love, on a regular basis. You'll be healthier for it!

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10. Make your health a priority

If you're like most people, your greatest priority is not your health, even though you may say that it is. I can't tell you how many patients I have seen who balk at the very idea of spending money on a bottle of quality vitamins or to see a chiropractor or massage therapist on a fairly regular basis. Yet, they'll think nothing of going out to dinner several times a week or getting their nails done.

More: 6 Key Factors That Make Healthy Living Easy

Many of these same people would spend $800 at the vet's office if their dog had the slightest problem, but would not even dream of spending that amount on a health-related test for themselves.

Your health and vitality are your greatest assets. Without them, not much else matters.

Adapted from The Fibro Fix

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