The Lifestyle realm includes behaviors and actions that we do on a daily basis including both work and home activities. Most people recognize that our lifestyles play a significant role in our health and wellness. If our lifestyle is harming us through poor sleep and eating habits, it may lead to increases in inflammation, sensitization, and chronic pain. Thus, it is important to identify those factors within our diet, sleep, chemical use, work and home routines to determine if it plays a role in the pain. If so, how to need to change and maintain long-term.

Goals to attain

In creating your lifestyle realm, some of the goals you may want to attain include:

  • Sleep: Maintain sound and restful sleep most nights and wake up refreshed
  • Eating: Feel good after eating modest small meals
  • Diet: Feel good after eating a healthy meal of ample vegetables, whole grains, and low fat protein
  • Weight: Maintain a normal weight for your height
  • Activity Level: Be active and productive each day
  • Work: Maintain a relaxed and balanced work routine with variation and breaks each day
  • Safe lifestyle: Maintain a low risk safe lifestyle that will prevent injury and resultant chronic pain

Reduce lifestyle risk factors

Lifestyle risk factors such as poor sleep, diet, feeling rushed and over-worked, or inactivity are associated with increased fatigue, muscle tension, increased pain sensitivity, mood fluctuations, poor n self-management, obesity, inflammation, central sensitization, and chronic pain. The following risk factors need to be reduced to prevent chronic pain:

  • Poor sustained sleep (e.g. Difficulty falling asleep, waking tired, wake repeatedly, miss sleep)
  • Sleep disorders (e.g. sleep apnea, snoring, insomnia)
  • Poor eating habits (e.g. fast food, eat on the run, snacking on treats, missing meals)
  • Poor diet (e.g. sugar, fat, salt, and processed food with lacks of fruits, vegetables, protein source)
  • Poor drinking habits (e.g. excessive sugar, caffeine, and alcohol drinks such as soda pop, coffee, energy drinks, lemonade, beer, wine)
  • Inactive and sedentary (e.g. reading, television, video games)
  • Work strain (e.g. sitting or standing for hours each day without breaks, poorly trained, unclear or changing job description. unrealistic deadlines, work excessively with long hours, night shifts, financial difficulties, no control over schedule, or boring daily activities)

Strengthen Protective factors

The ability to improve and prevent chronic pain is often based on the development of healthy daily habits with lots of protective factors. Lifestyle protective factors such as good sleep, diet, pacing, work and home routine are associated with improved energy, healing of muscles, relaxation to help prevent chronic pain. The following protective factors that can reduce your risk of chronic pain:

  • Sleep habits. Learn to clear your mind to help falling asleep right away through relaxation, writing down worries, or doing simple tasks before bed. Learn to sleep soundly all night by falling asleep and accepting interruptions as normal.
  • Sleep environment. Set up a sleep environment that is quiet, cool, and comfortable. Turn down clocks, decrease noise and lights. Find a comfortable mattress, pillow, and blankets
  • Sleep disorders. Evaluate and manage sleep disorders such insomnia, sleep apnea, and snoring with consultation, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), dental appliances, or other treatments.
  • Eating Habits. Eat three healthy meals each day. Use small plates and take small bits. Make your own fresh meals and lunches daily.
  • Healthy Diet: Pain preventing diet includes primarily fresh salads, fruits, vegetables with low sugar, fat, and processed food snack on healthier snacks such as nuts, fresh fruit or fresh vegetables. Drink ample water daily.
  • Good Pacing. Review how to pace yourself to maintain energy. Stay up and busy every day. Takes breaks as needed from sitting or standing too long. Avoid hurrying, rushing with time pressure, Maintain variation each day. Eat and sleep regularly every day.
  • Chemical Use: Avoid daily caffeinated beverages. Limit beer or wine to 1-2 glasses. Do not use recreational or illicit drugs. Review side effects of medication that may cause muscle tension, clenching and pain
  • Work activities: well trained for work, clear job descriptions, abilities match work demands, realistic deadlines at work, take breaks, maintain relaxed pace, stable work hours, manage finances, control daily schedule, interesting work.