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Bad Habits That Worsen Chronic Pain

Oct 14, 2020 | Texas Partners Healthcare Group

Certain Bad Habits Can Worsen Your Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain is hard enough as it is. After all, chronic pain can be so bad that it affects your ability to complete even the simplest of tasks. You may notice your sleep worsen and your mood change. While there are specific lifestyle changes you can make to improve your symptoms (exercise, healthy diet, etc.), there are bad habits that can worsen your chronic pain.

Simple, innocuous habits that appear harmless may lead to worse symptoms of pain. Whether you suffer from back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, leg pain, or any other form of chronic pain, there are a host of bad habits that can worsen this pain.

As part of your pain management treatment, you should take a step back to reassess your lifestyle choices. Do you engage in activities that will benefit or worsen your condition? If so, what can you do to reduce your pain and eventually find pain relief?

However, sometimes removing these bad habits is not nearly enough to reduce your chronic pain. Often, you need the help of pain management doctors to reduce your pain effectively. Fortunately, at our Frisco pain management clinic, our team of providers has years of experience helping patients reach pain relief. Contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group to learn how we can help today.


Not only is smoking cigarettes a dangerous threat to your overall health, but it also worsens your chronic pain. While millions of people turn to narcotics and stimulants for pain relief, research has shown that nicotine products only provide short-term relief. Furthermore, they increase your likelihood of more intense pain.

Smoking increases your sensitivity to pain, which makes it seem worse than it is. Also, studies show that smokers are more likely to develop chronic pain. Many parts of your body (muscles, joints, organs, etc.) need oxygen to function well. It also allows them to heal better. Smoking decreases the amount of oxygen that reaches these areas.

Smoking is also connected to other issues, such as insomnia, stress, and nutritional deficiencies, all of which increase symptoms of chronic pain. Unfortunately, it is a cycle. Patients with chronic pain are nearly twice as likely to become smokers.

Smoking causes chronic fatigue, slows your body’s natural healing process, affects the nervous system, and causes anxiety and stress.

Being Sedentary 

It can be easy to sit inside and lay on your couch when you live with chronic pain. And while rest days are vital, if you rest too much, you may increase your pain. A sedentary lifestyle can cause your muscles to atrophy, leading to reduced strength and endurance. Your muscles become less efficient and fatigue much quicker.

Additionally, it puts more stress on your joints since they have to compensate for the lack of muscle strength. When your muscles weaken, you are more likely to fall, which leads to more injuries and more pain.

When you exercise, your brain releases feel-good chemicals that improve your mood and relieve pain. Your blood also flows much better, which means your muscles, organs, and all parts of your body get the oxygen and nutrients they require.

Studies have shown that even the smallest amount of exercise can improve your symptoms of pain. Depending on your chronic pain condition, your level of physical activity may vary. Speak with a pain management doctor to find an exercise that fits you.

Eating Junk Food

Your diet plays a pivotal role in pain management. After all, your body needs nutrients to heal and refresh, and you get these nutrients from food. People tend to turn to comfort foods when they are sad or in pain. However, binging too much junk food can increase this pain.

Often, the more junk food you eat, the more weight you’ll gain. As you gain weight, you put more pressure on your muscles and joints, which leads to increased joint pain, back pain, and more. Additionally, junk food often causes inflammation, which will increase arthritis pain. While saturated fat and sugar taste great, they do not help your body.

Pain management doctors understand the importance of a healthy diet and staying hydrated when it comes to managing your pain.

Poor Posture 

While slouching may not hurt in the moment, over time, poor posture will add up and cause significant pain. Those with poor posture often experience increased back pain, neck pain, and even leg pain. When you have good posture, you ensure that the force of gravity is evenly distributed across your body, not putting too much pressure on one area.

With poor posture, pressure builds up in certain areas, leading to increased wear and tear of the joints. You’ll experience more shoulder and neck tension, which can lead to headaches and migraines.

Poor posture also affects the circulation in your body, which prevents oxygen and other nutrients from traveling across your body. Good posture has plenty of benefits, and people often do not realize when their posture is wrong.

Overdoing It

There are days when you feel little to no pain. While they are few and far between, they can make you feel good about yourself and your progress. Even though you might feel like you can tackle everything you need to do, you should still pace yourself. Overdoing it is one of the easiest bad habits to commit.

Even though you might not hurt as much as you usually do, that does not mean your chronic pain condition is gone. If you aren’t careful, you can injure yourself and set yourself back. You should not change the level of work you do just because you don’t hurt as much that day. Keep up the level of activity you know your body can handle. Pace yourself.

Stressing Too Much 

It is hard to stop yourself from stressing over big things, such as your health, your job, your finances, and more. However, far too often, people stress too much about the smallest things.

Stress increases your heart rate, which increases your breathing and tightens your muscles. Tense muscles often cause increased pain, and tense muscles in the upper back, shoulders, and neck can lead to migraines.

Stress releases cortisol (the stress hormone), which increases inflammation and causes more pain. There are many ways to reduce and manage your stress, such as yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, and much more.

Avoiding Your Pain Management Doctor 

You don’t have to see your doctor every week, but you should regularly be communicating with them to discuss your chronic pain. Don’t just assume that since you’ve always dealt with chronic pain that that is your future. Every day, healthcare experts make advances in regenerative medicine and pain management treatment.

Pain management doctors are your number one resource for this information. You will never find pain relief if you continue to avoid your doctor. They will be able to assess how you are progressing while finding a treatment plan that best fits you and your condition. Plus, they will be able to identify any bad habits you have to help you reach pain relief.

If you currently live with chronic pain, do not wait. Contact the Frisco pain management clinic at Texas Partners Healthcare Group to learn more about finding pain relief.