6 Lifestyle Tips for Postherpetic Neuralgia
When it comes to living well with postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), there are no hard-and-fast rules, but small lifestyle changes may make your PHN symptoms more manageable. From exercising often to getting plenty of sleep, you can make day-to-day changes to help you live well with PHN.
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These lifestyle changes can help you deal with chronic pain and other PHN symptoms, and most importantly, they put you in the driver's seat of your PHN.
- Focus on eating a healthy, nutritious diet every day. You've heard it over and over, but we can't stress it enough: Eating a nutritious diet is extremely beneficial to your overall health. Sure, you can have the occasional treat, but for the majority of the time, stick to fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Eating well can help you feel well with PHN.
- Exercise in moderation. Regular exercise can help you increase your daily activities because it can improve muscle strength and reduce your pain and other PHN symptoms. Work with a physical therapist and/or personal trainer to get you started on an exercise plan for PHN. Read more about exercise and PHN in our article on exercise and physical therapy for PHN.
- Establish a regular sleep schedule. Sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, especially when you have PHN. Try to get yourself on a sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. And for maximum sleep benefits, be sure you're sleeping at least 8 hours each night.
- Know how to cope with stress effectively. Dealing with stress can help you manage the pain that often comes along with PHN. That's why stress management techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation, are so beneficial. They help promote relaxation and give you an overall sense of well-being. Do something to de-stress every day.
- Keep your emotional and mental health in check. PHN can sometimes cause emotional distress, such as depression. If you're feeling blue, it's important for you to recognize that you're not alone—many people deal with painful conditions such as PHN. But you can get through this with the right tools: Try jotting down your feelings in a journal, visiting a psychologist, or attending group therapy to help you manage your mental health. You can also join a PHN support group to connect with others who are going through similar things as you. Get started by joining the Practical Pain Management Community—an online community that allows you to connect with others who are dealing with a chronic pain condition.
- Have a positive attitude. Having—and maintaining—a positive outlook is key when it comes to dealing with PHN. With a positive frame of mind, you focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses.
These 6 lifestyle tips are easy things you can do live a full, healthy life with postherpetic neuralgia. Get started on your healthy lifestyle with PHN today.