Things You Do that Can Make Chronic Pain Worse

Individuals living with chronic pain understandably turn to healthcare providers for relief. But there are factors beyond the reach of your doctor—factors that influence the duration and intensity of pain and even how you perceive pain. Certain daily habits and lifestyle choices can actually make your pain worse. The good news is that making changes to your daily routine can help you and your doctor better manage your pain.

Here, see what the research says about four things that can make pain worse.

by Rosemary Hope

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Drinking Alcohol
People in pain have used alcohol for relief since ancient times—and they still do. Research has shown that 25 to 28% of people living with a chronic pain condition use alcohol to help manage their pain. The problem is that the pain-reducing effects of alcohol are short-lived and the amount of alcohol that may be effective for alleviating pain is bad for the rest of your body, including your mental health. (Note that the USDA recommends no more than one alcoholic drink per day for women and two for men.) Several health risks have been associated with using alcohol for pain. Mixing alcohol with pain medicines, for example, can cause gastric bleeding, liver failure, or even overdose. Long-term excessive consumption of alcohol can even cause pain in the form of peripheral neuropathy, characterized by burning pain in the legs.