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The Link Between Pain and the Immune System

The Link Between Pain and the Immune System

Did you know living with chronic pain can have a negative impact on your immune system?

According to a 2016 study published in Scientific Reports, chronic pain can reprogram (or turn “on” or “off”) thousands of genes inside immune system cells, including white blood cells. Researchers believe this can negatively impact immune system strength and impair a person’s ability to fight off disease and illness.

If you’re already living with chronic pain, you want to do whatever you can to avoid additional health problems. That’s why taking steps to improve your immunity is so important – and it may even help relieve some of your pain.

How to Improve Your Immune System

Many factors can influence the strength of your immune system. And the good news is that a lot of these factors are within your control. Harvard Medical School recommends these eight tried-and-true ways to strengthen your immune system:

  • Quit smoking (or never start).
  • Consume lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly. We recommend starting with physical activities you truly enjoy so you’ll be more likely to exercise. We also advise our patients to contact us if they need help getting their pain under control before starting a new exercise program.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess body fat can trigger widespread inflammation and put stress on your joints.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
  • Get adequate sleep. Adults should aim for 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
  • Wash hands often, cook meats thoroughly and practice other good hygiene techniques to help you avoid infections.
  • Manage your stress. In addition to exercise, try meditation, deep breathing, and spending time in nature.

Are You Ready to Feel Better?

At Integrated Pain Solutions, our pain control specialists understand how disruptive chronic pain can be. We develop personalized treatment plans using a variety of techniques to help our patients get back to doing the things they enjoy. If you need help managing your pain, please call us to schedule an appointment: 614-383-6450.