Is multiple sclerosis holding you back? A healthy lifestyle can help lower the pain
A new study suggests that a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise, no smoking and healthy diet is associated with lower pain in people with multiple sclerosis.Updated: Oct 03, 2017 14:16 IST
Are you suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? Ditch your sedentary lifestyle and follow a healthy one to manage pain and live a better life. A new study suggests that a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise, no smoking and healthy diet is associated with lower pain in people with multiple sclerosis.
The findings add to a growing body of evidence that modifiable lifestyle factors can help manage MS symptoms. “Our study found strong associations between lifestyle and pain in people with multiple sclerosis,” says Claudia Marck, one of the paper’s authors. “Smokers are more likely to experience pain, and those that do regular exercise seem less likely to experience pain. We also see strong links between pain and the prevalence of anxiety and depression.”
An estimated 2.5 million people worldwide have multiple sclerosis. The condition affects the nervous system, often causing chronic pain and a lack of mobility. The pain is normally treated with painkillers, but these can have side effects, are expensive and do not treat the cause of the pain.
The team surveyed more than 2,500 people with multiple sclerosis from across the world on their symptoms, lifestyle and social demographics, then looked for patterns in the responses. Smokers were found to be twice as likely to report substantial pain than non-smokers with MS.
“With smoking, studies have shown a detrimental feedback loop,” explains Marck. “In the long term, smoking has been reported to increase the likelihood of chronic pain. However, in the short term it dulls the pain, so this may motivate people with pain to smoke. Also, smokers, and especially those with depression, find it particularly hard to quit, as stopping smoking can initially increase pain sensitivity.”
The team are conducting further studies to understand the links between exercise and pain in those with MS. It is also hoped that these preliminary findings will spark further research and intervention studies to substantiate these observations.
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First Published: Oct 03, 2017 14:15 IST