APM Blog


Halloween (2)

31 Oct

For many, the phrase “Halloween treats” brings to mind images of miniature sugar-filled candy bars or rock-hard popcorn balls. But there are actually a plethora of holiday treats that are not only eerily good, they’re also good for scaring away pain. These five delectable Halloween and fall-themed treats will leave you – and your guests – spellbound.

  1. Dracula’s Blood Punch.

    The addition of chili, cherries and ginger make this blood-red libation not only frighteningly flavorsome, but also powerfully pain-fighting. This nonalcoholic drink from BBC’s GoodFood.com boasts pain relief in many forms: The tart cherry juice fights muscle pain and inflammation, the capsaicin in chilies lessens inflammation, relieves pain and helps you lose weight, and the ginger relieves pain from migraines, muscle pain and arthritis. With a little bit of hocus pocus, the ingredients meld to form a delicious drink fit for a vampire.

  2. Ginger Crinkle Cookies.

    These healthy cookies from Eating Well, which utilize whole-wheat flour, in addition to cinnamon, ginger and molasses, bring a real taste of fall to any Halloween celebration. The ginger lends its anti-inflammatory power to the recipe, and the cinnamon provides antioxidants and may even help with heart health. The result is a healthy alternative to the holiday’s traditional sugary treats.

  3. Deviled Salmon.

    This devilishly fiery fish recipe isn’t for the faint of heart. Four kinds of chilies make this Food & Wine dish incredibly spicy – but also incredibly pain fighting. The capsaicin found in the recipe’s ancho chili, Sriracha, Asian chili sauce and pickled cherry pepper will sock it to your pain levels, in addition to speeding up your metabolism. But this devilish dish also packs another pain-fighting punch: the salmon. Research has shown that fish low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids can help your joints function better, in addition to contributing to healthy brain and heart function.

  4. Creepy Green Soup.

    Test out your kids’ ick factor with this ghoulishly green cold soup, which is both paleo and pain-fighting. The recipe, from PaleoLeap.com, features asparagus, spinach, green onions, avocado, cucumber and – most importantly – fresh mint leaves. Mint has been shown to be effective against general aches and pains, as well as headaches, cold symptoms and indigestion. It’s also extremely high in free radical-fighting antioxidants. Paired with asparagus and spinach, which are high in fiber, folate, and vitamins A, C, E and K, and avocado, which contributes potassium and heart-healthy fatty acids, this dish is hair-raisingly healthy and a truly unique addition to any Halloween menu.

  5. Chili-Brown Sugar Squash with Pears.

    Fall produce stars in this not-so-scary Halloween side dish. Not only do you get the pain-fighting properties from chili powder, but you also get the health benefits from delicata squash and pears. The squash is a great source of immune-supporting vitamin A and free radical-attacking vitamin C, while pears contain almost a fourth of your daily fiber needs, antioxidants that can help reduce blood pressure and vitamins C, K, B2, B3 and B6.

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31 Oct

For many people, the scariest thing this Halloween won’t be the masks or the movies, it will be facing the laborious holiday projects and parties with chronic pain. Fortunately, though, pain’s disrupting effect can be minimized with a few Halloween tricks.

Trick or Treat with Ease

For those suffering from chronic pain, trick-or-treating can be a dreaded event – but it doesn’t have to be. With proper preparation, warmup and some minor modifications, trick-or-treating can quickly regain its sense of fun.

Start preparing a week or two beforehand with a basic walking program. Start off moderately with a few simple stretches and set yourself an achievable goal. A fitness app or pedometer can help measure your progress. Slowly increase your distance as you feel comfortable. Also remember to wear comfortable clothing and shoes and drink plenty of water to fuel your muscles and keep you energized.

On the day (or night) of your area’s trick-or-treating, make the walk easier for yourself by planning out the route beforehand, keeping in mind how far you can comfortably go. To reduce the distance, if your children are old enough have them walk to the door by themselves while you remain at the end of the driveway.

Keep Clear of Candy

While it may be tempting to raid your own candy bowl (or your kids’ trick-or-treating bags), it’s better for your pain if you refrain. Sugar, in all its varied forms, can actually increase the inflammatory markers in the body – and lead to weight gain. Just like simple carbohydrates and food additives (such as MSG, artificial sweeteners and preservatives), it’s best to decrease your sugar intake.

Instead of sugary items, opt for healthy or fun alternatives – and give them to neighborhood kids, as well. Not only could you help teach kids lasting healthy habits, you could also provide a much-needed option for those with allergies. For consumable items, try handing out fruit leather, mandarin oranges, or juice boxes with 100% fruit juice. To add more of a “trick” to their treating, consider handing out something simple, like silly putty, masks, bubbles, glow sticks or stickers.

Dress for Success

Selecting your ghoulish, ghostly or gut-busting garb can be one of the best parts of the season – but it can also spell disaster for those with chronic pain. To avoid painful predicaments, no matter what your Halloween plans, opt for a costume that’s comfortable and allows you to move and walk easily.

Avoid costumes that require high heels or awkward footwear, for instance. High heels can actually make your feet slide forward in your shoes, causing improper weight distribution. This imbalance causes your body to tilt forward, forcing your back to compensate by overarching and putting strain on your hips, knees and lower back. Instead, choose footwear that provides support to your whole foot, promoting proper posture.

You should also steer clear of outfits that put extra weight on your shoulders or legs, which can lead to increased neck pain, back pain and knee pain. For comfort and safety, also try to choose a costume that doesn’t constrict your legs when you walk, and that isn’t too hot or itchy.

Avoid Decorating Nightmares

Whether spooky or spectacular, Halloween decorations are key to getting into the holiday spirit. But for those with chronic pain, the effort required to decorate can be a real nightmare. To avoid pain, choose lightweight decorations that don’t require excessive bending or reaching to put up. If you must carry heavy decorations or heavy boxes, hold them close to your body as you walk and try not to twist or turn.

To put decorations on your roof, gutters or a similarly high area, use a ladder or step stool, which can reduce the neck strain that comes with looking up for long periods, as well as the shoulder and arm pain from reaching up.  

You could also consider a back brace, which provides back and abdominal support while you lift boxes and decorate your home. Back braces, along with wrist braces and knee braces, help support the weak or painful parts of your body and protect them from further injury.

Enjoy the Season!

Taken together, these four Halloween tricks can help you avoid pain so you can enjoy all the spooktacular things the holiday season has to offer. What creative techniques do you use to avoid Halloween-related pain?

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