Understanding and Living with Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can seem like foreign language to those who don’t live with or understand it.
For those of us who do, it feels like an unsolved mystery at times. Constantly being consumed with pain makes it truly hard to pinpoint where your pain is at when being asked.
Not knowing why you are in pain can have such a terrible effect on your overall health. Which, in turn, makes living with it so much harder.
We all do better when we have answers to questions that rampage in our minds. That kind of stress causes so much unneeded and misunderstood anxiety symptoms.
Being that I can actually write this post from my heart, I want to share with you how I have best survived living in chronic pain for 5 years now. And also how I encourage others in my life like my mother in law who also lives in severe amounts of pain from two replaced hips and a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
The reason I say that chronic pain is like an unsolved mystery is because in special cases, or in cases where maybe the doctor just thinks your crazy and doesn’t believe you, it can leave you in a place that’s tremendously harder to live in. When our body isn’t doing good, our minds usually follow, and not long after that we sometimes struggle spiritually. Or vice verse.
We have to understand chronic pain in order to deal with and live with it in a healthy manner.
Mind, Body, & Soul, they all require the same amount of work and they work best together.
1. Hydration is essential for us all to live.
It sounds so simple and cliche, but our bodies really depend on water intake and they really do struggle when we dehydrate them.
Wow! 75% people! I’m just as guilty, because it takes a lot of work for me to drink so much water everyday. I love my coffee and my mornings are full of coffee. After that it feels like I have no time to even think about drinking water.
What I’ve done and need to start doing again is setting a water alarm on my phone every 2 hours and when it goes off I will chug an entire cup or bottle of water. Then I don’t have to think about it again, until my alarm goes off and hey, it works for me!
Do what works best for you, just make sure you are getting 1/2 of your body weight (in ounces) of water per day. Whatever you gotta do, just make sure you aren’t dehydrated. Chronic pain is fueled by dehydration.
2. Check your vitamin/mineral levels in your body and begin to replenish what’s missing.
This might sound crazy to you because you might already think that you’re good there. Maybe you take the vitamins you think you need to be taking and they help you, and that’s great. But when I found an all naturalist doctor who hooked me up to his biofeedback machine and had told me that I was severely depleted in Iron, Magnesium, and Calcium, I noticed a change in my body and my mind within a week.
It also never occurred to me until this time how feelings of depression i had been having could be a result of vitamin deficiency.
I was given the correct brands to buy, because he swears that cheaper brands are nonsense in how much filler they add to the capsules. You basically end up getting more filler in your body than you do the actual vitamin.
So I encourage you to go see you doctor or all naturalist and find out what’s missing in your body. Maybe it will help you to better understand chronic pain.
3. Get a comfortable bed.
I can’t stress this enough. My husband and I have bought 3 beds over the last 5 years since struggling with severe chronic pain. We’ve tried the Tempurpedic mattress, hated it! It didn’t take more than a year for full body imprints to mold their way in, but it made a world of difference for me and the way I was sleeping.
Sleep is a MUST for everyone. And when your not getting good sleep your body really fails to keep up and take care of itself the way that it needs to be.
Find a mattress and a pillow that’s good for your back and your body. Remember that everyone is made differently so what works for me or someone else might not work for you. It’s sort of like a trial and error, and it can be expensive, but your body is or should be worth it to you. It’s important to wake up feeling rested.
You have to take care of yourself in order to live with and understand chronic pain.
4. Stretch, stretch, stretch! Everyday!
Stretch as much as you can. Every single day. Move your body and get your heart pumping harder than it normally does. And I swear you will notice a huge difference.
Stretching your body keeps your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. Us humans big and small need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in our joints.
Without stretching, the muscles shorten and become tight which puts you at a higher risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage which only worsens chronic pain.
So stretch yourself out! Lubricate those muscles and joints.
But take your time and try not to over extend yourself. Understand chronic pain isn’t predictive and overcoming what you have control over isn’t an overnight process.
5. Posture perfect.
Yep, i said it. Sit up straight.
You may already be thinking that I’m crazy for mentioning this, but the more I started to notice it in myself I started to pay attention to the others around me who also didn’t sit up straight.
Posture is everything. Especially when it comes to chronic pain.
Some conditions in your back may not allow you to have proper posture, and if that’s you reading this, please disregard.
But for me, my diagnosis is an Osteoid Osteoma in my T11. So right in the center of my spine I have a 2 cm tumor sitting inside of my bone… it has caused me to slouch SO much more than I ever used to. And now that I am aware of it I think about it often.
Poor posture can seem like it’s helping you at the time, giving you a comfortable position to be in. But the damage it does on your body is huge to your entire health.
When the mechanics of your spine are not aligning properly, it can affect your rib cage which can damage your heart and lungs, and lead to gastrointestinal issues.
6. Epsom salt baths relieve chronic pain. Get comfortable.
I say get comfortable, because I understand that having chronic pain and getting comfortable in a bath tub isn’t always exactly comfortable.
Honestly, before I had kids I didn’t really take many baths. I’ve never been one to crave that feeling unless I was sick with the stomach flu. Something about being a mom has changed my body drastically so now I actually do crave taking baths.
Let me tell ya though, taking a bath with epsom salt makes all the difference for chronic pain. So if you haven’t already, go try it! Another plus about epsom salt, is that it’s loaded full of magnesium as well. so soaking in it will absorb it into your blood stream as well which helps with unwanted issues that no one wants to talk about like constipation.
7. Therapy, Community, & Support.
This might be an annoyance for some of you to hear at this point in your journey, but I feel like it needed to be a part of this list. Our mental health plays an extremely important role in the health of our body. And when we aren’t taking care of our mental health, our chronic pain, or any other kind of pain will be far worse off.
Smile more and worry less.
The best ways that we can take care of our day to day happiness and to nurture our mental well being, is to smile more. Find the hidden desires in your heart and search for that source of happiness like it’s the only thing that matters.
Because if it’s not, it should be one of our most top priorities. Health and happiness go hand in hand, and I know first and foremost that both can be hard to attain when you are in chronic pain. But they are both very well achievable, I hope you understand that.
- Advocate for yourself! You understand your body more than anyone else–even your doctor!
- Surround yourself with those who are supportive and empathetic.
- Put your health & happiness as a top priority in your life
- Fight for yourself. You are worth it!!
- Chronic pain does NOT define you!