Chronic Pain: Just DEAL With It??? 10 Ways HOW

 

A friend of mine recently said to me while we were discussing my experiences in living with chronic pain and how difficult it can be for others to understand, “well, it is a “thing.” Yes, chronic pain is a “thing,” and it is something many of us live with daily. Maybe you power through and keep on working, or you find yourself parked on the couch day after day, feeling like life is simply passing you by.

Life does not have to just pass you by.

We all do our best to “just deal with it,” a phrase we hear more often than comfortable. And in the throes of a nationwide opiod epidemic, some of us do so without medications that would have been a standard treatment. Other medications, not necessarily pain medications, are often prescribed, counseling or physical therapy recommended, or occasional steroid treatments.

 

The source of chronic pain often goes undiagnosed, which can lead to anxiety and unease. “What is wrong with me?” becomes a dominating thought.

There is hope.

But managing chronic pain is more than doctors, pills and therapy. It is developing a support system and a lifestyle that allows you to continue living your life to the fullest that you are able and having people around you that love you in spite of your limits. Here are a few tips to managing the pain and living life off the couch of despair.

 

 

Managing Your Pain

 

  • Yes, see your doctors and follow their advice. It is not a final solution to what you are going through, but they can offer medications, therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic, or possibly surgical options. Do not carry a shame or guilt about pursuing these options. You are taking care of your health the same as you would any other disease or condition. Understand that they may not be able to cure you of your condition.

 

  • Be honest with your family and friends. Let them know you are struggling with pain and that it is affecting how you go about your daily activities, how you participate in social engagements, and how you feel from day to day. Try to understand that they cannot feel what you are going through and some skepticism is understandable. Be careful not to burden them with complaints, but he honest. If there are people in your life who criticize you, berate you, or abuse you for what you are going through, perhaps it is time to distance yourself or burn a bridge with those people. You need a supportive community, not one that makes you feel less of a person for what you are going through.

 

  • Develop healthy coping skills. This is not the time to abuse alcohol, pain killers, or other unhealthy means of dealing with your pain. Self-abusive activities will only worsen what your body is already trying to manage. Find things that alleviate your pain and listen to your body. Understand that our approach may have to be alleviating or tolerating your pain, not ending it. Chronic pain is just that, chronic. If walking helps the pain in your hips, then make the time to do it. If Epsom salt baths or using your TENS unit bring you relief, then make the time to do it Taking care of yourself is crucial to living a more comfortable life.

 

  • Don’t beat yourself up over your limitations. Pain changes people. You realize you have limits, but this does NOT mean that you do not have purpose, value, and deserve to live proudly. While your pain may limit you, it does not define you. Try to focus on what you CAN do, not on what you can’t.

 

  • Ask for help. This may seem simple, but some people try to do everything they used to do and make living with the pain much harder than it could be. Let some things go if need be and ask others to pitch in a little more and lighten the load where it is most cumbersome.

 

  • Find joy wherever you can. Joy, smiling, laughter, even in small doses can help you to feel alive, content, and change your perspective on having a bad day. Embrace these moments and cling to them!

 

  • Try to accept that there will be good days and bad days. Maximize on your good days and be patient with yourself on the difficult ones. You didn’t ask to be in this position, and you may have no control over the circumstances, but you do have control over how you respond to it, how much mental attention you give it, and how you can stay positive.

 

  • Listen to your body and respond to it with kindness. Sometimes pain signals are for us to slow down, stop using that are of our body and let it rest and heal, or the signals are simply misfirings that will fade on it’s own. Do not ruminate or inflate problems that may be temporary. Focus on something else the best you can until it passes.

 

  • Say NO. There are times you just, cannot. It is ok to be present when you can, but you know that you can’t always be at that meeting, or that party, or get-together. It is ok to be absent, without guilt. If you were sick, you’d have to bow out and this is no different. Sometimes you just can’t be there…and this is OK.

 

  • Finally, if someone tells you to “just deal with it,” tell them: I AM.

 

It’s Time to Take Back Your Life
Life can be difficult, but it does not mean it is impossible.

 

Living with chronic pain can be difficult, isolating, embarrassing, and debilitating. If you know someone experiencing this, try not to judge or be unkind, or worse, to gossip about them to others. We ALL have our burdens to bear and we handle them in vastly different ways, the best that we can. And again, to those of you living with this condition: Stay positive, you have VALUE, and your pain does not define who you are.

AND YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

 

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Chronic Pain: Just DEAL With It??? 10 Ways HOW

  1. A very well written piece. My pain has been diagnosed. Severe nerve damage that can’t be reversed in both lower legs and feet. Osteoarthritis in knees and back, Along with degenerative discs in back. Scoliosis of 30 degrees and worsening every year. I deal with it. I cope. I do not abuse pain meds. Pain meds have not increased in number or potency in the 9 years I have been on them. People need to realize also that it is harder on spouses/ caregivers. They deal with our mood swings, our tantrums and our chronic fatigue. It hurts them seeing us in pain.

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  2. Yes, Walt it IS hard on them. Some of mine is undiagnosed, but nerve pain is a big part of it. Huge bone spurr in my neck is wreaking havoc on both arms, carpal tunnel and nerve pain in both hands, golfers elbow, and there are some disc issues in my neck, and sciatica, but most of my problems are upper body and back. I don’t have insurance so I can’t chase down diagnoses. I am pretty sure fibromyalgia is a problem as well (those what I call “ghost pains” are the worst.) I am only 45. In 2010 I had meningitis, followed by a hysterectomy surgery that did not go as well as they had hoped, and then a wreck (got hit on the interstate going 80 mph by a dumptruck) that jacked up my back. All of that in a 4 months time frame.–I went from being a gym rat to having trouble walking and getting around, or sitting at my desk at work.) My body has never been the same. I do not take any pain pills. But my life REVOLVES around managing pain. It is tough on my sig. other (he is a saint for living with me. ) But anyway, thank you. I really wanted to write about this because there are so many people out there living with this. People just DO NOT UNDERSTAND. And they expect you to be the same ol running around person you’ve always been, and in a very short period of time your body just CAN’T. I empathize with what you are going through SO MUCH.

    And it’s funny…every career I have ever tried has ended because of the pain I was in. (I was a hairdresser for 16 years, a very successful one, and ruined my hands and I think caused nerve damage in my hands and my elbow.) BUT…I have my writing! My mind! My poetry! Praise Jesus, those are still mine. I know you can relate to that too!

    Thank you for your support. I hope to write more about his topic in future blog posts.

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  3. You are welcome. Just be extra patient with her on her “bad days” and celebrate with her her “good days” and love her through them all. Staying positive is the BEST medicine, and sometimes that is challenging. Tell her I empathize!

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  4. I have found here that there are always people who suffer more than I do. You are one of those Christina. Thank you for sharing what you are going through dear friend. Your final lines sum it up for both of us… “BUT…I have my writing! My mind! My poetry! Praise Jesus, those are still mine.” Hugs & Love, 🙂❤️

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  5. I was thinking the same thing about you Walt…that you are suffering more than I. I tell myself every day “Don’t focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you CAN do and take it from there.” Some days are awful, but some aren’t. I think it is important to talk about chronic pain…there’s someone out there reading this and I want them to be encouraged, to know that they have VALUE. Thank you again for reading and I hope you are having a GOOD day.
    Hugs and love to you too 🙂 ❤

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  6. I don’t know that I suffer more than you, but if I do , do I get a prize?? He he he… At least I am able to take care of our 10 dogs and our horse while my wife works. My scoliosis has been causing me to be bent over, so I’m waiting for insurance to approve an upper back brace. It has gotten so bad that it’s affected my breathing which causes my heart to beat too fast. Thank God I got a new aortic valve 2 1/2 years ago. Life goes on 🙂

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  7. I hope you get your back brace soon. We have lots of chickens! And a dog and 3 cats 🙂 I love my animals. I am glad you have insurance. It’s hard without it. Yes, life does go on and we make the best of it!

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  8. Thank you for this post. Both my mum and I have fibromyalgia (chronic pain disease) and I have chronic fatigue. It’s really nice to read such a supportive post and be reminded that I have to do the best for me and my body, and that means listening to it. Thank you. ❤

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  9. I am very glad that the article was helpful to you. I find that through my struggles, support is crucial. Thank you for your reading and your comment. I will write more on this topic at some point so I am glad to see that you are following. Have a great day and yes, take care of yourself!

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  10. Great words and ideas. It’s difficult to stay positive and feel like a valued member of your family and of society when you’re constantly feeling like you can’t do anything of value.

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  11. I totally understand. You have to find the things you can do and try. If that doesn’t work, repeat the process with a different activity. It’s a lesson inperseverence, but also in humility. I wish you the best on your journey.

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