When you live with pain, all you want is relief. It’s never far from the forefront of your thoughts, and also preoccupies your unconscious. Pain changes the way you hold yourself, how much you fidget, and invites itself into your dreams. During the 44 years I’ve lived with pain, I’ve been all over the map with how I handle it. I’ve tried to numb my body and mind, I’ve waged war against it, searched endlessly for the magic bullet to take my pain away, and I let my emotions run wild.
Over time though, I finally ran out of energy. It takes a lot of energy to live with pain; eventually I realized that I was shooting myself in the foot using the rest of my energy trying to defeat my pain, or pretending it didn’t exist.
Now I have a different strategy. It includes brutal honesty about my situation (unless they come up with a bionic body I will always have joints that cause me pain), and a pro-active approach to living with pain.
I’ve learned to give myself a break when I have a bad pain day, or week. I’ve learned to ask for help, and to delegate. Both of these things have changed the shape of my life, and my pain.
I’ve also learned to pay attention to what helps to bring my pain levels down, and to incorporate these things into my daily routine.
Here are some of the things on my list:
Hot Springs (I luckily live 5 miles from one)
Ice Packs when my joints are swollen
Compression stockings when my knees and ankles are swollen and painful
A far- infra red sauna (I saved money and got one- the best purchase of my life)
Rest (usually in the form of lying down for an hour in the afternoon)
Brain Sync Music (helps to clam the mind)
Warm Baths with Epsom salts
Being of service to others
Each one of us who lives with pain will have his or her own list. I urge you to start making yours today.
You’ll be happily surprised at the direction your life begins to take.