Pain management is a personal experience. With chronic pain finding the right way to manage the pain takes time and the right combination of treatments. Finding a way to distract from the pain is one way to manage acute and chronic pain.
I’m sharing my day to day life with chronic pain and how I manage my pain. Chronic pain is pain that is still there after 3 months, but acute pain is short term. A typical day for me includes various forms of joint pain and back pain. My back is unstable as it is not properly fused together. This means that I have to take pain relieving medication. However, the pain relief only works to an extent. In some people with chronic pain a TENS machine (a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation machine; which means it works through the skin) helps with pain relief. But I can’t use one because I have epilepsy, and it is potentially unsafe for me to use.
Another common form of pain relief; heat packs have never been effective for me either. The best combination for me personally is rest and distraction. I usually spend some time in my bedroom throughout the day so that I can sit on my bed with my legs elevated. This is comfortable and stops my painful knees and ankles from becoming worse. But if my back is particularly painful it means that I will have to lie down on the bed to rest my back. This then relieves some of the pain in my back. I must prioritise depending on which pain is worst at the time.
Having a chronic health problem can become emotionally draining, having multiple chronic conditions can cause me to become bogged down. It is exhausting unless I can find an effective distraction. I always try to have something lined up that I can focus on to take my mind of these problems and the pain. My all time favourite distraction is spending time with family, especially my three youngest nephews. In part this time with them makes me act as normally as possible, this then makes me feel a little better than I really am. It is really important to be surrounded by the people you love and who are supportive. It makes me realise that there is more to life than my chronic health conditions.
Another excellent distraction is having creative pursuits and hobbies. Personally, a creative hobby that I enjoy is writing, writing a blog post is a way for me to express what is happening in my life. If the pain means that I am in bed, I will usually get out my notepad and pen and start writing. I use this time to write down some ideas and then plan out some blog posts. Having something to do stops me from thinking about my chronic pain and health worries all the time. It gives me something else to think about, something that can be positive and helpful for others.
Knowing how much I am able to do without making myself worse requires me to be realistic. Being realistic means that I won’t put too much strain on my body as it’s not possible. It is important for all people who have chronic pain, like myself, to remember the importance of pacing. Pacing means taking breaks before the pain is unbearable, and not letting it get to that point. On top of pacing I use practical things that help me reduce the pain. I have memory foam cushions, which I use to lean on when I am sitting down. The memory foam cushions provide extra comfort and support, they are much better than an average pillow or cushion for support.
I’m Lucy & I was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome as a teenager. I’m an occasional blogger who often discusses life with chronic illness/health conditions. I also like coloured eyeliner and piercings. I’m from North West England. U.K.
You can read more over on my blog