Living with chronic pain sucks.
One of the hardest parts of my day, is my morning routine of getting my four kids off to school. It requires about an hour of standing, and that causes severe pain in my lower back and sometimes can even cause numbness down my leg and into my foot. My CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) limits me to standing or walking for more than 10-15 minutes before my pain shoots through the rough. It is only alleviated by sitting or lying down. I have had to develop ways to get daily activities done so that I endure less pain. That is how I started using these five daily tips for living with chronic pain.
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My 5 TopDaily Tips for Living with Chronic Pain.
1. Push yourself a little bit at a time
It's pretty much impossible to avoid my chronic pain, so I push myself through some of the pain in spirts. I may stand up to make breakfasts for my kids, but then I sit down to rest to let the pain subsides a little. Then I stand again and fill their water bottles. I break up the morning tasks into bite-size pieces so I am not in prolonged pain.
I am a whole lot less grumpy when I do this. Yelling at my kids and stressing them out is not how I want to start of their day or my day.
2. Make accommodations for tasks you do REGULARLY
First make a list tasks you do every day. Then brainstorm ways to modify that task lessen the amount of pain it causes you. That may mean having someone else do the task for you, or just not getting the task done as often. Do you need to load the dishwasher three times a day? Maybe you could just load it once in the evening.
During my daily morning routine, I make sandwiches and butter toasts. I used to stand the entire time while I did this. Now I have learned to sit down at the table to do these things. Obviously filling water bottles requires me to stand up. The point is to look at all of the individual tasks and figure out which ones you can modify to fit your needs and avoid (or lessen) the pain you experience.
My husband usually places all the backpacks on the counter for me and he grabs essential items I pack in their lunches from the floor of the pantry so I don't have to bend down. Those things may seem little, but they add up and decrease the length of time I am in pain.
3. Ditch the guilt
You can't control whether or not you live in chronic pain. So letting others help you get daily activities done so that you don't have to be in pain, is not being lazy. It's called being smart. There are so many chores or tasks that I no longer do because of my chronic pain. My husband and kids pick up a lot of slack for me. But I remind myself that I don't have a choice. I would much rather be able to do those chores and daily tasks myself.
Schedule time in your day (and especially between daily tasks that take up a lot of energy and cause pain) to simply rest. Your body will more quickly recover from the exertion and mental stress of experiencing pain. You may not realize it, but just being in pain has both physical and mental effects on your body.
When your body is in pain, your muscles tense up, you blood pressure rises, and you can have an inflammatory response. Example: Walking around when you are having an Rheumatoid Arthritis flare can cause your joints to swell.
Your mental health and well-being are also greatly affected by chronic pain. It makes me grumpy and I feel mentally "worn out" after a day of lots of physical activity that causes my pain to skyrocket. Just spending some time deep breathing and meditating really helps me.
5. Practice self care consistently
When you live with chronic pain, self care is crucial to your overall well-being. (Want to know what the heck self care is?) When you are managing chronic pain, self care may consists of taking breaks often and scheduling times of rest. Sometimes you may push through the pain for long periods of time. But unless it is unavoidable, your body will take longer to recover. You may even cause yourself more pain over the long term. Other self-care practices may include regularly taking all of your medicines and supplements, going to therapy, stretching, or meditating.
Your circumstances may not look like my own. But these 5 tips can be used by anyone living with chronic pain. You just may have to adapt them to your own situation.
We can't escape our chronic pain, but we can be proactive in finding ways to manage it. Use these daily tips for managing life with chronic pain and let me know how they work for you.
What are some daily tips you use for living with chronic pain?