Living With Chronic Pain & Finding Ways to Cope

Coping with chronic pain is not easy. This is my story and how I personally cope with and manage my daily pain. I created Healthcubby.com as a way to cope and help others.

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Living with chronic painChronic pain is no joke. If you suffer from it, you understand how overwhelming life can be when it takes every ounce of energy just to manage the pain.

So many things to be grateful for I can’t list even a fraction of them here. However, life is not always easy. When medication is not an option, or not enough, you need to find other ways to manage.

I have experienced chronic pain since 1996. Until November of 2015 I took pain the medication Hydrocodone, referred to as Norco and or Vicodin.

Up until 2015 I was able to take this medication and I never became addicted to it. I managed it by only allowing myself to take the pain medication in order to walk on the river trail.

It was wonderful to be able to get up early in the morning and watch the sun rise along the Keswick dam river trail. I used to walk as many as 10 minutes a day. However, as 2015 progressed I noticed I was having emotional turmoil. My memory and my ability to think was also seriously effected.

In addition to the bouts of high anxiety I developed tinnitus, which causes ringing and buzzing in your ears. Today, even after over a year of not taking it, they still ring badly.

So by November I began suspecting Norco was triggering the anxiety. That is when I decided it was time to stop taking it.

When weighing the pro’s and con’s I decided I far more willing to cope with the pain if it meant relief from the anxiety.

So, if you are having emotional issues and you’re taking some type of opiate (narcotic) than consider talking to your doctor because you too may not be able to tolerate it anymore.

MIND GAMES – FIGHTING DENIAL

Life has it's wonderful moments. Keeping them in mind helps to cope on bad days.
Life has it’s wonderful moments. Keeping them in mind helps to cope on bad days.

Trying to wrap your mind around your limitations from coping with chronic pain  is not easy.

When medication takes away my pain, I am able to walk for a few hours. And I actually enjoy hard work. However, even when taking pain medication once it wares off… if you’ve overdone it… you’ll pay for it.

The real problem is all in my head. Knowing in my mind that my body is physically capable of walking makes it very difficult to accept the limitations pain places on my abilities.

Anytime I start walking around the house and my pain level is as low as a 3 I start thinking about taking a walk, working in the yard, or doing something physical.

My body WANTS to work and move around. But within 5 minutes ofrom standing and moving about my pain level will reach 6.

The thing is… I will be saying in my mind, “Just one more… a little longer… almost there… almost done…” and when you do that you are heading for a real crash. I mean it’s like you push that pain to the side until your body SCREAMS STOP IT NOW!!!

And you have to go lie down. Not just sit, but be horizontal for a few hours if not the rest of the day. It is very difficult to explain. But it is more difficult to endure.

Our MINDS like to pretend or deny what is really happening inside our bodies. Perhaps that’s a good thing. It’s a strange thing that’s for sure. I think it can work out to our good in some cases. But this feeling of denial leads us to ask why… why me?

QUESTIONS CHRONIC PAIN
SUFFERERS ASK

What is wrong with me?
Why am I hurting so much?
Why can’t the doctors figure out what is causing my pain?
How do I make money when I can hardly take care of myself?

I can’t tell you how many times I have a really difficult time accepting my disability. And while I would love a doctor to “cure” me… from my experience with this all I can say is…

DOCTORS “PRACTICE” MEDICINE

THEY DO NOT HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS OR SOLUTIONS

Doctors study and are in a constant training program. It is not a solid science.
Doctors study and are in a constant training program. It is not a solid science.

I’ve done a great deal of research trying to understand why I am in pain and if possible, how to stop it.

I’ve tried physical therapy, a few different medications along with the pain medication.

And I have received a variety of answers by doctors that really are nothing more than guesses and no where near solutions.

In the end, there is an overwhelming amount of “possible” reasons why the body will attack itself in such a way as it does with chronic pain.

In my case I have discovered I have Lyme’s disease (waiting for the official diagnosis).

The blood test I had showed 3 markers. My doctor said you only need one. However, the CDC wants 5. So, it’s not an “official” diagnoses.

So, the doctors “practice” medicine and in the mean time, we guess at what the causes of our pain are. Chronic pain is “still” a mystery. Not all chronic pain can be explained.

My pain started back in 1996 and I believe the first doctor, a chiropractor, came closest to the answer.

He believed that my nerves were hyper sensitive and no longer functioned properly. What that meant was that basically my body was sending signals of pain even through there was no actual reason to do so.

I wanted to know if physical therapy would help and he said, “No, I don’t believe it will make that much if any difference.”

Over time I can tell you that he was right. It doesn’t make ‘that’ much difference.

Moving and forcing myself to exercise my body by way of vacuuming, doing dishes, cooking and baking, make it much worse, but I know if I don’t do these things my strength will diminish and I don’t ever want to be sedentary.

I have watched the TV show Dr. Oz and read where many celebrities have not been able to cure their Lyme’s disease. And these are people with plenty of money to get it done. So, without a cure what is left?

Learning how to cope and deal with it along with making sure you don’t allow yourself to sit around doing nothing.

EXERCISE IS IMPORTANT

So, no matter what anyone says, if you suffer from some type of pain that has been diagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or something along those lines, believe me, if you stop moving and give in to that constant desire to lie or sit down, you may end up making it much worse.

Your muscles will become weaker and your ability to run errands and move about your own home will degenerate.

Everytime I get sick and have to stay in bed for a week or so at a time I can tell you that I get worse. And I don’t bounce back. I have to work hard and endure a lot of pain to rebuild what I lost.

Perhaps because I’m 56 years old now or maybe it’s due to the Lyme’s disease. I’m sure your doctor would agree… exercise is a must. Even for those of us who have to do so in pain.

But there are ways to make the most of it. Moving around the house can be rewarding if you time it right. It can save you money too. I can’t believe how much lower our food and grocery bill has become since I have been learning more about…

COOKING AND BAKING

For the first time in my life I am learning how to cook and bake at home. Two reasons for this.

  1. I can no longer tolerate processed foods.
  2. I want to stay active and moving around at home is the safest way to do so.

The massive benefit I am seeing besides the above is the money we are saving in groceries. Just baking our own pizza at home is saving us as much as $700.00+ a year! How’s that possible?

Well, we were spending about $50.00 on organic frozen pizza. Now these pizza only cost us about $1.50 to $2.00 each so we are saving a LOT of money. And that is just a single item.

Baking bread saves us about $4.00 a loaf and the list of saving from cooking and baking at home is quite large. Saffice to say we cut our grocery bill down by about 50%.

GARDENING

Gardening is another way to keep moving. In the summer when it is warmer I will spend 10 to 15 minutes in our backyard raking or weeding.

It is painful but at the same time I do enjoy it. I just have to pay attention so that I do not get over enthusiastic and push past the pain too long.

KNOWING YOUR LIMITATIONS

Honestly, I am well aware of my limitations. I am limited to 5 minutes of standing still and 10 minutes of moving around the house. My BRAIN does not like these limitations at all. I’m not sure it’s a bad thing really.

The bad part is not listening to your body and ending up having to pay for it as you are physically banished to your bed or lazy-boy type chair.

The good news I guess is that we keep on trying and never give up. Perhaps that helps us cope with the reality. I dunno… what do you think?

COPING WITH YOUR LIMITATIONS

It’s not easy to cope with chronic pain. What I do is I take care of things a little at a time. 10 minutes in the kitchen, then resting in my Lazy-Boy chair, leaning back, most of the time pretty far back in the chair.

I used to avoid telling my friends how limited I was. And while I was on medication no one had a clue. But now I don’t hide it. And you know what?

My friends and family have all been great about it. They understand why I disappear and go lie down on the couch while they are still eating dinner in the living room at my mother-in-laws.

And so it goes wherever I go. If I need to, I take a chair or lie down.

Don’t be afraid to let people know you have limitations. And if you do it with a smile they worry less. 🙂

Continue reading for more tips on overcoming chronic pain through natural remedies.

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