11 Tips for Living With Chronic Pain

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by JLH, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. JLH

    JLH New Member

    11 Tips for Living With Chronic Pain ......

    1. Learn deep breathing or meditation to help with chronic pain.

    Deep breathing and meditation are techniques that help your body relax, which eases pain. Tension and tightness seep from muscles as they receive a quiet message to relax.
    Although there are many to meditate, the soothing power of repetition is at the heart of some forms of meditation. Focusing on the breath, ignoring thoughts, and repeating a word or phrase -- a mantra -- causes the body to relax. While you can learn meditation on your own, it helps to take a class.

    Deep breathing is also a relaxation technique. Find a quiet location, a comfortable body position, and block out distracting thoughts. Then, imagine a spot just below your navel. Breathe into that spot, filling your abdomen with air. Let the air fill you from the abdomen up, then let it out, like deflating a balloon.

    2. Reduce stress in your life. Stress intensifies chronic pain.

    Negative feelings like depression, anxiety, stress, and anger can increase the body's sensitivity to pain. By learning to take control of stress, you may find some relief from chronic pain.

    Several techniques can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Listening to soothing, calming music can lift your mood -- and make living with chronic pain more bearable. There are even specially designed relaxation tapes or CDs for this. Mental imagery relaxation (also called guided imagery) is a form of mental escape that can help you feel peaceful. It involves creating calming, peaceful images in your mind.

    Progressive muscle relaxation is another technique that promotes relaxation.

    3. Boost chronic pain relief with the natural endorphins from exercise.

    Endorphins are brain chemicals that help improve your mood while also blocking pain signals. Exercise has another pain-reducing effect -- it strengthens muscles, helping prevent re-injury and further pain. Plus, exercise can help keep your weight down, reduce heart disease risk, and control blood sugar levels -- especially important if you have diabetes.

    Ask your doctor for an exercise routine that is right for you. If you have certain health conditions, like diabetic neuropathy, you will need to be careful about the types of activities you engage in; your doctor can advise you on the best physical activities for you.

    4. Cut back on alcohol, which can worsen sleep problems.

    Pain makes sleep difficult, and alcohol can make sleep problems worse. If you're living with chronic pain, drinking less or no alcohol can improve your quality of life.

    5. Join a support group. Meet others living with chronic pain.

    When you're with people who have chronic pain and understand what you're going through, you feel less alone. You also benefit from their wisdom in coping with the pain.

    Also, consider meeting with a mental health professional. Anyone can develop depression if they're living with chronic pain. Getting counseling can help you learn to cope better and help you avoid negative thoughts that make pain worse -- so you have a healthier attitude. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

    6. Don't smoke. It can worsen chronic pain.

    Smoking can worsen painful circulation problems and increase risk of heart disease and cancer.

    7. Track your pain level and activities every day.

    To effectively treat your pain, your doctor needs to know how you've been feeling between visits. Keeping a log or journal of your daily "pain score" will help you track your pain. At the end of each day, note your pain level on the 1 to 10 pain scale. Also, note what activities you did that day. Take this log book to every doctor visit -- to give your doctor a good understanding of how you're living with chronic pain and your physical functioning level.

    8. Learn biofeedback to decrease pain severity.

    Through biofeedback, it's possible to consciously control various body functions. It may sound like science fiction, but there is good evidence that biofeedback works -- and that it's not hard to master.

    Here's how it works: You wear sensors that let you "hear" or "see" certain bodily functions like pulse, digestion, body temperature, and muscle tension. The squiggly lines and/or beeps on the attached monitors reflect what's going on inside your body. Then you learn to control those squiggles and beeps. After a few sessions, your mind has trained your biological system to learn the skills.

    9. Get a massage for chronic pain relief.

    Massage can help reduce stress and relieve tension -- and is being used by people living with all sorts of chronic pain, including back and neck pain.

    10. Eat a healthy diet if you're living with chronic pain.

    A well-balanced diet is important in many ways -- aiding your digestive process, reducing heart disease risk, keeping weight under control, and improving blood sugar levels. To eat a low-fat, low-sodium diet, choose from these: fresh fruits and vegetables; cooked dried beans and peas; whole-grain breads and cereals; low-fat cheese, milk, and yogurt; and lean meats.

    11. Find ways to distract yourself from pain so you enjoy life more.

    When you focus on pain, it makes it worse rather than better. Instead, find something you like doing -- an activity that keeps you busy and thinking about things besides your pain. You might not be able to avoid pain, but you can take control of your life.

    Source: WebMD
  2. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    Great tips! Much easier said than done, but they may help at times.

    May I add my own tip????

    Go to the doc, tell him you want a good pic of him.... then develop the pic at WallyWorld, and then make it poster size, put it on your dart board, making his nose the center. Oh, while you're at WallyWorld, pick up 20 sets of darts, yes 20 sets, not 20 darts.

    Fight :)

    Note to self: Make several copies of doc pictures... lol.[This Message was Edited on 01/19/2010]
  3. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I'm LMAO!!!!!!!
  4. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    How have you been lately??? I see you are still giving out great words of advice or of inspiration, or both!!!!

    Fight :)
  5. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Thanks for asking. But, I'm not doing very well. I had a small stroke in January 2009. In 2008, I finally had one total knee replacement, and I need the same thing done on the other knee just as soon as I can get my list of "must do's before surgery" accomplished! Which may be never at the rate that I am going now!

    I'm still in a wheelchair. My back problems are so extensive that I can only stand up for about 5 minutes, and the same about walking--I can walk across the room with a cane, but with extreme pain.

    My diabetes has progressed to the point that I have a lot of neuropathy in my legs and feet. That coupled with my extremely swollen feet, from congestive heart failure, makes it hart to wear shoes! Then, last year I deveoped gout in both of my feet (toes and ankles), which extremely painful, too.

    I could go on and on, but don't want to bore you!!

    We moved last year, which I hate this house I am in now!! It's the old "home place" of my husband's family. His grandfather moved to the US from Germany back in the late 1890's and built this big two-story farm house. Out of all their children, his father bought the house out of the estate after his father died (hubby's grandfather). So, my hubby's dad raised his four children in this house until he died last year at age 94. So, my husband just had to have this house--he said he was the only one of the children in his family who could restore it and take care of it like it should be.

    There had not been much done to it in the last 20 years because his father was just too old to take good care of it.

    So, last year, we moved out of our nice, one-level, brick home where everything was accessible to me in my wheelchair, to this big 10-room farm house. I had to live through all this renovation last year, and now live in a house that I can not even get upstairs in!!! We went from 2 bathrooms to 1, from a short driveway to a long one--which means a long walk into the house, no dishwasher--but that's the first thing I had done!

    However, I recently got a scooter given to me from a neighbor whose husband passed away. I keep it in the garage and when I have to go out somewhere, my husband drives it up to the back door and I ride it down to the car, and when I get home I ride it back to the house and he takes it back to the garage. So, finally, one point to make my living here a tad bit better!

    I do have a power wheelchair in the house, but I live in only the downstairs. At least there was one bedroom downstairs and the bathroom was downstairs!!

    I have been pretty depressed during the last year due to this move, leaving my nice house and my hubby letting his drug-addicted sister move in it and has probably destroyed it by now, and my health going downhill, but I'm pulling out of it now. Maybe it's because we finally have this house in good shape. I don't know, I'm just glad I'm not as depressed anymore.

    My sister will take me out whenever I need to go, so that's nice.

    I'm still staying in bed at least 12 hours/day, and my hubby gripes at me for that--but it goes in one ear and out the other! After 40 years, who listens to them anymore, anyway!!! LOL

    I'm still in a lot of pain everyday, and by evening so weak that I have to go to bed for a few hours before I can watch my TV programs! So, I get back up at 11 pm or so, then watch TV until 3 am! It makes my days and nights mixed up, but who cares! I have a TiVo, or DVR, and record everything in the world to watch! I have one in my bedroom, too!

    I can't cook anymore since I can't stand up, so if we eat, my husband has to fix it. Trust me, it's never much! I can put the dishes in the D.W. in my wheelchair.

    That's basically my life! Sorry that I rambled on and on ..... nothing pressing to do right now!! LOL

    Hope your life has been going OK for you.
  6. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    I've been going through a lot as well, but not nearly as much, but just as chaotic though. While I can move around more, I sure can relate to the pain. I've been sleeping a lot as well. Seems like most of the day and night is filled up with sleeping. I am able to do a few things, but then I go back to paying for the activity and then I slide quickly into depression when the pain hits me so bad. I try everything. Today I called for my doc, and got the on-call doc, as it was after-hours, like by a minute. That doc told me to come down to get a pain shot, which I've never had done before, but was willing to try. Then no one was around to take me because he told me that I wouldn't be able to drive home after the shot. & driving to the afterhours clinic was bad enough with the migraine I got, which has been precipitated from the Savella. When pain hits so bad, ... oh man, I think you know, as I don't have to tell you. I wish for relief so bad. How I needed that shot!

    Anyway, I'm mad at your husband for not thinking straight. Why don't they understand that a little bit of comfort goes a long way? If I was there, I'd lecture him until he was begging me to leave. That makes me mad that he puts his stupid old fashion idea of a house being passed on through generations over the idea that his wife needs as much comfort as possible, especially with all you're dealing with.

    My exbf has gout, and he couldn't take me to the doc's today because he can barely walk.

    My allergies are acting up after cleaning out the cat litter boxes. I should wear a mask from now on.

    My head is better now. My allergies though are hurting my nose so much every time I breath in. I'll have to sleep with my mouth open tonight... maybe plug my nose with toilet tissue so that I don't breath in air, causing it more and more pain.

    Well, I have to go to bed, but I do want to chat more. There's much I want to ask you, as well as much I want to share.

    Fight :)
  7. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Oh, fight, I wish you could have gotten a ride to the doc for a pain shot. I used to get really bad migraines (about 15 years ago), so bad that I needed a shot of demoral and phenergen (? on spelling of each!). I was never allowed to drive home alone either. I would come straight home and go to bed and not get up for a day or two! I don't have them like that anymore.

    If the Savella causes migraines, then for sure, I never want to try it! I hope the effects of the Savella wear off really soon. And .. you should wear a mask when cleaning out the litter boxes--your allergies will just make your headache worse!

    Regarding my husband and having to move to this house I'm in now, believe me, we had quite a few words! He knows that I hate it here, but it certainly didn't prevent us from moving though!

    I have to get to bed now, too. It's 3:08 am and I have someone coming mid-morning tomorrow to clean house for me, and I'll never be able to get up that early if I don't get to bed and try and get some sleep now!

    Janet :)