Managing Chronic Pain

Hi all,

As you might have read in some previous posts, I have issues with chronic pain and chronic fatigue. These conditions cause me to struggle with pain flare ups, mind fog and sometimes being unable to move or raise my limbs on bad days.

The cycle

When you have conditions like these, it’s very easy to become very inactive, because you do genuinely hurt but also because you’re scared of making it worse. The problem is, inactivity breeds more ill health, not just psychically but mentally. Your muscles get weaker, your circulation reduces… but also when I have days I don’t physically do much, I feel restless, anxious and stressed and sometimes angry with myself. Then i’ll feel guilty and push myself too hard at the gym or with work and put myself back in a bad way.

There’s no one way to ‘break the cycle’ as such, it’s more important to understand your personal limits and appreciate how important that little bit of activity can be.

I find Yoga and even just basic stretching extremely useful for keeping myself healthier. Remember,  never do anything until the point it’s actually hurting you and if you’re having a truly bad day, there is no shame in not doing anything! (I’ve made the mistake of pushing too hard a million times but trying to work on it.) I also try to go to the gym a few times a week, or if the pain’s too bad swim as that’s much less impact on the joints. Finding an exercise form which you can do as little or much as you feel able is so important and is one of the reasons I love home Pole dancing so much (as you can see here Trying Pole Dancing).

Pain Relief Methods

Sometimes you need extra help with pain management. Below are the main things i’ve found useful over the past years.

These are what I personally use to treat chronic pain/fatigue and is non sponsored post. PLEASE if you believe you’re experiencing issues with chronic pain or fatigue go to your GP or at least call 111. Don’t self medicate without professional advice and help. Always check with your doctor before using a new pain relief as some things like TENS machines aren’t suitable for all.

Heat

If hot water bottles aren’t doing it for you, Microwavable heat packs are amazing for treating muscle pain. I like the long ones as you can wrap them round your neck more easily and they’re great for chest pain. A lovely friend of mine got me a plug in heated blanket for Christmas and it’s been Amazing!

Cold

I swear by Biofreeze. It’s easy to use, smells like menthol which is preferable to a lot of muscle reliefs and its herbal based. I use this a lot for treating costocondritus and shoulder pain. The roll on is also pretty tiny so easy to take out with you.

TENS Machine

DISCLAIMER: NOT SUITABLE FOR USE DURING PREGNANCY OR LABOUR, OR IF YOU SUSPECT YOU MAY BE PREGNANT. Not suitable for people with pacemakers or other implanted medical devices or for people with heart rhythm problems. Not suitable without supervision for children under 16 years of age. Keep out of reach of children. Cancer patients, people with diabetes or epilepsy should seek medical advice before using this product.

This has been such a savior for me with shoulder and joint pain. TENS Machines ENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and is recognised as a safe method of easing pain. It works by passing harmless electrical signals into the body from the gel pads. I use my machine a lot to help ease stiffness and pain and as long as you’re safe to use it really recommend.

Pain Killers

It sounds pretty obvious but ibuprofen is a great anti-inflammatory painkiller and paracetamol and aspirin are also fab for dealing with pain. I try not to take painkillers except when I really need to so as to avoid building up a resistance or damaging my stomach with overuse but when you need to use them do! Personally I take codeine for my chronic pain but given its addictive nature I try to be sparse with using it.

I hope this helped anyone suffering with similar issues and remember, any new pains or issues- always contact your GP first rather than turning to Doctor Google 😉

Laters!

Ruthy xo

http://chronicillnessbloggers.com/

 

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