As many of the people who have been following my blog for sometime will know, I now have a chronic pain condition. However it has its better days and really bad days far too often.
I do take some pain relief medication, but because I’m a sensitive soul and have found that the side effects outweigh many of the benefits and so I decided about two years ago to stop the crazy pill-merry-go-round that wasn’t actually working. Although stopping some of the pills should have left me in more pain, that wasn’t actually the case. I have found that the pain can be better or worse no matter how many pills I take. I still take some, which helps to keep some of the pain under control.
However there are some times and days that the pain can become almost unbearable, here are a few ideas that I have found help –
- Know your body: do you know what your pain feels like within your body before it becomes a full blown nightmare? There are two very distinct ways in which my body tells me the pain is rising; 1) my skin itches, every where and if I scratch it, it feels like I have scratched a burn. 2) my feet try to twist themselves around each other and I don’t always know that they are doing it at first it is so automatic for my body to do it. It is almost as if they are trying to push the pain away.
- Learn to meditate. Listening to our bodies is the best thing we can do for ourselves. It is no point trying to learn meditate in the middle of a pain crisis. Try this: lay down our sit in a comfortable position. Breath in through the nose and out through your mouth. Make each breath one count longer – start by counting to three on an in breath and four on an out breath, then add an extra count too both the in breath and the out breath, making them four and five, and so on. I can now reach seven and nine. Focus the in breath towards the pain, either begin at your toes and work your way up your body, or at your head and work down your body. With each in breath say to the pain ‘I feel you’ and with every out breath ‘I accept you.’ Continue until the pain begins to settle, I often find myself going to sleep.
- Have a hot bath or shower. Start the heat of the bath as normal, then once you are in and settled add more hot water, don’t burn yourself, but it should be hot enough to feel slightly too hot. You can add magnesium to the water, such as Epson salts, but it only works on your mind as the magnesium molecules are too big to be absorbed through the skin. Personally I put lavender oil or some of my favourite bubble bath in the water. As long as it makes you feel better, it doesn’t really matter. Have a towel heating so you can wrap yourself in it when you get out.
- Next after the bath or instead of a bath, find a light weight blanket or wrap that is long enough to cover you from your neck to your toes and all around your body. I find a duvet is to heavy for this, so I do have a lighter blanket. Wrap yourself in the blanket like a cocoon, it’s at this point or shortly after that my body gives in and I go to sleep.
- Don’t forget to take your medication as prescribed, however always have either an extra dose to take when things are really bad or have something else available. Do take them as soon as the pain is starting or changing, they will work, but they can take time, up to an hour to fully work and when you’re in severe pain an hour is a very long time. Be careful to not overdose, especially too much paracetamol as this can destroy your liver. If I take to much codeine I become light headed and spaced-out, not a bad way to feel when you’re in pain, should clear within a few hours as it wears off.
- If the pain continues or gets even worse you may need to seek professional medical help.
What have you tried and have found to work when the pain feels out of control?