Tuesday 26 January 2021

6 Tips for Coping with Pain

Living with being in a permanent state of pain can be really difficult to cope with, not just physically but emotionally too. It can also be very limiting at times but I have found ways of living with both chronic and acute pain and here are a few tips I would like to share with you on what help me cope with my pain...

1. Distraction

A caucasian woman with brown wavy hair wearing white headphones holding a cup with and open book in form of her

I find distraction one of the most helpful tips to cope with pain. Depending on my level of pain and how limiting it is on my body varies.

Sometimes distractions can include listening to something such as music, a podcast, mindfulness meditation or an audiobook. Or if I'm able to I'll read a book or magazine or my Happy Newspaper - whatever you find myself getting lost in.  Other times I find just simple games on my phone are a good distraction. - I particularly like 1010!, 2048, Angry Birds Friends, card games, Sneezies, Sneezies Match and Two Dots. When I'm more able I enjoy colouring and word puzzle books or doing a jigsaw puzzle.

Try to find what works for you as everyone has their own things that they find helps to distract them so don't feel discouraged if you try something and it doesn't help. Keep trying until you have your own distraction toolkit which you ca extend and use in different situations alongside times when you are experiencing pain.

2. Rest

A caucasian woman with brown hair laid in bed with green bedding

I find taking time out of the day to rest or having a restful day helps when I'm in pain, especially on bad pain days It's okay to have a PJ day in bed or on the sofa if that is what your body is telling you that is what you are in need of.

If I can I usually cancel plans and if possible I'll also cancel plans and medical appointments to allow me to have a rest day. 

Rest is a form of self-care and part of self-care is listening to your body in what it's telling you what it needs and quite often for me that is taking time-out to rest to allow my body to recover.. 

My friend has this saying "just keep swimming, but if you can't swim just float". When I'm in pain I know that in that moment it's okay to just float and rest and do little as possible. It's about giving my body time to heal. Sometimes I find I need to have a nap so don't fight having a nap if you feel you need to have a sleep. 

When I talk about 'rest' some people think that resting is doing something like watching TV, but this is still a stimulating activity. To properly rest you need to switch of your mid and your body. Personally I find laying any listening to relaxation soundscapes help my mind and body feel more rested.

3. Mindfulness

This one goes sort-of goes along with the theme of rest. I find mindfulness really helpful for my pain. Within mindfulness there is a selection of varieties. I personally prefer visualisation such as around a secret garden or going through the colours of the rainbow or breathing exercises but I personally find that things like progressive muscle relation aggravates my pain but it might work for you. There are a variety of mindfulness apps most have a selection of free versions but you can upgrade if you wish. YouTube also has a selection of mindfulness videos too.

Two caucasian women both wearing striped topped giving each other a hug
4. Friends

I've found that friends who understand (a) are the really good friends in life and (b) they can help you through difficult times. Such as when you're going through a pain flare. 

A good friend is someone you can sound off to about your health difficulties or to talk to about non-health related things to help you take you mind off your pain. 

Friends really helps as when you live with chronic pain, (often accompanied by other health problems) as they let you know that you are not alone, This is especially the case if they too have chronic health problems but even really good friends who don't have health problems can still be as equally supportive.

5. Pinterest

I find getting lost on Pinterest searching for new crafts or hand lettering to try, envelope art,  blog post ideas or building my own dream house really good for taking my mind off my pain and it's a fairly low-key activity. I find Pinterest a fairly easy things to do that doesn't require too much mental exertion but it's still stimulating enough to keep me occupied for a while. when I'm needing to take my mind off my pain.

6. Heat

A women wear a pink dress holding a hot water bottle to her stomach. The hot water bottle is blue cover with a cloud design on it.

My last tip that I find helps me cope with pain is heat. This could be an electric heat pad, a hot water bottle or wheat heatie. I find heat really soothing when I'm in pain and medically they do advise to apply heat to the area in which you are experiencing pain. You can get some really nice hot water bottle covers, or you could even make your own if you really wanted! 

* Always use hat water bottles with caution *

If hot water bottles aren't suitable for you for whatever reason, (like for me I cannot make up a hot water bottle myself due to my seizures) there are plenty of alternatives to hot water bottles. I have some lovely cuddly microwave heat packs for example I have a dinosaur heatie and I have an electric heat pad too.