Crunchy Gal

Confronting my Chronic Pain

The very first symptom I had on this crazy journey was chronic pain.  Many of my friends have struggled with chronic pain for years, and I have a new appreciation not just for the physical complications that accompany a life of pain, but the toll it can take on you spiritually and emotionally, as well.
    For me, the emotional aspect has been a game changer. While it is hard for people you love to watch you in pain; it is just as humbling to have to ask for help. It changes who you are to know you just physically cannot do things you are used to do (managing your household, keeping up with kids, working your job), but it is also very discouraging to have to put your passions and hobbies on the back burner because your body just cannot handle it. For me, I have really had to step away from some of my sewing because my feet and legs don’t work the way they should and I have so much low back/sciatica/pelvic pain.  We have found some medicines that have helped, including Lidoderm patches (topical lidocaine).
    I prefer to handle my issues more naturally when I can. One thing I really love is using essential oils. I found PanAway Essential Oil by Young Living which works with the body’s natural response to irritation or injury. An essential oil blend of Wintergreen, Clove, Helichrysum and Peppermint essential oils it feels amazing on your joints and muscles. It reminds me of a liquid cream that it is at first warm, but then cool, due to the Peppermint. I have my husband rub just a few drops up and down my spine, and along my low back/sciatica.
    It seems the psychological/emotional effects that accompany my chronic pain are the more damaging and depressing than the physical ones. Not being able to move and play with my kids. Not feeling like snuggling with my husband. Being confined to a couch or bed. I feel too young and active in my heart to be experiencing these limitations. But now to be having these times of pain relief, makes me appreciate so much more when I can play and laugh and run and move with my family nearly pain-free.

chronic-pain

For those of you are just now figuring out how to “cope” and be able to accept the pain that is now just a part of your life, here are some suggestions I have for you:

1. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.

Sometimes the chores and your “to-do list” will not get done (or even started) and you need to pick the things that must get done. That may be going out to dinner with your spouse, getting a cup of coffee with a friend or doing something fun with your family or kids, and completely ignoring that you have no groceries. I’m not saying you should always ignore the routines and necessities. Just pick your battles. Sometimes, taking care of your soul and your emotional state is the best thing you can do for you!

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you are anything like me, this is not in my nature or character. I pride myself on being self-reliant.  I can “do it all”. But the reality is right now I simply cannot. There are people out there with the gift of hospitality, that actually enjoy cooking and housecleaning, and love to serve people in need. Be blessed by these people, and use it as an opportunity to use that extra time to rest or take a relaxing bath. My husband has been amazing in this area. I have really seen him step in huge ways in the last few months and it has really softened my heart and make me love him even more (even though I am lousy at saying it and showing it)!

3. Learn what works for you to minimize pain.

This sounds simple, but it’s a process. For me, sitting on a boppy (or pillow) makes life so much better. It is awkward to carry a pillow everywhere! (Especially when it’s to church.It somehow announces I plan to sleep though your sermon. lol) However, for me, this makes a huge difference in the level of pain I experience, and so I overcame my own insecurities to take care of my health. Perhaps something alternative could help. Acupuncture, meditation, essential oils, massage, chiropractic care, basic exercise, eating clean (or even just eating healthier – choose a fruit for a snack instead of a candy bar) have all been shown to help people with chronic pain. There are cases of people who live with chronic pain, including sufferers of RA, MS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, severe migraines, herniated disks, and even Parkinson’s who have found relief with natural remedies.

4. Pray!

Last, but not least, take your pain, your anxiety, your unsureness, your depression, your fear to the Lord. He is the Great Healer and no request of ours goes unheard. Psalm 22:24 promises:
“For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.”

 

 

What works for you when you are confronting chronic pain? What advice do you have to share?

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