I live with chronic pain as a daily thing. I mean, that’s probably obvious since I said ‘chronic’, right? My point is, living with it can be quite an adjustment and something that can take years to get ‘used to’ (even though we almost never do, right?). This means trying out many things to see what works. My pain is largely nerve and muscle based. This means I deal with sharp and deep pain most of the time. I occasionally have skin pain that feels like burning.
If you deal with chronic pain, I hope some of these tips and hacks for living with chronic pain can help you.
Tips and Hacks for Living with Chronic Pain
Use an umbrella– I am highly photosensitive due to being pretty light skinned, but also due to my condition. I find that using an umbrella if I will be outside all day helps to keep my body cooler as well as keeps me from getting as much sun on my skin and causing burning, which can be horrible when you already suffer from nerve pain.
Exercise really is key– I know we all get sick of hearing from well meaning loved ones and doctors that ‘if we just moved more we’d feel better’ but in many cases, I hate to admit it, but, it can be true. I am definitely not saying it is in every case as we are all different, however, one way I keep myself from being stiff and sluggish is to do even light exercise like yoga. (Here are some tips for doing yoga when you have limited mobility!)
Use fans wherever you go– Heat and humidity make my symptoms worse. I used to struggle so hard with this when out and about, especially since our car doesn’t have a working AC. I bought a small fan for my iPhone and it has been a game changer.
Order stuff online– Let’s face it, sometimes going to the store is out of question with chronic pain! This is where programs like Amazon’s Subscribe and Save really come in handy. No more having to leave the house to get my toilet paper or cat food. It gets delivered right to my door. This cuts down on trips to the store, but also helps because I order heavier items and then I don’t have to carry them up my stairs! Plus, you can save up to 15% on these items and get free shipping.
Meditation can really help– I know I tend to be a bit of a new agey hippie with my dreadlocks and recipes for DIY cleaners, but hear me out on this. Meditation has actually been shown to help with chronic pain because it teaches our brains to soothe pain and can actually help us not feel it as strongly in the future! Here are some tips for creating a perfect meditation space and tips for starting meditation to get you started.
Have a “pain kit” to take with you when you can– This can be very personal, but some things I keep in mine are pain meds, my little fan for my iPhone, warm socks (seasonal), a favorite treat, topical gels and creams and whatever else you think you may need when out. Part of the issue for me is the fact that going out almost makes me anxious because I never know when pain will hit. Having a pain kit helps me feel more at ease.
Find support online– I have found tremendous amounts of support or just some good old fashioned pep talks from people who get it in online support groups. If you are unsure where to look, the easiest way i think is to search Facebook. Just start with a search of your condition or even just “chronic pain”. There are many there! I encourage you to join more than one.