Join Practical Pain Management April 29 for a ZOOM meeting to ask Dr Jeff Gudin and Dr Jeffrey Fudin about managing pain during this pandemic.
Reserve your space today
What You Can Control - Focus on these
What You Can’t Control- Don’t focus on these
“The difference between living and survival. Survival is being barely able to pull through something. Living is being present and enjoying each moment.”
Carleigh Fairchild, Season 3 Alone contestant
I started binge watching the realty television show “Alone” via HULU – starting with season 3. Never seen the show before (not sure why) but now can’t get enough. Love it!
If you haven’t seen the show, it follows the self-documented struggles of contestants dropped into a remote area with a limited number of supplies who need to build shelters and live off the land for as long as they safely can (there are no camera crews – they are truly alone). The last person surviving, either by not giving up or being removed for medical reasons, wins $500,000.
In many ways, what show contestants go through mirrors what we go through as chronic pain patients. Both contestants and patients:
The quote above from season 3 contestant, Carleigh Fairchild, reminded me, it’s often the struggle with pain that is the most difficult, not the pain itself. To survive is to struggle. To live is fulfillment.
If the show contestants can manage the difficult conditions they face, we can do the same and live well, despite pain.
Imagine being in a car with your chronic pain.
Where is the pain? Is pain behind the steering wheel - determining where you go and what you do? Or are you driving?
Here are some ways to control pain.
Are you feeling stressed? Caught up in the COVID-19 madness?
Pain and tension are closely related. Muscles tighten and put pressure on nerves resulting in even more pain.
Deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, guided meditation, and muscle relaxation reduce tension.
Below are links to some helpful exercises.
I can’t stop thinking about my pain”
“I wonder if the pain means something else is wrong”
"I don’t see any end in sight”
These statements are examples of pain catastrophizing – emotional negative exaggerations – that can result in more pain and lead to anxiety and depression.
It's not easy managing chronic pain. There's no need for going through it alone. Find a local support group or Facebook support group to help you through the journey.
But be careful which groups you join.
I've seen way too much pain talk in many support groups.
While pain talk can help us validate our pain, it has been shown to worsen pain.
Conversely, well talk has been shown to reduce pain intensity.
You can’t make positive steps in your life if surrounded by negativity. Stay away from people who only want to complain about pain. And don’t share your pain with others with pain talk or other pain-related behavior.
That’s why I started my own support group where we try to limit complaining, woe is me or negative talk. The group is called Chronic Pain Champions – No Whining Allowed. Join us!
What a better way to pass the time and distract yourself by playing and learning at the same time?
Chronic Pain Champion word search
(think how each word applies to your pain journey and how you can champion pain)
Chronic Pain Champion bingo
(mark boxes as you complete them each day or use a reminder of tools you can use to manage pain)
Chronic Pain Champion pain quiz
(test your pain IQ)
Exciting news for me to expand my role as a chronic pain advocate and help other chronic pain patients take control of their pain.
I’m honored to being chosen as a patient advocate on the Practical Pain Management (PPM) Editorial Advisory Board.
As a patient advocate I represent your voices. Please share with me your thoughts, ideas and concerns.
If you haven’t checked out PPM, I recommend doing so.
Chronic Pain Champions is an information resource/blog/support group to help chronic pain patients, their families, and friends, as well as healthcare professionals.