The faster I pedal the more ammo and mobility my gun has.
Last week I raised the seat for better leg extension.
As I reached level four I felt a twinge of pain in my lower back.
Did that stop me? Of course not!
I was taught to ignore pain.
The twinge became a sharp pain.
The next day I felt stiff.
Friday I walk across the City to therapy.
I began to dress.
There’s a small chair in front of the door to bedroom closet.
I needed a jacket so I moved the chair and felt something pop; a jolt
of pain raced up my spine and down my legs.
Did I decide not to walk over five miles to my therapist, most of it up hill?
Of course not!
I was in so much pain that when I got home I took two aspirin and a double dose of ‘Clonopin.’ Most docs use benzos to treat severe spasms of the lower back. (I don’t advise anyone else to ever do this without consulting a doctor.)
I laid down and entered the world of pain.
Survival in the world of pain means finding the ‘right’ position: a way to arrange one’s body to cut severe pain.
Finding the ‘right’ position and holding it for as long as possible was the focus of all of my energy and concentration.
I’d find a position only to have to find another position five minutes later.
This meant having more pain to find respite in less pain.
For all my emotional pain I have never had to deal with severe medical pain.
After it was over I had a deeper appreciation for the suffering and courage of
people in chronic pain.
Rob Goldstein 2015-2018
First published November 2015 Revised November 2018
Jackie was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in her mid-20s. Afterwards, she began to make the lifestyle changes in order to
minimize the amount of medications I would need to take.
Below are her suggestions for managing chronic pain:
For people living with chronic pain, finding ways to minimize the pain isn’t easy. In working with your doctor, you may have tried various medications and therapies to get some relief. While they may work for awhile, these methods might not be the solution you have been seeking. There are other ways you can try to approach chronic pain at home to minimize pain and make life more manageable. We share tips for doing so below, to get you started.
Take a Mindful Approach
Sometimes people who live with chronic pain cause themselves more pain because they get angry and frustrated and just wish the pain would stop. Practicing mindfulness is one way to approach chronic pain that is highly effective. Clinical psychologist Dr. Elisha Goldstein explains that being mindful entails paying attention to something and giving it a fresh look.
If you are taking a mindful approach to chronic pain, therefore, you will avoid having negative thoughts and judging the pain, which makes it worse and causes anxiety and depression. By taking a mindful approach to pain, you will be curious about the intensity of your pain rather than judging it and being negative. You will stop setting goals and having expectations about how to minimize your pain and instead will create a learning mindset that promotes healing. You will be more aware of your pain and have an accurate perception of it rather than thinking your pain is constant all day. You will be less frustrated, anxious, and stressed, which will naturally lead to less inflammation and less pain overall.
Hire a Housekeeper to Alleviate Pain Caused by Chores
If you are trying to keep up with your laundry and house cleaning, there is a good chance that you are contributing to your pain by doing too much bending, stretching, and lifting. If you hire a housekeeper to care for your home, you will have a better chance of minimizing your pain. If you are concerned about the potential cost of hiring a housekeeper, consider having her deep clean once every other week rather than coming once a week or asking her to do the tasks that are too much for you instead of cleaning your entire home. For example, she may scrub your floors and clean your showers and bathtubs, and you may continue doing light dusting and vacuuming.
Some housekeepers charge less if you keep the home free of clutter and stay organized. When you interview applicants, make your needs known and negotiate a price that works for both of you, given the size of your home, the frequency of the cleaning, and the tasks that she will complete for you.
Create a Relaxing Home Environment
If you have a home that creates stress, you will exacerbate your pain. That’s why you should work to create a relaxing home environment that soothes your mind and your body. The first step is to organize your home and erase the clutter. Add plants and flowers to bring nature indoors. Remove dark, heavy drapes and install light-filtering sheers to allow in as much natural sunlight as possible. Paint your rooms in tranquil colors such as blue, green, and gray. Add accent pillows and decorations featuring your favorite color. Create a reading area that is comfortable and welcoming and include books that are inspiring and uplifting or that are written by your favorite author. It’s important to keep work-related materials out of this reading area so that it fosters relaxation.
Another way to create a relaxing home environment is to add scents that soothe you. Purchase an essential oil diffuser and scents that reduce anxiety and pain. Essential oils known for their relaxation-inducing capabilities include lavender, rose, vetiver, ylang ylang, bergamot, chamomile, and frankincense.
Taking a mindful, relaxed approach to chronic pain at home is one of the best ways to minimize your pain. Work on changing your thinking, hiring a housekeeper, and creating a stress-free home environment to find some relief.
We’ve all been there, sitting on the exam table as the nurse goes through the usual list of questions. Then there it is, the question I despise more than anything: On a scale of 0-10, how would you rate your current pain level? Many of us worry about giving the wrong answer, or at least the wrong impression. We don’t want to be perceived as whiners, hypochondriacs, and especially not drug seekers. We want our pain taken seriously and taken care of. While I do share these concerns, I find another concern to be of more importance.
The traditional numeric pain scale is really only meant for measuring acute pain. It is useless when it comes to the realm of chronic pain. When we battle pain for a long period of time, our perception of that pain changes, so what may have previously been a 7, we now consider to be…