Helping Ourselves With Chronic Pain

In Blog by Alyssa Reid0 Comments

Hi everyone!  Today I thought I would chat about chronic pain and how we actually can help ourselves – possibly more than many people actually realize.

Hitting Rock Bottom

For many of us who have western medical care available, we tend to rely on the opinion of our medical professionals, without even considering that there may be alternatives out there – and ones that can help.

I think when many of us hit rock bottom in regards to getting relief for our pain, fatigue, mood and other symptoms, we have sadly taken on the belief that this is the end of the line when we are told exactly that by our doctors.

When we are told that there  is nothing more that can be done, many of us believe it. And that our lives and our bodies will never be like they were before….and it is detrimental in regards to our mental well being as we’ve been told that this is ‘it’ for us.

How can this not affect us mentally? For some of us, who are already struggling with many issues on top of pain such as financial instability, inability to pay for further or alternative care, sleep issues…depression and anxiety are already extremely prevalent.  Being told that your life is going down the pan, well, it sucks!

What If?

What if it actually isn’t the end of the road?  What if there are other options that are available to us?  What if our doctors don’t know as much as we think they do?  And what if there actually is hope?

However, it all boils down to one thing…

…YOU.

Only you can decide that your health is imperative and that you are worthy of getting heard and getting the proper medical care and attention you (and every human bean) deserves.

This could just mean joining some Facebook groups, connect with others who are on the same journey with the same conditions and sharing information.  I fully believe that support groups online are SO important for those of us who are feeling isolated, alone – scared and confused.  Connecting with others who ‘get it’ can make all the difference in the world.

In fact, why not join me on our Facebook page?  (I share information, research, look into different areas of self-management and treatments and also put up some poignant memes and a few cat pictures for variety :)).

Understand You!

For so many of us, we have a rather bizarre situation going on with our bodies.  We have handed over the reigns to our doctors without understanding ourselves and what our conditions are – and what we can do about them.

We put all of our faith in the pills that they hand out to us.  And other than physiotherapy and acupunture (on the NHS in the UK) there’s not much else (other than sending you for therapy…and for many this helps – for others it feels like being pawned off, because this is ‘all in our head…so time to see a shrink when the meds aren’t working!).

Please know that I fully believe that Big Pharma has saved millions of lives!  I am simply saying that there is MORE to our care than just taking pills (that sometimes don’t work).

What a Weird Situation…

…we have become detached from our bodies ( am envisioning a floating head!)  in regards to what’s really happening and we are relying on our doctors to ‘solve’ our issues.  (Please know that I have a lot of respect for doctors and medications that are saving thousands of lives, but equally, it’s imperative to know what is and isn’t working for us instead of blindly taking medications).

The thing is that in many cases with chronic pain conditions and particularly conditions such as fibromyalgia, CFS/ME, SEID our doctors are at a loss.  Here is a great letter written by a doctor and their experience of frustration at not being able to help…the other side of the coin.

We need to understand our bodies, how they work and what triggers pain, fatigue, mood swings and more.  By understanding our bodies and our patterns, it means that we have an opportunity to take back the driver’s seat in our health – and our lives.

Where to Start?

When we have conditions that are complex and go far beyond pain, it’s difficult to know where to begin!  However, one of the most critical things is understanding our bodies.

For instance, do you know if foods are triggering your IBS? Gluten and wheat (and many other foods) can be the instigator.  As are  Nightshade veg  – which are well known for causing an increase in pain.  That’s right folks, your tomatoes, potatoes, chillies, eggplant (aubergine), peppers and tobacco may be the cause of your increased pain.  For me, tinned tomatoes and eggplants = flare-up within 2 hours of eating.  Moussaka is a recipe for PAIN for me!

Know Thyself

In order to understand ourselves, the best and easiest way to do so is by tracking everything from pain, sleep, activities, journal our days, our flare ups and more.

You might find out a lot about yourself in doing this.  For me, I figured out that several of my meds were causing weight gain, one was causing seizures and blackouts, one was giving me horrific migraines…the list goes on.  And they weren’t actually helping my pain or sleep either!  I was just taking them in the hope that they were doing ‘something’.  Funny how desperation makes you do things…

But There’s a Lot of Stuff to Track!

Indeed there is, when we have complex and ever-changing conditions.  That’s why the FibroMapp app was created!  An app that you can personalize, track, monitor, record and create reports that can be shared.

By understanding our patterns and how they are affecting our quality of life, it means that we can understand ourselves better and ….CHANGE.  We can choose things like supplements, body adjustments, exercises that help, diet and much more.

Don’t we owe it to our bodies to gain control back?  And not solely rely on a 5 minute appointment with a doctor and the meds they prescribe for us?

Then What?

This is the fun part!  Taking the information you have learned about yourself and putting some research into what crops up on good ol’ Google.  (My bestest friend…well Google and Amazon…).  I also take what I have learned and go on to YouTube – from there I have found tons of stuff that’s been helpful.  Self-massage and stretches  to meditations.

Yes, you are going to come across everything as to how to get cures/relief.  Some of them even multi-level marketing stuff.  But be brave and have patience. Do your due diligence (research).

Options

Know that there are other options available to you in regards to your health.  Even if you are on a tight budget and are unable to afford treatments or private doctors there are still things that you can change.

Diet, exercise, supplements, treatments, different types of alternative and holistic medicine, massage, reflexology…you name it – there’s loads of information specifically for our conditions.  Read it.  Educate yourself. Ask questions.  Connect with others and find out their experiences.

All the information is sitting on the web as to alternative options in taking care of your body inside and out.  Mostly for free.  Use it!

Trust Yourself

The person who knows your body the best is always going to be you! Listen to yourself.  If something isn’t right and your doctor has dismissed it, push and request investigations.  Don’t ever be worried that you are becoming a hypochondriac!  You innately know when something isn’t right!

The bottom line is that you need to push – not just your GP, but yourself.  You need to listen to yourself, identify issues and ultimately, drill down to what the root cause of these issues are…because if you don’t, there’s a good chance neither will your doctor…

Is your doctor not listening?  Check out this blog to give you some good tips to help.

In Conclusion

There IS help out there. Whether it is supplements, chiropractic adjustments, diet and lifestyle changes, supplements, alternative medicine and more – there are options and choices away from your GP.  Never give up!  Track your daily experiences so that you can understand yourself better and  gain more control back of your body and your life!

When we have chronic pain it is imperative that we find ways to help ourselves  – and there ARE ways.  Take care of your body.  Love yourself, because there is only one you, ever.

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