Dealing Positively With Chronic Pain and Illness
Dealing with chronic pain is something I am very familiar with. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 5. It affects every joint in my body from my jaw to my toes. For 43 years now, I have experienced pain in my body 24/7. I have had 4 hips, 4 knees and 2 shoulders replaced. The worst surgery I had was an ankle fusion. The recovery and rehab from that took a long time.
Even though I experience pain in various joints in my body every day, I have always had a verypositive attitude. I can be having a particularly pain filled day and yet none of my coworkers or friends will have any idea. My attitude does not change. I rarely miss work due to health reasons.
There are a number of beliefs, thoughts and principles that I use to help me manage pain and control it rather than letting it control me. Some of these techniques and ideas I have learned from The Arthritis Society and their Arthritis Self Management Program and Chronic Pain Management Workshop.
Controlling Your Focus
The most important thing I do to manage pain is to control the focus of my thoughts. I tell people that the reason I rarely stay home from work when I am really sore is that I would rather be sore and working at my desk focusing on my work than sitting or lying around at home watching television. When I am working, my brain focuses on my tasks at hand and I lose myself in the work. Being focused on my work takes my mind off my pain. I also enjoy singing Christian songs out loud. I don’t always remember the lyrics and I sing very poorly however the words and thoughts behind the songs makes me focus on the many blessings I have rather than the pain I am experiencing. I love reading as well and a good book is a great way to redirect your focus.
When you are in pain, make sure you have 3 or 4 things you can do that you really enjoy, and that will allow you to focus on something you love. I don’t recommend watching television as a way to distract yourself. Unless you are deeply engrossed and interested in what you are watching, it will not distract your focus enough. Television is more helpful to relax your mind rather than engage it.
Control Your Language
Even though I am sore all the time, I almost never say anything out loud to indicate that to anyone, including myself. In my opinion, when you talk to yourself and others about how sore you are, you force your brain and body to focus on the pain. Whatever you force your brain and body to think about, they will make it happen. Your conscious and subconscious minds are very powerful. They listen to what you say and they go about making it happen. As much as possible, do not voice your pain and frustration to anyone, including yourself.
Control Your Body and Physiology
How you walk, stand and carry your body help to manage your emotions. If you are looking up, smiling, standing as straight as you can and walking at an above average pace, you will feel better. If you are looking down, not smiling, walking bent over and shuffling along when you walk, you will feel worse.
By focusing your thoughts and controlling your language and physiology, you will lessen the effect of pain in your body and feel better about yourself and life.
If you suffer from chronic pain and illness and have some tips on how you manage and control pain, please contact me. I would love to share your ideas with my readers.