I want to begin by breaking down my relationship with chronic pain.
After living with lupus most of my life and being recently diagnosed with MS, chronic pain is my life partner. My partner has many different names, Trigeminal neuralgia(TN), Proctalgia fugax, Pleuritis, Arthritis or Bursitis (ect) but in the end, the name is irrelevant.
We share a bed. We share meals. We watch movies together. Pain runs shotgun on every car ride. Chronic pain is with me all the time and weaved through most of my memories. Chronic pain is a relationship with a partner unwilling to break up.
As a mother of three girls, I am not diminishing the pain of childbirth but chronic pain trump’s labor pain. I have given birth three times and two times without any drugs.
My third girl tried to come 9 weeks early. One additional week meant a dramatic improvement of lung development, therefore, I was in active labor for one week and declined any drugs. That week of labor and a lifetime with chronic pain has certified me as a pain expert.
Childbirth pain will end with something awesome.I forgot the pain as soon as I held each baby. Labor pains are terrible but only last during labor with the best prize in the end.
Chronic pain can be anytime and anywhere and there is no purpose to the pain. I never got a gift with chronic pain, I only get more pain.
You don’t have to be polite during labor. I remember screaming obscenities during my labor. People were offering me ice chips before and inflatable pillows after. I was encouraged to rest and recover with unlimited support.
When chronic pain wakes me up in the middle of the night I quietly get out of bed so I don’t wake my husband. I feel bad for any friends or strangers that sit next to me in a movie because I am constantly moving trying to find relief. I don’t want to stop on long car rides and make everyone extend the trip in order to stretch at multiple rest stops.
People care. Nurses in the OBGYN unit are the nicest people I have ever met. They are constantly asking how they can help with the pain.
Chronic pain is invisible and most caregivers don’t know how to respond. Coaches, trainers, and caregivers sometimes even roll their eyes.
My tricks for managing chronic pain
Nutrition works. I don’t care if you try vegan, paleo or Whole30. Work with a professional and commit to at least 10 days. You will know instantly based on your pains scale. I still own the same bottle of ibuprofen from 5 years ago. I was taking 3 pills 3x a day until I cut out sugar. I think this is the hardest part. Make sure you have a community of support during this journey.
Work through the pain. It is tough for me to give this advice but it’s true. Stretch and warm up properly. Don’t overdo it!!!! Hire an experienced professional. I love trainers who are goal oriented and listen to their clients. If you trainer, doctor or coach doesn’t listen to you, move on.
Cut out the negative, first! If someone doesn’t bring you joy, don’t speak to them. Plan out a treatment plan. Schedule a regular restorative treatment, stretch class or yoga class and find a healthy community for support.
Good luck on this journey to feeling better. I was motivated to write this blog after meeting with so many new clients over the past month. I am excited those clients are feeling better.