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Pain management is different for everyone. What helps one person doesn’t always help another. In this blog post I list the things in my survival kit that I have and do to help with my pain management.
She is amazing, and in all honesty I couldn’t cope without her. She’s my whole world and she just ‘gets’ me. On my bad pain days, a simple cuddle can be enough to make me feel better in myself. Obviously it does’t take the pain away, but the support, understanding and strength that she provides is what is important.
My two Westies
Milo and Wesley are a big part of my pain management. They don’t understand my pain or why I struggle on my bad days, but they are there for cuddles, to cheer me up, and to distract me. Taking care of them is a priority and focusing on them is a huge help. Some days I don’t want to leave the house, but they need their walks so it encourages me to get some fresh air and a little exercise which can do wonders for my mental health.
I hate to admit it, but what would we do without our smartphones. They are the ultimate bit of survival kit and allow us to do so much – keep connected with people, be reminded to do tasks that I may otherwise forget (chronic pain brain fog), view random things on the web, and read books and articles via Kindle or Pinterest for example. I specifically love my phone because I can use it lying down and remain in a comfy position.
A book or Kindle book
Books are a good way to keep distracted; they can take you away from your own reality. I only read non-fiction books, and I like a good mix of real books and Kindle books. The advantage of a Kindle book is that if I have my phone, I have my book as I don’t always carry my book with me.
You may have seen a previous blog post about my favourite heat pack – I just love it, and it is a vital part of my survival kit. It doesn’t always stop my pain, but it can take the edge off it and provide a warming comfort. I have a couple of others that I use too – a neck hot water bottle and a wheat bag. If you haven’t read my product review blog post, click the image below.
For me, time in the bath is all about relaxing. And relaxing is a huge part of my pain management – it almost deserves its own paragraph. The heat in the bath helps my pain in all areas (neck, back, legs) and I take the opportunity to read a book, or watch some videos on my phone.
I love walking. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous, just a walk to my local shop or with my dogs is good enough and gets me out in the fresh air and provide some moving meditation. There’s lots of suggestions that a walk can be a real benefit to our mental health, and a brisk walk can be enough exercise to count towards our daily/weekly move goals. I also like walking as it’s a simple way to keep my muscles moving and it doesn’t cost any money.
Joggers or PJs
I have to wear comfy clothing to prevent my coccyx pain (although I don’t have a coccyx). I spend 90% of my time in either joggers or pyjamas. I can wear jeans, but they’re painful. I can wear smart trousers but they have to be baggy. I can wear gym gear, such as leggings, but only for a short period of time before the pain kicks in. Comfort is an absolute must in my survival kit.
My coccyx cut-out cushion
I’ve mentioned this in a few previous blogs (including Why we must not let chronic pain stop us doing things we enjoy and Coccyx cushion: pain v embarrassment) and although I find it embarrassing, I have to use it. It’s not brilliant, but it does mean I can sit longer before the pain kicks in. I always have to use it when sitting on the sofa or at the dining table at home, and when in the car. Admittedly though I don’t always take it out with me as I can get so anxious about it, which causes me more concern, and sometimes it’s easier if I just have one thing to think about, the pain.
Sweets and chocolate
Simple treats should be a part of everyone’s survival kit. Sweets and chocolate can easily make a dull day a little brighter. They don’t stop my pain or make it any more bearable, but just something that I like to eat which makes me happy. And pain management can be as simple as doing something or enjoying something to help make us feel better and have little things to appreciate.
I also enjoy the odd beer here and there. I don’t drink a lot, but I find that it relaxes me, especially when I go out or to social situations. I always joke that it is a muscle relaxant and therefore it reduces my pain, but it actually is.
‘This Works’ Pillow Spray
I always find my pain more difficult to mange when I don’t sleep well. Chronic pain naturally causes fatigue so it is vital that I do what I can to help me sleep. I don’t use it all the time but the Pillow Spray can help me sleep a little better. It smells lovely and just a few sprays on my pillow can make all the difference between a good and poor night sleep.
‘This Works’ Stress Check Breathe In Spray
Stress and anxiety make my pain worse, so I also have to do what I can to limit these. I carry the Breathe In Spray around with me and use it when things get a little bit overwhelming or I feel a little out of control, or simply stressed. You roll it on to pulse points and it helps you to feel more relaxed. I also take deep breaths through my nose and breathe it in too.
What it’s your chronic pain survival kit to help you manage your pain?