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Everyone gets tired. It’s a natural part of life that we all have to deal with. Coping with tiredness on top of chronic pain can be even more challenging, but it is an additional symptom that we have to learn to cope with.
A very brief summary of my pain
I have a sitting disability which means that I am in pain when I sit down. I try and manage this by standing or lying down whenever I can but you can’t avoid sitting altogether.
I used to sit and lean to one side but by doing this I have caused irreversible damage to my spine and it also makes my upper back and shoulder muscles tight and causes neck pain. Now I try to sit normally, use a coccyx cut-out cushion, and focus on pain management to help me cope with my pain.
Everyone struggles more when they are tired. If you don’t sleep well it really can affect you the next day. If you’re on the go a lot and don’t get time to rest properly or have the amount of sleep needed to recuperate, it will affect you.
Some people constantly feel tired due to a medical illness or condition, such as CFS/ME, or due to side effects of taking medication. A lot of people just feel tired for unknown reasons, despite having all tests available to try and work out what is causing it.
Tiredness and fatigue are often a natural impact of chronic pain. Either because you don’t sleep well due to the pain, because you put a lot of energy in to managing pain, or simply because being in pain is extremely draining.
I think I suffer a combination of all the above – I sometimes don’t sleep well, I suffer with anxiety and stress, and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to manage my pain in the best way I can so that I can still do the things I enjoy.
I also get tired from all the standing I do. I alternate between sitting and standing in work by using a height adjustable desk. I also walk about a lot more, or do chores such as washing up, cooking, and hoovering, because I can do them standing up.
What do I do when I’m suffering from tiredness
I have learnt over time there are two ways to cope.
- Either give in to the tiredness and rest – it’s often your body telling you what you need and, as reluctant as I am to rest, I know I will appreciate it later on.
- Push yourself to do something (go for a walk, attempt a task on your to do list, do something to distract yourself) and this will either energise you, or if not, it reassures you that you need to pick option 1.
It’s crucial not to beat yourself up if you need to rest. I find that after a 20-30 minute lie down or sleep, I often feel in less pain (sleep is the only time my body seems to relax) and more productive, so it’s a win-win.
How do you cope with tiredness on top of chronic pain?
Do you prefer to keep busy or give in a and rest?
What tip can you share with others?