24 Little Ways To Keep Chronic Pain From Ruining Your Life – BuzzFeed News


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Health

Ditch the “I’m okay” face.

We
asked members of the Buzzfeed
Community who deal with chronic pain to
share the little ways they take care of
themselves. Here’s what they had to say.

FYI: These aren’t meant to be a substitute for
medical advice; they’re tactics that have
worked for others and might work for you, too.
Be sure to check with your doctor before trying
anything new for your chronic pain.

ID: 10585881

1.
Prepare some YouTube or Spotify playlists for
those inevitable times when you need a
distraction from the pain.

View this image ›

“I have multiple sclerosis-related trigeminal
neuralgia, widely regarded as the worst chronic
pain disease known to man. Sometimes, it is
essential to try to focus on something else —
anything else — while waiting for relief. I
like to keep YouTube playlists based on
subjects/video genres I enjoy, and add to it
regularly without watching them first. So when
the pain hits, I just choose a subject and go
with it. It seems like a minor thing, but it
really does help when you need to keep it
together.”

—angels4d4906ef4

ID: 10586002

2. Revamp
your wardrobe with comfortable clothes.

Revamp your wardrobe with comfortable clothes.

View this image ›

Loryn Brantz / BuzzFeed

“Ever since I was diagnosed with endometriosis
six months ago, I had to relearn how my body
operates. It was a good time to revamp my
wardrobe. Right now I’m obsessed with leggings,
bralettes, sweaters, and socks because they’re
so comfortable and they alleviate the chronic
discomfort.”

—sandrab4fbdf3282

“Men’s undershirts. I just had to stop wearing
any type of bras. My back pain is so bad that
within an hour of putting on a bra I can’t walk
straight.”

—cr1stalfairie

ID: 10585935

3. Write
down the activities you can do at different
pain levels — both for yourself and others.

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“Frustrated that I wasn’t getting out as much
anymore, I made a list of everything I could do
at my different levels of pain and distributed
it to my close friends and family. Now when
someone reaches out to spend time with me I
have a lot more options than I did before and
I’m far less likely to cancel knowing that I
can tolerate what I’m about to do. It also has
helped my loved ones know how to help me best.”

—laurens4d6ffcc81

ID: 10585952

4. Wake
up early so you can prepare for the day slowly.

Wake up early so you can prepare for the day slowly.

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“When I wake up, many of my joints are
extremely stiff and it takes about an hour to
get going. My remedy is to wake up 40 minutes
before I actually need to get out of bed. I
take one pain pill and one muscle relaxer and
eat a few crackers to eliminate any queasy
feelings from the medicine. After about 20
minutes laying under an electric blanket, I do
some gentle stretching to help ease my
stiffness. When it’s time to get out of bed, my
pain has dropped to a manageable level and I
can get on with my day.”

—r46143bf89

ID: 10586028

5. Take
up journaling so you have a place to vent.

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“This is truly what keeps me sane. Sometimes I
just need to get my anger, frustration,
depression, etc. out in a way where I don’t
have to worry about judgement or hurting
anyone’s feelings.”

—LaPiccolaSirena

ID: 10593588

6. Or
open up to someone you trust, so that you don’t
have to keep it all to yourself.

Or open up to someone you trust, so that you don't have to keep it all to yourself.

View this image ›

“Being able to take a step back from my hectic
college life, and get feedback on my feelings
helps me tremendously.”

—sandrab4fbdf3282

ID: 10605709

7.
Embrace the magic of a really, really good
bath.

Embrace the magic of a really, really good bath.

View this image ›

“Let’s talk about baths for a second, okay?
Joints feeling achy? Been on a cane for a few
days? March (or roll) yourself to a damn tub,
throw in (or have someone help you throw in) a
half cup of epsom bath salts. Turn off the
lights and soak for as long as you damn well
please. A hot bath eases my pain in such a
wonderful way. And ~bonus~: it helps melt the
stress away, which can help ward off flare ups!

If you’re in a particularly bad flare up and
getting in and out of a tub isn’t doable (we’ve
all been there!), a seated shower works wonders
as well!”

—emilya497f5abb1

ID: 10593534

8. Give
yoga a try.

“I’ve been suffering from a compression fracture
in my vertebrae since I was 15, going on 16. As
it’s worsened over time, I’ve recently taken up
yoga and it’s so far the best thing I could do
for my back because it helps strengthen both my
core and my back, as well as teach me balance,
flexibility, and good posture.”

—Jacqi Prochaska, Facebook

ID: 10585909

9.
Exercise in the water for a lower-impact
workout.

View this image ›

“Aquatic physical therapy is also a huge help.
The buoyancy is such a help when it comes to
doing exercises to keep your strength up as
well as your range of motion and flexibility.”

—FutureKatLady

ID: 10585956

10. Use
tennis balls or other tools to work your
muscles at home.

View this image ›

“Tennis or racquet balls or tools like the

Knobble are AMAZING for sciatica and
piriformis muscle pain. Lay on your back, put
the ball or the Knobble tool under your butt
cheek, and adjust the position until you get it
directly under the spot where the spasm or
sciatica is occurring. It feels sooooo good
when it releases the muscle.”

—FutureKatLady

Here are some self-massages you can do with
a tennis ball.

ID: 10593584

11.
Figure out the best ways to relax so you can
keep your stress levels down.

Figure out the best ways to relax so you can keep your stress levels down.

View this image ›

“I’ve tried many things, and I’ve found that
relaxation and meditation are KEY. When you’re
in times of stress, it’s SO easy to tense and
make pain worse. Relaxation can be reached in
the easiest ways — playing a game, taking a
nap, watching a show, reading a book. Basically
anything that makes you feel good and takes
your mind off of things. Also, I find that
meditations are quite calming and make your
awareness of your body keen. I agree it takes
some time and effort for meditations to work,
but in my opinion, it’s worth it.”

—beachlover307

ID: 10585998

12. See a
doctor who specializes in pain management.

“A pain doctor ended up being my saving grace.
Physical therapy wasn’t working, my chiropractor
wasn’t doing it, biweekly massages weren’t
cutting it, and I was so ready to give up. Then I
went to a pain doctor, did a DNA test to find the
right painkillers for me, got Botox injections at
the pain sites (chronic back pain), and touched
up in between with trigger point injections. My
quality of life changed so much by seeing a pain
doctor.”

—dawng6

ID: 10586006

13. Stock
up on all the heated things — pads, mattress
toppers, jackets, car seats, whatever.

View this image ›

“[My mattress pad] has a set in timer that
lasts 10 hours. It’s also a good way for me to
know if I’ve been sleeping too long.”

—leer

ID: 10586016

14. And
invest in a blanket that will be your new best
friend.

And invest in a blanket that will be your new best friend.

View this image ›

“This might sound weird but having a big fluffy
blanket, like a down comforter, is so helpful.
It helps cushion my joints when I can’t lay
regularly, especially my arms. It’s also
provides a good cozy feeling that helps me
emotionally, too. When I’m having a really bad
flare up, sometimes I just need some extra time
in bed and it helps to be comfortable.
Sometimes that extra hour or two of sleep makes
a huge difference with a flare up.”

—bree-nb

ID: 10586026

15. Utilize
wheelchairs and other mobility aids when you need
them.

“Do not be afraid to use mobility aids. I’ve had
quite a few experiences where I wouldn’t have
been able to go out or participate in an event,
but using a wheelchair made it possible. A lot of
Spoonies are afraid to use mobility aids because
many abled people out there can get pretty
judgmental (it sucks, I know), but they aren’t
the ones who are living your life, and you can
guarantee they’d use mobility aids in a heartbeat
if they had even a fraction of your pain.”

—apurplefairy

ID: 10620771

16. Get
comfortable saying “no” without beating
yourself up.

Get comfortable saying "no" without beating yourself up.

View this image ›

“There are going to be times where doing
something isn’t an option, whether it’s because
you’re having a bad flare day or it’s simply
dangerous for your health. Your safety is more
important than another person’s opinion, and if
they’re really going to make it hard on you,
then they’re not worth your time anyway.”

—apurplefairy

ID: 10620777

17. Join
a support group to connect with people who
actually get it.

Join a support group to connect with people who actually get it.

View this image ›

“Finding the right support group helped me a
lot. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which
causes chronic pain among other things.
Thankfully mine isn’t too bad right now, but
I’m also a collegiate swimmer, and sometimes
the pain gets pretty bad and not many people
understand. Luckily I found a support group on
Facebook specifically for athletes with EDS and
it’s been very reassuring to know there are
other people in my exact situation.”

—lizzyk4b19fbe29

ID: 10586020

18. Pick
up an artistic hobby that can serve as a
distraction or self-care act.

Pick up an artistic hobby that can serve as a distraction or self-care act.

View this image ›

“Since I had to deal with my chronic pain
alone, arts and crafts have been a huge outlet
for me. They allow me to focus on the task at
hand and make the more daunting tasks of the
day go away. Even for people who don’t think
they’re good at crafting, anything’ll do!”

—guntherthepenguin

ID: 10586029

19.
Consider getting a pet.

Consider getting a pet.

View this image ›

“We currently have two guinea pigs and taking
care of them and playing with them helps me
more than anything else in this world. They
help my PTSD, but also help my pain conditions
because I take better care of myself to take
care of them.”

—kirstenw5

ID: 10586033

20. Don’t
get just any old massage — seek out one
designed to help your pain.

Don't get just any old massage — seek out one designed to help your pain.

View this image ›

Wavebreakmedia / Getty Images

“Therapeutic massage therapy! Massage therapy
definitely cannot help everything, but if you
can find a therapist who truly understands the
body and how the nerves and muscles interact,
they might be able to start you on the track to
feeling better. Don’t go to a spa expecting
medical-grade bodywork — do some research and
find someone who specializes in what you need.

Final note: therapeutic massage does NOT
necessarily mean deep tissue. If your massage
therapist hurts you, they’re doing it wrong. If
your body is more comfortable with light-touch
massage, that’s okay! It can still be massively
beneficial.”

—erikar4ee830d01

ID: 10593541

22. Try out
a wearable unit for pain, like a TENS
(Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
unit.

“Bought a nice one for $25 on Amazon. Best
purchase ever.”

—melissaw4baac4c8a

ID: 10593548

23. Ask
other people with chronic pain for advice
whenever you can.

Ask other people with chronic pain for advice whenever you can.

View this image ›

“Seriously, I’ve gotten some of my best advice
in waiting rooms. Shit I never would have
thought of or believed if I hadn’t heard
someone else explaining it.”

—bearjuu42

ID: 10586024

24. Give
yourself permission to ditch the brave “I’m
okay” face.

Give yourself permission to ditch the brave "I'm okay" face.

View this image ›

“Don’t try to hide your pain from the world.
Part of being strong is being honest and not
just pushing through the pain. When it gets to
be too much, sometimes you just need to let it
out. If you end up crying in the grocery store,
so be it. People are usually going to be
supportive, and if they are not, then they
don’t deserve your time.”

—corip001

ID: 10585911

Some responses have been edited for length
and/or clarity. And for even more tips, check
out the comments in the original post
here.

ID: 10620791

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