Posts tagged with: chronic pain

Christians with Chronic Illness

Chronic Pain Barbie
Image by Migraine Chick via Flickr

When people ask me to describe myself, this is how it goes: “I’m a Christian bank teller, I also write health articles for websites. I read, I write, I watch a lot of TV and I listen to a lot of music. I also have chronic pain including migraines and arthritis in my back.”

Thanks to Diana at Somebody Heal Me, I now know that there are tons of other Christians with chronic illnesses out there, and I have found a new support network. She recently shared about a Christians With Chronic Illness Blog Carnival that I never would have thought to search for on my own! Talk about a boost for my soul!

From what I can tell so far, Chronic Illness and Pain Support seems to be a great blog that provides just what it says; Christian support for those of us with chronic illnesses and pain! I’m excited to be a part of the following and hope that I’ll be able to get involved in future carnivals!

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Motivation to exercise

~ FALLinter ~
Image by ViaMoi via Flickr

Working at WEGO Health has given me the opportunity to meet new people and really see where my health interests lie. It’s also recently given me a kick in the pants to start working out again! Shannan recently created a new Fit Group and I jumped right in. She has been motivating all of the ladies in the group (no guys yet!) to get up and get moving. Her recent post about What motivates you to exercise was incredibly insightful and I wanted to share it with you!

Last week I worked out three times – alternating walking and jogging, and it’s doing me some good already! I’ll share part of my comment here, too, since it’s general fitness stuff about me.

I have been exercising mainly to keep my body loose and limber. Dealing with chronic pain daily my doctors told me that even walking everyday would help me relieve some of the constant pain. I did it religiously over the summertime (sunshine!) but once winter hit, I slipped up and stopped. Now I’m back to three days a week (whee!) and I’ve been sleeping better and not hurting as much, so something is working.

I know, in the near future, my mindset is going to change from doing it to relieve the pain to doing it because I crave it. That’s how I’ve been before and know/hope it’ll be again.

I took your advice from the group and started out slow. I walked and did a little running last week and while I was sore, I don’t feel like I pushed myself too hard. I am going to be trying the Jillian Michael’s Shred DVD this week and know that it’s going to kick my butt, but all my friends are doing it, so I want to, now, too.

I think ya’ll should go check out Shannan’s blog Living a Whole Life and tell her why you’re exercising! I think ya’ll should ALSO join WEGO Health and jump into the Fit group to meet some amazing women who will motivate you to get moving!

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Here we go again …

Western Honey ...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I live with chronic pain.

My pain has had a flare up and I’ve been going to bed early and being so tired in the morning I hardly drag myself out of bed. In the rollercoaster of life with chronic pain, I am at the bottom. That means I can only go up, right?

More soon! I promise! I have GOOD entries on paper that I just don’t have the energy to get onto the laptop!

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Things I’m thankful for, V

Oregon State University
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Happy Sinkie Day! The day after Thanksgiving is oftentimes referred to as “Sinkie” day because many people eat leftovers (mmm turkey!) over the sink all day long. Unfortunately I am at work today … although after 3pm I’ll be listening to the Oregon State Beavers play the University of Oregon Ducks in our annual Civil War game. If we can win this game, we’ll be headed to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 44 years. Talk about excitement!

  1. my health – I live with chronic pain that may or may not have a spondyloarthropathy with fibromyalgia diagnosis (we’re working that out right now) but even though I have an invisible illness, things could be worse. I continue to pray that my health will be fully restored so that I can feel more like myself.
  2. my camera – right now I’m not using the best of cameras, but I have a machine to capture little moments of my life with. It works, and one day, LORD willing I’ll have a better piece of machinery in my hands.
  3. crackers – I like crackers a whole bunch. Saltines, Cheeze-it’s, Ritz, Oyster, VDog, I love ’em all.
  4. lotion – it makes my elbows and my knees smooth, and my hands soft. Unscented lotion is my favorite, but sometimes I can deal with the scents.
  5. the Bible – cliche to say it, but it’s my favorite book. I am working my way through it from beginning to end and am slowly getting through Judges. I love to learn things from this history book and seeing my Maker revealed in it is amazing.
  6. olives – black, green, purple, they are all fantastic. They’re even better when they’re stuffed full of cheese!
  7. The University of South Carolina‘s Arnold School of Public Health – headed there soon for an amazing graduate education experience … LORD-willing.

What are you thankful for?

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Intimate partner violence and chronic pain

Chemical structure of cortisol.
Image via Wikipedia

I read an interesting article this week showing that there is a predisposition to chronic pain in women who have suffered with intimate partner violence.

Abusive Partners Predispose Chronic Pain by Rick Nauert explains that even two years after separating from an abusive situation, many women still experience “high-disability chronic pain.”

I would have never made a connection in my head like this without someone else prompting it. “The authors noted that chronic stress caused by IPV may inhibit how the body naturally adapts to stress and causes imbalances in cortisol levels.” That makes sense. Cortisol levels are the cause for most inflammation in a person’s body – and when things are inflamed, they aren’t healthy.

I’d love to know more about this connection, and I’d also love to know if there is a personal story out there willing to be shared. If so, please email me. No information would be shared here without permission, but I would really like to talk with someone who is willing.

Living with an invisible illness is not easy, help me educate those seeking information!

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My marble theory of chronic pain

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Pingu1963 

Today at Help My Hurt I was directed over to But You Don’t Look Sick to teach me about The Spoon Theory. Reading about how Christine Miserandino taught her friend about living with lupus reminded me about how I’ve taught people I live with chronic pain. I have used this explanation with a few friends and it seems to give them a sense of how I live my life.

For those who are healthy, you have unlimited marbles and you can keep them all in one bowl, or you could put them in 26 bowls, really, only the fact that you have unlimited marbles matters.

For those living with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraines, and many other illnesses, marbles are limited. Your body tells you how many marbles you get.

Each week I’m given 70 marbles and seven bowls. I put ten marbles in each bowl and proceed to go through my week, spending marbles as I need to. Normally Mondays are hard at work and easy at home  and so I’ll only use six or seven of my 10 marbles. I move the remaining three marbles to Tuesday’s bowl. On Tuesday, depending on the week, I either use all 13 of those marbles, or sometimes I can save another five or six and move them to Wednesday. Oftentimes, by Friday, though, I am breaking even again. However, there are often weeks where I’m in the negative by Thursday, though, and the rest of my week includes some really hard days. Saturday and Sunday are normally pretty low-key days in my life because I literally don’t have the marbles to get up and go.

Sometimes, like right now, I have a Monday where I start out with five marbles. I stayed up too late on Friday night; I drank, was on my feet AND stayed out too late on Saturday; I spent most of the day Sunday in a highly emotional state. When I do this to myself, I know what I’m getting into. I knew, when I fell asleep during Family Guy (which yes, means I missed American Dad), I knew I was in trouble today.

The social side effects of living with chronic pain are rough. My close friends understand that I’m not a flake, I just sometimes don’t know how I’ll feel on Friday night even after I tell you on Monday that we can go out after church. I budget my marbles pretty carefully most of the time, in hopes that I can function. I try to sleep enough (which is an entry all on it’s own; I think I’m continually dealing with sleep deprivation), I watch what I eat in hopes of getting the right nutrition for my own condition, I try to do some regular workouts (in hopes of avoid weight gain and my doctor reminds me continually that light exercise will help my pain), I’ve been in all forms of physical therapy, I take extra potassium and I spend a lot of time seeking spiritual healing. These things may add a marble or two to my week’s total, but aren’t always enough.

With a more concrete example, I hope you can understand how many people live their lives. It’s not fun, it’s not glamorous, but it’s an easy way to visualize taking care of yourself.

I budget my life with marbles.

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People in chronic pain show higher suicide risk

A woma...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Just released: People in chronic pain show higher suicide risk. My response? Duh. A study finally shows what those of us living in chronic pain have known for years; it hurts and we want it to stop. My experience is that many patients in chronic pain often feel as though they have no other options to make the pain stop when their doctors tire of the struggle.I did a short series on chronic pain (herehere and here) after reading about the death of another woman living with chronic pain. 

If you know someone who is struggling with their chronic pain and has mentioned suicide, please please please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and be proactive to prevent further pain.

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10 Myths of Chronic Pain

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Dawn Ashley

continued from yesterday

Chronic pain myth #6: Patients with chronic pain don’t want to get better because they benefit from their pain.

Chronic pain fact #6: Most people don’t like to hurt. Research shows that very rarely do people exaggerate their pain levels. The benefits (financial compensation or assistance) are often small and not “worth” it.

Chronic pain myth #7: You can ignore chronic pain; it will go away.

Chronic pain fact #7: Ignoring pain does not make it go away and can cause it to increase.

Chronic pain myth #8: Pushing yourself to do things will help you overcome your pain.

Chronic pain fact #8: Chronic pain patients need to know their limits, pace themselves and not push themselves too far. I know that when I push myself, I end up hurting worse than before.

Chronic pain myth #9: If you look young and well, you are.

Chronic pain fact #9: Patients with chronic pain often do as much as they can. Chronic pain is an invisible illness and there are sometimes no outward signs of pain. Just because I look like I’m feeling fine doesn’t mean that; I’m good at hiding my aches.

Chronic pain myth #10: You just “have to live with it” when it comes to chronic pain.

Chronic pain fact #10: There is no need for anyone to live with unbearable pain. There may not be cures available, but there are treatments for most patients. Pain management specialists exist for patients in need. Patients should seek these specialists and find a physician they are comfortable being completely honest with for all of their symptoms.

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10 Myths of Chronic Pain

Volume 1 album cover
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After yesterday’s post about the late Carla Anna, I felt the need to continue sharing about chronic pain.

Chronic pain is diagnosed over time and is normally considered chronic after a patient experiences the discomfort for more than six months. Pain can be diagnosed by neurological exams, nerve tests and diagnostic testing.

Chronic pain myth #1: If the doctor doesn’t find a medical diagnosis it’s all “in their head.”

Chronic pain fact #1: Chronic pain is not “in your head” (you can however have chronic head pain). Chronic pain is a legitimate and treatable medical condition that can be “maintained” by a combo of neurological, psychological and physical patterns.

Chronic pain myth #2: Only weak people seek treatment or complain about their pain.

Chronic pain fact #2: Seeking treatment has nothing to do with being weak or needy. For me, personally, I don’t want to be a burden to my physicians so seeking care for me is an act of strength.

Chronic pain myth #3: Medications for chronic pain (narcotics are often used) lead patients to become addicts.

Chronic pain fact #3: Narcotics aren’t the treatment option for patients with chronic pain. Physical dependence does occur but the majority of patients do not become addicted.

Chronic pain myth #4: Medications used for chronic pain turn people into “zombies.”

Chronic pain fact #4: The side effects of many narcotic pain killers are tolerable, treatable and can fade with time.

Chronic pain myth #5: Medications used for chronic pain need to be continually increased to treat pain due to tolerance.

Chronic pain fact #5: Increases in doses normally occur because of increases in physical (or psychological) pain status.

… to be continued …

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Never say never

The human brain
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Creative Commons License photo credit: WirosI’ve had people remind me “no one ever died from pain” before after I’ve complained that I hurt, and I’ve learned to take it with a few grains of salt (normally one isn’t enough). Earlier this week while at my “other job,” I came across a Health Central post that shocked me. I don’t know what to do from here. I just know I am miserable frightend me because in it, I saw myself. “I am a 29 year old woman trapped inside of the body of a 100 year old woman,” are the type of words I use on a day-to-day basis. This woman took words from my heart when she wrote “the real condition I have is chronic pain. It is chronic, but unfortunately, it is not terminal. People look at me and see a healthy girl. They say, ‘You are so young, you have your whole life ahead of you.’ Those words are the most depressing thing I have ever heard in my whole life. Telling me that I have another 40 to 50 years of this? Please, please just stab me in the chest. Over and over.”Chronic pain is hard to understand, sometimes it’s simply impossible to figure out. Oftentimes the source of the pain is hard to pin down, and sometimes patients are treated as though it’s just in their head. Even when the medical community knows where the pain is coming from, it’s not always curable, and the treatments aren’t always ideal. While medicines can numb the pain, it can also numb your brain. I work with numbers and my job requires absolute accuracy; if my brain is numb, a mistake could cost me my job.Ellen from WEGOHealth brings up some good points for those who know someone with chronic pain.

  • Listen to them.
  • Seek to understand them, but consider them innocent until proven guilty.
  • Assist them in finding the relief they need.
  • Stand up for them if they cannot for themselves! You can be their voice when they cannot speak for themselves, or if in speaking they are ignored. If they’re not finding relief, it’s not what they need.
  • Don’t give up on them. They need your strenth, your friendship, your love. If you think you’re sick of it, consider how tired of it they are.

It is tragic that it takes a death to bring chronic pain into the news, but it offers me a chance to remind readers of the other 1 million people who live with chronic pain and what they can do to help out.

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