Combating the Loneliness of Chronic Pain

Chronic physical pain often also creates emotional suffering. Seven steps to deal with the loneliness and isolation of chronic pain.

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You know the drill. You are in pain and suffering, often silently. Because of your condition you are in pain quite often and talking about it can be construed as “complaining,” and after a while can fall on deaf ears. You might be in deep despair because the pain is too much. Your life as you knew it has come to a halt. Exhaustion, stress, lack of sleep, and pain. That is the life you know now.

Sure, your friends and family know there’s something wrong with you. But do they really know what you’re going through? And even so, do they really want to hear about it? Again. And after you’ve declined a few invitations because you weren’t quite feeling up to going out and being social, the invitations just stop coming. Continue reading “Combating the Loneliness of Chronic Pain”

Magnesium for Pain Relief

I truly believe in using food, exercise, and things from nature to heal the body.

Finally, I have had some pain relief! If you have been following my story the last several months, you know I have been suffering with some acute pain. I am happy to report that I have not had numbness or pain in my arm now for three whole weeks!!  Zip. Zilch. Nada. That’s not to say all is well or I have any answers. Really, more questions. But for now I am enjoying the long-overdue break from my neck/shoulder/arm pain. 🙂

“Relief is a wonderful emotion, highly underrated. In fact I prefer it to elation or joy. Relief lets the air out of the Tire of Pain.” ~ Adriana Trigiani

I saw a non-surgical specialist a month ago, and was ready to go in for cervical facet joint steroid injections. One of the things I had to do was quit taking Fish Oil 7 days prior, so on Monday, July 31st I did just that. I was still experiencing pain through that week. On Saturday, August 5th I read an article by Donna of Fed Up with Fatigue about 30 Low Cost Fibromyalgia and Chronic Lyme Treatments. (Major shout out to Fibro Blogger Directory and the Friday article link-ups!) The second item on her list was magnesium malate that she said “helps to reduce my pain levels, soothes my restless legs, improves my sleep, and keeps me regular.” So I read the reviews, bought a bottle, and took a pill that night. Continue reading “Magnesium for Pain Relief”

Reblog: THE SECRET LIFE OF PAIN…

If you have read my last few posts, you know I have spent the last 5 months in and out of doctors spending tons of money on tests to diagnose some chronic and acute pain I thought was associated with a past neck surgery. The tests find little to nothing, so now I am wondering if this is just new manifestations of my fibromyalgia. The last few days I had decided it is time to regroup and try a more holistic approach. Reading this blog post from Back Pain Blog UK and the linked article this morning just confirms that for me. Check her blog and all the other great bloggers on FibroBloggerDirectory.com.

Cheers!
Cynthia

BACK PAIN BLOG UK...

The Secret Life of Pain is an article in New York Times which a friend sent me to read, and I just felt I had to share with my pain pals.

The article starts off by telling you about the double life that David Roberts, a former academic physicist and diplomat who lives and works in New York City.

He goes on to explain how he hid is chronic pain in many ways, one being that he had an orthotic cushion inside his briefcase and would make a joke out of sitting on the briefcase. He also wore a corset and heat wrap which he disguised under his tailored suit. He had become adept at hiding his back pain from everyone except his family.

He would even sneak upstairs when working at conferences to get some pain relief from his wife who would work on his back. Eventually he had…

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A Correct Diagnosis

I saw this graphic on twitter from Dr. Margare Aranda and thought this pretty much sums up my #currentsituation so I wanted share. Sometimes you really have to fight for your diagnosis.

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I wrote about trying to get a diagnosis for this chronic pain I have had off and on for a few years now in my last very lengthy blog post. Tests, procedures, scans, second opinions, third opinions. I have one more appointment tomorrow morning. My binder is ready with all of my recent exams. My fingers are crossed. And I have hope.

“At the end of the day all you need is hope and strength. Hope that it will get better, and strength to hold on until it does.” ~ Jazmin Whitmore

I think for many people suffering in pain, just knowing they aren’t crazy and that there is some logical, medical explanation for what they are experiencing gives a profound sense of relief and peace of mind. Getting to the correct diagnosis should get you on the proper road to recovery. As Gandhi said, it’s 3/4 of the remedy!

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Have you had challenges getting a chronic condition diagnosed? Do you have any lessons learned that you can share?

Cheers!

Cynthia

Lessons Learned in Diagnosing Chronic Pain

“Sometimes the curiosity can kill the soul but leave the pain.” ~Alice

Perhaps that title should read “Lessons Learned from Attempting to Diagnose Chronic Pain” since I still don’t have answers…  I haven’t written much lately due to some chronic neck pain/shoulder/arm that has been plaguing me for months. I come home from work exhausted and drained, and spending more time in front of a computer is the last thing I want to do.biscuits

Down the Rabbit Hole

Do you ever feel like the hassle and expense of getting to the root of a medical problem might outweigh the benefits of finding out what the problem is? For the last several months, I feel like I have gone down the proverbial rabbit hole in “Alice in Wonderland”, where everything is not as it seems!

Alice-Looking-Down-the-Rabbit-Hole-in-Alice-in-Wonderland    Live_action_reference_photo_alice_at_the_bottom_of_the_rabbit_hole_screenshot_blog

Continue reading “Lessons Learned in Diagnosing Chronic Pain”

How to Sleep Better

“Sleep is the Golden Chain that binds health and our bodies together.”

I fully intended to get this blog posted back in May during Better Sleep month but, as is often the case, life got in the way. I have struggled for years with getting good quality sleep. There are nights where I just cannot fall asleep, and others where I just can’t stay asleep. While the ideal amount is between 7-9 hours for most, I still average about 6 hours a night. More than 7 hours of sleep, and I feel out of sorts. Lately I have been much better about sleeping through the night, since incorporating some simple strategies.

Those who suffer with fibromyalgia syndrome know how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, sleep disturbances are one of the common symptoms associated with the condition, which then compounds the daytime fatigue. But allowing the body to rest and recharge at night is so critical to everyone’s physical and mental health, not just those with fibromyalgia.counting-sheep-1

“Sleep is the Golden Chain that binds health and our bodies together.”

~ Thomas Dekker

Health Benefits

That old saying “early to bed, early to rise makes your body healthy, wealthy, and wise” is more than just an old wives’ tale. Here’s a list of health benefits from getting adequate sleep:

  • It can help you fight off diseases
  • It can help improve your mood
  • It can lower your risk for obesity and help you lose weight
  • It can decrease inflammation
  • It allows the body to repair itself from stress and ultraviolet exposure

“By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.”
Arianna Huffington

Getting those Zzzz’s

While you sleep, your body is working to heal itself, build up your immune system, and recharge your brain cells. Now the struggle is that people with fibromyalgia have trouble falling and staying asleep. We often don’t reach that deep sleep stage required for all of the restorative health benefits. There are a myriad of underlining conditions that could be preventing you from getting a good night’s rest:

  • Health Issues such as allergies, sleep apnea, asthma, narcolepsy, or hormone imbalance
  • Physical Issues such as chronic or acute pain, or certain prescription drugs
  • Mental Issues such as depression, stress, or anxiety
  • Environmental Issues such as too much light in your room, drinking alcohol or caffeine, or performing shift work

So assuming you don’t need to have a medical condition checked out, how do you improve your sleep, to reap those benefits? Getting into a routine helps. Here are some simple strategies that might help you establish that routine:

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
  • Set a regular bedtime routine.
  • Curb the electronics in the bedroom, that is no TV, iPad, etc. before bed.
  • Keep your bedroom comfortable, quiet, dark and cool.
  • Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime, and don’t eat 3 hours before bed.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Do not use tobacco.

“Golden Slumbers fill your eyes. Smiles await when you rise.” ~ The Beatles

Bedtime Routines

As we age we need less sleep, but we still need good quality sleep. Uninterrupted sleep. One of the best habits is to take a warm bath or shower before bed. This raises the body temperature, and then allows it to cool down faster, which helps you reach that deep sleep. Couple that with some aromatherapy, and you should feel relaxed and calm for bedtime. I developed my routine after reading Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive that discussed redefining success and details her wake-up call. She has another book called The Sleep Revolution that undoubtedly has more information on the subject of sleep as well.

Here are some of my favorite bedtime and bath aids:

So go draw a bath, sip some tea, rub some lavender oil between your toes and get a good night’s sleep. These are my tried and true methods. You’ll thank me in the morning!

For more sleep strategies, visit the National Sleep Foundation,”The F Word” blog and Sarah’s Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles series, or listen to JJ Virgin’s podcast with Arianna Huuffington – two big proponents of sleep!  Do you have other sleep strategies you use?

Cheers!

Cynthia