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10 Tips For Dealing With Pain

November 7, 2011 · 27 comments

in Health & Fitness, Misc Tips

At one point or another in life, everyone will end up in physical pain.  If you are lucky, you will take some Advil, the pain will subside, and you will go about your day.  If you are unlucky, the pain becomes chronic, and affects you physically and emotionally.

Major Tip To Live By When In Pain:  Don’t Go Making Major Decisions!

Here is a perfect example of how pain can cloud your thinking:  (Disclaimer, I am not telling readers NOT to get a flu shot. There is no scientific proof my pain and the shot were 100 percent correlated.)

About a week ago, I got my flu shot.  At first the pain was localized to where I was given the shot, no big deal.   As time passed, something seemed amiss and I ended up with pain up and down my arm, through my neck and shoulder blade, and down my back.  The worst part is that nothing even came close to taking the pain away.  I took 3-4 ibuprofen every 6 hours and nothing changed.  Icy Hot felt nice and distracted me from the pain somewhat, but it always roared right back shortly afterward.

During this time span, I had a major decision to make regarding my employment.  Without going into details, the situation was not perfect, but definitely palatable under normal circumstances.  However, since I felt horrible, I was ready to just say “forget it” and chuck my job to the wind.  I was hurting and sleep deprived and I just didn’t want to deal with anything.  So, I wanted to take the easy way out and just walk away (bent over, with a cane, and very slowly).

I also wanted to take a break from writing.  I am not just saying “I think I will take a day off from writing” type of break.  I am saying months-long break.  I had just switched my theme to Thesis, made modifications, and I was willing to just move on! I didn’t feel a creative thought in my head, and writing didn’t sound fun anymore.  I probably would have sold my site for fifty cents if asked at the right time.

Actually, nothing sounded fun, except maybe sleeping, which was nearly impossible.

It became obvious that time was the only thing that was going to help my situation, and thankfully, it resolved itself in about 7-8 days.  However, there are millions of people out there that deal with chronic pain daily, and there may be no end in sight.  How do those individuals get through each day?   People still need to work, pay bills, make decisions, etc, and pain just makes life so much harder (in my opinion).

During this past week, I did spend a lot of time laying on the couch, and I thought a lot about how I could possibly use my experience to help others.  The following is what I came up with:  (Reminder, I am not a doctor!)

Additional Advice For Pain-Sufferers

  1.  Don’t go it alone.  If you do have any major decisions to make when you are miserable, make sure you involve a third-party.  Another perspective might be necessary, as yours might not be very accurate.
  2.  Be willing to accept help, and ask for help.  You will want to feel better as quickly as possible, and there is no need to be a martyr.  People do like to help others, so reach out when you need to.
  3. Try to sleep.  I know it is hard to get comfortable, but try to rest.  So much healing occurs when the body is taking a break, so make sure you give your body a lengthy period of rejuvenation.  In addition, take a look at your pillow and see if it or the mattress need to be replaced.  Neither item has an endless lifespan, and maybe your body needs to move on to a different ‘sleeping arrangement’.
  4. Avoid stress if you can.  Bad events are magnified when you are in pain, so try to minimize negativity in your life.
  5. Consider alternative healing methods.  Many people find pain relief through acupuncture, joint manipulation/adjustments, meditation, etc.   Keep an open mind and you might just find something that works for you.
  6. Eat and drink right.  It is easy to want to just grab a burger and just ‘be done’ with dinner.  However, your body needs healthy foods, and so does your mind.  Think about how bad you can feel on a good day if you eat terribly.  Then magnify that by ten when you don’t feel well.  Even if you eat out, there are still healthy alternatives.  Also make sure you drink plenty of non-caffeinated liquids because pain can be caused by simple dehydration.
  7. Evaluate how you sit at work and at home.  Is your desk ergonomically correct?  Sitting at a desk all day can cause a surprising amount of discomfort.  If you do have a desk job, make sure you get up and move around frequently, even if your chair and desk are perfectly set up.
  8. Think about your pain, and take note of anything that provides relief.  Maybe long baths provide some relief, or a ten minute walk in the sun.  Just focus on cause and effect.  Know what makes you hurt and know what makes you feel better.  Write it all down so you have something to reference if and when you see a doctor.   Keeping a pain diary may also help you detect patterns and recognize ways to avoid pain in the future.
  9. Consult your doctor.  Some pain is commonplace- your lower back aches after working in the yard all day for instance.  However, some pain can also indicate illness.   For example, pain was the first symptom I had when I had Shingles and when I had Lyme Disease.  Seeking immediate treatment most likely lessened the severity of both illnesses for me, so do not hesitate to see a doctor if something unusual seems to be going on.
  10. Step on the scale.  Have you gained some weight?  Extra pounds can put an incredible amount of stress on the body.  I know it is hard to get out and exercise when you feel like you can hardly move, but try to make lifestyle changes where you can.  Instead of reaching for comfort food to feel better, try to eat something tasty yet healthy.   Try not to give in to your pain, try to move around as much as possible.
If you have any other tips to help deal with or eliminate pain, please share in the comments section!  (Thanks to Lola, who suggested trying to lift your spirits by watching a funny movie, or partaking in activities that will make you happy and feel positive.)
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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Roshawn @ Watson Inc November 7, 2011 at 8:49 am

It’s funny, this weekend I wrote two post pertaining to pain 🙂 You offer some great tips here. I particularly like that you mention enlisting other’s assistence. Too often, we try to bear burdens that are too great for us alone.


Kris November 7, 2011 at 9:05 am

Shawn, you are twice as good as me!

I am the queen of trying to do everything on my own, but I have gotten better about it as I have gotten older.

Loved your post over at Frugal Dad. I left a comment, but it hasn’t shown up yet. We should have a race to decamillionairedom


Roshawn @ Watson Inc November 7, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Thanks so much Kris!

BTW, I figured there was something wrong with the comments because someone else told me they had the same problem with their comment on the post. I’ll look out for your comment, and thank you so much for coming over with me on my blog tour 🙂


Kris November 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I hope the Frugal dad theme switch didn’t affect your readership/guest post. At first I thought I was at a Frugal Dad ripoff site, I was so confused!


Roshawn @ Watson Inc November 7, 2011 at 11:50 pm

The post went well in my book. With regards to the appearance change, I wouldn’t have known what was going on either, but I saw his tweet and post earlier that week explaining the shift.


MoneyCone November 7, 2011 at 9:32 am

I’m glad you mentioned sleep! That’s my catch-all remedy for every ailment! 🙂


Kris November 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm

MC, I have found that nothing works better than some ibuprofen and a nap, you are so right!


Little House November 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

I’m glad you’re feeling better. But living with pain doesn’t sound like much fun. I think your tips are very wise and checking in with your doctor is chronic pain is not a common occurrence would be my first step to relief!


Kris November 7, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Living with pain isn’t fun. I have arthritis, a back problem and had knee and shoulder surgeries, so I get flare ups quite a bit. I used to see a chiropractor, but he quit the business due to very unusual circumstances (that have nothing to do with the business). I still haven’t sought out another one as I was never sure if I felt better or worse afterward.

I have seen an MD and quite often they prescribe physical therapy, which is a great thing.


Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter November 7, 2011 at 11:48 am

Great post. I am glad you are feeling better now. Feeling rough is never fun. As far as your list goes, good job. This is a very practical and doable list. I am a health care provider and the things you talk about are true and can have an impact. I have always been one to do things on my own but I have learned that I am not a bad person if I ask for help. My life is much more balanced now which is great for my long term health.


Kris November 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Thank you for the comment Miss T, and for the well wishes! It is amazing how much you want to get done when you can’t, and how invigorated you feel when you finally do feel better.


First Gen American November 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I love all your advice columns. It’s so true that one’s judgement may be severely impaired when in pain.

I can also relate to #10..my back acts up when I’m out of shape or carrying any extra weight.


Kris November 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm

First Gen, thanks for your kind words. The weight thing is a double edged sword. People are sore and weight makes it worse, but they are too sore to exercise! I can tell you this past week I certainly wasn’t interested in running every day. Or walking…


Money Reasons November 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I was sick this past weekend too, but not even close to the level that you were sick!

I like to take a cool washcloth and put it on my forehead when I have a killer headache, but what I’m suggesting isn’t going to help the level of pain that you were encountering.

Glad you are feeling a bit better!!!


Kris November 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Headaches are awful, and I especially hate them if I am not at home where I can close my eyes and escape everything.

Good thing for your sickness was you got a good golf game out of it. Maybe next time you don’t feel well you should go to Vegas??


retirebyforty@retireby40.org November 7, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Hope you are feeling better now. We had a lot of problem with the flu shot this year also. It hurt more than usual and my arm was sore for about a day. My wife had the same problem for 2-3 days. Maybe it’s a strong strain this year.


Kris November 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Thanks RB40. I have heard from a few people that they have been giving the injections higher in the arm, which can result in more pain.

I think part of it is that less-experienced people are administering the vaccines too. Glad you and your wife are feeling better!


Lola November 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm

So sorry to hear that the flu shot made you sick! Your list is great. I might add that you try to include something that can lift your spirits, like watching a funny movie, listening to music that makes you happy, reading some uplifting material, etc. Positive vibes can make a difference in how you feel.


Kris November 8, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Great idea Lola, I will have to work those ideas in!


Liorselo December 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm

thanks a lot! didn’t know that


Shauna February 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Dear Kris,

I write a blog about life in Chronic Pain, and have a great list that I posted, author unknown, and the list is awesome. You hit on many of the subjects in your list. If you are interested in re-posting the list I found, feel free.

Nice site!!!

Gentle Hugs—-<3


Kris February 26, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I love the ‘gentle hugs’ comment.

I will check out your site!


Shelly Slader August 1, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I started having bad back pains about a year ago and couldn’t figure out why or what was going on. I started visiting a chiropractor in Brampton, though, and they aligned my spine and worked on me until the pains eventually reduced and disappeared! It was my own little miracle!


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