Staying home is not the best option.
As we said in the last blog a positive attitude and self-management skills can make it much easier to live with chronic pain. And as we said in the last blog, beliefs, circumstances, your mood, and the attention paid to the pain symptoms will determine in good part how difficult it is to manage.
Here is the situation people often face when dealing with chronic pain. The pain causes you to stay home alone, a lot. Your friends say, “Get out. Do something. Stop thinking about your pain all of the time.” They just don’t get it. If you hear it just one more time the outcome won’t be pretty. It’s easier to stay away from people than to risk arguing with them about the way you’re managing the pain or not managing it.
As I said in the previous post, we need to manage the feelings that are there. And they are strong and intense. Maybe you are depressed. Talking about your feelings will help with finding ways to vent and discharge those feelings. Don’t be so afraid of upsetting other people or boring them. Friends will tell you if they’re bored or upset. At least they should.
Take care of yourself as we said before. Use breathing exercises. Distracting yourself is a good strategy. Sitting at home and focusing on your pain is not going to make it any better in fact it will usually make it worse.
Problem solve. Be flexible. Try to do some new things. Pace yourself. Don’t overdo it. But in general, it’s a good idea to do something.
Part of problem-solving may mean talking with a counselor or therapist about all the feelings that you have and better ways of managing them. There are strategies you can learn — from dealing with depressed feelings to working through anxiety. You can read about these things online or talk with someone who can act as a coach to help you deal with your pain. This may be one of the best things you can do.
There are no easy answers and solutions for dealing with pain. Medications may help. There are many other non-pharmaceutical interventions that you can learn about and use to help you take charge and manage the pain you’re experiencing. Don’t be afraid to learn them and try them out. You may want to join a support group and learn from others how they are managing their pain.
You can learn to live well with chronic pain. But it is a learning and adapting process.