Monday, June 15, 2015

5 Tips for Coping with Chronic Pain

Humans are amazingly creative; there's no end to the methods we use to cope with our struggles.

Some of us eat our way through problems. Some of us whine and complain incessantly. Some of us get angry, lash out and push away anyone who tries to help.

But none of these tactics actually works. Coping requires positive action.

So how do you cope with your chronic pain?

I'm an eternal optimist, so at first I tried to power through. I was certain that food and lack of exercise was the culprit so I changed my diet and got a trainer - one who was in the process of qualifying for the Olympics. Her method was "go big or go home" so I just about exercised myself to death.

My pain issue wasn't solved and while I'm still an optimist, I'm a realist too. The pain is here to stay.

Forever... unless God heals me.

Maybe you find yourself in a similar situation and need some new ideas. If so, I hope these tips will work for you as well as they do for me.

Tip # 1 - Trust in God

Though there's no cure for my condition and hopes for one are a long way off, my biggest comfort is knowing God is for me. And while I certainly don't like to suffer, I know he has a plan for it. God is for you too! The Bible says: For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them but has listened to their cries for help. Psalm 22:24.

Tip # 2 - Change Positions

My disease comes with musculoskeletal pain so sitting or standing in one place for too long is difficult for me. Making a conscious effort to change positions at least once an hour is a must, but I admit sometimes it's hard to do, especially at the movies or in church. So give yourself permission to fidget away!

Tip # 3 - Distract Yourself

Distractibility isn't usually considered a positive trait, but it's an essential skill to learn for pain sufferers. We can use healthy and fun distractions to take our minds off ourselves - heck, we need to take our minds off ourselves. So go to the movies, shoot pool or take a walk in the park. 

Tip # 4  - Take Care

Take time for self care! Caring for yourself is not selfish, it's imperative. Naps, soothing baths, massage, eating right and exercising are critical to good health.

Tip # 5  - Encourage Others

Suffering is all around us. The one benefit (if there is one) is that my eyes are opened to the suffering of others. I can now see the grimace on the face of the cashier standing for long hours. I'm more patient with the slow pace of the elderly woman ahead of me in line. I no longer judge people who can't lift, and bend and reach. I take time to sympathize, listen and pray for them. 

Suffering is not for wimps but through our weakness, God is strong.

Now you: Please share a coping tip that helps you get through the day!

Your words have supported those who were falling; you encouraged those with shaky knees. Job 4:4

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