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Chronic Pain, Passion & Tips for Thriving

I am a chronic pain sufferer, though I rarely if ever think of myself that way. A hereditary back condition causes significant pain and some days are better (or worse) than others.

One of the things I notice is that when I am immersed in activities that I feel passionate and purposeful about, the pain seems to take a back seat to whatever the task or activity is at hand.

I am someone who is blessed to love all the work that I do. Whether I am seeing clients in my private counseling practice, am in a coaching session with a CEO or business leader or I am immersed in all things Live Well Kitsap, I feel energized in being able to both serve others and use my God given talents and strengths.

Gallup research tells us that when people have the opportunity to do what they love (related to work) stress is reduced and life satisfaction increases. For those like me that suffer with chronic pain, I have experienced first hand the ability to keep chronic pain in check by pursuing that which brings satisfaction and passion through work/ serving.

The nature and causation of pain is different for everyone. Pain that is acute is very different from pain that is chronic. Chronic pain can be constant or intermittent, but either way it is ongoing. Every body and situation are different and unique, however there may be several ways to deal with pain that is ongoing. In addition to finding work that you are passionate about, consider also other ways of helping ease chronic pain:

  1. Consider a passion project alone or with a family member or partner. Finding a cause or purpose and becoming involved in that cause or project is a great way of refocusing your energy into something that really matters. This alone can reduce the awareness of pain and may quell the severity or frequency as well.

  2. Increase Self Care- Taking a long hot bath or shower with soothing bath salts or a shower bomb can promote feelings of wellbeing and serve to reduce pain. Incorporating this habit into each day can also provide relief from daily stress aiding in muscle relaxation which serves to reduce pain.

  3. Deep Breathe early in the day and often. This accesses our parasympathetic nervous system, which helps restore a feeling of inner calm. When we are feeling more calm instead of stressed, pain will likely reduce. This is why this technique is taught in childbirth classes- it is instrumental for controlling the pain that inevitably accompanies labor. We can apply these benefits to chronic pain management as well.

  4. Move your body- often. The days I stretch, do yoga, lift weights and /or walk are the days where my pain is not so loud and annoying. The combination of movement which increases circulation* and bathes my brain in happy neurochemicals means I have natural painkillers (endorphins) to counteract the perception of pain. This is the best non toxic way I know of in controlling my pain levels.

  5. Stay Connected. The social support we get from strong relationships with safe people means we are already engaging in one of the best ways to stay healthy. Reaching out and spending time with people we like along with perhaps having a few laughs is the best medicine.

Chronic pain is no laughing matter, and it can range from mild, moderate to severe depending on the cause. Regardless of our circumstances there are things we can do and make part of our daily routine to minimize or reduce the likelihood of chronic pain robbing us of life, health and happiness. It may take effort and consistency however it is worth taking control of what you can to help ease the impact of your chronic pain. *Visit Bemer on the Live Well Kitsap site to learn more about increasing micro vessel circulation which can also aid in reducing and managing pain. www.livewellkitsap.com/mind-your-health.

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