The tools you utilise daily to assist with chronic pain or periodically when in a pain flare are vitally important to your overall well-being and the quality of the life you live with chronic pain.
Knowing what you can call on in a flare is important for many reasons, but primarily as a means to potentially reduce the length of the flare or to assist in maintaining a positive mindset, or, at least as positive as you can whilst in a flare of course.
Below are a few of the items I have in my chronic pain toolbox that I hope you might find me sharing with you useful:
Heat: A good heat pack is essential for anyone living with chronic pain. Heat therapy can assist with chronic muscular and joint pain. Joint pain may be from stiffness as is the case with arthritic conditions or from hypermobility related conditions which can result in pain from loose joints and persistent subluxations.
Massage and heat rubs: Gentle self massage, with either a roller ball or manually can be effective at relieving tension in muscular type pain. Add in the use of a topical muscle rub to really notice some short term pain relief. Fisiocrem is a favourite of mine; it combines arnica, calendula and hypericum.
Physiotherapy and strength exercises: For me personally, as instability is my prominent concern, strength training rather than stretching is an imperative part of my maintenance program to keep my chronic pain at bay. By strengthening, I reduce the incidence of acute injuries occuring due to increasing the stability of my floppy joints.
Of course, if stiffness is your primary concern this will differ for you. The assistance of a great physiotherapist can really really improve your health outcomes when living with chronic pain. If you are local to the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney I thoroughly recommend my awesome physios at Elite Spinal.
Meditation: For me mindfulness and vedic meditation reside in my toolbox. Although I must admit I struggle with a regular meditation practice, I do still stick at it. I have periods where I will achieve my twice daily vedic meditation and weeks where I don’t. For me at the moment with young children, a chronic illness and a very hard working husband this is the best I can do. And doing our best, and not putting undue pressure on ourselves to do more, is sometimes what matters most.
When in a flare though, I do definitely benefit from a more regular meditation practice. During these periods, it might look like a few minutes interspersed multiple times throughout the day of pranayama breathing. A breathing technique which can assist in stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (think rest and digest) and dampening down our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) which of course, can be increased during a higher than normal pain period.
My go to recommendation for meditation training is an old and dear school friend Kate, from Kate Cliff Meditation. Hit her up if you are interested in learning a mantra based style of meditation.
I would love for you to share with me; what personally works for you. And what the, go to, must have, items and / or strategies are, that you have in your pain toolbox.
Until next time,
Additional pain products availble on Zebra Blends: