Pain sucks. Having tools on hand, and a list to remind me of them, helps.
As I was sketching this post out I mentioned it to a friend. She mentioned how helpful it is to have a list of tools you know so you can just grab it and take action when you can't think straight. I have one! On my phone. Not very helpful. So, I made up the simple printable at the bottom, added some tools I know and taped it inside my kitchen counter. I invite you to do the same.
Here are just a few tools I use in the moment. I'll share more on preventative tools later.
Essentially, saying the same word or phrase over and over in a rhythm.
- I say to myself, "I am not in pain, I am not in pain" over and over.Teresa Spafford, an incredible body worker in many forms of massage and Gyrotonics taught me that one.
- Sometimes, I say to myself "This is not pain, it's information". I follow that with trying to listen to what my body is trying to tell me. What may have led to this, and what different choices I can make. Changes I might need to make in my treatment, paying attention to what isn't working for me right now, old tools/new tools I can add...This helps me feel in control when the pain can make me feel like I don't have any.
Find your own word, statement, or sound and give it a try.
This is what people mean when they say "Find your happy place.". Picture yourself where you want to be and how you want to be.
- I picture a strong, gentle ocean wave washing through my body. I visualize the micro swirls of water within each wave clearing out every tiny space in my joints or the area I'm feeling the strongest. Incredibly powerful for me.
- You may see yourself simply pain free, walking down the street. Standing on a mountain top you just climbed. Sitting peacefully on a cloud. Running that marathon...find your happy place.
Combined with controlled breathing, slow movement, or just getting up and going outside, with a little practice, this can be a powerful tool to get through the moment.
- When possible, go outside. Breathe deeply. Focus on the shape of the trees, the buildings, listen to and separate all the sounds around you.
- Rest when you need to. Move when you can.
- Do one thing in the slowest motion you can focusing on movement and breath. Try Yoga Journal's modified sun salutation video here just to get a peek.
- Stand up and walk backwards. Another trick from Teresa Spafford. You brain has to focus on this odd task, literally interrupting the brains pain messages.
Now, please print this simple printable and put it somewhere handy, like the inside of your kitchen cupboard. As tools come to mind, jot them down. Next time, you'll have a handy list to get you through.
A few links you might find useful:
- EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping: An article by Dr. Mercola. An excellent pain management tool for many.
- Coffee Enemas. Yep, I just said that. I haven't found a groove with using this tool, but friends swear by it. Often used for detox, they are also used for pain relief. Here's a not too weird (I promise) video with the why and how from The Wellness Warrior, Jess Ainscough
There are as many ways to manage pain as there are people trying. I share a few that are currently working for me.
I'd love to add more tools to my bucket. What is working for you lately?