All posts tagged: chronic illness

Pain Awareness Month 2017

Hello there, my lovelies! It’s September 1st, and you know what that means — and if you don’t, let me drop some knowledge on you. It’s Pain Awareness Month!   *Sound the trumpets* Yes, it is the month that those of us with chronic conditions have taken as our own to raise awareness of our maladies. Naturally I won’t be here for the Boston Abilities Expo (gotta celebrate my dad’s birthday!), but there are plenty of things happening this month, and the U.S. Pain Foundation is keeping track of many goings-on, like fundraisers, the 30-day challenge (follow @US_pain on Twitter and @USPainAwarenessMonth on Instagram for this year’s challenge), proclamations, etc. You can even change your profile picture on Facebook to raise awareness, since many of the most common pain conditions are invisible to the eye. So that’s cool! Keep on the lookout for Pain Awareness Month-related things and see if there is a family member or friend you can help. Also, side note, I was featured on Dr. Melissa Cady’s “Pain Out Loud” blog, though …

Abdominal Migraines — Did You Know They Were a Thing?

Hi, kids. I wanted to take a moment to talk about migraines today. Did you know that “migraine” is an all-inclusive term for a host of terrible, nauseating headaches? For instance, my headaches closely resemble migraines, enough that my doctor just calls them by that term. I get headaches a few times a week. I can work with headaches. I can function. I get migraines a couple times a month. Those put me out of commission and land me in the recliner with the heavy meds. The migraines, technically, are post-traumatic stress headaches, which — as I have been so kindly informed by my doctor — fall into the category of “very unpleasant, would like to reschedule, please.” These PTS headaches begin in the base of my head and travel around, vibrating upward along nerves to the top of my head and downward into my shoulders. Fun! The more popular kind of headaches have been listed out below. Diamond Headache Clinic sent me this slideshow of common types of migraine headaches, some of which I didn’t even …

I am Not the Reliable One — Also, a Book Review: “Kicking Sick” by Amy Kurtz

I am not the reliable one. I recently made friends with a guy who has stage 4 colon cancer. By chance, we were sitting next to each other while waiting for a flight back to Boston from Atlanta. The flight was delayed by two hours, and his soul spoke to mine. We became friends in less than 20 minutes. Just one of those things, I guess. When his phone rang, it said, “God’s gift to women, pick up!” It was his mom, an older lady with a glorious halo of gray hair. She was delightful. She knows my name, knows all about me now. His whole family knows who I am. He wants to talk more often than I talk to most people. More than I talk to my family, even. I’m not used to it. And the thing is, he might literally die before I get the chance to speak to him again. He slipped into a coma and came out of it while I was in a pain flare, and I had no …

Do We Lose Our Dreams with Chronic Illness?

Today we have a guest contribution from the lovely Crys Baysa! *** Chronic illness is hard enough as it is. But even worse, the things we used to do, we can’t do anymore. Suddenly, hanging out with people is hard, doing your job is nearly impossible, and understanding the things you’re trying to study is downright frustrating. It is in times like these that it’s easy to wonder if we’re ever going to be better again. ‘Am I going to be able to play my beloved violin again? The pain is too much!’ ‘Will I ever be able to memorize those formulas again? I can’t remember things and I want this degree badly!’ It’s not just the physical limitations that become more and more. It’s the emotional limitations. What Dreams Really Are Dreams are not just desires for the future. They’re expressions of ourselves. It doesn’t matter if it’s something like science, speech, or even simply sculpting a statue. It’s very much a part of who we are, and it’s an emotional release. When you …

Effective Alternative Therapies for Dealing with Chronic Pain

We have another guest post from Jackie Waters of Hyper-Tidy.com!  There’s no silver bullet approach for dealing with chronic pain. Everyone’s pain is specific to them, and you can’t solve everything with a single pill or by eating more kale. A true holistic approach to chronic pain management will utilize a variety of coping methods. For some, the risk of developing dependencies to medication is enough reason to seek out alternative therapies for their pain. Others find that a combination of treatments works best for them. Some are still searching for the right treatment. Whatever the case, the good news is there are alternative treatments that show promise and are already being relied on by millions suffering from chronic pain. Add some specific foods to your diet Proper diet and exercise is vital for anyone suffering from chronic pain. It’s important to reduce refined carbohydrates, excess sugar, and caffeine. Do everything that you can to maintain a healthy weight, as obesity exacerbates most forms of chronic pain. But did you know that there are some specific foods …

Reworking Your Home Life to Minimize Chronic Pain

We have a lovely guest post from a new contributor, Jackie Waters, of Hyper-Tidy.com!  Living in constant pain can cause worry, stress, anxiety, and depression. You wonder if you’ll ever feel better or if you’ll keep feeling worse. It is possible to get your life back and get a handle on chronic pain. People who suffer from it can incorporate everyday, holistic changes to improve their quality of life and manage their pain. Lifestyle and Diet Mindfulness meditation is a way to effectively train your brain to turn down the volume on pain. According to The Huffington Post, “A typical meditation involves focusing on different parts of the body and simply observing with the mind’s eye what you find.” Doing this makes you aware of the connection between your mind and body; you observe painful sensations as they happen, and then let go of struggling with them. You may doubt the impact mindfulness meditation can have on chronic pain, but it has been shown to reduce it by 57 percent, and skillful meditators can reduce it by …

How to Get Work Done When You Have a Chronic Condition

Working while dealing with chronic pain is another task on the To-Do List (or so I keep trying to tell myself). I used to crank out work at such a high level, and now I feel so much slower, like I’m trudging uphill through molasses in January. What used to be a machine is now rusted, rickety, with nuts and bolts rattling and clinking down upon the floor. But things still need to get done. Jobs and projects require my attention, divided though my attention may be. How do I focus and get through my docket when my pain tries to pull me in so many directions? Here’s what’s on my docket these days (WARNING: COLLUSION!): day job with Enjuris, editing/writing side gigs, legal side gigs (gotta love this “Gig Economy“), writing a book with my father about his work, volunteering for the MetroWest Opera as a board member (and I need to do the annual taxes), volunteering for the Pain News Network as a columnist and a board member (gotta do some writing), and on top of all that, I …

Considerations Before Deciding to Work from Home

We’re getting back on a regular schedule, guys. In the meantime, one more post from a lovely writer who’s taking us in a new direction: working from home with a chronic condition! Here is a contribution from freelance writer Jenny Holt, please give her a warm welcome.  Do you find it increasingly difficult to commute to work every day due to your condition? Perhaps you even find that workplace stresses are making you feel worse. You may be considering working from home if you find that medical appointments are difficult to fit in around working hours. However, working from home is a big commitment, so it is worthwhile to consider the pros and cons before making such a decision. Reduces Pressure When you work remotely or freelance, there is a different kind of pressure. It is less overbearing because colleagues and bosses are more distant. However, deadlines are still there and even if these are flexible, work has to be done within a reasonable time limit or the client will look elsewhere. You are however, freer to set your own …

Got a Pain in the Neck? Incorporate These Stretches into Your Daily Routine

Hello, everyone! I have been swamped with work, so we have a guest post today from Megan Wilson of PainInjuryRelief.com. She brings us a lovely graphic dedicated to neck pain relief that you can use while at work or on the go! Stay tuned for more regular content soon. In the meantime, thank you, Megan! Living with chronic pain is a trying experience. It can impact each and every minute of your life, from your interactions with friends and family to sleep and mental health. So if there are things you can do to help relieve pain in one area, or to strengthen a part of the body to help compensate for pain elsewhere, then it’s a path to pursue. One area to focus on is the neck; we need our necks to do so much. We use them to work on our computers, to talk on our phones, to read. And neck pain affects so many people—up to 70 percent. Want to learn how to help your neck? This graphic can help.