Coping suggestions?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 495
   Posted 2/14/2008 5:17 PM (GMT -6)   
So I've dealt with the back pain for awhile. I have some things that I do to help cope with my back pain. Things that help to take my mind away from the pain (as much as is possible given circumstances anyways).

Right now we are attempting to close on a house my husband and I want to move into. It has been a very stressful six weeks. We were supposed to have moved in on tuesday. Anyways, I would like to hear how everyone handles stress, and it's effects on our pain.

For me at least, when I am mad/upset/stressed, my pain gets worse. I also end up with the usual aches and pains being magnified. Each day while things build up, my pain is getting worse. Sure, it's not as bad as it has been. BUT, my techniques aren't working.

Sometimes reading, or listening to music really loud, will give me just enough that I'm not focused on the pain. Also, when pain is really bad, I work on breathing differently, and focusing on my breathing versus the pain. IT's hard to do, but sometimes I manage.

Other ideas?
"When we come to the edge of the light we know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, of one thing we can be sure; either God will provide something solid to stand on... or we will be taught to fly.'"

"Cause when push comes to shove You taste what you're made of, You might bend, till you break Cause its all you can take; On your knees you look up Decide you've had enough, You get mad you get strong Wipe your hands shake it off, Then you Stand" From "Stand" by Rascal Flatts
Dx.: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Ulcerlative Colitis, Chronic Inflammation of the Colon, Ruptured & Fused L4-L5-S1 w/pinched nerves, Degenerative Disc Disease, Chronic Costochondritis, Back Muscle Spasms, Asthma, Benign Tremmors (hands)

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 450
   Posted 2/14/2008 8:12 PM (GMT -6)   
At times I try to focus on just one part of my body at a time (the ones that are hurting) With my eyes closed, I picture blue as I inhale then the blue engolfing the part that hurts, then as I slowly exhale I picture it turning to purple, then a lighter purple. I do this about 10 times per part. I have also been taught to picture a balloon inflating as I inhale and deflating as I exhale. Other times when I just cannot sleep I start with my toes and work my way up my body, breathing to put each limb to "sleep." When I do 10 slow breaths for each body part I am usually asleep by the time my arms are done.
Mochiah/a.k.a. Sue
cervical fusion 2006
L4-5 surgery with cages, plates, and screws in 2005
MEDS:  Fentanyl patch, Norco, Celexa, trazodone, and baclofen
To handle yourself, use your handle others, use your heart
I'm going to smile like nothing is wrong, act like everything is perfect, and pretend its not hurting me.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 114
   Posted 2/14/2008 9:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow I know where you're at...just moved (after having house on the market forever,3+yrs) so know what a stress that whole thing is. My sympathies...

Have you ever done any Yoga, progressive relaxation? Mantra?Sitting Zen etc?

I think the other response talked about focusing on a part of your body. That's a good one. This type of focus I learned when studying zen a long ago when I lived in Japan. But, being a slothful one, I have not made it a key part of my lifestyle (this IS relevant, pls bear with me). But when my world collapsed and I entered the wonderful world of CP in 1984 I dug it out of the inner tool sack and found it a life-saver.

There's tons written on it, under various monikers: meditation, progressive relaxation, behavioral medicine, mind-body awareness, cybernetics self-induction, self-hypnosis, trance state induction, etc etc. The part that I think you can find helpful at times like this is the breathing part. if you can find some good step-by-step instructions about how to do progressive relaxation, you can get yourself into a state of deep relaxation in fairly short order once you try it a few times. Where your mind goes once in that state if of course where the long-term challenge becomes and I won't address that. (Later I'll add the method I use if you're interested).

I just want to say that the relaxation stuff is sort of like building a 'base' for running; if someone runs say 1.5miles a day, say 5x a week, and works their way up to 3.5miles 4x a week and 7 on weekends, their base resting pulse tends to lower,and their ability to physically relax should be correspondingly lower as well. The pertinence to our CP situation is IMHO this: if one regularly gets the body-mind to that very relaxed state, and builds up a 'base', then, when that major BS stressor comes along, the coping tends to improve slightly. PLUS...since you're accustomed to ordering your body (in so many words) to knock it off, to slow down, settle down and just relax -- because of that new body awareness, chances are that you'll still have worse pain on stress days, but lose some of that helpless feeling; and, depending on the organicity of the pain (ie, structural vs just nerve damage) you may surprise yourself that your pain tolerance threshold actually improves. (ex: formerly, a major stress event took you to 9, after your 'conditioning' of yourself you may be able to get yourself back to baseline pain level (whatever that may be).

I know there are cynics about all this, but all I can say is that because of my improved awareness (built painfully and very slowly over the years from 1986 to today) that what used to lay me out for 3 days I can now get through without even having to up my meds or hit the horizontal for days. I'm sure that many here can put their own twist on this self-awareness aspect. Sorry if I sound preachy, but I stopped my Cymbalta cause I'm totally hyped(manic) I'm tending to rant, sorry. Hope it helps.
[2}Dx: Post Spinal Fusion chronic pain since 1984;Polyneuropathy;Meniere's Disease, Left ear deafness & severe tinnitus on both sides, Left; Intmt Anhedonic depression;

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 649
   Posted 2/15/2008 1:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Distraction is one of the more important tools we can use as chronic pain patients. It doesn't matter what that distraction is as long as it gets your mind off pain for a while. Reading, music, watching TV - anything that takes your focus off yourself. Meditation is a great way to regulate your breathing and get your body to relax. We all tense up and breathe faster during a pain spike, and it always makes the pain worse. That's why those relaxation techniques are so important and should be worked on daily. The more you work at it, the more it becomes autopilot when you really need it. Sometimes soaking in a hot bath will help keep you relaxed and breathing more normally.

Winter is always a rough time for me because I love being outside. Spring is beginning in my neck of the woods, and I find myself taking several tours of the yard every day. By now I think I know every bulb and bud on every plant. LOL! Every so often I'll pull a weed here and there and manage to keep up with that chore without it being a huge, physically demanding job that has to be hired out. I guess for me taking care of my plants and critters is what keeps me going. :-)
Living in the Republic of Texas minus a gallbladder, a couple of cervical discs, appendix, uterus, and 18" of colon; but still alive and living with my husband, 2 dogs, 1 cockatiel, 1 quaker parrot and 2 gold fish. 

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