Friday, December 02, 2016

How I Cope with Chronic Pain

From the age of 4, I've been dealing with chronic pain from Hypermobility Syndrome. Over the years its got worse, and these days I'm in constant agonising pain 24/7. Rose Marie Miller said I should tell others about my experience in case it helps others, so here's how I cope with chronic pain. They go up in ascending order of effectiveness.

1. Painkillers, ice packs, hot baths, swimming in the Mediterranean and massages.
These things all help somewhat, but are just temporary. I try to avoid painkillers as much as possible, not wanting to be addicted, or to mess up my stomach. Ice packs and hot baths are easy to do with no side effects. Massages temporarily ease the pain, but I can't ask my wife to massage me all day! I've found swimming in the Spanish coast to be really helpful. The warm water, along with the salt content helps my joints to be in the right position instead of hanging (a symptom of Hyper-mobility Syndrome).

2. Watching clever movies.
If I can find a clever movie, it helps to distract me from the pain. If its not clever, it won't help. Unfortunately the pain is usually too great to read, so interesting books are out for me. I have to save reading for when my pain levels are not too high.

3. Cooking.
When I cook, it tends to distract me from pain. It's also a way I can focus on blessing others. Pain can easily make me focus on myself too much and become selfish. Cooking helps me to think more about how to bless others.

4. Making music.
When I go into the studio and start making music, I forget my pain. If I'm in too much pain to get to the studio, I have a DJ set up that swings over my bed so that I can DJ in bed.

5. Singing songs to God.
Singing songs where the lyrics focus on how amazing God is, really help me to take my focus off my pain and on to God. I'll either do this by my self or with my family. I have a bunch of songs at the ready so that its easy to play even when I'm in excruciating pain.

6. Praying to God.
Sometimes when I'm in lots of pain I cry out to God to help me. Sometimes I pray that he'd take me to heaven early, other times that he'd give me the strength to take the pain. Sometimes as I pray, I feel an amazing sense of God's presence. There's been a couple of times when this has been such an amazing experience that I've ended up thanking God for the pain because of the joy it led to.