Chronic pain and how I deal with it.

As I write this I’m having a very bad pain day, I’ve needed lots of my usual go to pain reliefs and I also need a distraction, so I thought I’d share some of the ways I deal with my chronic pain. I hurt for many reasons today, lots of walking, lack of medication (long story), stress and anxiety. And generally faulty joints.

I have chronic pain from 2 conditions, fibromyalgia and hypermobility syndrome, they cause different types of pain with different triggers but when they hit at the same time it isn’t fun. A (very bastardised) description of fibromyalgia is chronic and widespread nerve pain. I’ve talked about this on another blog post here, for me the main type of pain is like a cold burn on my legs and upper arms which amplifies any other sensation (such as rough clothing or bumps/scrapes – which happen a lot because I’m clumsy af), it leaves me feeling like I’ve been beaten up and my body is one big bruise.

My hypermobility syndrome effects joints and the surrounding muscles and tendons/ligaments, that feels like painful stiffness or locking, muscles ache most of the time in my legs from over extending knees and hips, my bones feel like they’re hurting, like there’s icy lightning in my joint when I move. Also as I hurt more (from tensing muscles to keep things going the right way) and get more fatigued I get more likely to hurt myself from my knees going (ie if I’ve walked a lot – which is more than 15 minutes now). It feels like I can’t keep myself upright, luckily I’ve never really fallen but my knees will extend sharply backwards which really hurts and causes more pain later. These aren’t the only symptoms and I’ll lose my mind if I try name every symptom they both give me right now. Google my friends.

So here’s a short list of things I try to relieve pain, I hope they help someone.

Hot/Cold packs…

I love my hot/cold packs, you just pop them in the microwave or freezer and they stay hot/cold for ages. I can put them anywhere and it’ll loosen tense muscles or distract from pain. I also have a microwaveable bean bag hearty thing (idk what the actual name for them are) I love it because of the pressure it gives as well. My joints also hurt more when I’m cold so heat packs are great for that too.

CBD oil…

I started using CBD maybe 2-3 months ago, I originally wasn’t expecting much and in all fairness it hasn’t helped directly with pain. But it really helps with my anxiety (which it turn helps me cope with the pain, and anxiety/stress is also one of my fibromyalgia triggers) and it also helps me sleep better. I have a 5% dropper which I get from Holland & Barrett which is half price at the moment! It’s not cheap, I use about a bottle a month so I use it sparingly and as I need it, I’d love to be able to try a stronger one because I’ve heard it helps with pain better, I guess it affects people differently.

Volterol…

Or the non generic diclofenac gel, I dont use it as much as I did because it dries my skin out and my skin is quite sensitive. It helps when I have swelling in joints and I think the act of massaging it in and stimulating blood flow to the area helps more than the actual gel to be fair, but it isn’t very strong and my body just has a higher tolerance for pain now so takes more to help.

Mobility aids…

I’ve talked about my mobility aids before but I currently use a stick and smart crutches. I originally used a stick to try take weight off which ever leg hurt and to help me walk without over extending my knees. I moved onto smart crutches because using my sick almost every day was starting to effect my hands, wrists and elbows from weight bearing. My smart crutches let me spread the weight throughout my forearm which stops my joints from jolting with every step and having too much weight on them. They’ve been brilliant, it also means I can take more weight off my leg if there’s pain and also stop me from being in more pain later on.

Painkillers…

I try not to rely on prescription painkillers, I dont like some of the side effects from things such as codeine or naproxen which can include constipation, stomach aches and headaches, they are my last resort and I only take them when I feel like its too much to handle or nothing else has helped. I’ve tried so many, but codeine’s the closest I’ve gotten to no pain at all, most of the time it just dulls it enough for me to function more.

I’m tired and foggy so thats all I can think of right now, I just needed something constructive to do with my pain rather than just scroll through memes. If anyone has any other suggestions (or reminders of what else I use) do leave them in the comments and I’ll add them in later!

And not forgetting…

“I deal with it by being cute” – Owain (my partner)

Ben

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