Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Chronic pain to me is indescribable pain that assaults my body all day and every day. There are good days when I can function in most situations. But there would seem to be far more bad days to endure.
But those good days make other people look at us like we really are just faking it. And then when a bad day comes along, they believe you can do more than you’re saying you can do.
What’s a person to do? It’s bad enough that we must live with this pain, but harder still when those around us don’t believe us. How much time and emotional energy does this kind of life require?
You want to cry, but you don’t because other people think you’re just depressed and can snap out of it.
There’s one thing that turns it around. And I’m not saying I would wish it on anyone, but when one of your critics develops chronic pain they finally understand what you’re going through.
So how are you going to react? Are you going to join the crowd who now jeers someone else and let it be known that you don’t believe they’re in pain because they look okay?
You must do what others haven’t done for you:
Painnewsnetwork.org in their article, “When Nobody Believes You,” discusses why people with chronic pain are misunderstood. There is a great deal of frustration because you must try to convince people that your pain is real. People will also discard your reasoning to see a doctor when you should just suck it up and live life as a healthy person. And sometimes, you give up the fight because nobody is going to believe you anyway.
But don’t give up. If the people around you don’t believe how serious your chronic pain condition is surround yourself with other people who do believe you. It takes a lot of energy to live your life from day-to-day. Don’t waste that energy on trying to convince someone you are telling the truth about your pain.
This takes a great deal of courage. But you don’t have to be afraid because God is always with you. He will always believe you and will never leave or forsake you. Take heart, the fight is long, but each day can bring a small victory which can build until you have a fortress of hope inside of you.
Jeremiah 10:19 – Woe to me because of my injury! My wound is incurable! Yet I said to myself, “This is my sickness, and I must endure it.”
A herniated disk doesn’t just happen all at once. It builds as you move your body incorrectly and by overuse. Here are some tips to prevent injury from ehstoday.com in their article, “Orthopedic Surgeons Offer Tips to Reduce Workplace Injuries,” and those I’ve experienced myself:
My overuse of my cervical spine and muscles resulted in herniating a disk and surgery to correct the problem. It was a difficult surgery. I remind myself that when I’m about to make a mistake, to stop and think it through first. One small move can affect you the rest of your life like it did for me.
Then you can feel like the Bible verse above. Great sorrow for injuring myself and finding even with surgery there is no guarantee that you will have to live with it the rest of your life. You will have to endure it.
Yet, I believe there are times when an injury or sickness can be reversed. I found it in myself when my heart had A-Fib. I thought I was going to have to endure it because of failed procedures I’d had done with no relief. Then I prayed and went to another doctor a couple of hours away, and when he did the procedure, it worked! My A-Fib was cured!
Job 30:17 – Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest.
If you suffer from migraines, then you know how debilitating they can be because it lasts for hours or even days. Sometimes you can figure out the triggers and avoid the foods, senses, or objects that set you off. With proper medication given at the onset of the migraine you can prevent the migraine from being out of control. And some medications are taken before a migraine has a chance to start which is affective.
Now let’s talk about a different kind of migraine – Trigeminal neuralgia. According to mayoclinic.org in their article, “Trigeminal neuralgia,” Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from your face to your brain. If you have trigeminal neuralgia, even mild stimulation of your face – such as from brushing your teeth or putting on makeup – may trigger a jolt of excruciating pain.
Though a common migraine can be prevented at times or lessened with medication and staying in a dark room, trigeminal neuralgia can’t be prevented easily because the trigger can be as light as a breeze that touches your face of a stray hair. It also can last only a few minutes and then you may think it’s gone, but then it appears a short time later, lasts for a few minutes or a handful of seconds. It can come on and off even a hundred times a day. The key difference with trigeminal neuralgia is that it hits fast, goes away and comes back.
Pain occurs in areas supplied by the trigeminal nerve, including the cheek, jaw, teeth, gums, lips, or less often the eye and forehead. Getting to the right doctor is key. Doctors can effectively manage trigeminal neuralgia with medications, injections or surgery.
The article above discloses the causes, triggers, how it’s diagnosed and methods of treatment such as anticonvulsants, Botox injections, and surgery.
Though walking down, the road of continual bumps and bruises, there is hope. Though the gnawing pains never rest, God will sit beside you and hold your hand and provide you with his comfort.
Jeremiah 32:17 – Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.
You’ve been sitting on the floor with your legs crossed. You’ve begun to feel electricity in your foot and that pins and needles sensation. Then you attempt to stand up, and the pain is overwhelming.
So why does your foot go to sleep? According to share.upmc.com in their article, “Why Does my Foot Fall Asleep?” the technical term is paresthesia. It occurs when sustained pressure causes one or more of the nerves in a body part to become compressed.
It’s not just your foot that can fall asleep. It can affect any part of the body that has had sustained pressure on it. Such as lying on your arm, hand or foot and sitting in the same position for too long. The tingling sensation can be enough to wake you up from a sound sleep.
The important thing to remember is that if you want the pain to stop, you’re going to have to move your arm and hand and get up and walk until the pain and tingling stops. This is probably the last thing you want to do, but it’s one of the ways to relax the compressed nerves and allow the nerves to flow freely again.
Chronic paresthesia can be a symptom of a neurological disease or nerve damage. It’s important to contact your doctor if your hand, arm, foot or legs experience pins and needles frequently.
See the article above to find out what serious conditions you may be experiencing symptoms of.
Otherwise, get up and move. Help your nerves return to their proper level.
When you feel discouraged, remember that nothing is too hard for God. He will give you the wisdom for when it is time to visit your doctor and how you can help your body while you acquire an appointment.
Job 33:19 – Or someone may be chastened on a bed of pain with constant distress in their bones.
Ouch! That hurt!
Yes, the pain in your back returns with a vengeance. Chronic pain can hit you when you least expect it to.
You limp along, this time with a flare-up from a previous injury. You thought you’d completely healed, yet when you lose your balance and end up putting too much weight on your foot the pain returns. It had been a long time healing. Now you’re back to square one.
It can cause you to be hypervigilant. To the point you don’t want to go for a walk or a trip to the grocery store because you don’t want to risk reinjury. You find yourself not only dealing with physical pain but also dealing with anxiety and depression all over again.
How do we keep physical pain from becoming emotional pain? Huffpost.com in their article, “The Incredible way Your Emotions are Causing you Physical pain.” Some of their ideas are that chronic pain might not only be caused by physical injury but also by stress and emotional issues, physical pain can function to warn a person that there is still emotional work to be done, and physical pain may be the result of something going on elsewhere in your life.
Take a long look at why your back or neck is hurting if you didn’t cause further physical injury. Pain of any kind whether physical or emotional can wreak havoc on your life.
So, how do we break the cycle of pain?
With advice from the article above and ideas on what’s going on in your body causing anxiety and stress can decrease your pain level.
In addition, look at the Bible verse above. The writer was on a bed of pain with constant distress in their bones. Clearly, they were experiencing the emotional/physical pain cycle. Remember that no pain too large that God can’t walk with you through it. And if your pain persists, it may be that God is showing you the correlation between emotional and physical pain so that the cycle can be broken.
Revelations 21:4 – He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
In many cases, when you suffer with chronic pain, you feel better when you get off your feet and sit down. However, sitting down means that you must stand back up again. And, sitting down can be difficult because your pain is in your low back where all the pressure rests upon your lower discs.
In some cases, back pain can be eased by using a hot rice sock placed at the lower end of the spin. Warmth means that your discs loosen up and ease pain.
So, what is the recipe for making a rice sock and how do you heat it up in your microwave. Here’s the “recipe”:
Of all the pain relief methods I’ve tried, by far the rice sock is in the lead. The beauty is that you can make it yourself. I’m sure that they sell them on Amazon but making your own saves money.
Webmd.com provides us with some other methods to ease chronic back pain. Such as limit bed rest. The more you stay down the harder it will be to return to normal activities. Keep exercising. Simple exercises like walking can be helpful. Also, improve flexibility. Too much tension and tightness can cause back pain. Find the rest of Web MD’s ideas in the article, “12 Ways to Improve Back Pain.”
Someday God will wipe away all our tears and pain. In the meantime, try some of the methods mentioned above to ease your back pain when you can’t sit down or stand up.
Psalm 188: 5, 6 - When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
Do you ever feel like the walls around you press towards you even when your chronic pain increases?
I know I do. But even if I have chronic pain or live in a small apartment, I can in fact, feel like I live in a spacious place. Feel the presence of joy instead of sadness. Throw out the bitterness and believe that not all people are out to give you more pain.
This is especially true if you battle chronic migraines. When the drummer picks up his drumstick and pounds on it constantly, it can cause sharp pounding into your head with each strike. Or it could be the ticking of the clock when you’re trying to fall asleep. These both and others can make it difficult to even function.
We become hard pressed on every side of our lives.
But if we believe that we live in a spacious place, we can pretend that we’re beside cool waters with tree branches dancing into our square box of pain. The wind brings relief. Yet, you must believe there is a place created just for you that can aide in passing through the hours of pain.
People can also cause us to feel hard pressed, wanting to fan the flames of any anger you have inside because you suffer. We don’t need to be afraid of what others do or try to do to us. In the end, it’s not our pain that causes us trouble, but the way we amp up the situation we’re going through as an argument explodes.
Remember a time when you felt freedom. Take hold of it with all your strength. Release the need to be in control. What can you do to help you feel you’re in a spacious place?
Perhaps you could have your home painted a more soothing color. Buy pillows of a variety of colors. Use soft rugs near where you sit.
Arthritis- health.com in their article, “11 Ways to Relieve Pain Naturally,” provides ideas that can help. So, here’s one you’ll like – eating chocolate. It can dull the sensation of pain. One that I tried recently is acupuncture. It may feel scary to have needles stuck into you, but it doesn’t have to. The needles today are much smaller than in the past, they only feel like a small tap. Another one I use is warming up aching joints and cooling down joints. I create rice socks. You take a long sock and fill it with rice. Then tie a knot on the end with a rubber band. One goes into the freezer and another can be warmed up in the microwave. They are simple ways to help relieve pain. Find more ways to naturally reduce your pain by reading the whole article.
Believe you can feel like you’re in a spacious place as the Bible verse above speaks about. When you are feeling hard pressed, cry out to God. He can help you find the best ways to bring you to a place where relaxation and healing can take place. This can release the death grip that migraines take a hold of us.
Job - 37:9 – The tempest comes out from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds.
“Tis been the season to be Jolly,” but boy has it been cold outside.
For people who have chronic illnesses, it can be difficult to go outside. Whether it’s the aches and pains or the cold can create full blown pain throughout your body.
Some people, like myself, begin to creak and crack as the temperature lowers.
It can create a time when you only want to do is stay home. It used to mean that someone else would have to do your Christmas shopping. But thanks to the internet, you can shop and purchase gifts and even have them shipped to your loved one’s doorstep.
Yet it is more fun to find the gifts in person, there’s a cost you will pay for the trip outside. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but for those who love finding just the right gift, taking them home and wrapping them and having family over for Christmas dinner it is important to do so.
It used to be a really hard time, no matter what ailed you to take part in the cooking process. But now, many stores will provide you with pre-cooked meals that all you do is warm up the dinner.
And, for those who can go outside for a limited time, many churches hold Christmas Eve’s candlelight service. For me, that’s the one thing that helps me prepare my heart for Christmas.
Others bake Christmas cookies and pies. And maybe they all go out for dinner and return home to open presents.
And now that Christmas is over, there are many returns to deal with, too.
Nationalpainreport.com shares the article, “Chronic Christmas: Surviving the Holidays With a chronic illness.” Some of the article’s ideas on having a chronic illness are very helpful during the Christmas season. One of the challenges that the article discusses is the pressure to put on a perfect holiday for the people you love can be completely overwhelming when all you want to do is take a nap. Another suggestion is to get real about where you want to spend your time and energy. Lasting memories are created by the love and laughter between you and your family and friends. Focus on what matters to you.
And remember, when the holidays are over get some help putting away the decorations and cleaning the clutter. So why have I discussed Christmas after Christmas? Because it’s the best time to rethink your Christmas for next year and get help cleaning up. When approaching your difficult season plan ahead how you will handle different demands.
Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us through off everything that hinders and the sin that so entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Like a kitchen sink when it begins to drain slowly, you know that you’ve got to unclog the drain.
It could be that you forget to turn on the garbage disposal. And things begin to get stuck in the sink.
In our mind, we also have mind drainers where your mind begins to process more slowly. Things begin to slow down your thinking process. It’s time to turn on the garbage disposal; it’s time to get rid of things that drain your mind.
Here are a few things that clog up your mind:
And on it goes. Sometimes I can see the clog before it completely occupies my mind and turn on the garbage disposal and get rid of things in my life that are out of control. But you need to do so quickly. Otherwise, you’ll have no time to enjoy life. You’re too busy being clogged.
Let’s look at an article on radiomd.com that discusses foods that drain you and brain boosters called, “Top brain boosters to add and brain drainers to drop from your shopping list.”
I found this article quite intriguing about what I eat and those things I don’t. For example, you should add nuts and seeds, blueberries, broccoli, fish and avocados. Some of the foods that are mind drainers are added sugars and saturated fats.
Also take a look at the Bible verse above. We are surrounded by people who are watching us, thus the verse advices us to throw off everything that hinders us. This could be how people pull you into the wrong direction and how what we eat hinders our journey as well. It may not be easy to cut off those things that drain us and pay attention how we act around other people, but it’s worth the effort.
Ezekiel 36:26 – I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
It’s another one of those days. The sun may be shining outside, but inside your heart it’s a cloudy day.
You tire from the day-in day-out struggle with pain or an illness. Sometimes you do better than other times, but there are many days that you feel hatred toward your own body.
It’s like as if it’s an entity unto itself. It screams at you, “You think you’re in control of your life, but you’re not. I’m in control! I’ll decide what you can or can’t do today. I’m the one who can turn your day upside down.”
But you push yourself even though the screams inside haven’t calmed down. Anger is about to spill all over your day, while pain is right behind with fists pounding down the door to your heart.
You try to go about your day smiling at people in line at the grocery store or saying pleasant “hellos” to fellow coworkers. However, what’s inside will eventually find its way outside.
Your coworker gently places her hand on your shoulder and says, “I can tell you’re having the start of another bad pain day.” You feel anger swelling inside of you and then embarrassment.
Living with chronic pain and illness can steal much of your life. And it can indeed feel like it’s taking over your life, but it doesn’t have to. You’ll find some ways to look deeply at anger on lasvegasrecovery.com website in their article, “Anger, Resentment and How They Affect Chronic Pain.” The article provides some hands on ways to identify what you’re feeling and then tips on how to deal with the anger. It also discusses how resentment is related to anger in that anger is about the present, whereas resentment relates to the past.
Back to your coworker:
“I don’t think you know this, but I deal with chronic pain too,” they say. “It’s not an easy road to walk on, but I found that when you have even one person in your corner the anger that’s just beneath the surface dissolves into gratefulness for someone who understands.” Then your worker says they will pray extra hard for you today, and you find your anger just went out the door and a softened heart takes its place.
You see, God knows you. He sees that all of your anger has turned your heart of flesh into a heart of stone. But he is able to use people like your coworker to help heal your heart. Chronic pain may continue to spill all over your day, yet you may begin to feel less hatred of your body, and a renewed spirit which can see that there’s hope your day won’t have to be destroyed by the pain you face.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.