It's the beginning of a new month so I am going to be writing about a new topic related to living joyfully while in chronic pain. So the topic for April will be very practiclly - ways to help deal with the pain, a self-help look at methods of pain control that I have found helpful - or a toolbox of pain-managment tools!
The very first thing is probably the best pain control tool that I have found (keep in mind that everyone's pain is different and what works for me may not work for you!). Since a lot of my pain began with female issues which the doctor said were similar to hard labor pains - and then with IC the spasms are just as bad if not worse - the first tool is a heating pad. I literally take mine with me wherever I go (at least if I will be sitting for any length of time or sleepin especially). I even have an outlet which I can plug myself in to eh cigarette ligher while riding in a car! I have had people tell me that I need to wean myself from using the heating pad - and I actually have found a way of sleeping where I don't use it, but for the most part the heating pad has saved me MANY trips to the ER or doses of high pain medication. The heat distracts my mind from the pain and relaxes my muscles.
CAUTION: These come with warnings and they mean what they are talking about! I have permanent deep tissue scarring on my low back from using the heating pad on high for too long at a time and without protection. The surgeon who did my hysterectomy cried when he saw it and said that this type of burns he has only seen on the very worst cases because the pain of burning the back hurts so much less than the pain inside from disease. Over the years since then, I have learned to use it safely, and it is still the most effectie way to relieve my back pain.
I sometimes have felt very self-consious and embaraced about my carrying around a heating pad with me to people's houses etc. But the times when I have been too proud to bring it have been the times when I have ended up in more pain and had to take more medication to try and control it after the fact. It does take some hummility to be able to use these in public - but it is so worth it!