Routine for Living with Chronic Pain

People who do not know about my chronic pain always wonder why I have such an important routine I follow in my life. When I was seeking doctor’s on a daily basis and on medications for chronic pain I need not have a routine. The pain medication worked, until it didn’t and I spent much of my time in doctor’s offices. It was not until the Pain Rehab Center at the Mayo Clinic that I began living with a routine instead of with medication. Although my routine has obviously had to change since becoming a mother I still try and stick to it as much as possible. A very kind reader of my blog asked me to write out my routine. I am going to share with you the routine I have now, as a mother with chronic pain. I will also post the schedule I utilized pre-motherhood as many of my readers do not have children, yet!

I wake up around five am and do my morning stretches. I do simple range of motion exercises with each muscle of my body even the parts of my body that are not related to my pain. Everything is connected! Following morning stretches, I exercise. My favorite exercise is running, especially because it also makes my daughter extremely happy. I cannot run every day because that is over-doing it and I cannot control mother nature. On the days I do not run I practice yoga or mild lifting. My exercise in the morning is crucial to my pain management. Getting my heart rate up and releasing those endorphins makes me feel amazing. People may not believe in the “runner’s high” but let me tell you, it is beyond true. Running is not for everyone, walking can be just as effective. Research shows that even walking ten minutes outside has been proven to uplift a person’s move. If ya don’t use it, ya lose it!

Following morning stretches and exercises I make my daughter’s breakfast and I make myself a juice. My juice today was: carrots, ginger, spinach, celery, oranges, and strawberries. My daughter is a huge fan of the juice as well (minus the ginger!) I also have a breakfast which is usually cereal or peanut butter on whole grain bread. I stick to eating three main meals a day and various healthy snacks throughout the day. Our favorite snack is carrots with hummus.

Pre-motherhood I would practice a meditation before having my morning coffee. Well, that has changed. I’m a mom, I need coffee! I shower in the morning and even do minor stretches under the hot water as my daughter plays in her exer-saucer and we sing to the radio. Music is a huge tool for me in my management with chronic pain. Every day is different but I have made it a goal to practice a meditation each day my daughter agrees to take a nap. My favorite meditation is yoga nidra. I feel amazing after practicing a meditation. It took me years to enjoy meditation and mindfulness and now I love it.

Every day is different. Pre-motherhood I was a social worker and worked basically a nine to five job. It was much easier then to have a distinct schedule for my pain management. Anyone who is a stay at home mother to a toddler knows every day is different. It is not just about me anymore, I have to fulfill the needs and wants of my daughter. The things I almost always stick to no matter what are exercise, meditation, distractions, and nutrition. Every time my mind starts to focus on my pain I use every amount of strength I have to change my thoughts and do something to get my mind off of the pain. The less I focus on the pain, the less I feel it. It is always there, I just work extremely hard to not focus on that damn demon.

I try to follow a bedtime routine as this helps me sleep. I always read prior to sleeping and try very hard to not look at a clock as I am going to sleep. Ignorance is bliss. Getting a good nights sleep is crucial to not only chronic pain but depression and anxiety. Again, I have a one year old and plan to have more children so I cannot always get a great night’s sleep. Last night, I had a great night sleep and it shows. I’m happy and clear headed today. Do not underestimate the power of a good nights sleep. When I do not sleep well, I make a huge effort to practice yoga nidra. If you do not know what that it, I encourage anyone with sleeping issues to google it and get yourself a CD to listen to. It is the meditative heart of yoga and puts me in a deep meditation that is equivalent to a certain amount of hours of sleep. It works and practice makes permanence.

When I first left the Pain Rehab Center I literally wrote out my schedule from hour to hour to make sure I included all the things I needed to utilize to manage my pain naturally. I will be writing a post on that in the next few days. Routine is crucial to living with chronic pain naturally.

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Routine for Living with Chronic Pain

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14 thoughts on “Routine for Living with Chronic Pain

  1. Pingback: A day in my life with Chronic Illness | my chronic life journey

  2. Thanks for this post. I’ve also just written a post about my daily routine. I don’t have children yet so I’ve tried to make it reasonably structured so I know what I’m doing, but I try not to stress when life gets in the way and I have to rearrange my routine.
    Yoga Nidra is one of my favourite rest techniques and I try to use it for at least one of my rests a day.
    My main exercises at the moment are yoga and walking because I don’t have the energy for much else.
    Love your post and I’ll keep my eye out for the follow up one.

  3. Pingback: My Day Today | joynpain2

  4. I am so blessed to find you! I am going to start stretching tomorrow when I wake up and research the yoga. I don’t know about meditation though, I have attention deficit disorder and trying to quiet my mind and what not, it’s so hard! I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to read till now too. I had one of those days that started well and then by 3:30 when my bf’s son got home as well as my bf, I had had enough. I sorta just gave into how bad I had felt off and on all day. I ended up binge eating, something horrible I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I do it to get sleepy. Sometimes when feeling bad I just want to sleep. Tomorrow is a new day though. I am going to stretch like you recommended and look into trying some yoga. I am going to try to take a walk as well. I hope I do this. Motivation is strong now but tomorrow it may be a distant memory. That’s a problem for me. I really, really appreciate you sharing. Great pic of you and your daughter. She favors you and is quite cute! She must be the light in your life too.

    • Your email made my eyes fill up. I know all too well how you feel and I used to be in the place you are in now. I hope you can find the motivation to do some of the things like stretching or walking. Even just ten minutes today walk. Write down a goal or two each night before you go to bed such as: walk ten minutes research yoga dvd’s or cd’s The next day pretend you do not have a choice and no matter how you feel do the things you wrote down the night before. I’ll help you along the way ok? Love Jessica

      • Jessica, I didn’t mean for us to have a crying fest. I cried reading your response. I appreciate you offering to help me, I will take it. Today, I got up feeling sad. I have cried off and on and it’s not because I’m in pain. I don’t know what is setting me off, I am teary now. I haven’t done anything. I haven’t stretched or done a thing I said I would. Maybe that is adding to my distress. I think too that because I binged last night and I’m trying to slim down, it wrecked my progress and spirit. I have to move on and get out of this but right now I keep crying and can’t control these emotions.

      • Thank you! Today has been a busy day, I haven’t even posted anything today and may just go to bed but I wanted to let you know! Still need to research and follow yoga but like you said, baby steps….hope you are well and your world is how it should be this weekend! Night.

  5. countryfairy12 says:

    I have currently became an active grandmother to 3 small grand children and I have had to stop taking less pain meds and start physical therapy to gain some strength to care for their daily needs and to just pick them up with out being in pain, I’m starting off in the pool with some floor stretches and my therapist has mentioned once I get into some floor exercise that she will show me some yoga moves like you mentioned…..thanks for sharing and I will definitely
    be following your blog from now on 🙂

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