My best offense to chronic pain and anxiety is exercise. I always feel better after raising my heart rate, moving my legs, and sweating like crazy. However, as a person with chronic pain I have to always find a sense of balance. Now that I am medicine free, finding that balance is even more crucial. I remember leaving a weight lifting class or a long spin class and one of the first things I would do would be to take a pain killer. Even if the pain wasn’t at a high level: the fear of the pain was just as bad as the pain itself. I no longer have the option of taking a pain killer so I must listen to both my mind and body. Well, if I always listened to my mind I would literally be Forrest Gump and probably run ten miles a day. People assume I exercise to look good but I truly love exercising and feel so amazing during and after. Today I had to let go and listen to my body. I have been doing interval workouts for a couple days straight now and each exercise usually involves light to medium weights. It is way too cold to run with my daughter outside the past few weeks, so I have been doing the videos I love. I still can get my heart rate up and sweat like crazy in the warmth of my home but today my body was screaming to my mind: “I need a day off!! All this interval stuff is starting to get to me and it is going to affect my pain levels, I am telling you right now body!!” I allowed my mind and body to be in unison today (as I always should) and did a yoga video to stretch out all the sore muscles my body was yelling at me for. I love yoga for so many reasons but doing yoga at home does not usually produce the same endorphins and anxiety killers that running or anything aerobic does for me. And there are certain things this week that have caused my anxiety to reach sky high levels and my mind really wanted a good, sweaty work out.
My decision to give up taking medication for pain was the best decision I could have ever made. Living with chronic pain medicine free does however make me have to work so much harder than having a stand by medicine cabinet at hand. The mind and body are so connected. The majority of people I talk to have the opposite problem when it comes to exercise. Their mind is telling them to get on a treadmill or take a class, while their body is saying: “Screw that, I don’t have time for that.” How many people make new years resolutions to exercise more. The mind wants it for most people more than the body. We must all get our minds and body more connected to one another. Because I listened to my body this morning and did a yoga session and a meditation while my daughter napped, my body is happier.
People with chronic pain are forced to make decisions on a daily basis that others do not have to think about. As hard as this is, especially when managing pain naturally it does start to bring a lot of wisdom to your relationship between your body and mind. I have enough issues with things outside of me then to have my mind and body at battle with one another. We must learn to align the body and mind so that they are in harmony, especially anyone with chronic pain.