Friday, January 29, 2010

How to Cope With Pain Due to Chronic Illness

I received a request from Susan White who offered to author a guest column on the blog. After emailing back and forth a little we agreed that this article would be of benefit to our readers.

Many of our readers may want to comment on her article, to tell her your story or to offer your experience. This may be beneficial for her and others.

Susan White, who writes on the topic(http://becomingaradiologist.org/). She welcomes your comments at her email id: susan.white33@gmail.com.

How to Cope With Pain Due to Chronic Illness

It’s not something we want to have, but chronic illness does not let us pick and choose. Call it the luck of the draw or the roll of the dice, but some of us have to contend and cope with lifelong ill health in the form of chronic disease. While some forms are relatively benign and allow you to lead a nearly normal life, others cause severe pain and are debilitating, leading to the deterioration of the quality of life. If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic illness that is painful, here’s how you can cope (or help them cope):

· Medication: Painkillers allow you to lead a normal life by taking away your pain or at least controlling it to levels that are manageable. Talk to your doctor about the best pain medication for you, one that lets you do your job and has the least side effects. You must ensure that you’re not tempted to take more than the correct dosage, even if the pain is unbearable. Call your doctor before you change medication or dosage. Also, because medicines interact to cause adverse reactions, inform your doctor about the various medicines you’re taking, both prescription drugs and those purchased over the counter.

· Distract yourself: When you know that you have no control over what you’re feeling, the best thing to do is distract yourself. Read a book, watch a sitcom on television or a comedy movie on your DVD, play a board game with friends and loved ones – in short, do anything that will help take your mind off the pain.

· Therapy: Some chronic illnesses cause pain when certain triggers are activated. For example, if you suffer from migraines or fibromyalgia, your pain may shoot up when you’re upset or because of certain strong smells (migraine). An asthmatic patient might feel a flare up of their symptoms when there is too much dust around. Learn to identify the triggers of pain and avoid them.

· Prayer/meditation/exercise: It’s a question of which form of self-help works for you – some people find that prayer and oneness with their soul gives them a brief respite from the pain while others take to meditation. Yet others find that mild exercise (if they’re up to it) allows them to stay relatively pain-free for a while. Whatever helps you get rid of or forget the pain, do it. It’s your life, and although your friends and family may help you out, you have to assume responsibility for yourself. So chronic illness or not, seize life by the collar and live it to the fullest.

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