Good morning everyone!
We’ve been busy packing, sorting, and organizing in anticipation of our move later this summer so I haven’t been able to sit down and write. I told myself earlier “Self, you need to get this written up because someone out there might really need this today”. So, here I am! And I have to say I’m really excited about sharing this tip with you for chronic pain management.
I haven’t been using this tool for very long; about 6 months or so but I wish I had figured it out a long time ago. It really could’ve helped me out a lot. Since then I have seen a few articles on this and I was like “Man…I wish I had known this before…”. The important thing though is that I am using it now and I hope it will benefit you as well. I like to call it “My Pain Management Kit”.
It was around Christmas and I had just finished up my rice warmers. Sewing takes a lot out of me so I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like. I was hobbling around trying to gather up some different things because I was feeling miserable. (Ibuprofen, peppermint oil, chamomile tea, cinnamon pills, etc…) I got myself situated in bed on the Good Old Heating Pad and took my ibuprofen, sipped on some tea and then it hit me like a lightning bolt!
I needed to get all of these things I used for my pain management and put them in one central location instead of having to hunt them down when I was in really bad shape. Granted we only have a one bedroom apartment but when you can barely walk 10 feet that 700 square feet seems like an insurmountable obstacle some days.
So I sat there and got out my phone and pulled up the note pad (I use this SO much it’s ridiculous!) I started making a list of everything I use to help me cope. I actually made 2 lists; one for home and one for work since I have to use different methods at times depending on where I am. I can’t really bust out Cat-Cow Yoga Pose in the floor at work or go take a hot bath in the ladies room 🙂
It took me about a week to work on my list and to gather up everything I needed. Why a week? Well, that’s how my life is. I have to break up physical activities into ‘segments’. Each night I would look at my list and then I would add something to it or go hunt it down. I have about 5 minutes a few times a night that I can get a few needed things done. Unload half the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, fold a load, feed the cats, etc…So, that’s what happened here. After I got everything together I can tell you that I felt a big weight lifted off my shoulders. It was a great feeling just knowing that I had what I needed right next to me. No more needless rummaging during a painful flare up.
I also put index cards in my kits to help me remember what to put in them or what to do when I am having a flare up. I can’t put gratitude or yoga stretches in my kit 🙂 but it can be a great reminder because we all know there are those times that your pain levels are so bad that you can’t focus on anything but the pain. If you have a little reminder right there that says, “Take a few deep breaths, relax your shoulders, say a prayer of thanks, or do a few stretches” it can really help. Before, I would just lay in bed rocking back and forth and let all of the negative thoughts and emotions take over. “This is never going to stop, I can’t take this anymore” would run through my mind over and over. Honestly though? It does help some to have something in my own handwriting telling me “Just breathe; try to picture the beach and how the ocean breeze smells, the warmth of the sand. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing”.
Having everything right at your fingertips (next to the bed or your desk drawer) helps so much. You don’t have to walk around hunched over digging through drawers and cabinets or beating yourself up because you can’t remember where you last saw the peppermint oil. I used a plain old red gift bag for my Pain Kit at work. At home I use a basket. Whatever you have on hand will work- boxes, bags, baskets, totes, storage bins, etc….
I don’t always have everything in my kit that is written on my list. Sometimes I just don’t have the money to fill it up with everything I’d like to but the list is there so when I’m able I put what I can in it. And of course you don’t have to use an index card- a piece of paper works just fine. You can get really creative if you want (and that’s a good thing because being creative helps take your mind off the pain).
Here are my personal lists.
Home Pain Management Kit:
⦁ Heating Pad
⦁ Epsom Salt
⦁ Lavender Oil
⦁ Chamomile Tea
⦁ Yoga Stretches
⦁ Sandalwood Incense
⦁ Cinnamon/ginger pills
⦁ Comfy fuzzy socks
⦁ Rescue Remedy
Work Pain Management Kit:
⦁ Thermacare Wraps
⦁ Scented Rice Warmer
⦁ Peppermint essential oil
⦁ Cinnamon/ginger pills
⦁ Meditation music
⦁ Tens Unit
⦁ Lavender candle (if your job doesn’t allow you to light candles you can still put this on your desk for the scent).
I hope that this will help you as much as it has helped me! Remember that you can set your Pain Management Kits up the way that works best for you. Get creative!
Please feel free to share your ideas with me in the comments section as I’m always looking for better ways to help manage my chronic pain.
Stay safe this holiday weekend.
Peace & blessings,