One topic that was discussed at length during a pain management course that I attended recently was how powerful distraction can be when dealing with pain. Now I’m not talking about the type of distraction you get when you see a nice looking member of the opposite sex on the side of the road while driving your car, I’m talking about taking the time out to do activities that you are interested in and that you thoroughly enjoy doing.
Not only does this let you take a break from your daily routine it also refreshed your mind and in my opinion puts you in a better frame of mind to deal with the pain you are going through. There is nothing worse than being caught in a rut because you’re pain dictates the things that you do every day. I often find myself in this situation, where I’ll go for days without actually doing or achieving anything because I let my pain override any thoughts of getting out and doing something.
Thankfully Belinda usually notices this pattern of behavior before I do and drags me out with her to the shops or over to see the out-laws (my name for the in-laws, not some crazy bikie gang!) Even though I don’t find either of these activities particularly interesting, just getting out of the house is sometimes all I need to change my perspective and start planning things to do on the following days.
Of course distraction can also bring about problems. The most rewarding thing for me is to spend some time in the garage working on my cars. Several times I have found that without being aware of it the hours have passed and by the time I come back upstairs and ’wind down’ my back pain, and particularly the pain I get from my heel spurs is really cranking. So as you can imagine it needs to be closely monitored so that you don’t over-do it. Perhaps an alarm clock would be useful to remind you that it is time to take a break. I will have to try that next time.
If you’re pain is really getting you down and you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel (another sure-fire sign that you are stuck in a rut and not coping too well) I urge you to take time out for yourself and indulge a little in an activity that you know will bring you enjoyment and lift your spirits. Sure, you may wake up in the morning with pain shooting all around your body but if you can muster the strength to get past it and go and do the things that will ‘distract’ you for a while I’m sure the rest of the day will be much better.
It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you get some sense of enjoyment or satisfaction out of it and with any luck you will need an alarm clock to remind you of the hours passing by also!