How To Manage Chronic Pain Naturally

One of the ways to manage your chronic pain naturally is by being kinder to yourself.

How stressful events can affect how we manage chronic pain

When we have a stressful situation, especially a pandemic, this changes the neural activity in our brains and it also raises the levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, in our body. This produces a sense of agitation for every one. However, if you suffer with a chronic pain condition, such as fibromyalgia, your already sensitised nervous system perceives this danger as a greater threat and can trigger an increase in your pain levels.    At this current time people’s symptoms are also being exacerbated by being separated from our support networks.  Not being able to see friends and family and not having normal access to healthcare.  When we are shut away like this and under pressure it gives us so much time to be inside our own heads and this isn’t always helpful. 

Why what you are saying to yourself is important

Often our inner voice is our biggest critic and we can be quite unkind to ourselves, judgmental and harsh and we don’t even realise we’re doing it. It becomes such a habit that we are doing it all the time without even realising. I think at the moment with quite a lot of time on our hands and when we are not going about normal daily routines it is actually making it worse. So if you do no other self care in this stressful time just keep a check on your inner voice and be gentle with yourself. 

When we engage in a lot of negative self talk the body perceives this as stress and it doesn’t know that it is not coming from an external source. Stress, we know, increases nervous system activity and for people with chronic pain this can increase the pain intensity. So if you find yourself being harsh just try to stop and check yourself. Then find a phrase or saying that might be more helpful such as ‘I am enough’ or ‘I don’t need you (the thought) just now’.  

How often do you speak to yourself harshly?

When we have chronic pain we often talk harshly to ourselves because we feel that our body has let us down. This is not helpful, partly because it means we are focusing on the pain and giving it power.  Being mean to ourselves is a self induced stress.  You wouldn’t tolerate somebody else speaking to you that harshly and you wouldn’t speak to somebody else in that way and so why do it to yourself? Maybe today is the day to try to listen compassionately to your bodies and to your pain.  

It is a really good time to make this a new habit as many of our normal distractions are not there.  So addressing the internal environment needs to be done very consciously when under stress.  You can do this just by trying to change your thoughts.  Another effective way of getting thoughts out of your head that we also recommend is journaling. Journaling is really useful to help offload unhelpful thoughts and calm your internal environment. 

Would you like to try an experiment?

How would it be if when you had a pain today you paused and identified the pain.  Then acknowledged the pain and spent a moment understanding the pain?  Why had it just been triggered what did you just do? Was it something physical or was it actually the fact that you just had an emotional response to something? Could it have been something such as a difficult phone call or a large unexpected bill has just arrived?  Just spend a moment checking in and trying to understand what is going on with your pain. Then, if you can, stop focusing on the pain, breathe it out and release it.  

So today please be gentle with yourself.

My personal experience

I know it may be a hard concept to grasp and when I first came across it when I was suffering with fibromyalgia pain I thought so too.  Now, however, I know that it was an important part of the jigsaw for my recovery. The person we hang out with most, is our self, all day every day (especially at the moment) and if we have a constant negative dialogue going on in our heads this can be triggering to our already jangled nervous system. When our nervous system is under pressure it effects ALL the other systems in our bodies which is why chronic pain is accompanied by so many other symptoms such as anxiety, restless legs, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, headaches and fatigue.

If you would like any help with how to manage your chronic pain naturally then we offer video consultations that you can book here…

More information on our approach to chronic pain here…