Chronic pain is a challenge to live with on many levels. The most prevalent being coping with the pain on a constant, daily basis for a long period of time. If the pain is significant enough that if interferes with the ability to work, that is one thing to deal with right there. How do you make money to pay the bills? The financial stress has its own implications.
When pain interferes with sleep, there is the effects of sleep deprivation. Speaking from personal experience on that topic, just the sleep deprivation itself can be horrendous. Fatigue, irritability, decreased or slowed reactions, difficulty coping with stressors, increased stress, difficulty concentrating or lack of concentration and irritability are just a few among the long list of results of chronic sleep deprivation.
After only a few days of sleep deprivation, the body undergoes changes similar to “fast-forward” aging: memory loss, metabolism problems (with sugar and hormones), and poor athletic performance. If sleep deprivation continues over the long-term, it increases the risk of more serious health problems, such as:
- a weakened immune system
- diabetic (the body can not process sugar properly)
- high blood pressure
Since the topic of sleep deprivation alone is such a huge topic let alone sleep deprivation caused by chronic pain, I will write a separate post on it to expand and share some valuable information. Essentially the sleep deprivation in itself is shockingly damaging. Please look for that post soon. As I am sleep deprived myself, bear with me on the time line of it.
Activities of daily living that we all take for granted can become a challenge. Self care can become a hurdle each day. My personal challenge with having trouble coping with my activities of daily living was my reluctance in asking for help with personal care. I did not want to accept that I needed that degree of assistance. I was thankful for the help when I had trouble washing my hair or dressing myself, but I found it demeaning that I needed it.
Housekeeping duties are difficult to accomplish. Even the light housekeeping. vacuuming, laundry, washing dishes, even such an easy task as dusting would exacerbate the pain and muscle spasm. It was so frustrating to not be able to do things that were so simple prior to the accident. These activities are so much a part of daily life, that we take for granted being able to do them when we can. Not being able to is not the end of the world, but who is going to do them if we can’t. There is no one to just take over and do them, yet they need to be done.
Yard work. I love gardening. Digging in the dirt always made me feel so good. Watching the flowers and the garden made me so happy. Contact with the dirt actually releases endorphins similar to the endorphins released during exercise. It was so frustrating to not be able to look after my own yard, flowers and garden. Once again this is another topic that I will expand on.
Grocery shopping. Pushing a grocery cart empty of contents exacerbated the pain and muscle spasms. It took me a long time before I gave in and stopped trying. Call me stubborn if you want, but the voice inside my head just would not give in. Then there is the motion of taking a weighted object off of the shelf, or out of the freezer and reaching to set it in the cart. At the cash register each of the items in the cart need to be placed from the cart onto the platform. When any reaching with a weighted object past one foot from your body causes the pain and muscle spasm to increase or become unbearable, how do you get groceries?
Chronic Pain Syndrome caused by nerve damage or inflammation requires a slightly different approach. I will elaborate this area as well. Narcotics are not very effective for this type of pain. Finding alternate methods in treating and coping is very important. I hope that this information has been helpful and informative in some way to you.
Please feel free to comment with feedback, questions, or requests. I appreciate your time!