Coping with Chronic Pain

(“Coping with Chronic Pain” audio version)

It is a pain dealing with pain. To make matters worse, pain can be anxiety inducing and even depressive. For many of us, when challenged with physical pain, we psychologically revert back to a time of mental pain and experience PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. (Note: Despite popular belief, PTSD is not limited to those brave individuals who have served our country. PTSD can happen to every-day civilians like you and me.)

For example, I first developed costochondritis, or inflammation of the ribcage, while on bed rest with my third daughter, Camellia. Because I almost lost her in-utero and then again postpartum, whenever I have a costochondritis flare up, my mind goes back to that scary time and not only does my rib cage hurt, but my heart hurts, too.

Good news, though, you can overcome both pains. Here’s how:

Have a plan in place.

When you have a flare up, remember what has worked in the past to overcome your condition. This might mean healthcare professionals like your go-to chiropractor or physical therapist, pain management topical treatments like Green Roads roll on CBD oil or doTERRA’s Deep Blue, supportive friends or family members who understand what you are going through, and/or dietary programs like an anti-inflammatory diet.

Remember you can do this.

You can and will get through your pain. Trust in this statement. Establish a mantra, or motivational phrase like “I got this.” Otherwise, you may fall prey to fear and anxiety, which will slow down your recovery time.

Celebrate minor victories.

As you overcome your pain, celebrate your “mini wins” (i.e. the decreasing of pain) along the way. This might mean establishing a pain-o-meter (Ex: 5 being the highest, 3 the middle, 1 the lowest). As your pain goes down, celebrate with simple, low-impact personal parties like a bubble bath (with Epson salt to reduce inflammation), reading a romance novel, and/or cooking a favorite meal.

—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ

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