If you’re in pain long enough you’re desperate to try anything to alleviate the never-ending discomfort. I’ve done some crazy/gross/boring/expensive/time-consuming/life-altering things at the suggestion of physicians or other chronic painers just in case they make me feel better. I’ve also done some things at no one’s suggestion based on a decade of my own observations that I think alleviate my pain at least a little. I figure that even if my ways are a bit unorthodox it’s a small price to pay for some pain relief.
- Make my bed strangely : When I started sleeping on my back (hip pain makes it pretty difficult to sleep on your side) the tucked-in top sheet pulled on my toes and I swear that made my legs hurt more. It seemed ridiculous that a sheet would be a problem, but if I tried to understand the logic behind every aspect of my pain I would have a lot less time to spend on Instagram. So, instead of being a normal person and leaving the top sheet untucked, I began folding the bottom up a bit before tucking it in so my little piggies can stick out. It’s been about five years since I started this and people think I’m nuts for it.
- Limit wearing jeans : I am convinced that when I wear certain pants, definitely jeans, my hips hurt more than when I wear other pants or shorts. I now own a single pair of jeans that are more cottony and less tight/stretchy with which I do pretty well, but to this day I am very wary of buying jeans (and other heavy/restrictive pants). I have actually changed my pants in the middle of the workday to get some relief.
- Use my cane on the wrong side : If my left hip is hurting more, I put the cane in my left hand. If my right hip is worse that day, it goes in my right hand. I know it’s backward, but I don’t care. This is how I like it (and Dr. Gregory House does it this way too so…) I’m telling you, it feels better this way.
- Limit my intake of non-pain-relieving medications and other chemicals : Because I have a considerable aversion to medications and chemicals I struggle with the idea that I rely on so many each day to keep my pain (somewhat) under control. To “counteract” this, I began to consider all the ways chemicals entered into my body, whether it’s in my makeup, laundry detergent, cleaning products, et cetera. Over the course of 1-2 years I did a major overhaul of the products I used and phased out/replaced nearly everything. Sure, I may have started this practice if I didn’t take any pain medicines, but that was the catalyst. I know the medication I take overpowers the fact that I use organic, chemical-free concealer, but the rationalization is too convenient to stop now. (I guess this one doesn’t directly help my pain, but I think it helps my body which should help my pain…right?)
- Learn about someone who’s worse off : Even I am not so self-centered that I think I have a worse case scenario situation. Not even close! If I’m in a bit of a rut (or throwing a pity party similar to what I described in yesterday’s post) all I have to do is turn on TLC and cross my fingers for one of those shows that features an endless line of helpless cases, or get on Facebook and read the walls of friends who are total saps (everyone knows a few of them, at least).
I constantly search for new ways to make myself feel better and limit behaviors I know are harmful. I only wear heels when it is practically unavoidable. I try to drink enough water and eat real foods that come from the ground instead of a bag (although I could do better with this one). I change positions while I’m sitting for 30 minutes or more. I try to distract myself and keep my mind busy even if my body isn’t. I don’t feel I have legs to stand on when I say that medicine has failed me if I haven’t done everything within my power to help myself. Some things are unrealistic, whether we have financial or time constraints, while others have only a slight chance for a payoff with a large price to pay. Sometimes we just can’t stomach another attempt at getting better and potentially falling short. I get it, no one can truly try to do everything, but I’ll be damned if I don’t give it a decent shot.