Learning to Listen to Your Body When You’re in Pain

I have lived with pain for most of my life. Chronic severe pain. Extreme pain at times.

I have a facial pain condition called trigeminal neuralgia, back and rib pain due to scoliosis, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, Raynaud’s…I’ll stop there, otherwise you might think I am writing a medical encyclopaedia. I’m not.

People say I cope well with my pain. But I just feel it is part of my life, so I have to make the best of it. I want to live, and enjoy living, and I believe I can, even though I have pain.Enjoy life despite pain

About twenty years ago, I met a woman who had severe osteoarthritis. She told me that she would never let her pain beat her. She was determined to fight against it.

Her words struck a chord with me. I had used them myself. Often.

From my mid teens, I lived with chronic, disabling back pain. I was determined not to let it beat me. I wanted to have a ‘normal’ life, doing things that normal teenagers do. I was not going to be beaten by my pain.

After chatting with that woman, it suddenly occurred to me that I had been living in a battleground, constantly fighting against my pain.

Who had been winning that fight?

Well, it certainly wasn’t me.burnout-2048574__480.jpg

How could I win? I was fighting against something so much stronger than me. My pain had the ability to make me pass out, to drop me to the floor, to make me unable to get out of bed without help.

I was fighting against something extremely powerful and it was a fight I could never win.

The pain was mine. It was part of me.

Therefore, I had been putting myself into a battleground to fight. I was fighting with myself.

A battleground really isn’t a positive place to be. And I wasn’t able to win the battle. The pain won. I had to surrender to it. I felt defeated. I felt miserable.

I felt like a failure.

I learned a lot about myself that day. And from then, I changed how I viewed my pain.

I recognised how strong and powerful my pain was. I learned to listen to it. I learned that it was there for a reason. The reason might be that I needed to relax, or I’d been on my feet too long, or I needed more sleep, or I’d pushed my boundaries and needed a few days rest.balance-110850__480.jpg

I can’t say that I am always ecstatically happy to listen, but I know that if I don’t, my pain will be worse. I live with it, rather than fight against it. It’s a peaceful environment rather than a battleground.

Do you live with constant pain? How do you cope with it? Please comment below to let me know.

21 thoughts on “Learning to Listen to Your Body When You’re in Pain

  1. As someone who shares TN and arthritis, I feel your pain… no pun intended. I have learned to figure out what triggers my pain, and stress is a big one. Unfortunately, as much as we want to regulate stress to a tiny box in our lives, that isn’t always possible. I’m dealing with an elderly parent with dementia, and a husband who has a personality disorder. There is no easy fix for either, and all the meditating in the world doesn’t make it go away. I have to deal, and usually it is stressful.

    I struggle with still wanting to do the things I did when I was eighteen. Now I’m fifty-seven. My body just isn’t the same, and I have to give myself permission to take it easy.

    I keep promising myself that I’ll start writing in a pain diary, and I don’t do it. But I recognize that if I did, that would not just be listening to my pain, it would be a reminder, as I look back, what triggers the pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, thanks for commenting. I’m sorry you also have TN and arthritis. You’re right, stress is a major trigger for pain, and you are dealing with such a lot. I hope you get emotional support to help. Sometimes pain diaries are a good outlet at the time, but often not good to look back at. Often worth putting them into the trash.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My sister has multiple medical conditions and has lived with pain for many years 😢 she can barely get out of bed most days.
    I’m glad to see that you’re trying to get the most out of life. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there, so sorry about your sister. It must be hard for you to see her like that. I do try to get the most out of life, but for me, that’s enjoying the simple things. I’m not out the house much, but I accept that and still enjoy life. (But that’s a whole other post🙂)

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. soulsforthelord

    Hello, I’m sorry to hear about your pain. I am 42 years old now, but when I was 12 years of age I had Scoliosis surgery with a curve at 50 degrees. I know that medical research has changed a little. I am currently on opiates for Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, DDD and other diseases that come with that. I have so many bad days with pain and stiffness. If I didn’t have my pain meds I don’t know what I would do. I don’t wish this on anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there, I’m also sorry that you’re living with all your pain too. It really is difficult to live with pain every single day. It’s sad that you went through surgery all those years ago to correct your scoliosis, yet you have ended up like this. I’m so sorry. Back problems can be so complex, can’t they? I’m on a mix of meds including anticonvulsants at the moment for my pain. But often they need to be changed to try to get better results. I hope you can find some hope and positivity for the coming year.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Blondie

    I am 43 from Europe. I am new here and I like your blog! I have OA, problems with SI joints and spine and recently with ribbs. Daily pain, mostly in the house.

    Like

    1. Hi there, thanks for dropping by and leaving me a comment. Sorry to hear about your pain issues. I hope you are in a warmer part of Europe. I live in Scotland and it is bitterly cold just now.

      Like

      1. Blondie

        Here is also quite cold outside. The summer can be very hot. And then north wind, south wind. For me nothing good. You have mentioned ribb pain. This is something new too me.

        Like

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