Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome is only one of many chronically painful disorders. Living with any chronically painful condition, is not an easy existence. For most who suffer from chronic pain, it is an invisible disorder. Some are able to go to work every day, and they manage to live some semblance of a normal life. Many mask the pain by smiling and saying “I feel fine”, when asked how they are doing when nothing could be farther from the truth, because they really want to cry because of the pain. Sometimes they will try to explain what it is like to suffer from chronic pain to someone who asks. In some cases, after explaining how it feels the responses are hurtful. For example, some respond with “Take an aspirin”, “You’ll be okay”, “It can’t be that bad”, “You look fine”, and the list goes on and on. Those who respond in these ways don’t intend any harm, but instead they simply don’t understand. Coping with chronic pain is very personal, because people deal with the pain very differently. Some attempt to ignore the pain, by busying themselves with something, while others simply can’t ignore it. In other cases, the pain and other symptoms, are totally disabling. I read an article titled, “Pain Is…Depressing!“, which was written by a friend of mine. In the article, she describes how devastating living with chronic pain can be. Some patients even go into denial. When I saw the RSD spreading, I was one of those patients who went into denial. At least, I made an attempt to. All who suffer from chronic pain, normally suffer from bouts of depression. Most patients suffer from situational depression. Situational depression is “an episode, or episodes of emotional and psychological depression that occurs in response to a specific set of circumstances.” Some patients also suffer from more severe types of depression. In any case, patients should be treated for this symptom of chronic pain, just as it is necessary to be treated for any other symptom. Patients shouldn’t hesitate to seek medical attention for depression!
There are some general things patients can do, to manage their pain more efficiently. 1. Having a good support system, which may consist of family, friends, and medical specialists, is extremely important. Sometimes, those who suffer from chronically painful, disabling, and debilitating disorders, simply need someone to lend an ear. Laughter definitely does the body good. Spending a few lighthearted moments in conversation via telephone, brings a smile to a face that is often filled with pain! At other times, they may need help with daily living activities. It is also a good idea for family members and friends, to educate themselves as it pertains to the specific condition that their loved one is suffering from.
2.Taking medication at the same time each day, will ensure that the medication remains in the bloodstream constantly, to minimize flare ups and episodes of breakthrough pain. Also, keeping track of the medication, and the time taken, in a notebook will prove to be helpful. 3. It is also important to note any changes in pain levels, as well as changes in any other symptoms you may suffer from, due to a chronically painful disorder. Writing questions that you have for your Dr. in your notebook, will also prove to be helpful at doctor’s appointments. 4. Noting specific triggers, and attempting to avoid them can be very helpful when trying to cope with chronic pain. Certain activities, various types of clothing or footwear, not getting enough rest, stress, and chilly or windy weather, air conditioning, and physical touch, such as a hug or handshake, can be triggers of pain. This is only a short list of possible triggers. It’s very important for patients to be cognizant of what triggers their pain, and to try to avoid those triggers as much as possible. 5.The pain and other symptoms associated with chronically painful disorders, can cause insomnia. Very limited amounts of restorative sleep, prevents the body from “healing itself.” When sleep deprivation becomes a chronic issue, it is necessary to consult your doctor about this problem. Patients should never attempt to deal with insomnia without the help of a medical professional! 6. I have found that my faith in God, is the best coping mechanism that I could ever have! Had it not been for my faith, I actually don’t know how I would be able to manage the daily struggles that I face, living with a chronically painful syndrome. My belief that God is with me, and taking me through the struggles, is truly what sustains me. I believe in the power of prayer! I believe that God answers prayer! Had it not been for the Lord who was on my side, I don’t know what I would do!
Hopefully, this information will be helpful to someone who may be struggling with chronic pain, and feels as if they are the only one dealing with it. You are not alone! Feel free to add a comment, ask a question, or share your methods of coping with chronic pain, on a daily basis. The video depicts a woman who suffers from various invisible chronically painful conditions, including RSD. Near the end of the video, she will share how she had been mistreated, because it was not apparent, that she is disabled, and suffers from several chronically painful disorders. May God bless you abundantly, today and every day.
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