How The Disabled Diva manages chronic pain
If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram you have surely noticed the improvements that I have experienced in the past year. I have been receiving a lot of messages from followers asking about my pain management plan, so today I am sharing it with you. There is no ONE thing that has taken my pain levels back to what they were before my chronic illnesses took over my body 24/7, it’s a combination of natural and alternative therapies that work together.
*This post was originally written in April of 2018 and updated in May of 2019.
For those of you who don’t know me, I was diagnosed with psoriasis in 2001, fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis in 2003, endometriosis in 2004, reoccurring abdominal adhesions in 2005 due to endo and surgical scarring, coccydynia in 2008, degenerative disc disease in 2011, and costochondritis in 2019.
I followed pharmaceutical protocols until 2012 when my health deteriorated to the point of not being able to walk, sit, or stand for more than 5 minutes without experiencing excruciating pain. I was also in the emergency room several times a year for extremely painful urinary tract infections.
By 2012 most of my life was spent in bed. That fall I tried medical marijuana, liked the relief it gave me, decided that I wanted to go that route, but not until I allowed my body to detox from all its pharmaceutical medications. A funny thing happened after my detox, I experienced a reduction of nerve pain and never again experienced another urinary tract infection.
Once I had detoxed from all my prescriptions I began creating my own pain management program. To be clear, I am not suggesting you do the same, only you can decide what is best for your body. Click here to find out how I addressed my pain and symptoms one at a time.
*Disclosure: I am not a medical professional and I am NOT issuing medical advice. I am just sharing how I treat my chronic pain. This post contains affiliate links. Meaning that at no additional cost to you, I receive a commission when you make a purchase through my links. The proceeds earned fund the giveaways I host in my Facebook groups.
Medical Marijuana (MMJ)
I began by using marijuana-infused edibles. While they took longer to take effect than smoking, vaping, or using tinctures, it stayed in my system longer which provided longer-lasting periods of relief. Finally, after years of not being able to sleep for more than 4-6 hours a night, that was if I was lucky, I began sleeping a full 8-10 hours every night. The only exception is when I experience a spike in pain from an incoming heat wave or storm pressure.
After a few weeks of medicating with cannabis, I regained use of my left thumb and pointer finger. Those joints had been so swollen that I hadn’t been able to bend them for years. After a few months, I was able to make a loose fist and a year later I could finally make a tight fist. Nerve pain was no longer a daily issue, instead, it only occurred when experiencing an extreme heat wave or storm.
MMJ did something else that was pretty amazing. Unlike opioids, cannabis didn’t mask my pain. Instead, it eliminated the reactionary and widespread pain I had experienced since the beginning and reduced the pain felt from my pain sources to a tingle. This made it possible for me to recognize the sources of my pain, know what areas needed to be addressed, and what I should avoid doing to not aggravate those areas.
By the fall of 2015, I was able to drive myself to the grocery store, shop at one store without using a wheelchair, and occasionally walk short distances at Disneyland.
By the end of 2016, I could walk through two stores without needing weeks to recover. The only condition that I didn’t experience any relief with was with my abdominal adhesions.
I continue to use MMJ to this day. However, unlike the early years, I no longer need it during the day and only use it before bed. While I still like how easy it is to microdose with edibles, vaping has become my favorite way to medicate. I do however use various CBD products occasionally during the day to combat anxiety and depression. I also use topical CBD oils and lotions.
Like I was when I first decided to use cannabis for pain relief, you may fear the expense since it is not covered by insurance. To this day I am learning how to cut my cannabis budget, yet still, have the same if not better relief. One of those ways is with dry vaping. I discuss it and review various MMJ and CBD products on my other blog Hallowed Be Thy Herbs.
In 2016 I began recognizing how certain foods were increasing my pain and inflammation levels and began making changes. The changes I made at first were minor but helpful.
Last year I began tracking everything I consumed and noted how I felt. This made it possible for me to recognize even more foods that were causing harm. I started out in 2018 determined to get serious about what I ate. My diet consists mostly of fresh unpackaged food. I still eat out occasionally but try to make the best choices when I do.
Funny thing is that by recognizing how certain foods were causing more pain and making sicker, I lost my craving for them. What I ate was never the cause of my chronic illnesses, but my former diet did make them worse.
I no longer comfort myself with the foods that I used to crave because there is no comfort in knowing that I am creating more pain and inflammation. Losing weight is another benefit, again while not the cause of my diseases, losing weight has helped reduce pain and gives my doctors one less thing to blame.
I was introduced to PEMF therapy in November of 2016. I was skeptical at first, but even though I only used it a few times a week I still experienced pain relief and increased stamina. It wasn’t until I heard that my device may be able to reduce the pain and symptoms from abdominal adhesions (they were strangling my bowels) that I began using it daily.
Since the end of March 2017, I have used my device daily and when I say daily I mean that I use it from the moment I wake up and until I go to bed. PEMF therapy with Oska Pulse immediately loosened the hold that adhesions had on my bowels.
Within four months the pain that I experienced in my feet, spine, hips, and sacrum were no longer a daily issue. In fact, those areas only hurt when I push too far or from high pressure pushing in a heatwave or storm. After 6 months I was able to walk farther than I had since the fall of 2003.
By January of 2018, I began walking .75 miles a day, then increased to 1.65 miles a day, to early 2019 where I was walking 4-6 miles every day!! I stopped using my wheelchair for outings in January 2018 and only use my walker when I am at Disneyland and am going to be on my feet for more than several hours.
***On April 11, 2019, I was diagnosed with multiple broken ribs. I am currently on bed rest until the end of May. Until they heal to the point of being able to walk, stand, or sit without pain I have to use my wheelchair for outings. I am treating my ribs with rest, ice, cannabis, and PEMF therapy. Both cannabis and PEMF therapy are replacing NSAIDS which would have been prescribed if for the fact that I am allergic to them.
Full disclosure: I am an affiliate of Oska Wellness, but only because the product truly delivers on its promise of pain relief and reduction of inflammation. This device is what has pushed my pain management to another level. My daily pain level is between 0-4. I experience fewer flares and the ones I do experience are less painful than before, don’t last as long, and I recover from them faster.
Because of the improvements, I have experienced from MMJ, dietary changes, and PEMF therapy, when not recovering from an injury, I have been able to exercise every day.
My physical abilities didn’t occur overnight. I started with slow 5 minute walks and increased as my body allowed me. I keep myself accountable and offer support, encouragement, and motivation to others in The Disabled Diva’s Fitness Buddies.
Other helpful treatments
While I don’t often suffer from psoriasis breakouts, I do find relief from them with a fabulous natural soothing skin balm that has done wonders for my daughter’s eczema. Click here to read my review.
To put an end to nightly leg cramps/spasms, I began applying Good Night Lotion to my feet and legs before bedtime. I also use it to decrease muscle tension in my neck and shoulders. Click here to read my review.
I have also replaced over the counter cold and allergy medication with herbal tinctures. I credit these tinctures for making it possible to avoid the crud that my husband and friends caught in April. Click here to learn more about my favorite herbal remedies.
I am always open to trying new things that are holistic, natural, or out of the norm. I have learned to listen to my body and to work with it instead of against it. My pain management plan has made it possible to know which areas need addressing on a daily basis.
I have not been healed. My conditions are not curable. However, I rarely spend an entire day in bed anymore and I am doing things that my doctors said I would never be able to do again.
I am happy to address any questions you may have. No matter how you choose to combat your chronic pain, know that there is hope! Don’t give up! Keep searching and trying new things.