Chronic Pain Survival Tips

I am not going to blow smoke up your a$$ and tell you that it’s possible to live pain-free or that you can do whatever you please despite your chronic illness/pain.

BUT, there are things you can do that may make it possible to do more of what you want and to enjoy the life you have.

Living with chronic pain is often exhausting, disappointing, and frustrating. Here are some survival tips to help get you through!

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied with caffeine. It’s a win for everyone.

Chronic Pain Survival Requires Us to Look

Observe others

First, let me say that I am in no way suggesting that everyone is the same.

We could have the exact same illnesses, be the same height, weight, etc. and still have completely different experiences.

However, there is something to be learned from those who have the same or similar pains yet are doing what you wish to.

Do they use a mobility aid?

What is their activity level between planned outings?

Do they have support of family and friends?

How do they relieve or reduce their chronic pain?


Look ahead

If you’re like me, stress aggravates and increases your chronic pain.

Never choose an activity or vacation destination without researching it beforehand. Search online for videos, pictures, reviews, and blogs for information.

I do not blog about accessibility at Disneyland because it is a popular subject because it isn’t, but those who do follow my Disney blog and are members of my Facebook group have all thanked me for providing the information that I do.

Find bloggers who travel with the same or similar chronic pain. Even if the location is practically in your own backyard, it’s always helpful to find out what others with the same limitations or accessible issues have to say.

Two years ago I had an opportunity to meet my fellow Psoriatic-Arthritis contributors in Philadelphia. Knowing that I would need to bring a mobility aid and would be using it to go between my hotel and the office, I used Google maps to view my walking route with street view.

During my research, I discovered construction that made using the sidewalk impossible. By knowing this ahead of time, I was able to redirect my walk. I also knew what the terrain was like and was thankful that I didn’t have to deal with any hills.

Look for as much accessibility information as possible. Again, knowing what services or how accessible a location is before visiting will make it easier to decide if it is one you should visit or not.

The more you research your destination, the more prepared you will be and the less you will have to stress about.

Chronic Pain Survival Requires that We Listen

Listen to your body

Living with chronic pain requires us to listen closely to what our bodies are telling us.

Sometimes, it’s easy. For example, after breaking my ribs, I knew that going anywhere on my own was not an option. During my recovery, what few outings I was up for required my having someone to drive me, push my wheelchair, and assist me. There was no willing myself to do what my body wasn’t ready to do.

If your body tells you that walking more than a mile a day is too much and requires days to recover from, plan to use a mobility aid for outings that require a lot of walking or standing.

If using the electric shopping cart at the grocery store or having your groceries delivered gifts you with the energy to cook dinner, then do it!

By using a rollator/transport chair combo, I walk when I am able and my family pushes me when I cannot. It also allows me to alternate between walking and being pushed throughout the day. Click here to learn more about my favorite mobility aid!

Pace yourself!

I know how it feels to have a spurt of energy and think, it’s now or never to get as much done as possible. You may also think that if you push to get more done at once you will have time to other things later.

Unfortunately, that way of thinking doesn’t work when you have a chronic illness like fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, CRPS, or one of the many other painful illnesses.

Typically, overdoing it with a chronic illness results in less time to do more because of the time needed to recover.


Listen to others

Again, I am not insinuating that everyone is the same or that if you do what I do you can do the same, BUT, listening to someone who has similar pains/symptoms may provide you with ideas to improve your life.

Before I made major changes to my life, I asked others who were doing better than I was or doing what I wanted to do how they did it. I wasn’t ready to completely overhaul my life, but I did start making baby steps. Those baby steps are what led me to where I am today.

Chronic Pain Survival Demands that We Learn

Learn from your mistakes

Stop repeating behaviors or physical actions that trigger flares or increase your pain.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t do something again, but that the next time you try it, you do it differently.

For example, if spending the day at Disneyland on foot is too much, try using a wheelchair or electric mobility scooter the next time. If that doesn’t work or only helps a little bit, look for other ways to keep your pain from escalating.

If long road trips are too hard on your body, try shortening how far you travel or the number of hours you spend sitting in the car.

You can learn a lot about how what you eat affects your body/illness through journaling. While I will agree that there is no one specific diet that makes a difference, what we eat does matter.


Learn from other’s mistakes

Talk to those who have experienced improvements or that are doing what you want to do. Again, not saying you have to do what they do, but it can’t hurt to listen. You never know what you will learn.

Had I not been open to learning from others, I would have never tried or found relief from CBD and cannabis, herbal remedies, and PEMF therapy.

I not only learned how those things helped others, but how to avoid the mistakes they made.

Chronic Pain Survival Means Letting Go

Let go of thinking that what you do or don’t do doesn’t matter. Everything action makes a difference.

Let go of thinking you have to prove yourself to your friends and family who don’t have chronic pain.

To move forward you must let go of thinking that your life is over or that a cure being found is the only thing that will improve it.

It won’t cure you, but you will experience less pain when you learn to let go of behaviors or actions that increase your pain.

Letting go of unrealistic expectations will set you up for success.

Do what you can, when you can, and move as slow as your body requires.

Published by Cynthia Covert

Diagnosed in 2001 with psoriasis, followed by fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, endometriosis, and later a botched hysterectomy turned her world upside down. Cynthia shares her experience, advice, and tips for how to make life with chronic pain easier and less painful.

5 thoughts on “Chronic Pain Survival Tips

    1. I think pacing will always be tough. Even now with my chronic pain being as low as it is, I struggle to slow down when injured or when I know an upcoming storm is going to trigger a flare if I don’t stay on top of my symptoms. But the less we run ourselves ragged, the more time we’ll have to do what we need or want. Praying for you!

  1. I could especially relate to the letting go part of this article. There are so many things we need to let go of and if we don’t we tend to suffer the consequences. It is the hardest part to do but the most important.

  2. Such a good post. Listening to our bodies is something we all need to learn. We can’t allow our pain to make life come to a standstill, but pain does determine a lot of what we can and can’t do. If we listen and change how we do some things, we can still enjoy life.

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