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There may not be a cure for my chronic illnesses, but one thing there is no shortage of is terrible advice!Tweet
People who have never heard of fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis suddenly become experts on how I should deal with chronic pain.
The most commonly shared advice is also the most dangerous. Today I am sharing three of the worst things people have suggested.
Just ignore the pain!
Raise your hand if you’ve been told to just ignore your pain!Tweet
Following this advice hurts my body and my family!
Anyone who has experienced the horrific physical pain that our chronic illnesses inflicts would never tell someone to ignore it.
First of all, it is impossible to ignore! It’s like telling someone that they won’t need anesthesia during surgery if all they do is not think about what the surgeon is doing!
Secondly, ignoring pain is dangerous! When we ignore pain it escalates! Pain of any kind is easier to reduce and relieve when addressed in its beginning stages. Ignoring it increases the intensity and creates more pain!
Pushing through and ignoring pain leads to a higher pain level and more areas to address.
More pain means needing higher doses of pain medication and a longer recovery time.
The time it takes to address pain in its beginning stages may seem like an inconvenience to those around me, but it is nothing compared to the days, weeks, and possibly months I will lose if I choose to ignore it.
Instead of telling us to ignore our pain, it would be better to encourage us to listen to our bodies and address pain when we first notice it.
Don’t let your chronic illness change your life!
Why do we believe that making changes to our lives is so terrible?Tweet
Life is all about change.
Throughout our lifetime we experience a plethora of changes, both physical and emotional!
Can you imagine having the same thought process or way of doing things as you did when you were ten?
On one hand, I understand the sentiment of those advising us to not allow our chronic illness to change our lives. They believe that by not making changes we remain in control.
The truth is, when we refuse to make changes we actually lose control.
When we refuse to use a mobility aid, we aren’t retaining control. Instead, we are punishing our bodies for not being able to do what they used to.
When we resist making dietary changes we rob ourselves of the possibility of living with less pain.
Unwillingness to modify how we do things results in frustration, failure, and injuries.
When I was first diagnosed with both fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis, I believed that making changes would strip me of control. I WAS WRONG!
Making changes may have been uncomfortable at first, but the hit my pride took was nothing compared to the pain my body experienced during the years that I refused.
We need to stop fearing change.
Whether you have a chronic illness or not, I guarantee that your life will NOT be the same in twenty years!
Change is good when it decreases pain, allows you to do more, helps you retain your independence, improves your overall health, and blesses you with more time and energy to spend with family and friends.
Find another doctor!
Out of all the advice issued when I suddenly found myself without a doctor willing to treat chronic pain from fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis with opioids, find another doctor was the worst.
I had unsuccessfully combatted pain with opioids for ten years. I say unsuccessfully because instead of relieving pain, all they did was temporarily mask it.
While hidden, I would push my body to do what I couldn’t do while feeling pain. The result was experiencing a higher pain level once the pills wore off. That is not pain relief. It was also something that I had no clue about until every doctor I saw refused to prescribe the number of pain pills I needed to function.
Before I continue, I want you to understand that I was not a junkie. I was not taking more than what my doctors had prescribed. In fact, I wasn’t even taking half of what they suggested I did. It wasn’t that I didn’t need to, but that when taken at the prescribed dosage I would break out in hives.
In my case, it wasn’t even the doctor who had been treating my chronic pain since the beginning who decided that he wouldn’t prescribe them any more. I had just moved from Arizona to California in 2010. It was during my search for a new medical team in my new state when the problem began.
There I was, already taking less than what had been prescribed and then being told that they would be prescribing even less than what I was taking.
What I was left with was just enough to take the edge off of an intense flare once or twice a month and NOTHING in between. Unable to take the edge off, my flares increased in both intensity and frequency. Gone were the days of even temporary relief.
At the time, everyone I talked to had the same advice, find another doctor. And that is exactly what I tried.
After spending thousands of dollars and leaving one too many doctor offices in tears, I had had enough.
There had to be a better solution.
And there was!
For me, the answer was to find ways to relieve pain without a prescription. Since 2013 I have been successfully reducing the chronic pain I experience from my chronic illnesses. How I address it has evolved as I am always finding new therapies/products/remedies that work and fit into my life.
Had I continued to follow the advice to keep searching for a doctor willing to treat chronic pain with opioids, I would be dead. There is no way that I could have ever survived the last six years without pain relief.
Six years later and more doctors are unwilling to prescribe opioids. I can’t go on social media without seeing a post about someone who is suffering from pain all because their physician won’t help them.
Six years ago I was told to fight and have hope that doctors would listen.Tweet
I thank God every day that I didn’t because it appears to be a losing battle. It wasn’t that I didn’t choose to fight, but instead of fighting doctors, I took on chronic pain.
There are many reasons for needing to find a new doctor. Unfortunately, they have made it very clear that opioids for pain relief is not one of them.
Now that my pain is well managed I have the energy to fight for chronic pain patients. And I do!
However, as long as the government and insurance companies continue to control healthcare, doctors will have less and less say over how they treat our chronic pain. Think I am wrong? Look where government interference has gotten us in the past nine years.
Not waiting to find a doctor to prescribe opioids and finding alternative forms of pain relief was the best decision I have ever made.
I want to be clear that I am not a medical professional and I am NOT issuing medical advice. You are welcome to check out how I relieve chronic pain and thrive despite having multiple chronic illnesses, just understand that what works for me may not work for you.