Category Archives: chronic illness

Alternative Ways to Deal with Pain {a #chronicallywell post}

  • 31daysButtonEarly on in my chronic illness journey, I suffered bilateral pulmonary emboli and it was discovered I had a blood clotting disorder.  I am on Coumadin for the rest of my life.  Up until that point my go to medication for the pain of living with {what turned out to be} lupus was 800mg of ibuprofen.  Anti-inflammatory medications and Coumadin don’t mix so I had to find another alternative.  Acetaminophen {aka Tylenol} wasn’t an option because lupus had attacked my liver and taking Tylenol made the situation worse.  I refuse {except for brief periods after surgeries} to take narcotic pain medication, simply because I don’t feel I can be present for my family and under the influence of strong medications at the same time.  All that to say, pain control was proving difficult.  I began to research and try different alternative ways to treat my pain.

**Please note, pain control needs to be discussed with your medical professional.  This is what has and hasn’t worked for me personally and is not intended to substitute the advice of a qualified medical professional.**

  • Ice Ice Baby.  Ice is my friend.  When my joints become swollen and inflamed, ice is my go to.  A frozen pack of peas will suffice too.  When I have a bad headache, a cold wet washcloth is great too.
  • Heat it up.  Conversely, heat is my friend for sore, achey muscles particularly my lower back. I have a homemade heat pack {you can find them on Etsy} that you can put in the microwave and then lay on your lower back. Sweet relief.  Heating pads work as well.
  • Analgesic cream and patches.  I have used creams similar to Ben Gay for joint pain, particularly when I’m in physical therapy and they attempt to kill me with exercise.  My doctor has also given me lidocaine patches when lower back pain has been really bad.  They provide very temporary relief.
  • Massage.  This is a case by case for me.  I personally benefit more from massage when I’m not in a lot of pain.  It is great to relax me but when I’m flaring and in pain, touch can sometimes make it worse.
  • Rest.  Y’all, I know I stress getting enough sleep and taking care of yourself but I just can’t stress it enough. Sometimes the only escape from pain for me is a nap.  If my muscles are twitching with spasms, walking through the grocery store is not a good idea.  Sitting with my feet up is the better choice.  Listen to your body.
  • Sucking it up.  Before you throw something at your computer, hear me out.  I live in a certain amount of pain all the time.  If I didn’t push through it, I wouldn’t be able to do the things in life that bring me joy- spending time with family and friends, pursuing my career, even writing and speaking.  It can be so tempting to give into the pain and withdraw from activities and succumb to depression.  I’ve even done it a few times during this journey.  But, your quality of life suffers if you allow pain to dictate your day.  In addition, your pain tolerance will increase the more you push through- at least that has been my experience.
  • Chiropractic care.  Regular adjustments have been such a blessing for me!  Heat and massage are frequently used in chiropractic care as well.
  • Prayer.  This may sound silly but prayer brings me peace and peace helps me deal with pain.

Some things I haven’t personally tried but friends have include essential oils and acupuncture.

What has worked for you?



As the World Turns {a #chronicallywell post}

Have you been there?  That room is spinning while you are standing still feeling that brings with it a wave of nausea and difficulty figuring out where you are in space.  Yes, vertigo is not a good feeling.  Vertigo can have different causes.  For most people, the problem is in the inner ear.  All of theContinue Reading

Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude {a #chronicallywell post}

Another repost from the archives: Living with chronic illness has taught me many things. Utter, complete dependence on God. {Psalm 70:5} The finite nature of our life.  {James 4:14} How our bodies are designed to need true Sabbath rest.  {Isaiah 58:13-14} That everyone has a thorn in their flesh, mine happens to be dressed upContinue Reading

Worth The Read {#chronicallywell version 2}

I am enjoying perusing the 31 Days of…series on Nester’s blog.  Here are a few of my favorite posts from this week: This is a great post citing research about how junk food is truly addictive.  I am breaking free of that myself and feeling better every day because of it. This post gives aContinue Reading

Coping with Brain Fog {a #chronicallywell post}

Brain fog is one of the most annoying and frustrating symptoms of lupus I have dealt with.  I hear from friends living with other chronic illnesses, including fibromyalgia and MS, deal with this as well.  There is no one definitive cause of brain fog, according to the medical professionals I have discussed it with.  ItContinue Reading

Fighting Fatigue {a #chronicallywell post}

Yesterday, I posted about how fatigue affects me and how it can be a blessing, if we choose to view it that way.  I also realize that fatigue is one of the most debilitating symptoms that I, and many others with chronic or invisible illness, deal with on a daily basis.  I wanted to shareContinue Reading

Worth the Read {the 31 Days edition}

I am certainly not the only writer taking part in the 31 days of series this year.  In fact, there are over 1500 of us participating! I have perused the contributors and wanted to highlight a few that fit in well with this #chronicallywell series. Just click on the links to visit their sites. 31 DaysContinue Reading

I’ve been diagnosed…now what? {#chronicallywell}

If you missed day one or day two, click on the links to catch up on the series. Once you have been given a name for the myriad of symptoms you’ve been experiencing, it is ok to be relieved.  The road to diagnosis is long and filled with setbacks, disappointments and a whole lot ofContinue Reading

What is Wrong With Me? {#chronicallywell day 2}

One of the most frustrating times of my chronic illness journey was the road to diagnosis. It took almost two years for me to be {mis}diagnosed with MS and then another year and a half for the doctors to realize I really had SLE {lupus}. Living with debilitating symptoms is hard enough but not knowing the cause adds a levelContinue Reading

31 Days to Living Well with Chronic Illness- An Introduction

Hi friends! Every year when I join the blogging community in committing to write on one topic every day for 31 days I question my sanity.  And, I say I will never participate again.  And, every year I develop some type of writers amnesia and when God lays a new topic on my heart, IContinue Reading