Today was the first time I ever heard this term, Chronic Pain Warrior. What’s that? So I read about it. And concluded that yes, I am a Chronic Pain Warrior. Read on to find out if you are one.
Who are Chronic Pain Warriors?
They are people who suffer with pain on a daily basis. Day after day, they go on working, living, functioning, but doing so while in pain. Is that you? It’s me! And because it is a struggle, it becomes a fight. And warriors fight, right? In fact, the Oxford dictionary defines a warrior as “a brave or experienced soldier or fighter”. I don’t know about you, but this is sort of inspiring! It gives my experience a powerful positive edge, don’t you think?
We are brave. We are brave because we face the enemy of pain every single day.
We are experienced. We are experienced because we deal with pain constantly, week after week, month after month.
We are soldiers and fighters because we are in the midst of the battle, doing the work of the ground fighter. Soldier also has another meaning as a verb, which is to “soldier on”. Which means that you do not give up even when life is tough. That’s you and me, right?
So what if you are a Chronic Pain Warrior? If you want to take some action to be a victorious warrior, read on about how I believe you can do that.
Warriors need weapons, right? What are some weapons of your warfare?
Warriors can’t fight without weapons. Sometimes warriors are on the offensive, sometimes on the defensive. I hope the following suggestions will help you in your fight.
A soldier fights with an army. So too, you need an army. Our army is made up of community. Our community is distinctive. Following are some of our fellow fighters.
I hope you have loved ones who support you daily in your fight. Your own personal army. They know you so well they can figure out how best to fight alongside you. They don’t judge you, but understand how you are pushing on. The best kind acknowledge your weaknesses and support your strengths.
Just as an aside, I suggest you don’t waste time with negative nellies. They can make your pain worse by their toxic personalities. Fight to keep them out of your life.
This article was the one that gave me the term, Chronic Pain Warrior. It is a great resource for helping others understand your fight. It discusses 15 things to know about Chronic Pain Warriors.
There is actually a community on Facebook with this name. Click here for more information, and to Like and/or Follow. I’m trying to find out if they are the originator of the term. In the meantime you should find some compassion and community there.
Other options for community are online forums. I haven’t joined any yet, but I plan to. If you are a member of one, and recommend it, please leave that information in the comments below.
I also found a great organization called American Chronic Pain Association. They have helpful videos and a database of sufferers that you can contact. They also support local chapters, which I hope to get going in my area. Getting one going is going to be a battle in itself, as just doing any activity while in pain is difficult. But being active and engaged is also a tool to fight pain, so I’m going to do it. I recommend you click on the above link to learn more about them.
Movement or Exercise
I say it all the time, in almost every post, that moving is vital to dealing with chronic pain. I feel like a broken record, but it can’t be said enough. And because I, like you, have chronic pain, then I feel I can speak about this topic with some authority. Besides, what warrior do you know that lies in bed all day?
Yeah, it’s not easy to push yourself to move, but it is a must as we Warriors fight through the battle.
Even getting out of bed is a challenge. I wake up knowing my pain will begin as soon as my feet hit the floor. (If it’s not already bothering me because I slept in the wrong position, or I couldn’t sleep because of the pain.) What I do is something Tony Robbins does (except I say it to God): Give thanks for at least 3 things, Pray about at least 3 things, Set goals to accomplish 3 things. Doing this focuses my mind on something other than my pain.
Then during the day, I commit to walking and stretching. I wish I could do more, but I will be thankful for what I can do. If you have some exercise program or routine that you do, I would like to hear about it. It may be helpful to other Warriors. I’ve included some links for posts I found that hopefully will be helpful to you.
Links for various workouts:
- Here’s one where she tells she works out to prevent chronic pain.
- Or see this one on how to modify exercises when in pain.
- This author says these exercises helped her get rid of pain. I can’t do many of these, but perhaps you can.
- There ab exercises may be similar to the previous ones, but helpful as well.
- Here’s an encouraging article because it states you CAN exercise with limited mobility.
This small list is just a start. Search the web for more help! And leave comments below if you have something that would help all of us. That’s what an army does!
And I believe warriors don’t stop trying do win. Warriors keep fighting to the death.
I suppose the army doesn’t call them management tools. Battle plans? So, I may have to diverge from the comparisons for a bit. The point is, you need a plan and how to manage that plan.
Not surprisingly, the American Chronic Pain Association (referred to above) has a page called Pain Management Tools. They feature Self Management Skills and The Art of Pain Management. Here’s the link to that page.
Maybe I should have listed this first, because deciding to manage your pain is the first step. You are an active participant, and only you can decide what to do while you are in pain. So the first question should be, do you want to manage your pain, or do you want to let it manage you? If you want to be the manager, the commander, the warrior, then you have to take action.
Many of my previous posts are about this. They are about you taking some sort of action. That is what managing pain is all about. And the action isn’t just exercise. It is much more. See some of my other posts like these: Can Music Relieve Chronic Pain? Or A Pain Sufferer’s Guide to How to Get Out of Bed.
Breathing exercises, imagery and mindfulness are promoted as great management tools. I have written a little about them, but have yet to fully practice them, so I feel I must use them more before I speak about my experience. However, if you have some authority on this topic, please let us know.
Laughing may seem like the last thing you want to do, but I highly recommend it. Having a sense of humor about your situation is a very powerful weapon.
When caring people ask me exactly where my pain is, I tell them, “I have a pain in the butt!” If I can do so with a smile then they usually smile too. For just a few seconds, I don’t hurt as much.
But you can prolong humor’s effect by thinking about humorous jokes, watching a funny movie, or just laughing with friends. I hope you have heard about Norman Cousins’ book Anatomy of An Illness. In it, he recounts his fight (a warrior!) against a disease that his doctors told him would kill him. He credits high doses of Vitamin C, and continuous laughter to his recovery. This is a beautiful example of the power of laughter.
I’ll share one of the funniest jokes I’ve heard in awhile. It’s long but worth it. I don’t know who to credit it to. Here it is:
|Dave was bragging to his boss every day, “You know, I know everyone there is to know. Just name someone, anyone, and I know them.”
Tired of his boasting, his boss called his bluff, “OK, Dave, how about Tom Cruise?”
“No dramas boss, Tom and I are old friends, and I can prove it.” So Dave and his boss fly out to Hollywood and knock on Tom Cruise’s door, and Tom Cruise shouts,
“Dave! What’s happening? Great to see you! Come on in for a beer!”
Although impressed, Dave’s boss is still skeptical. After they leave Cruise’s house, he tells Dave that he thinks him knowing Cruise was just lucky.
“No, no, just name anyone else,” Dave says.
“President Trump,” his boss quickly retorts.
“Yup,” Dave says, “Old buddies, let’s fly out to Washington,” and off they go.
At the White House, Trump spots Dave on the tour and motions him and his boss over, saying, “Dave, what a surprise, I was just on my way to a meeting, but you and your friend come on in and let’s have a beer first and catch up.”
Well, the boss is very shaken by now but still not totally convinced. After they leave the White House grounds he expresses his doubts to Dave, who again implores him to name anyone else.
“Pope Francis,” his boss replies.
“Sure!” says Dave. “I’ve known the Pope for years.” So off they fly to Rome.
Dave and his boss are assembled with the masses at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square when Dave says, “This will never work. I can’t catch the Pope’s eye among all these people. Tell you what, I know all the guards so let me just go upstairs and I’ll come out on the balcony with the Pope.” He disappears into the crowd headed towards the Vatican.
Sure enough, half an hour later Dave emerges with the Pope on the balcony, but by the time Dave returns, he finds that his boss has had a heart attack and is surrounded by paramedics.
Making his way to his boss’ side, Dave asks him, “What happened?”
His boss looks up and says, “It was the final straw… you and the Pope came out onto the balcony and the man next to me said, ‘Who the heck is that on the balcony with Dave?’
I copied the below image from this post called Chronic Illness Humor. All those boxes should sound familiar. Either we say them or someone else says them. Maybe at the end of the day, fill in as many boxes as you can. Maybe you can laugh at it. Or use it as a tracking record of how your day went.
Can you find anything humorous in your situation? I would very much appreciate it if you would leave jokes or recommendations for funny movies, or any funny thoughts. I need that and I’m sure others do too. Leave them in the comments section please.
Hope you ended this section with a little smile.
We have to fight to keep going. So be a Warrior and get in the battle.