Do You Have Back Pain From Sitting Too Long?

Back Pain from Sitting Too Long
Back Pain from Sitting Too Long
mohamed_hassan

Intro

Now that many of us are working from home because of COVID19, the incidents of people reporting back pain seems to have risen.  Others complain of pain in their hands, or neck or shoulders.  Do you have back pain from sitting too long?

Why is that?  Are we working longer?  Are we under more stress?  Are you, like me, working from a laptop at a kitchen table?  Or sometimes sitting on your bed with your laptop?  

I am sure most of us can not buy ergonomic furniture to improve our situation and therefore our posture.  But we can practice some other activities that will help relieve some of the discomfort.  

Some Recommendations for Relieving Back Pain

Stop Working!  

“What?”, you may say.  But this is the first step to addressing the pain.  Get up and take a short break.  After all, you do that at work anyway, right?  Walk around for a few minutes.  Go outside and walk around the house.  I’m not talking about a long break.  Just a few minutes to clear your head, get some fresh air and rest your eyes.  

I now practice setting an alarm for ½ hour.  I work hard for that time frame, then my alarm sounds and I get up and move.  Adjust the times to your preference, but in any event MOVE!  Trust me, you will work better and feel better.  

A side benefit is tracking my work output.  I now know how much time I am spending on a project and can plan better.

Walk

You knew I was going to say that, right?  Our bodies were made to move, not sit.  Most of us are sitting way too long.  (I was a letter carrier for a few years.  Kept in great shape!  Letter carriers have one of the longest life spans.  Tells you something, doesn’t it?)

Ideally we should walk in the morning, in the evening and any other time that we can fit in.  It seems counter-intuitive when you are in pain to move, but movement is actually like applying a pain ointment.  

Not only will it help you decrease your pain but there are so many other benefits.  It is good for your heart, strengthens your bones, reduces fat and increases muscle.  I have been inspired in my neighborhood to see people walking even though they are obviously in pain.  They are my heros! (Because I live with chronic pain and I know how hard it is to move when you hurt.)

There are more benefits if you have stairs.  My friend recommended I take the stairs to my 3rd floor apartment.  She said it might help my butt pain.  Although it hasn’t addressed that pain yet, I know my heart is in better shape after just a few weeks.  I’m not sucking air like I did before.  

Posture

Sit up straight!  If necessary use a rolled up towel against your lower back to force you to do so.  Adjust the keyboard so you don’t have to bend over to reach it.

Sitting Too Long Causes Back Pain
mohamed_hassan

Your neck should be held at an upright position.  Raise the screen to eye level so you aren’t bending all day.  

Have your arms at right angles to your body.  Rest your hands lightly on the desk so your fingers can move freely on the keyboard. 

Plant your feet firmly on the floor.  This helps you sit up straight.  

You can maintain this position for that ½ hour I am recommending, right?  Trust me, you will see payoffs immediately.

Stretches

I have recommended two DVDs that I use for daily stretching.  See these two articles if you want to investigate further.  Emily Lark’s Back to Life.  Jane Adams Gentle Yoga.  They are both based on yoga principles, which have been promoted to help with balance, flexibility, and pain relief.  

There are hundreds of options out there.  You could do a Google search to find lots of free options.  

If you don’t want to search right now, but just want some relief, here’s what I recommend.  (They take only a few minutes.)

  • Sit on the floor, stretch legs as far apart as is comfortably possible.  With straight back, lean from the hips forward, stretching your hands out in front of you.  Do not over stretch or cause yourself pain. Hold this position for 30 seconds.  Breathe slowly with your face loose.
  • Lie on your back with legs straight out.  Leaving one leg straight, bring the other leg up to your chest by bending it and pulling it with your hands/arms.  Do at least 5 times on each leg.
  • Sit straight in an upright hard chair, about half way back.  Cross one leg over the other, so that it is parallel to the floor.  Bend the foot so it is tense.  Push on that knee with the same side hand, so that you are pushing it toward the floor.  Hold for 15 seconds.  If you don’t feel the stretch, lean forward a little till you do.  

I found this video of stretches that you can do at home.  Just a minute long!  Hope it helps you feel better!

Neck Stretches

Because our necks take lots of tension as we work at our computers it is vital that we focus on stretching it during the day.  One thing I learned in neck stretching is to never push your head with your hand.  Let the weight of your head stretch your neck.  

Here are a two suggestions:

  • Slowly turn your head to the right and the left as far as is comfortable.  Turn to each side five times.
  • Lean your head to each shoulder, slowly, as far as is comfortable.  Do this five times each side.

Hand stretches

Do your fingers ache from working at the computer?  Or your wrists?  One action I have been doing is to use my other hand.  It’s kind of clunky at first, but you’ll get the hang of it.  It really does save your dominant hand.  

I copied these images from Pinterest.  They should help.

For your hands:

3-Minute Stretch and Massage for Hand Pain

https://pin.it/2lFyb76

 

For your wrists:

Wrist HEP

https://pin.it/5ehYo3P

Other Options

If you have access to a pool, then water movement is highly recommended.  Even if you can’t swim, walking and or any type of movement in the water is very helpful.  The water holds your body up and provides less stress on your knees and gives you more resistance as you move.

Biking is an activity that isn’t for everybody, but I found great relief from my buttock pain when I ride.  It seems that the position of bending over and extending my legs helps to relieve the nerve pain.  

Just a few minutes of any exercise can be very helpful and therapeutic.  Exercise has so many other benefits which I haven’t discussed in this article.  

Here is a link to some different exercises that you can do, some of which you can do from your chair.  They are easy and quick.  

Mental Health; Being Present

Let’s not forget our state of mind through all this.  I understand that this time in our history is very anxiety producing.  I don’t have any quick answers, but I know that talking about it helps just about anyone.  Therefore I hope you have someone you can talk to if you are anxious or depressed.  

If you don’t, email me in the comments below.  I’ll see if I can find an organization to reach out to you.  

If you are looking to just calm yourself, all the above exercises will help you.  Practicing mindfulness meditation can also help your state of mind.  See my article for information about how to practice it by clicking this link.  Just remember, you can’t do anything about the past, other than learn from your mistakes.  You have no control over the future other than to plan for it.  So be present, learn and plan.  

Conclusion

Was this helpful?  I sure hope so.  I would love to hear your feedback on this topic.  Especially if you found the exercises helpful.  Or if you have recommendations for other exercises or stretches, let me know.  Your comments are welcome.

Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional.  I am a chronic pain sufferer.  I spend hours researching natural pain remedies.  And then I write about them, in hopes someone might find some relief.  So, I recommend you always speak to your doctor before you start something new as far as physical exercise.  If you are taking a class, be sure to tell your instructor of your issues.  

Also, as an affiliate marketer, I sometimes include links in my posts to products that I recommend.  I do not recommend any products in this post, so I do not have affiliate links here.

 

Are You a Chronic Pain Warrior?

The Pixelman – Pixabay

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.  

Community

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.  

Here’s a great video of a community of young warriors!

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.

Portrait – Left Hand Bear Chief – David Mark – Pixabay

 

Management tools

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.  

Humor

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.  

 

Chronic Illness Bingo
Pins & Procrastination

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.

Conclusion

We have to fight to keep going.  So be a Warrior and get in the battle.  

Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional.  These recommendations are from research I have done and from my search to live well despite pain.  Seek medical advice if you are not sure about anything I recommend here.

Some of my articles include affiliate links to products I recommend where I receive a small referral fee.  I do not have any such links in this post.  The links within this article are for your further information.

 

 

Pain Management of Chronic Pain

Is there such a thing as pain management for pain?  Why would you want to manage your pain?  Read more to find out.

Introduction

Feeling down because you have pain?  Me too! It is often a challenge to get out of bed, because I know my day will start with pain.  You too? I just read a post that stated one-third of Americans live with chronic pain. That’s like 100 million.  And you thought you were the only one!  

Because I live with chronic pain, I am constantly researching new information to make my life more livable.  Then I use the information to create posts that I hope will be helpful to others as well.

The following information is from several articles I have researched.  It is from articles I have read in a continuous search for relief from pain.  These topics only scratch the surface, so read some of my other posts to gain more information.

The following topics are some of the most popular t remedies to manage pain.

Pain Management of Chronic Pain
MabelAmber/Pixabay

Walking

Movement is vital to those of us in pain.  However, it goes against what we feel like doing.  Usually what I feel like doing is nothing. But that is the exact opposite of what I should do.  

Walking is still one of the best exercises we can do.  It is low impact and a natural activity. There are days when it hurts me to walk.  But then it hurts for me to do pretty much anything. So I figure I may as well get out and move as not.  

In my other posts you will note the benefits of exercise that I talk about.  My post, Exercises for Back Pain is one of them.  I suggest you take a look to see if it would be helpful for you.

Start with just a few minutes.  That’s what I had to do. It seemed sort of silly to put on my sneakers for just a 10 minute walk.  But you have to start somewhere. Maybe you have to start with 5 minutes.  

I have to attest that walking can help.  Just today I woke up with pain. About a level 6.  But I went walking with a friend, and by the time I got back it was down to a 2.  Yeah, it hurt to walk at first, but the longer I did it, the better I felt.

Now, my acupuncturist tells me that sometimes walking isn’t good.  So, you should consult with your doctor(s) and find what is best for you.  But most of the time movement is good. Dr. Chang (acupuncturist) told me that the exercise increases the circulation to the body and that helps with the pain.  

Keep a Record

I like this article that I found because it suggests keeping a log of your walks.  I track mine on an app on my phone. There are many out there. I like the Endomondo app.  It’s free for the basic app, which is what I use. Research shows that tracking your exercise can keep you motivated.  I like to review my exercise records because it makes me feel like I did something productive and proactive to manage my pain.  I think you will find this to be true for yourself.  

As you get into a regular routine you can increase the time, and/or distance.  That article has other suggestions and information including all the benefits you’ll experience, some thoughts to be aware of, and ideas to keep you going.  

You know it helps to have a buddy to walk with.  Since I live in a senior complex, many of my neighbors walk, and at a pace I can maintain.  This is very helpful. It keeps you accountable and encouraged. It also helps to tell someone what your goals are so that you have committed it publicly. This helps with motivation.  

This article was very honest and helpful.  I recommend reading it a few times to get yourself up and moving.  Get Off Your Butt: 16 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re in a Slump.  

Stretches

I have several articles that can help you with this.  I’m not going to rewrite or plagiarize them. I’ll give you the links.  

Let me just say that stretches have made all the difference in my pain management.  In my mind I am visualizing lengthening those muscles and tendons that are tight from the pain.  And maybe pulling off the nerve, so it is not pressing on the nerve. I have reviewed two DVDs that I use.  See the links here. (Review of Gentle Yoga with Jane Adams, Review of Emily Lark’s Back to Life)

Other articles that might be helpful are the following: (click on the title, it will take you to the link)

8 Simple Stretches to Relieve Back Pain (I use some of these on an almost daily basis. I highly recommend them.)

A Surgeon Reveals Exercises That Heal Your Spine Before It’s Too Late (These seem a bit harder, so be careful.)

Exercise: 12 Workouts For Lower Back Pain (Some of the same as the 8 Simple ones above; try them both, see what works for you.)

Tai Chi

I don’t know enough about this practice to write about it, but it has come up in my radar twice within the last 24 hours.  So I did a little research. (And by the way, doesn’t it seem that the Chinese know something about health? Yoga, acupuncture, Tai Chi, longevity; I think they have something here.)  It is referred to as “moving meditation”. That alone involves two concepts I recommend for managing pain.

It can generally improve balance and movement.  It apparently has a positive impact on other health concerns like hypertension and brain function.

So I think it is worth investigating.  This article recommends you seek out a class to make sure you are doing it correctly.  I plan on investigating this more also.

Are You Tired of Me Mentioning Movement?

Well, sorry.  But this is so important.  Plus I know for a fact that this is a natural pain remedy.  Find what’s right for you. Perhaps you have a different practice.  What is it? I would love to hear from you. You will be helping others too.

I am open to hearing about different forms of movement.  And willing to research them. Everyday is an opportunity to learn more.  Your comments are key for that to happen. So please comment. 

Here’s a great video that reinforces much of what I have researched in my journey.  The Pharmacist does promote a product, but the other information he communicates is very helpful.  I plan on investigating his philosophy/products in the future.

 

Someone to Check Out

I have found a new personality to follow while I continue investigations.  He is Dr. David Foreman, aka the Herbal Pharmacist. He no longer works in the pharmaceutical industry, but instead promotes what he calls The Four Pillars of Health.  

These Pillars are:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Supplements
  • Spirituality

He has been featured on all sorts of television stations and has his own website, Herbalpharmacist.com.  I highly recommend you go to his website and explore it.  There is a wealth of information. Plus I feel he is very down to earth, easy to understand and humble.   For those of you that are Christian, as am I, I was thrilled to note that he is also.

Foods

Now that you see that Dr. Foreman promotes exercise, I want to discuss one of his other pillars; diet.

I admit I am not where I need to be when it comes to food.  I am addicted to sugar. And sugar is one of the worst foods for people in pain.  Apparently it increases inflammation which is related to pain. So I know I need to break my addiction.  I am promising myself right now, today, that I shall begin to do so. I am promising you. Please comment and ask me how I’m doing.  If I have success, you know I will be writing about it. (When you see Dr. Foreman in a video he looks so healthy! I am sure it is because he doesn’t eat sugar.  And he is in his 50s!)  

So in one of his interviews he gave advice on healthy snacking.  Some suggestions are:

  • Eat more protein for a snack.  This helps the body build muscle.  Some ideas include, peanuts, edamame, and beans.  How much protein do we need? He said we should consume 1 gram of protein for every pound we weigh.  Protein contains essential amino acids which are necessary for our body to maintain itself.
  • Vegetables should be increased in your diet.  Ideally we should have veggies at each meal. And being in a hurry or on the go is no excuse for not getting veggies, since you can grab a salad or veggie cup almost anywhere.
  • Make sure to add berries to your diet.  Although blueberries are considered a super-food, all berries contain vitamins that keep us healthy.
  • Eat avocados which contain healthy fat and are packed with vitamins. (They are awfully expensive right now though!)
  • And finally, although it does contain sugar, dark chocolate is actually good for you.  It has a high amount of antioxidants (which fight disease) and apparently lowers the risk of heart problems.  
Silviarita/Pixabay

Why am I listing these foods in a pain management article?  Because if you are taking good care of your body by giving it the nutrients it needs it will function at its best.  Don’t you want that? Improving your diet is an easy fix to help you feel better. Why wouldn’t you do it?

Let’s do this together.  Comment on this post so we can encourage each other.

Comments Please

Throughout this article, I have asked you to comment.  The success of my posts depend on your interaction. I welcome questions and concerns.  If I am wrong about something I have said in this article I want to be corrected. Or if you have a product that has helped you, I want to hear about it.  I could be featured in an article and others may benefit.  

Thanks for your time!

Disclaimer

I am not a doctor or health professional; this information is provided from my research.  Please check with your doctor before you start any exercise program.

Also, sometimes I have affiliate links to products I recommend.  I do not have any in this article.

Should you be interested in how I came to build my website, you can click here and learn about Wealthy Affiliate.  I will receive a referral fee if you join.  I will also be your mentor.

Why Pets Are Good for Your Health

Why Pets Are Good for Your Health

Why Pets Are Good for Your Health
Pixabay/Gellinger

Did you ever think that having a pet could be helping you manage your pain?  Well, it can! This article will discuss the benefits of owning a pet. Not only can pets help you manage your pain, but they can benefit you in other ways.  Read more to find out why pets are good for your health.

Movement

If you have read other articles on this website, you know that I promote movement.  Whether it is yoga, stretching or something else, research shows that moving your body can help you manage pain.  See my article on the benefits of exercise.  Or see my articles on how I like the two DVDs I use.   (Gentle Yoga, and Back to Life

So how does owning a pet get you moving?  

Taking care of it.  You can’t just sit and look at your pet.  Even goldfish need feeding and cleaning of the tank/bowl.  And perhaps you need to research about the care of the pet.  (Which I recommend.) Then you need to get to the pet store for supplies.  Having a pet takes planning and commitment, part of which keeps you moving.

Walking it.  The obvious pet that needs walking is a dog.  What a great pet to have to get you out and about.  And this has to be done at least twice a day, every day.  A great motivator to keep moving. So having a pet to walk just naturally increases your opportunity to exercise.  

Grooming it.  More movement.   Especially if you have to bathe the dog!  But cats need brushing too. Maintaining your pet’s appearance engages you in moving and caring.

Loving on it.  Just the simple act of stroking your pet, even a turtle, takes movement.  The tactile experience of touching another living thing raises our feelings of contentment.  Then there is playtime with your dog or cat. These times give you movement as well as laughter and joy.  

All this movement releases endorphins.  And endorphins are feel good hormones that do just that; help you feel good.  

Mental Health

I have an article that I wrote about Mental Health and Chronic Pain.  I suggest you read it to see how pain can impact your mental health.  

Research shows that pets can improve your mental health.  There are studies (although not a lot) that state having an animal around can reduce anxiety and increase attentiveness.  

We have all heard about pet therapy in hospitals and nursing homes.  This article about Pet Therapy Science was interesting to me because it shows that a pet doesn’t necessarily have to be a dog or cat.  

Having a pet decreases your feelings of loneliness.  Coming home to a pet makes you feel needed and even loved.  I remember a humorous article I read that a single woman wrote about her dog.  She said she loved that her dog looked longingly into her eyes and hung on her every word.  She said she hadn’t met a guy to do that! 

Pets can reduce depression, lower stress and increase your self-esteem.  Apparently stroking, grooming, touching and interacting with pets releases oxytocin, a neurochemical that calms us.  Pets increase our opportunities to socialize, especially if we are out walking our pet.  

There are programs and studies of the use of dogs in assisting schizophrenic patients.  The same is being studied in prison programs, where rescue dogs are trained to be service dogs by the inmates.  

Taking care of pets keeps you busy, engaged, and fulfills having a purpose in life.  

As our mental health is improved this leads to improved physical health.  With all the positive hormones produced by having a pet, we feel less pain and therefore feel better.  

If you aren’t convinced yet, take a look at this good boy.

Other Health Benefits

There are studies that report that having a pet can:

  1. Decrease blood pressure
  2. Decrease cholesterol levels
  3. Decrease triglyceride levels
  4. Sense illnesses in owners

A dog’s ability to sense illness has been studied in diabetics.  Dogs can smell changes in the breath of a diabetic and if trained to do so, can alert the human.  This link to Wikipedia discusses the ability that dogs have to detect cancer cells.  

This article from Health.com about how pets improve your health is worth reading.  

Here is a great article by the CDC (About Pets and People) that is helpful in considering the right pet.  It also outlines health and safety concerns. It serves as a thought provoking reminder to prevent you from getting the wrong pet.  

Let’s Not Forget Cuteness

Apparently we as humans are programmed to love the faces of baby animals.  Their faces pull at our hearts, filling us with the urge to care for, cuddle and form attachments to them.  These feelings produce those feel good hormones again. Here’s an article about this phenomenon.  (With cute pictures!)

 

Pixabay/JACLOU-DL

 

Pet Owner Comments

Some comments from pet lovers (who allowed me to use their names and comments).  Just in case you thought I made all this up! 🙂

Carolyn:  The benefits of having a cat for a pet are several.  First is that you are taking care of something outside of yourself.  Petting a cat is therapeutic. They are cute and do funny things. They provide companionship and accountability.  They can make great Christmas card pictures. Being a cat owner, she says cats are less work than dogs.  

 

Theresa: A pet’s love is unconditional.  Everyone needs to be loved unconditionally.  Also, they are good for your physical, emotional and mental health.  Pets have a calming effect, which helps relieve stress. Dogs must be exercised, which helps our physical health.  Pets are companions, which help with feelings of loneliness and depression. They are also protective of their owners.  So many benefits.  

Bryan: So here’s a tale about my cat Mephistopheles. I went to the SPCA to rescue a cat roughly a decade ago and picking the right one can be daunting as there is never a shortage of cats needing rescue and many wind up being euthanized due to space limitations. My system was to pick a dozen or so who responded enthusiastically to my presence outside their cage and then take them individually into the “test room” to see how they behaved around me. Of many would be contenders, he was the warmest and immediately jumped up on my lap and sat down purring – the decision was clear.

Every cat owner likes to think their cat is “dog like” in behavior and isn’t skittish or mean as many can be (which I believe leads a lot of the population to have a distaste towards cats in general), but mine really is that. Sure at the end of the day he’s a cat and occasionally lets people know what is his claimed territory, but he is always welcoming to strangers and curious verses skittish. But his behavior towards others  isn’t why I’ve come to love him so much; rather it’s how he interacts with me. Prior to having him in my life I never really understood how people can be so emotionally passionate towards their pets but he opened my eyes in this regard and I’ve come to not be able to imagine life without him. His long annoying fur that gets all over everything, the litter he tracks on the freshly cleaned floor, the vomit he always prefers to leave on surfaces that are hard to clean are an insignificant price to pay for his companionship and love.

Every day when I come home from work I can hear him shouting before I even open the door and as soon as I enter it’s hard to even open the door all the way because he’s instantly rubbing against me begging for attention and won’t stop until properly pet. Every evening when I sit on the couch to relax he runs over and jumps on my lap to collapse and often fall asleep. In the darker times when life isn’t going as was ideally desired, he breathes fresh life into me and provides an easy place to find solace.

Linda: I’ve not noticed any reduction in physical pain because I have a cat but definitely better emotionally.  She’s my “family” and misses me when I’m gone.  If I leave a room for more than 5 mins, she comes to look for me.  The house would be really lonely without her.  She’s the boss, the house runs on her schedule (feeding, etc.)  She wakes me up every day at the same time and if I’m not in bed at the usual time she sits in the middle of the room and talks about it.  It’s nice to have her to take care of, she depends on me for everything and I love that I can give her her forever home.  She also makes me laugh out loud.  Her personality is goofy and she can play with a thread on the floor and ignore a purchased toy.  She’s the best fly catcher there is.  She gets bored chasing a flashlight beam after about 3 seconds.  She loves to have her ears and head scratched and would let me do that all day. I guess to sum it up, she’s the best company and I wouldn’t trade her for anything.

Conclusion

The conclusion we can reach is that pets have a positive influence on our lives.  They can help us feel better mentally and assist in pain management. Having a pet is a win-win scenario.

If you love to read and love animals, I still enjoy re-reading the books by James Herriot.  He has wonderful observations about people and animals. The stories will make you cry and laugh out loud.  A few of the titles are: All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Wise and Wonderful, All Things Bright and Beautiful.  I welcome your comments on these as well.  

If you want a more scientific article to read, I recommend this link from the British Psychological Society.  The article does state that research regarding all the above claims is sparse, but favorable.  

Why Pets Are Good for Your Health
Skitterphoto/Pixabay

Comments Please

What about you?  Do you have a comment or story to add to this article?  I would love to hear from you. I enjoy hearing stories of how a pet helped you.  You would be adding to everyone’s experience by sharing. Please do so.  I wanted to add a cute/funny video of animals, but I couldn’t decide what to use.  If you have a recommendation, or one of your own, please share it!  Thanks.  

Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional.  I am a chronic pain sufferer.  I write articles in hopes I will help my fellow sufferers.  Please check with your doctor if you are unsure of something I wrote.

Sometimes I feature products with an affiliate link where you can purchase them.  I do not have any affiliate links in this post.  The links are for other articles and your further information.  The one affiliate link I do recommend you check out is the platform I use to build my websites, called Wealthy Affiliate.  If you decide to join I do receive a referral fee and will be your mentor.  Thank you.

How To Work Through Pain

Woman at work
How To Work Through Pain
Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Do you have to work despite the fact that you are in pain?  Me too!  So I found some tips for how to work through pain.  I hope one of them helps you.

Introduction

It was my goal to write another article on my website for the past few days.  But new pain has presented itself into my life and I just couldn’t get going.  What did I have to write about?  Why bother?  Nobody seems to care about what I have to say.  Am I even being helpful?  Are pain and work linked?

Then I thought about the fact that there are millions of people that do work through their pain.  Surely if that is the case, I can do the same.  So this article will be about helpful tips that I found while researching this topic.  If it helped me, I hope it will help you also.

Take a look at some of my other articles.  For my buttock pain I have found stretches and acupuncture very helpful.  But I suggest you look at other ones on this site.  Who knows?  One of the articles may be helpful in finding some relief to your suffering.

Albarubescens Wikimedia Commons

Where Is Your Focus?

One of the first things that helped me today was doing a web search of how to work when I am in pain.  That’s how I came up with some suggestions.  But the solution is twofold because just the activity of sitting at the computer and researching is a way to relieve pain.  In other words, having your mind engaged in something else takes your focus off of your pain.  Which is the main idea of the title of this article in the first place.  Working refocuses your mental state and takes away the power of the pain.

I also read about a practice where you STOP your mind in it’s tracks when you are focusing on the pain.  Then you TELL yourself a hopeful thought, like “This will get better”.  Finally, you REFOCUS on your present task.  This would be an easy task to do anywhere, especially at work.  So we see that focus is very important.  Here is a link from SpineHealth that suggests other focusing techniques.  I haven’t tried them all, but maybe one or two of them would be helpful to you.

In summary: 1.  Engage your mind in an activity  2.  Stop your mind focusing on pain and tell it something hopeful.

Check Out These Suggestions

A Couple of Helpful Links

Here is a great post by a woman (Elly Copeland) who suffers from Crohn’s disease and depression and has ADHD.  I found her suggestions extremely helpful.  They also support my research and experiences.  She is honest and well spoken.  She knows her topic because she knows pain.  I highly recommend this post.  Stop right now and check it out.  Here is another post from Health that provides some of the same suggestions and a few more.  I especially recommend the one about moving, or changing positions.  In my former job I could sit at my desk hard at work and never get up.  That is a recipe for pain.  Move and stretch.  And move often.  If you sit in one position for extended periods, you are making the pain worse, and will lose ground on managing your pain.

Find a Compassionate Person

Although you may not be able to talk to someone while at work, if you can, I recommend it.  Find a caring person and spend a few minutes letting them know how you are feeling.  You never know if they might have a suggestion that would be helpful.  And just talking about your pain to an emphatic person is helpful.  Having someone validate your pain is such a relief.  Find that person.

Krisphotwrld Wikimedia Commons

Journaling

When you are off work, try journaling.  I was surprised when I started this activity.  I am not a natural writer, but once I started putting my thoughts on paper, I was astonished how they continued to flow.  I frequently made some profound discoveries from this.  Plus just the activity of writing will refocus your mind and you will not feel as much pain.  Also, journaling can clear your mind of other concerns and worries.  Who knows, you might come up with some very profound insights.  Insights that could change your life!

Support Groups

Look for support groups in your community.  Did you know that there is an organization called American Chronic Pain Association?  Check out their website.  It is extensive.  They have a few videos to watch that are very encouraging.  Also, you can see if there is a group in your area, or if not, start one!  This is a vital part of managing our pain, by finding a community that understands our sufferings because they too suffer.

Relaxation Breathing

Can you take a few minutes for some relaxation breathing?  Find a quiet place away from any interruptions and distractions.  I found a great free app called Breathe.  Type it into your app search.  It will guide you through various exercises depending on your needs.  It will take less than 10 minutes for you to do some relaxation breathing.  This relaxation exercise helps manage the pain.  See also my post regarding Meditation.

Vacation?

Is there a chance that you need to just get away from work for a break?  If your work is stressful, that is only adding to your pain.  More stress = more pain.  A vacation can be refreshing to your mind, body and soul.  Especially if you practice some of the recommended techniques you’ll find through the links here.

Here’s a video that proves the validity of refocus.  I hope that there will soon be an application of this for those of us that are chronic pain sufferers.

(I don’t like that they are throwing snowballs at innocent little penguins though!)

Conclusions

Writing this article took work on my part.  I had to research and concentrate on learning.  Then I had to write it in my own words.  You can see that to find relief from your pain you are going to have to work at it.  But I know that once these practices become habits, it will be less work and you will find more relief.  But do commit to WORK at lessening your pain!

I welcome your comments.  I especially welcome recommendations so I can do further research and posts and hopefully help out another pain sufferer.  I’d love to hear what tips worked for you, or about other ideas that worked.  Thanks for reading.

Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional; merely a fellow pain sufferer.  Please talk with your doctor about any of these recommendations if you are concerned how they might affect you.

There are no affiliate links in this post where products are recommended.  However, I do recommend the platform I am using to build my websites.  It is called Wealthy Affiliate.  If you join I become your mentor and I do receive a referral fee.  Check it out for free here.