If you experience pain from a chronic condition, a previous accident or poor body mechanics, you know there is rarely, if ever, a quick fix. It would be great to relax all day, sleep and get massages, but there are chores to be done and children to be taken care of. Unfortunately, your pain adds an extra layer of difficulty to the list of things that need to get done.
Modifying your environment and activities, and prioritizing self-care will allow you to continue to get done what you need to while giving your body and your mind an opportunity to heal.
Here are a few ways to complete your daily activities while preventing an increase in pain and reducing the severity of pain.
Modify Standing Tasks
Many tasks that we complete in standing can easily be modified to sitting. Whether it’s sitting at the table to chop veggies or sitting in the bathtub while you shower. It may be different from how you typically complete them, but this is completely acceptable. Lose your ego and take a seat!
Break it Down
Break the activity down into more manageable pieces. We are often in a rush to get things done as fast as possible, and we have very valid reasons for this. While this is a great method for checking things off your to do list list it is not helpful when you’re in pain. For example, if you’re doing dishes, unload the dishwasher and take a break. You can return to loading the dishwasher after you’ve rested or have taken some time to complete a different activity in a seated position.
Use Adaptive Equipment
People are often very self-conscious to use assistive devices, and may feel like it makes them look weak. These devices can be very helpful in preventing unnecessary discomfort that happens when we complete tasks that place additional strain on our joints such as bending over and standing for prolonged periods of time. Some examples of adaptive equipment include reachers, shower chairs, and built- up handle utensils.
Stress and pain are like a dysfunctional couple who have been together forever and have no plans to separate. Amp up your self care. Whether that’s meditating, talking to a friend, watching a funny movie, or reading a book. Stress can make your pain worse and pain can increase your stress. Listen to your body.
Ask for Help
Last but not least, ask for help! This is not the time to muscle through things. Sometimes it can feel scary and foreign to ask for help, now is the perfect time to practice this skill. Don’t allow your pride to get in the way of your healing.