Suffering from chronic or even just acute back pain can be a very challenging ordeal. Only a fellow back pain sufferer can truly understand just how debilitating and depressing the condition can be.
Your quality of life suffers when you’re in pain all the time. Most people not suffering from this condition just can’t seem to understand the devastating effects of this condition. It often seems like the patient is exaggerating or ‘weak’… when in reality, the pain can last for months or even years.
The mental and emotional toll
The first step to coping with this condition is to understand how it can impact your life. Depending on the severity of the pain, besides just medication and physiotherapy, you may also wish to speak to a counselor or a professional. The emotional and mental toll that back pain takes can leave you feeling stressed and depressed. You just might need someone to speak to.
Everything gets harder
When even a slightest jolt makes you groan in pain, you must come to terms with the fact that your mobility may be limited. You may have to walk slower, move more carefully, and tasks that were a breeze before may be of a Herculean nature now.
Carrying a bag of groceries may leave you in agony. Even simple actions like getting up from a chair or reaching for the TV remote may send spasms of pain shooting up your spine. You must be careful of everything.
When your activities are severely restricted, you may find yourself becoming more dependent on others. This may make you feel like you’re imposing and your sense of self-worth decreases. It’s important that you know that you’re not incapable. It’s just the pain wreaking havoc in your life.
As difficult as it may seem, now more than ever, you need a positive attitude and the grim determination to persevere and beat the pain.
This is nothing to be ashamed of. Almost all adults fear pain. It’s just the extent that varies. You may experience fear and not just of pain but also your general wellbeing. What if things got worse? What if you develop other problems like diabetes or paralysis?
Most of these fears are often unfounded. You can always talk to your doctor about the problem and clarify your doubts.
On the other hand, you may fear going out or engaging in other activities just in case you worsen the pain. The advice here is to use common sense. If the activity is a visit to the beach or a walk by the park, go ahead. The fresh air and change of scenery will do you good.
Fearing everything will just make you stay indoors and your life will become monotonous and sedentary. This will actually worsen the situation. Activity will improve your blood circulation and keep your muscles stronger and reduce your back pain.
Your social life may suffer because of your pain. You’d rather stay indoors than go out and have fun. It’s difficult to have fun when you’re in pain. If you’re married or have a partner, intimate relationships will suffer too.
The pain will make the entire activity a chore. You’ll need to be open and speak to your partner about it. Do not withdraw and get angry or disappointed. Experiment with new positions that are easier on your back.
The hard truth is that you may have to quit your job if it’s one that has a lot of manual labor. If you work at a desk, your workstation may need to be adapted to suit your condition. If your condition is so bad that even leaving your house to get to work is not a possibility, you may wish to ask your boss if you can work from home. All these situations are possible, and you must be ready for them.
I had to sell my last business after my fourth spinal surgery kept me in hospital for nearly three months. It was a big decision and a new chapter in my life.
At the end of the day, just know that you’re not alone in this. It may seem like a small consolation, but the fact that there are millions of people with chronic back pain doing the best they can to lead ‘normal’ lives should inspire you to stay strong.
Keep finding ways to improve your condition and get better. Even if all it takes is a positive attitude, that itself will reduce your mental stress and make you feel better.