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It is now exactly three weeks since I had my radiofrequency ablation surgery.

On my 2nd week, we had a few days away and a car journey which should have taken a maximum of 4hrs but unfortunately took 8.5 hrs due to protestors on a motorway which was closed in both directions.

This was obviously not an ideal ride post-surgery. The hardest part was that we were directed onto different routes but these routes were full of many other people being diverted so they just got busier and busier. I was told by the physiotherapist that I should be fine with a 4hr journey just as long as I took regular breaks to move around and stretch.

However, the trouble with the diverted routes around the countryside meant that we could not find many places we could just pull over and stop for a while. Every time we thought we would have a break we seemed to end up in another queue of traffic.

By the time we reached our destination, I had only managed two stops throughout the day and I needed help to get out of the car as my back was in such a spasm. On my post-surgery paperwork, it did mention that you may get the odd spasm but I don’t think it meant after sitting in the car. I obviously needed a lot more of my medication that day but I was pleased and surprised to find that the following day and after a sleep in a strange bed I was not too uncomfortable.

I am now down to just paracetamol twice a day and I am doing my exercises regularly. My back still feels bruised and I still get pain after sitting for a while and pain and stiffness first thing in the morning but it is still really early days at the moment so I am just going to keep my fingers crossed I progress to being pain-free in the not too distant future.

Everyone is different with regards to how long they are pain-free from 6 weeks to 6 months or even years so it is just a waiting game at the moment but I have every confidence that it has been a success and I will post another update at the six-week mark which seems to be a very popular turning point for most people after this procedure.

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  1. To help tone your muscles.
  2. To boost your immune system.
  3. To reduce the risk of cancer.
  4. To help you sleep better.
  5. To help you keep fit.
  6. To activate stronger and healthier bones.
  7. To make you feel more energetic.
  8. To improve your confidence.
  9. To help strengthen your heart.
  10. To help raise money for a charity.
  11. To enjoy nature.
  12. To keep your weight in check.
  13. To help prevent osteoporosis.
  14. To boost your Vitamin D levels.
  15. To make you feel happy.
  16. To lower your blood pressure.
  17. To lower your cholesterol.
  18. To delay ageing.
  19. To increase lung capacity.
  20. To reduce stiffness and pain.
  21. To lower your blood sugar levels.
  22. To improve your mental health.
  23. To help you lose weight.
  24. To enjoy something that is free.
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  1. Stop Judging Yourself – If you are having a bad day it is not usually because you have done something wrong to cause your pain. You’re just having a bad day.
  2. Health Ambition – It is good to have a health ambition but break it down until you can see that you could achieve 90% of it. A classic example was something I did wrong. I can manage a 20-minute walk on most days so I decided to try 30 mins. But those extra 10 minutes left me in an awful lot more pain. What I should have done was tried 5% longer than 20 mins then gradually increase it to where I was more comfortable.
  3. Notice A Change – Notice every little change you have achieved however little. Write it down and give yourself a pat on the back as you deserve it.
  4. Gratitude – Every day before you go to sleep, think about your day and try and find one thing that you are grateful for. It might surprise you.
  5. Planning – I guess this goes without saying but it can make such a difference to something you have planned be it a holiday or a celebration you are going to. Plan to get those extra naps, pack a few days before to avoid aggravating your pain. This great site Starts at 60 has an article on ‘How to Pack your Clothes So They Don’t Crease’.
  6. Crafting – Did you know that crafts were prescribed for soldiers after the First World War. It helped them recover from stress for over 100 years and occupational therapy has used craft as a healing therapy since the late 19th Century. There will definitely be something you could try with endless lists and links and how-to guides on the internet. I personally could not cope with my pain if I did not have a few crafting projects on the go. It can become quite addictive.
  7. Surprise – Once a month surprise someone with a phone call, a letter or a message. Not only will it make you feel better it will make the recipient just as happy. Maybe write 12 people you would love to contact and put one for each month of the year.
  8. Complimentary Therapies – Did you know that the US Pain Association lists over 46 Complementary Therapies. If you have never tried therapy to help your pain then you will never know if it may help you. Therapists are also good listeners and are not watching the clock while you are talking to them. Even having your nails done is relaxing and vouchers for therapies make great gifts from your loved ones.
  9. Relaxation – Relaxation is essential for anyone who is in pain. Without my regular afternoon rest, my day ends in far more pain. You don’t have to go to bed for your rest but make it a regular one even if it’s only 15 minutes in a comfortable chair just get your body tuned to this rest every day. You will be surprised what a difference it makes to the rest of your day.
  10. Reading – Reading something nice or informative takes you away to another place for a while. You can now get free book downloads from Amazon and other sites so you do not even need to leave your house to buy a book. I cannot remember the last time I actually bought a book. There are also online Book Reading Groups. Reedsy has a list of 15 of the best Online Book Clubs you can join. Try and allocate at least half an hour of your day to just sit and read a book be it on your Kindle or other Ipad.

Source: Prima, Starts at 60, US Pain Foundation, Reedsy