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When the skies are grey and it’s damp and cold outside we can feel down in the dumps even without any pain but for people who suffer chronic pain the dull outside can reflect on the inside and make pain feel worse.

So, to stop the pain from getting the better of you, you need to think of some reasons why the pain you are in is actually an acceptable pain because you will benefit from it in some way. Pain is actually a necessary part of happiness and research has actually shown that it can in fact lead to pleasure in several ways.

A few easy reasons why pain can actually help you recognise pleasure, are that it can form social bonds, it can give you permission to treat or reward yourself, it shows that experiencing relief from pain not only increases our feelings of happiness, but also reduces our feelings of sadness.

Stress and pain can also stimulate the serotonin and melatonin production in the brain, which transforms painful experiences into pleasure. Common sense tells us that people seek pleasure and avoid pain. But that’s not always the case – various activities involve pain, including running, hot massages, tattoos, piercings etc.

We need the sensation of pain to let us know when our bodies need extra care. It’s an important signal. When we sense pain, we pay attention to our bodies and can take steps to fix what hurts. Pain also may prevent us from injuring a body part even more.

Science News explains that “Pain protects us. When you touch a hot stove, you recoil in pain. That sensation helps you avoid getting a burn that could be dangerous — even deadly. The throbbing of a broken foot tells you to stay off it until it heals, so you don’t do more damage. Without those signals, we’d all be in trouble. Big trouble.”

However, does pain serve a purpose? Well, according to ABC News, To be sure, individuals can gain confidence and pride by pushing themselves to complete marathons or other demanding physical challenges. But enduring pain or stress injuries on a regular basis serves no good purpose for the body or soul, researchers say. But good pain is the body’s warning system, it’s the pain that warns you that you are definitely going to have a bad day today or something is seriously wrong with you.

ABC News goes on to say that “When treating pain, patients and their primary care doctors too often overlook the distinction between good pain and bad pain, many specialists say. Patients want to know exactly what’s causing their pain, and physicians often go looking for an underlying physical cause. But this is often the wrong approach. “In many cases, the pain itself is the disease,” Covington said.”

People with fibromyalgia have precious little to show for their suffering. They have no swelling, inflammation, limp or deformity. Blood tests, X-rays, scans and biopsies are normal. Theirs is a subjective illness. They find that family and friends eventually tire of hearing about their intractable pain and its impacts. Little wonder that depression and anxiety are common complications as the pain is most definitely real.

The NHS has a list of ten good ways to help get rid of your pain.

  1. Get some gentle exercise
  2. Breathe right to ease pain
  3. Read books and leaflets on pain
  4. Counselling can help
  5. Distract yourself
  6. Relax to beat pain
  7. Get lots of sleep
  8. Take a course
  9. Keep in touch with family and friends
  10. Share your story about pain

Reading through the NHS list I realised that I had tried every single one of them and most I practice all the time. If it’s not raining or too cold I will always try and get a walk outside as my exercise every day. I use breathing exercises if my pain wakes me up in the night and I read lots of books on the subject (obviously) which helps my posts on this blog. I had counselling once after a near death experience and the GP gave me hypnosis which worked amazing. I have trouble sleeping so always try and get an afternoon rest. I have done lots of courses and definitely think hobbies are a great way to help pain. I always keep in touch with my family and friends. They are what I get up for in a morning. I also like relaxing to help my pain and seem to have that as part of my day.

The final one on the list is sharing your story about pain. Well, I can vouch for this in a big way, it was writing about my pain that got me started on this blog and I have never looked back since. What I would love is to hear from others with their story or maybe a day in their life while coping with pain. If you know someone who might like to share this with me please get them to get in touch.

Source: NHS, Science News, ABC News

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The Japanese who live no where near any countryside just find a wood and use a technique called ‘shining-yoko’, also known as ‘forest bathing’ to help them relax and beat off stress the natural way.

It involves spending time in the woods and the idea is to let nature enter through all five senses. The practice is said to help lower your blood pressure, fight depression and beat stress.

The Guardian writes ‘ it is believed that time spent under the green canopy is critical in fighting a number of diseases and conditions’. Some Japanese spend a regular few day’s in the forest and Forestry England Forest bathing, which despite its name does not involve water. Forestry England have some top tips and activities to get you going, which include,

  • Turn off your devices to give yourself the best chance of relaxing, being mindful and enjoying a sensory forest-based experience.
  • Slow down. Move through the forest slowly so you can see and feel more.
  • Take long breaths deep into the abdomen. Extending the exhalation of air to twice the length of the inhalation sends a message to the body that it can relax.
  • Stop, stand or sit, smell what’s around you, what can you smell?
  • Take in your surroundings using all of your senses. How does the forest environment make you feel? Be observant, look at nature’s small details.
  • Sit quietly using mindful observation; try to avoid thinking about your to-do list or issues related to daily life. You might be surprised by the number of wild forest inhabitants you see using this process.
  • Keep your eyes open. The colours of nature are soothing and studies have shown that people relax best while seeing greens and blues.
  • Stay as long as you can, start with a comfortable time limit and build up to the recommended two hours for a complete forest bathing experience.

They want you to let us know how you get along!

The NHS have a social prescribinglist which includes volunteering, sports activities, and gardening as a way to feel better. Forest bathing is a chance for people to take time out, slow down and connect with nature. They describe ‘social prescribingworks for a wide range of people, including people:

  • with one or more long-term conditions
  • who need support with their mental health
  • who are lonely or isolated
  • who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year camping has become extremely popular. In fact my respective family and child have always camped but this year was their first one with my young (12 month) granddaughter. Every time they camped my daughter would say she would ‘go out like a light’ when put to bed.

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The Metro wrote that a third of people in the UK have experienced more pain during lockdown, according to a new study. The research, conducted by Nurofen, found that since we have been spending more time at home, more people have been experiencing backaches (36%), headaches (34%), joint pains (27%), neck aches (26%) and muscle aches (24%).

The researchers suggest that is caused by an unexpected pain paradox associated with the perceived ‘benefits’ that come with lockdown living. But what is causing these chronic aches and pains? At the top of the list of triggers is stress – which was the main cause for 50% of people surveyed. Which comes as no surprise, because living through a global pandemic is pretty stressful to say the least.

However a number of lockdown ‘benefits’ were also listed as surprising triggers of pain. These included having more time for: Watching more TV and films (39%) Hobbies (like DIY and gardening) (21%) Looking after children (12%) Exercise and fitness (16%) Whilst lockdown enabled people to spend more time at home with their families, this may have increased pain suffering as 12% of respondents attributed new discomfort to increased childcare hours.  Younger people (aged 25-44) said they experienced more back pains and headaches, in comparison to those over 45, says The Metro.

This age group were also more likely to claim that their increased pain was caused by a poor work from home set up and more time looking after their children; perhaps as a result of juggling work with home schooling. On top of this, 50% of all respondents claimed stress was a key factor in their increased pain, which might have been a reflection of the lockdown climate. DIY and gardening, which may have been a result of new found leisure time was cited by more than a fifth (21%) as causing more acute pain. 39% believe the increased time spent in front of TVs, computers or laptops has been causing their pain. In fact, more screen time may also have had other consequences, with 35% believing changing sleep patterns and 33% thought less physical activity also worsened their pain. Some people used the new time gained to improve their health and fitness during lockdown, but this may have led to further pain as 16% of respondents felt exercise had increased their aches.

The survey also found that 60% of people want more advice on how to deal with pain, and 39% have not relied on any sources of information to help manage their pain – turning to GPs and pharmacists for help has decreased. To avoid making lockdown more painful and allow people to enjoy their pastimes, The researchers are now urging people to follow NHS advice and have developed the ‘Three P’s of Pain Management’ to help people take action when pain strikes. Proactivity – Be proactive, don’t let acute pain persist Identify pain triggers and address them. Be conscious of your pain and take action. Pain Relief – take positive steps to find a solution that works for you. And finally Prevention – help to avoid future pain occurring

Source : The Metro