Monday, April 29, 2013

Fighting Two Battles: Chronic Pain and Allergies this Past Week

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I haven't written very much over the past several days, I haven't been feeling very well and writing was very difficult for me.  I was planning on going to the doctor this morning if I was still feeling the way that I felt on Friday.  On Friday, I felt as if I was living in a fog and I couldn't concentrate on anything.  I decided to take it easy and rest most of the weekend.  I spent time a majority of my time just relaxing or reading.  In fact, Friday night I surprised my husband and went to be early (something I haven't done in a very long time thanks to pain + insomnia = painsomnia).  I slept all night and woke up still feeling exhausted and run down.  

I felt a little bit better on Sunday and this morning I woke up still feeling a bit under the weather.  In fact, I could tell that I am battling some sort of sinus/allergy issue.  I decided to hold off on going to the doctor and try taking a decongestant to see if that helped me before making the trip to see the doctor.  It seems like it has helped me some.  I haven't felt as if I was in a fog today.  Thank goodness because I wasn't sure how I was going to get any work accomplished if I had to work inside of my "fogginess". 

Sometimes, we just have to listen to our bodies and take the time to rest.  I managed to get a really good nap  today and it seems as if that helped as well.  If you suffer from chronic pain, remember that your body is constantly fighting against itself to keep your inflammation and pain under control.  This compromises our bodies ability to fight off an infection or cold.  As our body is working overtime to fight two different battles, it is important that we take the time to rest.  

I tend to get quite a few sinus issues during the spring and this year I have been steadily taking Claritin to help keep my allergies in check. For the most part it seems like it helps, plus I am not exposed to countless germs that most people are exposed to on a daily basis.

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Do you find yourself getting sick more compared to when you  were healthy?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why Should I Hire a Lawyer to Help me Fight A Disability Claim?

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If you plan on filing for Social Security disability, I think it is wise to hire a lawyer to assist you with your case.  Most people think that they can't afford a lawyer.  However, at the same time you can't afford not to have a lawyer, especially, if you are unable to work or find suitable employment to meet your physical restrictions.  Remember that if you find yourself out of work due to chronic pain you aren't alone. 

Disclosure:  This article is for informational purposes only and shouldn't be substituted for legal advice from a lawyer or legal professional.  I am not a lawyer or a legal professional and the opinions reflected in this post are based on my own experience. 

Did you know that according to American Chronic Pain Association that chronic pain tops the list at number 1 for all adult disability claims.  I had no clue that chronic pain was number 1 but after thinking about it for a few minutes, chronic pain covers a wide variety of illness and diseases ranging from back pain, migraines, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis, unknown pain syndrome, depression, joint pain, nerve pain, cancer, and I am sure that I am missing more invisible illness or diseases that cause chronic pain.

Social security is a pain to deal with but it was created to help people like you who can no longer work due to a physical or mental illness.  It is important that you continue to seek care from your doctor so that he or she can continually document your case.  A well documented case will help social security determine if you are able to receive benefits or not.  Make sure that you are open and honest with your doctor and tell them everything.  When talking to your doctor treat them as if he or she is your best friend and hold nothing back.  

Most people who have previously applied for Social Security benefits will tell you that it is normal for social security to deny you and sometimes they will deny you multiple times before you are granted benefits, even if you have an extreme case.  I find this practice to be absurd but there were people before you who abused the system and Social Security needs to know that you are serious about your medical decision.  So don't get discouraged or give up once you receive your first denial letter, in fact, at this point you should seek legal counsel immediately.  You only have a short period of time to get your appeal back to Social Security before you have to refile.  Hiring a lawyer at this point is a good idea and they can even file the appeal for you.  

Make sure that you continue to see your doctor on a regular basis and maybe even seek a second opinion from another doctor.   The more documentation that you have the better.  

Most disability lawyers don't require any fees upfront and you don't pay for their services unless you win.  Then the fees attorney fees are deducted from the money you would have earned from Social Security disability from the moment you first filed.  Social security also sets the fee that a lawyer can take from your back payment for his or her services, this fee is usually no more than 25% of your earnings.  Most lawyers will even meet with you to discuss your case for free and they won't take on your case if they don't think that they can help you, after all they don't get paid for fighting for you unless you win.

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Did you hire a lawyer to assist you with your disability claim?



 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Don't Let Chronic Pain Keep You From Exercising Your Brain

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I meant to write a blog post yesterday evening; however, I ended up with a huge headache that wouldn't go away.  After several hours of dealing with a pounding headache, I decided that writing a new blog post was going to have to wait.  Yesterday it dawned on me that most people who suffer from chronic pain or from an invisible illness no longer work or get out of the house unless they have too.  If you are out of work, you know that a majority of the time you are just sitting around  the house idle and don't engage in anything that challenges you mentally.  

Disclosure:  This post is for informational purposes only.  I am not a doctor, health care provider, or counselor.  If you have any health concerns, please talk to your doctor immediately.  The opinions reflected in this post are my own and may differ from your own opinions.

I know that I tend to sit around the house and watch tv, listen to music, play on the laptop or my phone, play games, read books, crochet, and write.  Most of these activities require very little thinking skills, except for writing, some days it is a challenge coming up with a topic to write about..  It is important that you stimulate your brain activity so that you keep your brain sharp.  Taking care of your brain is important, especially, if you take a bunch of medication to dull the pain.  

Keeping your mind active can help you manage and cope with your pain.  Most importantly daily activities can give you something to look forward to each and every day.  In fact, I just started reading books around the first of the year.  I wanted to find something to do that didn't require physical effort and that I could do when I was lying in bed awake at night.  I have found books to be a great way to pass the time.  Reading is not only fun but it can increase your vocabulary and you can live through the characters.  Often times, the characters draw you in and you begin to think and feel the way they did in the book.  

I have found a love for books that I haven't had before and my favorite books lately have been mystery books.  I find myself addicted to the story line and want to find out what is going to happen to the character next.  

What are some ways that you can keep your brain active and help decrease your chances of dementia related diseases, including Alzheimer's. 
  • Exercise - If you are still able to get some form of exercise, then try to stay as active as it is physically possible.  Find exercises that don't increase or aggravate your pain levels.  Any exercise you can do will  help increase the blood flow to your brain which encourages your brain to make new brain cells.
  • Eat Foods That Promote Healthy Brain Function - If you can't exercise due to increased pain, it is important that you eat healthy foods and maintain a healthy-balanced diet.  Eating healthy foods not only help keep your from gaining weight but you can even reduce your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk for other health problems.  Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to determine which foods are best for you to eat, I know that some foods can aggravate people who have chronic pain.
  • Remain Socially Active -  Having a chronic illness or pain often times keeps many of us housebound.  I know that I tend to stay home unless I absolutely have to go some where, especially, during the week.  However, I try to remain as social as possible using my computer or cell phone.  Most people have access to social media and can maintain a healthy social life by bringing people into their home using the computer or a cell phone.  Social media is a great way to find people who have similar situations or interests.  In fact, you can even find support groups online and you can get to know other people who are in your shoes.  Being social allows you to help others and gives you the opportunity to have friends who understand you and your condition.  If your spouse works, he or she might not can communicate with you during the day.  Having other friends can keep you from getting lonely.  
  • Stay Mentally Active - It is important that you stay mentally active and find hobbies that help give your brain a workout.  Don't be one of the few people who spend all of their time laying around every single day and spend all of their time watching junk on television 24/7.  Instead, find other ways to stimulate your brain since you aren't working and don't have to solve problems on a daily basis.  Have you ever seen your grandpa or grandma working on crossword puzzles?  I remember that my grandpa loved working on the crossword puzzles that were put in the paper each day.  He would spend hours working on them and trying to solve it.  He did this to keep his mind sharp and it gave him something to do each day.  If you don't enjoy crossword puzzles, don't worry there are plenty of other ways to give your brain a mental workout.  Try these brain building activities: stay involved in the learning process and become a life-long learner, gardening, crossword puzzles, memory games, play games, attend plays or lectures, enroll in a class, learn a new skill, learn to play a musical instrument, read a book, don't drink alcohol, get enough sleep, vary your daily habits, ect.
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What is your favorite way to pass the time?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Who Should Be Allowed to Use A Handicap Restroom Stall When Using a Public Restroom?

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Handicap Restroom Sign

Do you use the handicap restroom when you are out in public?  I have been trying to make a conscious decision to start using the handicap stall so that I have the hand rails available if I need to use them.  There has been times when I have occasionally been given those ultimate glares or dirty looks.  I am sure that as I start using the handicap stall on a regular basis, that the looks and glares will increase.


Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes and is based on my own opinions.  Please refer to the ADA website or contact an attorney for more information on using a handicap restroom.


The looks and glares don't really bug me but I hope that I don't ever run into someone that actually decides to give me a hard time about using a handicap stall, especially, if I don't have my youngest some in the restroom with me or don't have an assistive device.  As I started yesterday, I am not currently using a cane or any other assistive device to make getting around easier so my condition isn't easily identifiable to others.


I have noticed that the handicap stalls in the restrooms usually have a toilet that sits up higher off the ground, which helps me.  A toilet that sits higher off the ground helps me so that I am not having to struggle nearly as hard to be able to get up off of the toilet compared to a traditional toilet.  The hand rails are nice to have in case I need help pulling myself up.  At this time my back isn't so bad yet that most of the time I don't have any trouble getting up and down from the toilet.  I dread the day when I have to make changes to my own personal bathroom at home to accommodate my needs.

What is the Proper Etiquette for Using a Handicap Restroom Stall in a Public Restroom? 


I was researching the proper etiquette when it comes to using a handicap bathroom so that I know what to say to someone in the event that they decide to confront me.  The ADA provides provisions for public places to offer handicap patrons with the facilities to accommodate their personal needs while a patron or as an employee at the store.  However, the ADA doesn't limit who can use the toilet.  So a mother with her child in the stroller or someone in my condition has the right to use the handicap stall if it makes it easier for me to use the restroom.  It is proper etiquette to allow someone who is in line with a wheel chair or another assitive device with preferential access to the handicap stall when there is a line.

Have you been confronted for using the handicap stall in a public place?

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Canes Aren't Just for Old People

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Last night while I was laying in bed, I decided to do some research on canes aka walking sticks.  I kinda like the term walking stick much better, it sounds more hip and young and doesn't sound like something an old lady carries around.  I have been pretty hard headed on my journey with chronic pain and I am not quick to give up my independence.  However, I know that there are some days when it seems difficult to walk due to pain and could use some type of assistance getting around.  Besides that I didn't know if a cane would be even help my back and I didn't want to spend money on something that wouldn't help me anyhow.

Disclosure:  This post is for informational purposes only.  The opinions reflected in this post are my own and may differ from your opinions.  If you feel that you need an assistive device, contact your doctor or health care provider for more information.

I am way too young to have a cane but I have a feeling I will be seeing one in my near future, in fact, probably sooner than I would like to openly admit (opps did I just say that lol).  I haven't fallen down yet while out and about but I do get easily fatigued.  I can only stand to go shopping or run errands for about an hour and if I am lucky I can last about two hours without having to sit down for a while, preferably, in a comfortable chair.

So how does a cane help someone with low back pain?  According to Health Central, a cane can help reduce the amount of pressure that is placed on your knees and helps you keep your balance. When you are walking, especially, if you are walking up or down an incline or stairs a cane can help counterbalance the pressure on your back.

If you decide to use a cane it is important that you use it correctly for maximum benefit.  A cane should always be used on the opposite side that you have problems with.  This allows you to lean into the cane while keeping the pressure off the affected joints.  If you have issues on both sides, use the cane on the side that is the weakest or the most painful.

Assistive devices were created to help people, like myself, to maintain their mobility and independence.  I don't know why I worry about getting the glares, stares, and comments if it would help me get around easier.  I suppose that I should just go to the store and test drive some canes to see if one would be helpful in my situation.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Be Firm and Stick to Your Medical Restrictions in the Work Place

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Feeling Frustrated?  You Are Not Alone
Yesterday went fairly well and I was able to get quite a bit accomplished from my recliner while keeping the heating pad against my back.  I was able to get several posts written yesterday, which I normally just write a new post for each one of my blogs a day during the week.  I felt very accomplished by the end of the day that I was able to write three new posts, published them, and shared them with others.  I am currently maintaining two blogs and it is what keeps me going each and every day.  My blogs give me something to focus on and help me take my mind off myself.  This keeps me from throwing a pity party and drowning myself in sorrow.  My goal each and every day is to help others through my work.

Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only and are based on my own opinions and feelings.  The situations in this post are my own and how I feel about them and may differ from your own opinions and feelings.  If you have any questions about your medical restrictions, contact your doctor immediately for clarification.

While I was writing yesterday afternoon, I got a phone call from the job placement company that is supposed to be helping me look for a job that fits my restrictions.  My restrictions are fairly strict and it seemed as if the person calling me to tell me about a job lead didn't pay attention to my restrictions.  I went to my own doctor and a state paid doctor to get specific restrictions and instructions so that I don't harm myself or cause myself any additional pain.  It is very annoying when I feel that someone else thinks a particular job is a perfect fit without looking and thinking about my restrictions and the duties that I would have to perform each day.

When I am blogging, I sit in a recliner or on my bed, depending on how I am feeling that particular day.  Some days even the recliner isn't very comfortable; however, I push through my pain because I know that I have the opportunity to help someone else with my work.  In an office setting, there is absolutely no way that I can sit in a hard chair (which the state said they would find me a comfy chair) for 8 hours a day without taking frequent breaks.  

Many people see my doctors restriction of 10 lbs, not a huge deal.  However, in an office environment sometimes you have to do several repetitive motions in order to complete a task.  Yes, the items are under the 10 lb limit; however, as you do repetitive motions your muscles become easily fatigued.  Once your muscles are fatigued you are at risk for further injuries according to EMedicineHealth.  So my own personal doctor set my restrictions so that I can't do more than 3 repetitive movements in a 10 minute period and no more than 10 repetitive motions in a full hour.

So when I try describing this theory to other people, they just don't seem to get it because they are so focused on the 10 lb weight restriction.  They don't understand if I overdo things, my pain increases and my upper back muscles typically begin to spasm and burn.  This isn't fun and it makes me feel pretty grumpy.  

I often get asked if my back will get better or if it will fully heal?  The answer to this question is fairly complicated but I will explain it the best that I can.  I have been told by one doctor that surgery would give me 50-60% chance of relief and if it doesn't relieve my pain that it could actually get worse.  So I am pretty hesitant at this time to have surgery unless I start getting nerve pain or numbness.  Then another doctor told me that my back is in operable, which make my current condition permanent.  Over time I am pretty positive that my back will continually get worse and that I will need devices to assist me to get around.  

As a fairly young person, this news is devastating.  I manage the best I can and often over do things just to be able to spend time doing things with my husband and watching my own children grow up.    

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Handle Unethical Situations that May Arise While Looking for a Job

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"She Just Doesn't Get It"
Why is it so hard for people to understand that your pain is constant, even when you don't look like your in pain?  Or why do they feel like you have to live your life as a lie in order to find the right job opportunity?  I have been out of work for quite sometime due to my chronic low back pack.  As I am searching for a job, I have to carefully read job descriptions and determine if there is a way that I can do the job.  With my restrictions, I am pretty limited and need a sedentary job.  

Disclosure:  This post is my own personal opinion according to my own experiences and physical restrictions.  

Days are tough when you have issues getting a good night sleep and others think your lazy for sleeping during the day.  I get it, I don't look sick.  Others don't have a clue the amount of pain that I have to just PUSH through each and every day in order to maintain a very sedentary lifestyle.   

Yesterday, I had to go to a job placement meeting so that they can help me find a job that meets my restrictions and help me find an employer who will accept me for who I am and what I can and cannot do physically.  Yes, I am smart and I can easily land a job; however, there is a price that I have to pay each day when I get up from the bed.  I have to pick and choose my tasks very wisely as it is easy to become fatigued and make my pain increase in the matter of a few minutes or hours depending on what I do.  

I was presented with what seemed like an ideal and possibly a great job opportunity from the eyes of the counselors that I just couldn't pass up.  Yes, I agree it was a perfect opportunity and could potentially be a perfect match.  However, I haven't seen a job description and I refuse put my health at risk, after all if I could still do a light duty job I would have never been laid off.  

I was told yesterday that I should wait to discuss any of my physical limitations until after I have been offered a job.  Sounds to me like a "bait and switch" technique that some car dealerships use to lure customers into their showroom floors.  This advice didn't settle well with me at all.  In fact, it seems unethical to lie to someone's face about my restrictions and then when I get the job dance around some of the duties that I cannot physically do.  

This isn't fair to me, a future employer, or any of the people that I would have to work around each day.  I am not one to complain about my situation on the job, which was part of the reason my former employer had issues with me when I told them all of a sudden that I could no longer do parts of my job.  

Lying and being unethical would cause me not to sleep at night and it could even possibly get me fired.  I am not going to lie or be unethical for my personal gain.

I believe that I should be open and honest with a potential employer because I was taught at an early age that "honesty is always the best policy".  If someone chooses to take a chance and work with me, then we can discuss my limitations in great detail and go from there.  

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Monday, April 15, 2013

I Had A Great Weekend With My Husband Despite Leaving My Medicine At Home On Accident

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I had a great time this weekend with my husband.  It has been a long time since we have gone on a long date or away for the weekend since my baby was born almost two years ago.  I did make a huge mistake and left my medicine at home in my laptop bag.  I was planning on taking my laptop with me; however, it was nice to actually semi-unplug for the weekend.  It gave me time to refresh and spend quality time with my husband.

We spent almost all day Friday at the spa, where we spent some time in several different types of saunas and spa pools.  Overall it was a great experience; however, some of the spa jets were a bit powerful so it was a bit uncomfortable.  We were able to sit in the hot tubs, which felt great and seemed like it made my back feel better.  I was worried that it was going to be too cold outside to enjoy the swimming pools that they had outside, but the weather was perfect and the pools were heated to the perfect temperature.

After a day at the spa, we spent the night at an upscale hotel and it was a great way to spend time with my husband while overlooking downtown Dallas, TX.  The next day we were planning on going to the new science museum;  however, since I forgot my medicine at home.  My husband was a sweetie and asked me if I would rather go to a movie instead and I jumped on that idea since I didn't want to walk too much and over do it.  We decided to go see the Croods.  If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.  It is a story about a family who had to adapt to a new life when their world they knew crumbled around them.  They had to follow the sun and find a new place to live.  The family ends up following a guy named "Guy" and he helps them learn to live their life on a daily basis.  This is a great reminder for me that even though I deal with chronic pain that it is important for me to still live my life and make the best of my situation.

Yesterday, was a very long day and by the end of the day I was ready to relax.  After church, we attended my sister-in-laws baby shower.  She is having a little boy in about 4 weeks or less, unless he decides to camp out past his due date.  It was a ton of fun and she got a bunch of goodies for her baby boy.

How did you spend your weekend?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Don't Let the Bear Keep You Down!

I hope that you have a great weekend and that your pain is minimal so that you can enjoy some time enjoying the things that you enjoy doing.  I am looking forward to this weekend, I will be spending some quality time with my husband without the kids.  We have been married almost 5 years and we have always made the effort to invest time in our marriage away from the kids.  It has been a while since we have gone on an over night trip since the baby was born almost two years ago.  



Have a great weekend and keep the bear away!  :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Five Alternative Ways to Remain Intimate with Your Spouse If You Have Chronic Pain

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If you or a spouse suffers from chronic pain, it is important that you put forth the effort to maintain a healthy relationship and try to remain intimate with your spouse.  I understand that there will be times in the days ahead that might interfere with your ability to be intimate with your spouse.  However, there are also days when you feel great (if your lucky enough to still get some of those days) and days when the pain is some what bearable or controllable with medications.  Intimacy doesn't always have to be between the sheets.

Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only. Please discuss any concerns with intimacy issues with your doctor or health care provider.

What Other Ways Can You Be Intimate With Your Spouse?


There are plenty of other ways to connect with your spouse without having sex.  I realize that sex is important and you should attempt to maintain that relationship with your spouse if you are able to, even a few  times a week or month.  It is important for your marriage.  What are some other ways to connect with your spouse without having sexual intercourse:

  • Go on a Date - Plan time to spend with your spouse without having any distractions.  Having a date night will give you the opportunity to reconnect with your spouse.  This will allow you the opportunity to have a real conservation and enjoy some much needed one on one time with your spouse.  Plan a date night in advance so that you aren't scrambling to figure out what to do at the last minute, always plan an alternative in case your pain won't allow you to do your first date choice.  Dates don't have to cost a ton of money; in fact, there are plenty of free date night opportunities that you can go on.  However, it is important that your date nights do not become boring or something else on the calender that fills your time.   
  • Talking to Your Spouse - Having conversations and sharing your feelings with your spouse will allow you to connect with your spouse emotionally.  You can discuss anything that is bothering you or your spouse.  In fact, just talking to your spouse can bring you closer together.
  • Find Things You Both Enjoy and Do It - Participating in activities that you enjoy together is a great way to have fun and connect with your spouse.  This can be used for a date activities or it can be things that you enjoy as a family, if you have children.  Finding common ground in your relationship will help you and your spouse to overcome your disability and give each one of you something to look forward to doing together as a couple or a family.
  • Spend Time With Your Spouse - It is important that you make time to spend with your spouse alone. There are activities that you can do that don't involve having sex and these activities can be just as fulfilling as sexual intercourse.  Plus, it can help you and your spouse maintain a close and intimate relationship.  Some examples of activities that you and your spouse can do alone that don't involve sexual intercourse are: hugging, holding hands, snuggling, kissing, taking a bath together, massage, and anything else that you and your spouse enjoy together.  
  • Alternative Sexual Intimacy - If you can't have sexual intercourse with your spouse for any reason, there are alternative ways that you can take care of each other's needs.  You can use one or more of these alternative ways to create intimacy with your spouse: masturbation, touching, oral sex, and some couples choose to introduce toys into their relationship.  I know that it is often difficult to talk about these alternative solutions but they can help you keep the spark alive in the bedroom.  
It is very important to maintain a healthy and intimate relationship with your spouse.  In fact, it is possible to have an intimate relationship with your spouse despite having chronic pain.  A great relationship with your spouse begins with open and honest communication.  I hope that you find these tips helpful and that you can find ways to keep the spark alive in your marriage.  

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Do you feel it is important to remain intimate with your spouse, despite the pain you feel each day?

Don't Let Chronic Pain Keep You From Being Intimate With Your Spouse

Loving Affectionate Couple In Bed" by photostock http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/CouplesPartners_g216-Loving_Affectionate_Couple_In_Bed_p34195.html
If you are married, it is important that you maintain a great relationship with your spouse. Your spouse married you until 'death do us part' as part of your marital vows. Chronic pain might make connecting with your spouse difficult on occasion; however, if you are able to be initimate with your spouse then you should put effort in maintaining that part of your relationship. Chronic pain seeps into the bedroom and sometimes interferes with sexual performance. Sexual interference can come from side effects from medications that you take on a daily basis, loss of sensation, or pain.

Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only. Please discuss any concerns with intimacy issues with your doctor or health care provider.

It is important to talk to you doctor if you experience any problems between the sheets with your spouse. Tell your doctor exactly what you feel or don't feel when having sex. This can help your doctor possibly pinpoint the possible problem. Sometimes medication is to blame or if there is something else possibly interfering with your sexual performance. Somethings can be easily fixed such as changing medications, ect. If you are one of the those people who would rather not be touched or bothered it is important that you try and be intimate. Intimacy with your spouse in any form can actually help improve your life.

What are some reasons why chronic pain suffers refrain from having sex with their spouse?


  • If you didn't meet when you had chronic pain, you may begin to feel guilty for your pain levels and your lack of desire in the bedroom. Remember, this feeling is normal but if your spouse truly loves, then your spouse should should accept you where you are NOW and not for who you were. If you feel this way, talk to your spouse about your feelings.
  • If you are in pain, most people tend to shy away from participating in activities between the sheets. However, most of the time you can find a position that works for you and your restrictions. Besides that, you have no way of knowing if something is going to cause you additional or increased pain unless you actually try it. If it is painful, communicate with your partner and explain to them what is painful and maybe you and your partner can come up with something else that might work better.
  • Most people feel as if they will be rejected for being in constant pain or for their sexual desire/drive to change during the course of their marriage. Chances are your partner still finds you attractive so if you find yourself feeling like this make sure that you talk to your spouse.
  • If you find yourself feeling as if you are not able to perform like you once did, you should try to revert your focus so that you can try and relax. Chronic pain suffers may be on anti-depressants, be on pain medications, feel depressed, and have other factors that affects your ability to get in the mood or even be able to orgasm. Trying too hard to fulfill an orgasm each time may leave you feeling more and more frustrated, which makes things more difficult in the long run. However, focus on the feelings and closeness of your spouse.
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Do you feel intimacy is important for your relationship?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Medication Can Be Used To Effectively Treat Chronic Pain

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/707274
Medications can be beneficial for people who suffer from chronic pain.  If your like me, you don't want to take pills to mask the pain unless it is your absolute last resort.  I personally don't like taking pills, especially, narcotics due to all of the side effects that are involved with taking them.  However, being in pain 24/7 isn't fun and can be very exhausting.  About a year ago, I finally broke down and began taking pain medication to help me control my pain. 


Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only.  I am not a doctor or health care provider.  The opinions reflected in this post are my own and are based upon my own experiences with chronic pain.

Why I Chose to Use Medication as Part of My Treatment Plan?


I chose to use medication to help decrease my pain symptoms so that I could be able to sleep.  Getting enough sleep is very important, especially, for people who suffer from chronic pain.  Without adequate sleep,  you tend to become more irritable and your pain seems to increase more when you aren't well rested.   At first, I was only taking my pain medication at night just so that I could sleep.  However, over the last year my pain has increased drastically and I now have to take medication twice a day.  It stinks because the medicine makes me sleepy, gives me constipation, and only takes the edge off of my pain (meaning my pain only decreases minimally).  Medicine is part of my treatment plan because I have already tried every non-invasive treatment that is available that could be beneficial without having surgery.  I don't feel comfortable having surgery at the moment.

Follow These Important Rules When Using Medication for Treatment for Chronic Pain


If you decide to use medication as part of your treatment plan, it is important that you remain open and honest with your pain management doctor.  Many doctors are getting more hesitant to just hand out prescription narcotics due to abuse so communication with your doctor is critical for your health.  If your doctor prescribes medication, do follow these rules:
  • Don't doctor hop looking for medication.  Your doctor will catch you.  If your are caught, your doctor will more than likely terminate your care.
  • Do follow the directions listed on the prescription bottle.
  • Do take your medicine daily.
  • Do tell your doctor if there are any changes in how your medication is working.
  • Don't share your prescriptions with others.
  • Do be prepared for your doctor to drug test you.  This helps your doctor determine if your being honest with him about seeing other doctors or taking drugs that you don't tell your doctor about.
  • Do fill your prescription at the same pharmacy, if possible, this will help limit drug interactions.   
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Monday, April 8, 2013

Can an Animal Really Help Ease the Symptoms and Side Effects of Chronic Pain?

I never was really a dog person until recently, yes honey I just admitted that.  In fact, a little over a year ago my sister in laws dog had a three puppies and my husband wanted one.  I personally wasn't thrilled with the thought of having to worry about potty training, cleaning up after, or dealing with behavior training a young puppy.   My husband promised me that I wouldn't have to worry about taking care of him.  I have to admit he was pretty darned cute puppy.  When it was time for the puppies to leave their mommy, his sister called and told my husband that he could come pick up his new puppy.  This puppy had a cute face that you just couldn't resist (see photo to the left - see what I mean), so needless to say, I was the one who drove the family around the block to pick up the puppy.  I knew deep down that he was cute and would be a good puppy, I just never wanted to admit it to my family at the time.

Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only. The opinions reflected in this post are my own and are based upon my own experiences with chronic pain.

Bonding With Your Pet


Around October of 2012, we began spending lots of time together since I have been at home alone.  When he was young and wasn't potty trained, I didn't get him out of his crate very often because I knew that I couldn't take care of cleaning up after his messes.  However, as he got older and stopped using the bathroom in the house, I started letting him out of his crate.  In fact, without my puppies it would be pretty lonely around the house during the day when no one is home with me.  Not only do they keep me company but they seem to help  me cope with my chronic pain.  

Pets Can Give Chronic Pain Sufferers Something to Look Forward to


You are probably wondering how a pet can help you to manage your chronic pain.  Animals are similar to children and require care and attention.  An animal needs you and you have to get up with them each morning, in fact, they can give you something to look forward to every morning especially if you live alone.  An animal is always happy to see you and enjoy spending time with you.    

Service Animals Can Be Beneficial for a Chronic Pain Patient


Some animals are working animals and can help you with simple tasks such as picking up the things that you dropped or can perform other tasks like opening a door, turning on a light, waking you up, ect.  While not all animals have this ability but there are ways to get a service animal if you need one.  Service animals can also assist you when you are running errands as well.

A Furry Friend Can Help Ease Loneliness and Depression


Your animal can keep you company and help keep your from being lonely.  A pet shows you unconditional love and they don't care how you look, they love you anyways.  If you suffer from depression, an animal can help ease those symptoms.  Plus, they are even known to help ease the symptoms of arthritis.  Having a pet helps take the focus off of your own problems and focus on caring for them.  Most animals enjoy snuggling with you and enjoying your company as well.

Caring for Your Pet


If you decide to get an animal, it is important that you pick an animal that you can care for.  A pet needs regular care such as food, water, vaccinations, medical care, and grooming.  Do pick a pet that you can handle alone.  Do find one that is fairly low maintenance so that you don't have to spend hours grooming and brushing their fur.  This is very important if you don't have other people to help you care for the animal.  If you have family members, then they can provide a majority of the care and leave you with the bare minimum to deal with.

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

4 Ways to Cope With Your Pain - Learning Your Own Limits

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Computing_g368-Girl_On_White_Sofa_With_Laptop_p112943.html
Relax! Before You Overdo It.
If you suffer from chronic pain, it is very important that you learn your limits, especially, if you don't want to pay for overdoing things later in the day or the very next day.  I know that I am stubborn and hardheaded most of the time, so I tend to overdo things frequently on the weekends when my family is home.  I feel like I am way too young to be feeling like an old lady, who probably would be moving around with the help of a  cane, a walker, or a scooter.  I am young and I want to do things with my family.  However, my pain levels lately put a major damper on getting out of the house and doing most of the things that I once enjoyed.  I am able to go do some of the things that I enjoy in moderation.

Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only.  I am not a doctor or health care provider.  The opinions reflected in this post are my own and are based upon my own experiences with chronic pain.

Prioritize


The best thing you can do if you suffer from chronic pain or another invisible illness know that it is perfectly acceptable to prioritize a task list of things that you would like to accomplish.  If you have a long list, it is possible that you may or may not be able to accomplish every single task.  Especially, if you are trying to get everything accomplished and done in one day.  Your pain may not allow you to finish all of your tasks but you can do the tasks that you are comfortable with.  It is important to listen to your body and stop before you injure yourself or cause your pain levels to increase.

Ask for Help


If you can't do something, ask for help.  This is the one thing that I often find myself having issues with because I still want to be independent and don't want to rely on others to always do things for me.  Never assume that someone knows that you need help or what has to be done.  Instead, verbalize your need for help and don't be afraid to accept help if someone accepts to help you.  Always thank the person who has helped you.  Don't be disappointed if the first person that you ask can't help you, continue asking for help until you get the help you need even if you have to hire someone to complete a task.

Find Things You Can Do


As a chronic pain suffer, most of the time we focus only on the negative things that impact our life.  However, we all know that there are plenty of things that we still can do.  Realize that you might have to find new hobbies or things that interest you, to accommodate your new lifestyle.  Embrace these new changes and find things that spark your interest.  This is important because if you focus only on the negative things, you might give up on life or become severely depressed.

Don't Drag Other's Down Because You Are Always Focused on Your Pain


While others may not understand your level of pain, it is very important to find other topics to talk about or find activities that you can participate in.  If your spouse or friend, want you to go on a dinner date you should go unless you are in severe pain.  Getting out of the house and enjoying the company of other people can help lift your spirits and make your feel better.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Chronic Pain Sufferers: Does Pain or Insomnia Keep You Awake At Night?

Glamour Woman In Bed With Cell http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/On_The_Phone_g371-Glamour_Woman_In_Bed_With_Cell_p49265.html
This Is What I Do At Night
When I Can't Sleep
Sleep is probably my biggest challenge the last few months as I struggle with constant low back/hip pain.  I find it very difficult to sleep at night and find myself wide awake.  I wish that I could be normal and snuggle with my husband when he goes to sleep at night.  But instead I find myself wide awake, in pain, and tossing and turning just to find a comfortable position so that I can lay quietly next to him.  After talking to a few other chronic pain sufferers, it seems like painsomnia (pain and insomnia) is the norm for those who suffer from any type of chronic pain.  At the end of the day your body is fatigued; therefore, your body's defense mechanisms are exhausted causing you to feel more pain.  This is what makes it difficult to find a comfortable position to fall asleep in and even stay asleep.

Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only.  If you suffer from insomnia and chronic pain, please consult your doctor, health care provider, or pain management doctor.  This information is based upon my own experiences with chronic pain and insomnia. 

Instead, I find myself lying awake part of the night.  I usually end up playing games, tweeting, or reading while I listen to my husband snore.  I have tried taking my pain medicine at different times during the evening, hoping that it would help me get to sleep at a normal hour.  No matter what I do, I find myself awake until midnight or later.

The next morning, I wake up and get my kids ready for school.  After I drop off my oldest son at school, I come home and take my morning pain medicine.  It seems as if it works within the first thirty minutes after taking it.  I barely can keep my eyes open and find myself asleep in the bed for several hours.  It seems that I can sleep much better during the day, I dunno if it is because my body is exhausted and needs sleep at this point or that it is warmer outside.

I just wish I could be normal and sleep at night.  I don't like laying in bed tossing and turning, hoping that I can get comfortable enough to fall asleep.  The insomnia is no fun and it takes a toll on everyone around you.    So if you find yourself on this page, join me on twitter and we can chat about our insomnia together.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Is Your Job Affecting Your Health?

Confused Businesswoman In Office" by imagerymajestichttp://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Computing_g368-Confused_Businesswoman_In_Office_p89329.html
A chronic pain suffer doesn't have to go to work and do things that cause your pain to increase or aggravate your injury on a daily basis.  Before speaking to anyone in your companies Human Resources department, go through the companies policies and procedures.  Search for the policies and procedures to find your company's policy on handling people who have disabilities or restrictions that limit what they can do physically.  The policies may vary between cases that are Workman's compensation injuries or illness vs injuries or illnesses that non-work related.

It is important to find the policies so that you can determine what your company is willing to do to help you, especially, if your case isn't work related.  Non-work related injuries or illness are be covered under the American Disabilities Act (ADA).  ADA says that employers can't discriminate against individuals who have a disability.  In order to be protected under the ADA, you must have a physical or mental disability that substantially impacts one or more major areas of your life.  The ADA also states that companies should offer an employee reasonable accommodations for individuals who have a physical or mental disability, unless is causes undue hardship for the employer. 

Disclosure:  This post is for informational purposes only and shouldn't replace getting legal advice, if necessary. 

You may have to provide your employer documentation to help your employer determine if you qualify for protection under ADA.  This documentation can come from your doctor or your employer's doctor.  Do cooperate with your employer to provide them with the necessary documentation that proves you have a disability.

According to the ADA act and the United States Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that employers must provide employees or applicants with reasonable accommodations with known disabilities, unless it causes undue hardship for the employer.  This was created so that people with physical or mental disabilities can enjoy employment opportunities as their co-workers who don't have a disability.  You will generally have to ask your employer for a reasonable accommodations.  Some examples of a reasonable accommodations include but aren't limited to:
  • modified work schedules
  • ability to work part time if needed   
  • job restructuring
  • job reassignment to a vacant position
  • make facilities accessible
  • acquiring or modifying equipment
  • change test, training materials, or policies
Most employers evaluate reasonable accommodations on a case by case basis.  But as an individual with a disability, it is important that you know your rights.  Also, the employer is required to make reasonable accommodations so that you have an opportunity to work if you are able to, unless it causes the undue hardships.

  

Please seek the advice from a lawyer if you feel like your employer or future employer violated your rights to a reasonable accommodation.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Open, Honest Communication with Your Doctor is Important if You Suffer from Chronic Pain

Doctor Holding Folder http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Healthcare_g355-Doctor_Holding_Folder_p148627.html
Chronic pain can sometimes be very difficult for doctors to pinpoint the exact cause of your problem.  I know that it took me over three years to get a diagnosis on what was causing my back pain.  You have to be persistent with doctors and make them find out what could be causing your pain.  However, it is very important that you be patient with your doctor when they are trying different procedures or medications.  Your doctor is most likely trying to solve your problem with treatments that are minimally invasive.  You never know what might give you some relief unless you try their suggestion.

Keep a log or journal of all of your symptoms, triggers, and pain levels so that your doctor can see how your pain affects your life.  You can even photo copy your log or journal and give it to your doctor.  Anything that you can give your doctor about how you are feeling and your pain levels the better off you are.

Disclosure:  This post is for informational purposes only as I am not a doctor or a lawyer.  Please seek medical or legal advice for your individual case.  The opinions reflected in this post are my own and reflect things I have been told to do or what I have learned.

Talking to your doctor is very important, as everything that you tell them is documented in your file.  This is important, especially, if one day you decide to file for Social Security Disability or Social Security Supplemental Income.  Documentation is the key to your cases success or failure.

Tell your doctor EVERY symptom that you experience, even if you think it is too much information (TMI) or embarrassing.  After all, they probably have heard it before, they did go through medical school for a reason.  Here are some examples of things that you should tell your doctor (some will be graphic):


  • constipation from taking pain medication
  • how you fix your meals each day
  • whether or not you drive
  • examples of your day to day life
  • pain when performing certain tasks
  • sexual problems (lack of orgasms or unable to feel sensation in your penis)
  • hemroids
  • side effects from all of your medications
  • how your pain affects your social life
  • are you gaining weight from lack of the ability to exercise
  • stomach issues (vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn, acid reflux)
  • how your issues affect your family life (household chores, laundry, yard work,ect)
  • how does your issues affect your job (can you work, does your lack of ability to do certain tasks irritate your bosses/co-workers)

This is just a small list of the things that you should be discussing with your doctor at each visit.  Talk to your doctor as if he is your best friend, they are listening and taking notes.  The last thing you want to do is to go into your doctor and tell him things are going well and that you are fine when you aren't.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Chronic Pain Suffers Need to Fully Grieve the Loss of Activities and Things That They Can No Longer Do

Sad Woman Sitting Alone In Room by FrameAngel
Living with chronic pain can be a struggle but remember that you are still human.  Don't let others make you feel non-existent or unworthy because you are no longer normal.  You might not be able to do any of the things that you used to do but that doesn't mean you have to give up on life.  It is normal for you to grieve your old life and the things that you can no longer do.

Disclosure:  This post is for informational purposes only and the opinions that I shared in this post are from my own experience with my journey with chronic pain.

Grief is your body's natural and healthy response when you are dealing with the loss of activities that you once enjoyed.  At this point in your pain journey, you might have even lost your job or can no longer work.  What are some ways to cope with these losses?


  • Let Go - I realize that this term is probably easier to say than actually letting go of those things that you once enjoyed.  However, if you hang onto the things of the past they will keep coming back to haunt you.  The best thing you can do is take a personal inventory of the skills and hobbies that you do enjoy and concentrate on the things that you can do.  
  • Keep a Journal - Writing down your feelings and thoughts is a great way to cope with your feelings.  However, you should focus on keeping your journal balanced and never only write down the bad things going on in your life.  For example, if you have 10 things bad affecting your life then you should write down 10 or more things that you are thankful for or good things going on in your life.  This will keep your thoughts balanced and help you focus on the positive things.
  • Find New Hobbies or Things that You Enjoy - If you are focused on the pain, you will find that your are more depressed..  The more depressed you feel the more your pain increases and you end up feeling sorry for yourself.  Instead, find some new activities or hobbies that you can physically do. 
  • Find a Support Group - You don't have to go far to find a support group, you can use your computer to network with other people on Twitter, Facebook, G+, and forums who have similar symptoms that you are going through.  Having someone to vent to or talk to who understands what you are going through is very comforting.  I know that this has helped me a whole lot because family, friends, and old co-workers had no clue what I go through on a daily basis.  Those who are in your support group know what struggles you might be going through and can give you the support and encouragement you need.
  • Don't Go Through This Alone - Never abandon your family, friends, doctors, and others who are willing to help comfort and help you along in your journey.  Allow them to help you with tasks around the house that you can't do.  The more you are around others the less time you have to focus on the things that you can no longer do.
  • Avoid New Addictions - The worst thing you can do is to turn to things that might harm you or interfere with your doctors treatment.  If your doctor gives you pain medicine, make sure that you follow the directions exactly as they are written on the pill bottle.  Never mix your medications with other drugs or alcohol.  Some examples of other addictions might include: pornography, sexting, doing drugs, alcohol, shopping online, or anything else that provides emptiness once the high wears off.
  • Allow Yourself Enough Time - It is never good to grieve too quickly because if you don't let go fully, the past will come back to haunt you.  All yourself as much time as you need in order to grieve your old life and get used to your new life.  The way you do things in your new life will be different and this is a positive change in your life.  
  • Help Others - Find a way to take the focus off of your own problems.  There are a number of ways that you can help others deal with chronic pain.  You can blog about your journey, share your journey with others, be a listening ear to someone else who is in your situation, set up a foundation to find new treatment options for your condition or create your own way of helping someone else.
  • Spiritual - Finding hope in prayer, yoga, or meditation can help you tremendously.  Filling up spiritually, can help you cope with your grief and you will be surprised that you can find inner strength and support that you didn't know that you had, especially, when your family and friends aren't around.  
Keep in mind that you will have good days and bad days while you are grieving your old life.  Take your time so that you can fully heal and move on with your new life.  If you feel like you are depressed, please talk to your doctor, health care provider, psychiatrist, or psychologist.  Please note that seeking treatment for depression is fairly normal with people who deal with chronic pain.  

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