Chronic pain. Is anyone out there a sufferer? I have been dealing with it for the last two years as a result of jaw surgery I had four years ago.
For me, everything stems from an inflamed disc in my right jaw joint, exacerbated by overdeveloped jaw muscles [insert joke here]. It hurts when I chew, open my mouth, close my mouth – it pretty much hurts all the freaking time. This leads to tight occipital muscles in my neck, which triggers massive tension, which then spurs regular migraines. If there is any kind of stress happening in my life this often leads to cluster headaches.
Because I have a husband, two kids and a full time job, most of my time is spent managing this pain with copious amounts of Ibuprofen and Mersyndol (Tylenol, Codeine and a Muscle Relaxant) so that I can continue taking care of the things that I am responsible for.
It is a shitty cycle of feeling really tired from being in constant pain, taking pain killers on the regular, not sleeping soundly, not having the energy to exercise and being drawn to sugar and carbs for comfort. Needless to say I have a winter coat and about 39 chins I need to shed.
I have been waiting for my extended medical to preapprove me for Therapeutic Botox, which just came through, but I am feeling resentful that it is just one more thing (that will cost me every three months for the foreseeable future) related to the saga of my teeth. But for now, it is what it is and I have to go down that road as my quality of life is so negatively impacted as it stands.
Two weeks ago I had a sick and tired of being sick and tired moment after a particularly bad migraine. I thought to myself: “Self? Enough is enough. Let’s not fuck around with this anymore” and booked myself in for a massage.
I have been going for massage therapy two to three times a week for the past two weeks to help manage my pain in a more holistic way.
This week I decided to start running again, no matter how tired I felt or how much discomfort I was in. I figured it was better to move my body than to not, and the movement would definitely help my mood and perhaps my quality of sleep.
I ran 5k on Tuesday and again today and it felt amazing to push myself past that mental block of “I can’t.”
In addition to massage and running I also thought I would try acupuncture as I gave heard so many incredible things about it. Have you guys heard of Community Acupuncture? It is where you go and recieve acupuncture treatment in a room with other people. It sounds horrifying but it is actually the most Zen experience. I have been three times this week for my chronic pain, and although I haven’t had any miraculous breakthroughs, each time has been 45 minutes in a recliner, with a heating pad, blanket and a meditation by Deepak Chopra coming through my headphones. In a word: restful. In the chaos of our everyday lives it is easy to forget the impact that stillness can have on your overall sense of wellbeing.
I have used meditation for years to help with my anxiety and typically use a guided meditation for sleep called Sleep Easily by Shazzi, but was turned on to Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s Free 21 Day Meditation Challenge a couple of years ago. There is typically a theme that you focus on for the three week period and then you have the opportunity to purchase the series once the three weeks is up. I have purchased the Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude series and Becoming Unstuck and revist them regularly.
This week, having started running, continuing with my massage, starting acupuncture and meditating, really made me feel the flow. You know, that feeling when your frequency is elevated and you are tuned into the universe (or whatever you see as your Higher Power)?
They key to flow is self-care. It is the believe that you are worth taking the time attend to your needs, be it health related, emotional, spiritual or whatever it us you gave been putting off because you are busy attending to everything else.