November 28, 2018
By Dr. Michael J. Cooney
Clinical Director, Calmare Therapy NJ USA
Ready or not, feeling great or no-so-great, the holiday season is here and people want to see you. If you are living with chronic pain, the unpredictability of your condition can add to the stress of the season.
I’d like to focus on the emotional and physical benefits of making an effort to participate in the season, in a manner that works for you.
You are living with special circumstances–If you need to cancel an appearance or leave early, it’s ok. If some don’t understand this need for self-care, this is out of your control. Keep in mind most people don’t understand the demands and challenges that go along with living with chronic pain.
I advise my patients who battle neuropathy to utilize these tools to help maximize their opportunity to share in the joy of the season and minimize adding to their pain.
You may not be able to accomplish all the tasks you had planned during the holiday season. Don’t beat yourself up.
If you couldn’t join in Midnight Madness shopping or prepare a big holiday meal this year, everyone will survive. Enlist the support of loved ones and teach them how to carry on your proud family traditions.
Get Some Exercise
“But won’t exercising worsen my pain?” In most cases, when you get your body moving and your heart pumping, your brain releases endorphins, which puts you in a better mood and relieves stress.
Moving your body also helps to let go of the day’s worries, allows your busy mind to wander and stretches muscles to keep them from tightening up.
It can also help you sleep significantly better at night, which is a significant challenge for people with neuropathy.
First and foremost, check with your doctor before you start a new exercise regime, just to be sure.
Unwind Your Way
Pencil in plenty of “you” time each day. Relax and enjoy whatever calms you down and rests your body and mind. Whether it’s a morning stroll or swim, Facetime chat or spending the afternoon watching the game, take the time to decompress and truly enjoy the joy of the holiday season.
Stay Social Even if You Don’t Feel Social
Health issues can be socially isolating, especially this time of year. Have a comfortable party ‘uniform’ at-the-ready and try to go out and attend a dinner or celebration for at least an hour or so. If you’re feeling good and enjoying yourself, stay longer.
Talking with people, sharing a laugh and meeting someone new is good for body, mind and soul. When you feel mentally fit by social interaction, your spirit and body can be strengthened as well. And when the time is right, you can assert your self-sufficiency call an Uber or Lyft to get you home safely.
Feed Your Spirit
Regardless of your religion, seek out places of worship and attend a service or as many as you wish.
Feel the serenity and the strength that centers of worship offer.
From prayer, voice and song, we gain strength, resolve and hope.
If you are living with medication and treatment-resistant chronic nerve pain, non-invasive Calmare scrambler therapy may be a newer treatment option that delivers significant and sustained pain relief. It is drug-free, cleared by the FDA and has no side effects.