Check yourself, before you wreck yourself.

Most people are familiar with this term for ‘you’re being an idiot, watch what you’re doing’, but recently for me it has a more literal meaning of ‘watch out, or you’ll end up on your back’.

I am continually learning how to handle my pain levels and I imagine that I always will.  The last couple of months I’ve been trying to get back to ‘normal’ after a series of unavoidable medical appointments that left me ‘wrecked’.  I had no option, but to go to them; and no option afterwards, but to just stop and wait for it to pass – no matter how frustrating it was!

When the pain was at a level where I could handle it, I was back at therapy and it was pointed out that I spend a lot of my time trying to ignore my pain.  Like that drunken relative at the wedding who decided to come in too tight shorts and is getting a bit handsy with the bridesmaids; ignoring the pain doesn’t work.  Simply trying to takes super human strength and leaves you in a worse state than before.

What would happen if I didn’t ignore it?  The plan was to set a timer for 10 minutes and when the alarm went off I’d do a pain check.  Not only for primary pain, but the secondary aches and pains that indicate I have been standing in a certain way as to protect my back, or if there is a change in my breathing.  Much to my surprise, not only did it help, but it made a huge difference to the way I approached things.

I am now paying attention to those small, almost insignificant changes that I have been ignoring all this time.  When I notice secondary pains, I am able to try and nip them in the bud with some stretches, or try some breathing exercises; or simply just stop, so it doesn’t get worse. It also made me realise just how much time things take.  Quick jobs weren’t so quick and actually took almost twice as long.  No wonder I had problems!

Of course, I have slipped up since then and not set the timer only to find myself going too far and paying for it.  So I’d say, why not try it out?  It’s not going to do any harm.  Use your phone or iPod and set a timer using a pleasant alarm – no honking horns, which adds to your stress levels!

We are currently in a heatwave in the UK, so my pain levels have skyrocketed.  The timing method has shown that things that took 10 minutes a few months ago, now take 20 at least.  It’s not surprising, but it is a reminder that I have to give myself a little leeway with life – especially when it is the most unpleasant weather for me. 

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