Coping with chronic pain

One in five adults suffers from chronic pain. In older people, the number rises to three in five.

Most of these people don’t realise they don’t have to settle for a survival-based coexistence with their partner or bury their hopes for success and joy under a mountain of heat packs or duvets.

So writes author Karra Eloff, who has recorded her own chronic pain journey in an effort to help others.

In Christchurch last month to speak at the New Zealand Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society Conference, Karra is the author of The Chronic Pain Couple: How to be a joyful partner & have a remarkable relationship in spite of chronic pain, released this month by Exisle Publishing.

A wife and mother, Karra suffers from spondyloarthritis. A health professional based in Australia, she drew on academic research and her own pursuit of joy in spite of suffering to bring write what she describes as “a low-energy and practical path to a remarkable new normal, for you and your chosen human/partner”.

The managing director and co-founder of two private psychology clinics on the East Coast of Australia, she is also the founder of The Chronic Pain Couple, an organisation that delivers practical support to people with chronic pain and their loved ones.

“The chronic pain work I do is because I couldn’t find the information I needed to maintain a passion-filled relationship despite chronic pain,” she says. “I wrote the book that I wish that I had 10 years ago when I was diagnosed.”

Chronic illness or pain, according to Karra, need not hold you back from experiencing personal joy and success.

It is possible to forge a path to remarkable — to move the dial of a relationship challenged with chronic pain from embattled and exhausted to joyful and passion-filled.

Karra’s three top suggestions for dealing with chronic pain:

Don’t be afraid to accept the diagnosis.
We often think accepting chronic pain or a chronic illness will cause us to give up chasing a cure. Actually, the sooner we accept a difficult health diagnosis, the quicker we can become free to pursue healing and a new normal.

Practise self-compassion.
Self-compassion is not the same as self-care. Self-compassion is being kind to yourself like you would be to a close friend experiencing the same health struggles. You’re not broken and you’re not a burden to others. You deserve care and support, make sure you remind yourself of that.

Find your people.
Find the health professionals willing to turn over every rock for answers. Make sure you have a mental health professional on your side too and find a good support group. You don’t have to endure chronic pain on your own.

What is spondyloarthritis?

Spondyloarthritis is a group of arthritis conditions that affects bones in the spine (vertebrae) and nearby joints, causing pain and inflammation. Spondyloarthritis also involves locations where bones connect to muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Symptoms vary between patients but may include:

  • Longstanding low back pain.
  • Back stiffness.
  • Back pain and stiffness are typically worse at night and improve with exercise.
  • Fatigue.
  • Painful swelling of joints.
  • Sausage-like appearance of fingers or toes.
  • Heel pain.
  • Skin and nail changes of psoriasis.

Previous Post

Try minimalist

Next Post

Breastfeeding, it’s not always easy: More than Milk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *