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My Tips and Tricks

I often get asked how I deal with my pain and what tools and advice I would give. Here are some tips that may help! (I’ve linked most of my suggestions at the very end)

- Get yourself into a support group with people that have the same issues and diagnosis as you. Heck, join multiple online ones, you‘ll get different perspectives and angles on things.

- Don’t be afraid of thinking outside of the box. Try the non conventional methods, even if you’ve been told negative things like, “There‘s no scientific evidence,” or “It’s just a placebo effect.” Who the heck cares, if it helps your pain, do it!

- Research the crap out of your symptoms and/or diagnosis. Ask the questions to your doctor.

- Advocate for yourself. I can’t express this one enough. If you find a specialist that would be beneficial for you, pitch it to your doctor. Push back!

- Ask the hard questions. Ask side effects, long term effects, quality of life. It’s important!

- Try the natural tinctures, the creams, the gadgets! You may be surprised, even if they take a pinch of your pain down. I’d take that as a win!

- Find a Compounding Pharmacist. These guys are gold! They are more specialized and really do care ( at least mine does and same for my friend). My Pharmacist always recommends vitamins or supplements over drugs. He’s always researching things for me and will write recommendation letters for me to give to my doctor!

-When you try a new treatment, give it a maximum of five sessions. If you aren’t seeing any positive motion forward, than it’s not the right fit.

- Do google research on your practitioners and read the reviews about them. This will help you to know beforehand if they are a dud or worth your time to see them.

- Cry it out! Talk to your friend, your spouse, or your counselor. Chronic pain and suffering is in its own category and it’s extremely hard to live with. It’s okay to be sad/mad about it and you need to let the tears flow. It’s good for you and more importantly it’s healthy for your mental health.

- Write 3-5 things a day of things that you are grateful for! You’ll be amazed at what gratitude can do to your weary spirit.

- If you need a break, take one. But after you catch your breath, pick yourself up and keep fighting.

- Bribe yourself, yes, you read that right! Find things that you really want or activities that you’ve always wanted to do and plan them a few months ahead, so you’ll have something exciting to look forward to. For example, I’ve planned mini getaways with a friend/friends for a night or two away. A new dress, makeup, a hoodie, an online workshop, dinner out, a flower arranging class, a new book, etc. Trust me, this is one of the best parts and it works! My friends always tell me that I’m very good at dangling the carrot in front of myself!

- Music. I listen to a lot of different types of music but a lot of it is worship. It helps keep my mind on God, rather than my circumstances. It adds a little bounce in my step.

- Build your team. It’s important to find practitioners and medical professionals that have your back. They are a big part of your support system and can often be advocates as well.

- Take a hot bath with 1-3 cups of epsom salt. Marinate in it for a minimum of 30 minutes. It helps with pain and relaxes painful muscles.

- See a functional medicine doctor. This was a game changer for me but obviously do your research. Mine is extremely thorough and has pin pointed and found specific issues and targeted supplements and vitamins that help me.

- Take magnesium bis glycinate every night before bed. Everyone is deficient in it but even more so those that live with chronic pain. You need it. It’s beneficial for tight muscles and sleep! I have to take high doses of it every night.

- Acupuncture and/or IMS is very helpful with pain. I know there can be some hokey acupuncture people out there, but ask the questions and make your boundaries known.

- Massage therapists are sent from heaven. They are not a one size fits all. We each have our own sensitivity levels to touch, what works for your friend may not work for you. Try them out and find the one that works best and feels good on your body.

- An electric heat pad is your best friend. I literally go through them like they grow on trees and have one in every room in my house. Just a tip: purchase a sunbeam brand king size heat pad from Costco and when it quits working, you can just bring it back and get a replacement. We‘ve done this with Amazon as well!

- Get a Theracane! This thing is magic and was recommended by my physiotherapist. You don’t have to rely on your spouse/kid/friend to get the hard to reach spots, you got this yourself with this magical tool.

- Use a lacrosse ball to roll on the painful spots. Against the wall or lying down. Even just the pressure is great! - Get a medical grade tens machine. Again another hallelujah!

- Buy a silicone cupping set on Amazon for less than $40. You don’t have to be in agony between your massage appointments. You can get some areas on your own or better yet, your kids or spouse can use them, along with a cream or massage oil and it feels like a really nice massage and it helps the pain levels go down.

- Laugh! I have my sisters and friends that will find stupid funny memes or videos online and we share them with each other for a good laugh. I also will go on YouTube and watch shows like the Graham Norton show for a good laugh. Laughter is good medicine.

- Oska machine. Its pricey but it helps take the edge off of your pain.

- Traumacare cream is what has helped take the edge off of my muscle and joint pain and brings some relaxation.

- Books! These are some books that have been great reads: It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst, All Shall Be Well by Catherine McNiel, A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliott, When The Body Says No by Gabor Mate, Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything by Katherine Wolf, Jesus Calling devotional books, PS. I Made It by Dawn Taylor.

- Watching Special Books by Special Kids on Facebook or Youtube. It blows me away the amount of suffering that these people (mostly kids) go through on a daily basis and how positive they still are even through it all. It has brought a lot of awareness not only for me but also my family on different health conditions.

- Find a creative outlet and do it when you can. I have numerous avenues that I use but a big one for me is my photography. Photography is my own personal therapy and is definitely a mood booster! We are all creative and have a niche that we are good at and enjoy, you just gotta find it!

- A very important one and one that I’ve found out the hard way is finding a good physiotherapist. They should be testing you and giving you a targeted exercise and retesting to make sure it works! Also, the same rule applies, if you’ve tried five sessions and you aren’t seeing a positive motion forward, find a different one. And when you find a good one, hold onto them and make sure to thank them! Mine has been life changing!

- Journal or start a blog to process it all out! It has been very therapeutic for me and has helped me in my healing! In my journal, I will write in calligraphy different song lyrics, poems, quotes, Bible verses that stood out to me. It’s nice to go back later and look through your book.

- Buy yourself some flowers or a bar of chocolate every once in awhile. It’s the little things.

- Pray. Pray not only for yourself but others that suffer or are going through hard things. Many times I just finished praying for someone that came to my mind and find that they needed it at that right exact moment. It also helps take the focus off of your circumstances and think about something else.

- GI Revive. It’s this supplement/vitamin drink mix powder that helps heal your gut and provides good health and a great stomach reset! Also, brings energy boost.

- Get a magazine subscription. Because who doesn’t love getting mail! Again, something to look forward to and just another little positive nugget in your life.

- If you suffer with si joint pain and/or back pain, get a medical grade back brace and/or a stability belt. These are must haves and are essential for me. They really do help!

- Listen to podcasts or buy audiobooks. If you suffer with chronic pain, sometimes to focus and read a book can be hard, so an audiobook is awesome. Podcasts are free and the skys the limit with them.

- Ice packs. Put these suckers in the freezer and then use on painful areas. It’s a switch up from heat and brings some sweet relief.

- Pace yourself. It’s okay to go to plan B or save things for another day. Watch where your pain levels are and try and center your day around your baseline.

- Scream in a pillow, take a stick and whack a tree or buy a wiffle bat and smack a pillow (the last one was a tip from Dawn Taylor). You may think that this is a bit extreme but living with pain sucks. Some days it feels unfair. Get out your frustration, trust me it helps.

- Tell yourself that this is just for now. When you tell yourself this, it reminds you that this doesn’t mean it’s forever, it can/will change. Me and one of my best friends like to use the seasons as a way to think of pain, because with seasons they don’t last forever and always change.

- Cut out high inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy. These are big triggers for my body and when you already have inflammation from pain, these types of foods blow it even higher.

- Good supportive footwear. I was bummed when I had to put my cute little Canadian made moccasins on the shelf and so I researched and found a cute pair of shoes that are fashionable, comfortable and supportive.

- Investing in a good mattress. They are expensive but well worth the investment especially when it comes to pain. This one is very important.

- Investing in a good pillow. Again, important because it not only supports your neck area but it is a trickling effect on your back. My physiotherapist recommended me mine and it’s really great!

- Making watercolor cards and sending one to a friend in the mail. Sometimes it’s just nice to make someone’s day and let them know that they are thought of.

- Researching a new thing to try on Pinterest or YouTube and giving it a go. One of my bucket list items is hand embroidery.

- Dreaming. I dream about career paths and research schools and all that they entail. Nothing wrong about hoping for the future!

- Plan out your garden or dream garden. I have Pinterest boards dedicated to them and I find it relaxing to look and dream about the beauty of blooming flowers. I also own Floret Flower books which are dreamy to look at!

- Make photo books. We all know that we’ve got a whack load of precious memories captured that are just sitting on our computers and phones. Get them printed in a beautiful photo book. I like to use Mixbook for mine. This helps keep your mind distracted from pain and is also something productive.

- Set attainable daily goals. It feels good to put a line through a completed task, no matter how small it is.

- Go out for a short walk. Even if it’s a 5-10 minute short one, fresh air and nature are good for the soul. -Give yourself lots of grace and patience. If you wouldn’t treat, speak or expect it from your friend in the same condition that you are in, treat yourself the same way. I know this one is hard, but self talk is a thing! Some positivity to yourself goes a long way.

I found mine at Sport Chek but it's currently unavailable. The blue ball is the perfect size to get into those deeper hard to reach areas. I use this ball everyday!

I didn't talk about this ball set but I also own it and the black ball is like a firm foam, that helps roll my ribs nice. The double balls that are stuck together are also great for neck issues, and the single lacrosse ball is also very useful. Highly recommend!

What's great about this pillow, is you can customize it and take out the stuffing until it feels right.

I buy mine locally from a specialty health store.


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