This week I experienced the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I felt like my stomach was being sliced open, my ribs were being pulled apart and my right shoulder was being stabbed repeatedly. I cried, prayed and begged for the pain to stop, I used some of the techniques below, hours later it finally began to wane. I’ve never given birth and I’ve no doubt that would be more painful but this flare was so intense that I could barely move, I was sweating and so nauseous; my strong painkillers were not touching the pain. I hate Fibromyalgia!
Here are 8 techniques to help you cope with severe pain:
- Try to sit or lie in a relaxed position. Close your eyes or focus on a specific point. Repetitive, negative thoughts actually increase the pain so try replacing them with positive thoughts. You could even repeat a soothing phrase, word or prayer. I find the phrase ‘with pain comes strength’ or just the word ‘relax’ helps.
- Breathe deeply. If you are anything like me when the pain is severe you take rapid and shallow breaths, so make an effort to try to slow your breathing down. You should try and breathe from the diaphragm (belly) rather than your chest. Focus on just your breathing, your inhalation and exhalation. I like the 8-8-8 breathing technique. Breathe in for 8 counts, out for 8 counts, and repeat this process 8 times. This can help reduce pain by relaxing the body and releasing tension.
- Use relaxation and imagery techniques. Think about a pleasant place from before your life with Fibromyalgia pain. My place is Lahinch beach in Ireland. Transport yourself to your place. Visualising can help to take your mind off the pain and relax the body. I picture the waves crashing against the rocks, the blue skies, the warmth of the sun and I remember the softness of the sand between my toes. I envision myself floating in the sea, my body buoyant in the warm water and my muscles relaxing.
- Listening to music can help to alleviate the pain by distracting you, it can also evoke positive memories that will hopefully release tension and help make the pain more bearable.
- Fantasising about food might help to distract you from the pain. Think of a juicy steak or sea bass with salt and pepper. Or even imagine you are just about to have a spoonful of salted caramel chocolate pudding.
- Counting is another technique that might help you to focus on something other than the pain. You could count breaths, count tiles or even do some maths.
- You could try and envision a symbol that represents your severe pain, for example a loud screeching noise or bright light. Gradually imagine yourself reducing the annoying qualities of this symbol – reduce the volume of the screeching or dim the light, thus reducing your pain.
- You could also try and replace the emotions of despair, anxiety and hopelessness with laughter. It provides a great endorphin release and also takes your mind off of your pain – there are lots of humorous videos on YouTube.
I hope these techniques might help to make your intense pain more bearable. You have to keep practising trying to harness your mind to relax the body and fight the pain.
I would love to hear about what has helped you deal with severe pain.
Keep smiling 🙂