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Coping with Pain

Pain Sufferers…Ready for Winter?


It has gone from eighty degrees to the forty’s where I live, literally overnight. We will call this post a special edition because I know how serious a drop in temperature can be for someone who has arthritis and other chronic conditions. I promise I will resume the chapter on being dependent on our doctors at a later date. But for now, I would like to talk about preparing for the winter.

As if struggling with pain is not enough, there comes that time of year that makes you say, “Oh yeah, I forgot…it gets worse.” I know I can only speak for myself on this. I cannot read minds and as I explained before, no one can know or feel your pain. But the best I can do is describe what some of you out there may be going through. For me, when the temperature drops past seventy degrees, I can feel it in my bones, especially my shoulders and my neck. My neck muscles tighten up automatically as if someone has this remote control that has batteries that only work during certain temperatures. The lower the temperature, the more buttons available on the remote. If the temperature drops down to the fifties, then my back stiffens up, or should I say my spine stiffens up. Muscles tightening up are very different from your vertebrae tightening up. It makes it very painful to walk (of course I am talking about when I am outside). Once the temperature reaches the thirties and forties, the person with the remote must be on their last level of the game because they are going all out! I look like an idiot walking down the street because my whole body stiffens up. My arms, my legs, my spine, my feet, all my joints (did I mention I have fibromyalgia), and it feels like the “gamer” just figured out a combo to get all my vertebrae to compress all my disks at once. If you’ve ever been in the Marine Corps, then you know the phrase “Ditty bopping.” Well, it’s like that, but to the extreme. So, when it is cold outside, I try not to go outside. Pretty simple, right?

If it were only that simple. There are many situations that require us to leave our humble abodes in the winter time. So, how do we prepare?

  1. Well, one thing I do is get a lot of hand warmers. But make sure you are getting them at a trusted store. There will be many stores that sell them in the winter time and eighty percent of those stores will be carrying duds because they just take out the ones they had left over from last year. Always keep one in each pocket of your coat or jacket.
  2. You can also try foot warmers. I can’t deal with them, but everyone’s different. They always end up bunching up in my shoes because I have small feet.
  3. Wear two pairs of socks. Change them often. This will keep you warm. If you know you are going shopping and you’re going to be out for a few hours, keep a pair of socks in your car. When your feet get cold or they start to hurt, change your inner layer socks. Trust me; this will make all the difference in the world!
  4. Wear tights under your clothes…that means you too, men! Yes, you! You can wear long johns if it makes you feel more comfortable, but they tend to lose their elasticity faster than tights. You can send your wife to get you a pair of tights so you don’t have to shop in the women’s section…Lol. And, believe me, there is a store that has tights that will fit you. So, you have no excuse. J
  5. You should wear an undershirt (tank top), a fitting t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a sweater, and (depending on how cold it is) a jacket or coat.
  6. Gloves. I have found that since I have very small hands, I use those small gloves you can get at any store for two dollars, they look like baby gloves but they are really stretchy, you know the ones. I have since tried very expensive leather gloves, ski gloves, mittens, and other women’s gloves, but they all haven’t worked as good as the stretchy ones. I guess I can blow heat on them and with the hand warmers in my pockets, it is a good combination.
  7. For scarves, it is really your choice. It is fun to knit your own so you can pick out your own material and color (it is VERY EASY TO LEARN HOW TO KNIT). But I prefer extra long scarves. Even though I am short, I always have the option of wrapping the scarf around my whole face if I have to, which I usually do when it is windy out. I think my eyes are allergic to wind. J
  8. Bring a hot drink with you. I know it sounds like common sense, and we usually do bring coffee with us, but we don’t want to invest in that twenty dollar double wall coffee cup to bring it in. These cups will have your coffee warm for hours.
  9. Now, I know I should, so I am going to tell you, to wear a hat. I don’t do hats because I have so much hair, but I know that’s no excuse. We all have heard that most of our body heat escapes from our heads or something like that. So, wear a hat. Or a beanie.
  10. Keep your ears warm! I know earmuffs are old school, but I think this year, I am going to try one of those face masks that only go half way up and covers your neck and ears and mouth. I will let you know how good it works once I try it.

So, what about in doors?

  1. Blankets are my best friends. I have a lot of throws. I rotate them because I have two cats and they are NOT allowed on the furniture. They have to wait until I have placed a throw on my lap, then they can sit on my lap. Afterwards, I can just throw the…throw (no pun intended) into the washing machine!
  2. Heat pads are no more…It is time to make your own and I’m going to show you how. I don’t have a video or anything as of right now, but I promise I will make one for you after my procedure. Here’s what you need:
    1. An old T-shirt or thin pillowcase
    2. Rice (amount depends on your desired size of pillow)
    3. Sowing needle
    4. Some thread
    5. A Ruler
    6. Microwave
      1. You will want to cut up the t-shirt and sow it to where there is only one hole left for the rice, so it would be like a rectangle, a small pillowcase if you can imagine.
      2. Insert the rice into the opened end of the garment. You do NOT want to fill it up. You want to fill it ¾ of the way because you need room for it to be able to conform to your body.
      3. Sow up the opened end of your rice pillow. This rice pillow shouldn’t be bigger than 12″ x 6″.
      4. Put your rice pillow in the microwave for one minute. Flip over and put it for increments of 30 seconds until you’ve reached the temperature you desire.
      6. You will only have to do this for the first few times to get the rice used to your microwave. The last one I had, I automatically knew my time was one minute and forty five seconds.
    7. This is a lot of fun to do for you and for others. You can even take it to the next level and go to a craft store and pick out some nice fabric. Just make sure you ask someone there if the fabric is microwavable J These also make great Christmas presents!
  3. If you are able to, take a bath at least once every two weeks in Epson Salt. This will do wonders for your muscles. Unfortunately, my apartment doesn’t provide me a bathtub big enough to enjoy doing this, so showers it is. But if you’re like me and can only take showers, try to invest in a shower head that can do different massage waves and pick up the heat as high as you can stand it. Let it penetrate whatever area causes you trouble for a couple minutes.
  4. If you live with someone, then get a foot massage as often as you can. I believe in those pressure points. And I believe that no matter what your pain is from, even if you are paralyzed and can’t feel your feet, you should still get a foot massage. And if you don’t live with anyone, give yourself one! Just relax that leg and let your hands do the work. Peppermint lotion has a soothing effect to the feet for some reason…lol, so I would recommend using that.
  5. Keep yourself busy. Okay, she’s lost it. She just told hundreds of disabled people to keep themselves busy. Yes, I did. That doesn’t mean to run around your house and do jumping jacks every time you run past the kitchen. It means take up a hobby. Expound upon your interests. Find something that will take your mind off of your pain, a substitute for medication. My substitute is my drive to tell people about Jesus. If I had it my way, I would run around town like a ninja like I had ninja stars, but instead of throwing stars, they’d be New Testaments…Lol. But it’s not my way, its God’s way. His plan for my life is so amazing and slowly it will be revealed. In His time. You need to find what your drive is. What your passion is. Now, I’m not saying that I never take anything for my pain and am one of those people who don’t believe in pain medicine. But I can say that now that I am doing what I was meant to do, I’m not so quick to reach for that bottle and when I do, I’m not so quick to take a whole pill, but rather a half.

I know that these are only a few things that you can do and there are many more that can help you through the winter. That’s why I am asking for your help. If you have a suggestion, please feel free to add one under comments. I am always willing to learn new things that will help me through the winter. Hopefully tomorrow we can get back to our topic of our dependence on doctors, so till next time…


About blessedbklynite

I am a former Marine (Ooooraaahhh), currently a disabled veteran. I love my husband, love my family, love my friends, love my cats (even though I really want a dog), love my kids (the youth at my church, that is), but most of all...I love my Lord!


4 thoughts on “Pain Sufferers…Ready for Winter?

  1. I must say I love the post, for simple fact that I have SCD and the weather is no joke for anyone that can;t truely handle cold weather. Thank You for sharing your wisdom with us. I never though of some of the stuff you mention to be honest, but I see I have to take it up a notch. I don’t get cold here in BAMA, but if I think its cold then it got to be cold to me. God Bless.

    I Thank God for leading me to your blog. 🙂

    Posted by poeticjourney | November 2, 2011, 10:50 pm
  2. Love, this is probrably the best post you have done. Very informative and real. The only suggestion that I have is that people follow the advice above. This applies to all in any kind of pain. Good Job Love!

    Posted by harlemknite | October 4, 2011, 8:55 am

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Just One Voice by Venus A. Perez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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