“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” – Mother Teresa
Pain is an equal-opportunity phenomenon. It strikes the rich and poor alike, is not dependent on age or gender or socio-economic status. Pain doesn’t care if you’re a college graduate or a high-school dropout or if you’ve never even gone to school. When you experience pain, however, you join the millions of others in one common thought: How can I deal with this and get it to go away?
Indeed, finding the best ways to deal with pain can be confounding. On the one hand, you’re likely to try home-grown remedies or the latest suggestions bantered about on the Internet. You may turn to your doctor, particularly if pain is chronic. Often you seek the advice of well-meaning friends, some of whom may even have had similar pain and were successfully able to overcome it.
For the most part, though, you’re going to be on your own. So how do you deal with pain? What works best for you, or are you at a loss over what to do? Here are a few thoughts that may provide some comfort and direction.
- Pain is often of limited duration. If you can hang on and wait it out, the pain will subside. There’s a certain element of determination involved here. You have to want to be in control and take control — while doing everything possible to mitigate the pain until it does go away or lessen.
- Pain support groups may be helpful for long-term or chronic pain, or the emotional pain associated with loss. Do not be afraid of seeking the encouragement and support of others who’ve gone through the same type of pain you’re experiencing. For one thing, being among those supportive of your efforts lets you know you’re not alone — and that there’s hope to come out of this OK.
- You’re not being punished for all the bad things you’ve done. This isn’t retribution handed down from God. It’s just pain. Perhaps the origin is a bad restaurant meal or a bug you picked up in a crowd. You could be run down and your immune system made you susceptible to illness or disease. A cut or scrape or an automobile accident or other mishap, surgery or dental procedure may have produced pain. These are actual physical causes of pain. There’s nothing more to it than that.
- Try various remedies until you find something that works. These may include massage, biofeedback, deep breathing, meditation, and eating nutritious meals. Keep a record so you have an effective solution you can use again, should that be necessary. By having a list available, you’re not going to be thrown into a panic when pain strikes and you are desperate for something to use to alleviate it.
- Avoid the tendency to abuse narcotic painkillers, such as OxyContin and Vicodin. While they may be prescribed to alleviate severe pain, especially after surgery, narcotic pain relievers are highly addictive. Not only do you need to take more of them more often in an effort to combat pain, it’s tough to wean off them without professional help when you do become addicted. Worse, addiction can happen fairly quickly, so never think you’re immune to becoming hooked on painkillers.
- Use distraction to good effect. Sometimes not thinking about the pain you feel is enough to decrease its severity. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s amazingly effective when it does. Dive into an engrossing book. Take a long, soaking bath with soothing music playing in the background. Go for a professional massage. Spend time with a loved one or friends doing things you both enjoy.