I have chronic back pain. It’s not too bad most of the time. I manage it with exercise and very rarely need to see my osteopath or take pain killers.
Sometimes though it is too painful to walk on grass or sand. The slightest stumble will cause my spine to touch my S1 nerve which is beyond painful. Sometimes I find it hard to drive – braking hurts, getting in the car hurts. I rarely sneeze. I’ve had to give up running and yoga which were my two main forms of exercise. I’ve been told not to do weights. If I am sick with a cold or something, and lie in bed all day then it really starts to hurt. This is my list of bad things which I run through on bad days.
Today I found this useful suggestion to help manage the mental side of dealing with this situation:
Most of the time we aren’t even aware of our attitude towards negative situations. Negative situations put our coping mechanisms and resilience to the test. Generally speaking, we tend to address a challenging situation by thinking about all of the negative things that have and will come of it. We become fixated with this negative thinking—almost paralyzed—and before you know, it we are on a path to depression.
But, there is a way to cope that will lead to positive thinking and improved psychological health.
Here is a quick exercise that will help open your mind and allow you to choose a positive attitude during challenging moments:
Think about a situation in your health, work or relationships that is, or was, particularly negative and challenging for you.
Once you’re focused on that, take a DEEP breath.
Now write down 10 positive things that could result, or did result, from this particular situation.
You have to physically write down the list. Making a mental list will not have the same effect.
My list of 10 positive things about my bad back:
- Inspired me to start swimming laps
- Inspired me to do Pilates. I love the reformer machine.
- Inspired me to join the gym. I don’t feel guilty about the cost.
- Inspired me to walk a lot outdoors, which is a joy
- Keeps me healthy by forcing me to exercise every day
- It has prepared me for getting older, as I’ve had to prioritise my health
- I’ve started listening to podcasts on my long walks, which I love
- I have more sympathy and understanding for people who are in ill health
- I have an amazing osteopath who gives the best massages in the world and takes the pain away (for weeks at least)
- I have strong ab muscles for the first time in my life
I think this activity has helped my attitude a lot.
I really do mourn running and yoga. It is hard to see all these people posting about training runs and doing yoga poses. I feel so jealous!
I’m going to keep this list for the next time the green eyed monster hits.