Guest post by Jackie Walters of Hyper-Tidy.com
Getting diagnosed with a condition that causes chronic pain can be overwhelming. Soon, you’re flooded with advice from do-gooders who might be passing on outdated or wrong information or myths based on a number of faulty sources. Always ask a medical professional for advice on how to make lifestyle and home changes to address your chronic pain. When friends and family members pipe in, it’s often best to digest their information then discuss it with your doctor if it piques your interest. Avoid following non-professional advice blindly.
Bad advice can be useless at best and dangerous at worst. Loved ones might be offering advice based on a completely different condition. Here are some common supposedly “good” tips and advice that you may want to avoid:
1. Just walk it off. This is an extremely dangerous (not to mention unhelpful) hangover from the nostalgic days of P.E. class when absolutely any ailment was seen as a weakness. “Just walk it off!” can be modified into any number of unhelpful sayings, but the meat of it is always the same. This so-called advice is basically telling you that your condition isn’t serious, perhaps isn’t real, and can be easily shrugged off. It’s usually best to completely ignore the person giving this advice.
2. Just hire some help. Two types of people might offer this advice—those who have the means to hire plenty of outside help themselves or those who don’t understand the financial investment of such an undertaking. It would be fabulous if everyone had the disposable funds to hire help for everything from house-cleaning to laundry, but that’s not the best way to spend money for most people. If you have chronic pain, it would certainly be helpful if you had someone else to mow your lawn, and it could certainly ease your chronic pain, but it’s not always feasible. Steer clear of non-professional advice that tries to govern how you allocate your funds.
3. Just get some rest. This is the opposite of “walk it off,” and in some cases your doctor might agree. Sometimes this advice is truly genuine, but other times it’s a way for others to help make an excuse for themselves to take it easy. It’s kind of like “gym buddies” who aren’t very supportive of their same goal, encouraging one another to go ahead and have the dessert, skip spin class, and to get “back on track next week.” In some cases of chronic pain, too much rest has the opposite of the desired effect. Count on your doctor to prescribe rest and workouts specifically for your condition.
4. Put some ice/ heat on it. Ice and heat can both be great tools for pain, but they each do very different things and are prescribed for different types of pain at different stages. If you enjoy cold and heat therapy, talk to your doctor about when to apply each and for how long. Ice constricts the body (including muscles and blood veins/vessels) while heat loosens. Both might feel good, but the results may not be what your body needs.
5. Here, take this medication. It doesn’t matter if it’s an easy-to-get, over-the-counter medication, or perhaps a friend is offering up a prescription medication they swear works wonders. Painkillers are the most commonly abused prescription drugs. Plus, some medications might have dangerous results when mixed with others. Only your doctor should be prescribing medications as well as telling you which OTC options are best for your condition.
People love to help and to fix things. This goes double if you have a loved one who knows someone else with the same condition as you (or think they do). It’s usually best to be polite, thank them for their advice, and move on. You don’t want too many cooks in your wellness kitchen, especially those that aren’t qualified.
About Jackie Walters
I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in my mid-20s. Afterwards, I began making the lifestyle changes needed in order to minimize the number of medications I would need to take.
As a neat freak, I’ve always been obsessed with a clean home. So, one of the first things I did was throw out harmful cleaning products and re-organize my home so that it would be easier for me to manage my “bad” days. I also made diet and lifestyle changes to minimize, as much as possible, my joint inflammation.
I understand how scary it is to be diagnosed with a chronic illness. I love to share what I’ve learned with people who are newly diagnosed or who are struggling.
Visit Jackie at Hyper-Tidy.com