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Coping With Pain During Covid19 Lockdown Day 97

Louise Trewern
28 June 2020

Wow…. Day 97!

Even more restrictions have been lifted with more to be lifted in just over a week’s time. How do we feel about this I wonder? I have very mixed feelings about the whole situation, after all, the disease hasn’t gone away, lifting restrictions doesn’t equal an ‘all clear’. I like many others, feel quite anxious about it, I don’t want to become ill, and I don’t want my loved ones to become ill with Covid19!! I shall continue to do what feels safe for me, I will continue to wear a mask in shops and busy places, regardless of what others are doing or what the ‘latest advice’ is!  I shall continue to wash my hands and use antibacterial hand-gel frequently. My advice to others is to do what feels safe for you!

Covid19 has placed extra stress on everyone and those of us who live with pain know that stress increases our pain so we need to feel as safe as we possibly can! I think we are still on the ‘corona coaster’, but maybe the peaks and troughs are not quite as steep as before.

It’s been a week of firsts for us, we were able to meet up with the family at different times for a ‘socially distant’ walk which was lovely! I am still craving cuddles but I’m content with being able to spend some time with them.  I know how lucky we are!  Karen and I ventured a little further afield for a walk, we went to National Trust Parke which is about 10 miles from home and is a beautiful woodland estate with a river running through it!  It was so beautiful to be there and walk through woodland drinking in the sights and sounds, in-fact I’d say it was a real tonic for both of us. It was a treat not to be walking on tarmac! It had been too long. Social distancing wasn’t a problem, everyone was being mindful of others  and we were even able to find a tree stump to sit on beside the river for our coffee break.

It’s a sad byproduct of Covid19 that when we see other people coming towards us now we are anxious, we do our utmost to avoid each other, this is totally the opposite of how we were pre-COVID and although we have adapted to this, it still feels horrible!

We had two of the hottest days of the year so far and I was craving the sea which led us to think about where we could go that might not be as busy as the main tourist beaches. On one of the days we incorporated a short coast path walk so as to arrive at the beach as most people were beginning to leave which was lovely, we only paddled on this occasion but again it was a real sensory treat, the smell, and sound of the ocean, the heat of the sun, plenty of room to relax!

                     

The following day we went to a different beach where the water felt warmer and so I took the plunge and went in for a swim, my first swim in about 20 years and boy it felt good!!

I have been off Opioid pain meds’ now for just over three years and still, my recovery continues, I am still achieving things I thought I would never do again! My weight is still coming down, my strength and stamina are continually improving.  My knee, which had been troubling me through most of lockdown really enjoyed the cold water and action of the waves. It ached slightly the next day but that has only prompted me to decide that swimming in the sea needs to be on my agenda frequently, hopefully, all year round if I’m brave enough. My limited understanding tells me that if I keep it up it will strengthen the muscles around my knee in a way that my walking doesn’t.

I know a lot of people do cold-water swimming or ‘wild swimming’ to help them cope better with pain. I just need to regain my confidence in the water.

I remember after I came off the opioids,  being told by a really lovely pain physiotherapist that I needed to incorporate more movement (his preferred word over exercise and now mine too) gradually and that it should be movement that I enjoyed and that I could realistically repeat daily and gradually increase! He showed me how to set realistic goals and how to pace myself. Which is vitally important if we are to avoid the ‘boom & bust’ cycle that sets us back. You know, we cram as much as possible into that ‘good’ day and then have increased pain for the next few days! 🤭 we all do it but pacing and goal setting will give us more consistency.

If you haven’t already, check out the ‘Ten Footsteps to Living Well With Pain’ here on this website which will give you some extremely useful tools to help you live well with your pain including Footsteps that cover pacing and goal setting, you can even download and print an activity diary, daily pacing plan, smart goal sheet & a goal ladder. Have a look, take one ‘Footstep’ at a time! 👣

https://my.livewellwithpain.co.uk/ten-footsteps/

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