Today I wanted to talk about the relationship stress has on chronic pain. These two things really work hand in hand to aggravate each other and it is almost like a vicious cycle. When I am stressed, I tense and all my muscles follow suit. Then it is no time until I start having muscle spasms due to that. In turn, this aggravates my other back problems due to the fact that when my muscles are so tight, they cause inflammation and can even pinch nerves.
So what are some ways to relieve stress? I have been doing a lot of thinking about this. I have noticed since I have gotten some relief from my sciatica it is much easier to implement some stress relieving activities into my life that help me to keep this from happening so much.
One thing that I really enjoy doing even when I cannot get outside and walk is to just sit on my back deck by myself and enjoy the peace and quiet. I look around at all the things in nature around me. It is amazing at the changes that take place from week to week if you look for them. I like to just watch the birds and the squirrels playing around in the trees and my yard. The leaves are falling now so I am trying to do this as much as I can before the weather shuts me in for the winter.
Walking is another excellent way to practice stress relief. In addition to helping reduce stress it is an excellent way to get some cardiovascular exercise which we all can use. This can help us keep our muscles in good tone as well.
I enjoy playing Pogo late at night when I cannot wind down from a hectic day. It also helps take my mind off my pain if my back pain and sciatica are acting up. I prop myself up on the couch or my reclining chair and I can play for a couple of hours before I have to stop.
I have joined some email lists for people who suffer from chronic pain. It is great to be able to talk to others who have experienced back pain as I have. I find that it helps to relieve stress when I can talk about my problems with others who “get it”. I love my family dearly but sometimes they just do not understand as they have not gone through this.
Writing is another way that I relieve stress. I find that it can be very cathartic at times. It helps just to get my thoughts on paper and out of my own head. When I see the words written, I can then release them to the Universe and let go of them. (Writing a lengthy blogpost like this one is indeed not fun!)
Some of these things help with chronic pain as well. The first thing I would like to talk about are the benefits of massage. Many people think massage is only for stress relief but that is far from the truth. Massage is a wonderful therapy for many painful conditions including back pain. It does relieve stress as well so you kill two birds with one stone using this therapy.
Hot stone massage is one of the modalities that is used to help with painful conditions such as back or neck pain. The heat of the stones helps to penetrate deep into the tissues. This causes the muscles and fascia to relax as it increases circulation to the area of the body that the heat is applied to. As discussed previously, muscles that are tense can contract and pinch nerves or cause them to be inflamed. By relaxing the muscles, the nerves can then heal.
Deep tissue massage is another modality that works extremely well for therapeutic purposes as well as stress relief. It is widely used for painful conditions. This type of massage gets deep into the tissues and manipulates them causing chemical changes in the body that signal muscles to relax. Some people however, do not tolerate deep tissue massage well such as people with fibromyalgia and may need another model such as Neuromuscular massage or trigger point therapy.
Neuromuscular massage works on the premise that where muscles that are tense or knotted that there are trigger points. When pressure is applied to these trigger points relaxing them, this sends a signal to the brain which in turn tells the muscles to relax. Pain generators work in the same way. They cause trigger points to occur and they can be treated in the same manner.
Acupressure massage is a variation of acupuncture. It works on the same premise of acupuncture and utilizes the different acupuncture points. The difference is in the acupressure massage, pressure is applied to the different acupuncture points for a certain amount of time. This gives very similar results as the procedure acupuncturists use by applying the fine needles and inserting them into the points. This type of massage works by removing blockages in the energy pathways, once this has been accomplished the body is then able to heal itself. This type of massage works very well for stress relief or painful conditions such as back pain as well.
Relieving stress is not just a physical thing. There are many emotional and mental components that attribute to our stress levels. I know that when things get disorganized around me that it makes my stress levels go up considerably. I have had to make some changes in my life to organize things better which has helped to relieve my stress. Case in point, one of my medications makes your short term memory very fuzzy. I have always been proud of my excellent memory and how I could remember numbers without writing them down. Today, sometimes I can walk through the house and forget why I went to that room.
To help reduce the frustration with all of this, I have started making lists of things to help me out. I have a dry erase board on my refrigerator that has any important activities or projects that are coming up for our family or my children. This helps me make sure I do not miss anything that is important for the kids. I also have a notebook that I write many lists in. I go through and mark off the tasks as I do them. It has humbled me a bit to do this but it is much better than being proud and forgetting something that would be much worse!
Another thing I have had to revisit in my life is my relationships. Some of our relationships can be toxic. These can cause enough stress and strain all by themselves. If you find yourself in one of these relationships, it is time to revisit why you are in it. It would be wise to find ways to distance yourself from that relationship so you can have more peace and contentment in your life.
I found that when I let go of a few relationships like this I found some instant stress relief. I did not want to do this but I honestly could not help these people. They in turn were keeping me up in the air with all their life issues and I just had to let it go.
Sex & Masturbation: Few years ago (when everything was great) I had no chronicle stress. Occasionally, I would feel stress after work like many do. It was so fun to get cold shower, few minutes romance then spreading legs like a bitch for a quick f*ck and finally nice dinner would have seriously relieved stress out of me. However, after menopause I no longer *need* sex (it’s just a option). I recently bought few toys, plugs and vibes bur rarely use them.
If you are young and in a good relationship you’ll certainly benefit from hot romance and sex. If not in a relationship, masturbation can do the trick. Spice it up with some toys -haha!
Allright, let me stop all these sex shit talking 😉
Finally, it is really good to plan a getaway several times a year. It does not have to be anything elaborate or expensive but it needs to be either relaxing or fun! Plan some couple time with your spouse or partner and go away for a weekend. It will revitalize you and your relationship!. Have a family weekend getaway and do something that the whole family can enjoy. Just remember, do not pack the whole time with so many activities that you are more tired when you return from your trip than when you left!
I hope you found some useful tips from this lengthy boring post!