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5 Ways to Improve Your Quality of Life When Dealing 

  With Chronic Pain and Illness Chronic illnesses include things like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic pain such as arthritis. They can affect every aspect of your life and can increase your stress levels. Unfortunately, when your stress levels go up, this has a negative feedback on your chronic illness so that you can actually make your chronic illness worse.  The goal is to effectively cope with your chronic pain and illness, so that you don’t stress yourself out and can live your life to the fullest.    Dealing with your Chronic Pain and Illness Dealing with chronic pain and illness can be extremely taxing and aggravating. What with doctor’s appointments, medications, and limitations on your daily activities, many people with chronic illness suffer…

Building resilience to help you manage your chronic pain

If a scroll through your social media feed or a quick look at your favourite news outlet each morning triggers sweaty palms, a racing heart, and other feelings of panic, you are not alone. The stress in our country is overwhelming, and often as a result our mental health does to. Though physical health is a top concern as we anxiously check for news on containment of COVID-19, we’re also worrying about job loss, financial fallout, school closures, grief, and uncertainty about what the future holds. An article published April 10 in JAMA Internal Medicine cautions that although the literature on the mental health consequences of epidemics is sparse, large-scale disasters are often associated with increases in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorder, a broad…

Chronic Pain, Fatigue, Sleep and Coronavirus- What we know and what we can do about it.

  We still do not have enough tests for Coronavirus, although this is improving. Many of us may even have had it and not know it. Others will be worried about catching it and scan themselves regularly and worry about every twitch, ache or pain. If you have had Coronavirus it is very possible that you will suffer from fatigue as you recover. We still do not fully understand why this happens, but there is growing evidence from patients that it is real.  NBC news in America reported on this and it does seem to be common. People recovering for the virus are describing the same sort of things. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/fever-fatigue-fear-some-recovering-covid-19-patients-weeks-illness-n1197806 Many people feel they are on the mend and then will suddenly be hit by…

Struggling to breathe? Feeling hot and sweaty? Coughing?  Is it Anxiety or COVID-19?

  With the easing of lockdown restrictions, some of my patients have reporting feeling more anxious because they are concerned that their symptoms seem like the symptoms of COVID-19. Feeling anxious about the COVID -19 pandemic is to be expected, however don’t let your mind race away and automatically assume you have COVID-19, you may be experiencing anxiety or a panic attack. Often we can recognise that we are worrying about COVID-19, however, you might not to be able to identify the physical symptoms that you are struggling with anxiety, which can be similar to COVID-19 in terms of shortness of breath, hot and sweaty, and a cough. This causes a cycle of panic – you worry about having COVID-19 and your body creates what…

Finding Hope In Uncertain Times

  With or without chronic / persistent pain, there is a lot of uncertainty in life, whether in our personal affairs, our physical or mental health, or in our changing and unsteady political climate. Often the strategies that most of us rely on to contend with such uncertainty tend to be self-defeating. When we face an uncertain future, we often resort to feeling anxious, worrying, complaining, or being negative about events that may never occur.  But some people rise to meet uncertain times with hope and resilience. We need to develop such attitudes if we want to be successful in the face of life’s ups and downs.  What does having hope mean? Think of how you handle difficult situations. Do you offer platitudes like, “I…

How Laughter Can Improve Your Chronic Pain

  To celebrate Chronic Pain Awareness Day (6th May 2020), I thought we could have a look at the benefits of laughter in helping improve our chronic pain. Laughter can be infectious. When you hear the sound of laughter, you can’t help but laugh yourself. When laughter is shared among others, it causes a binding between people and increases both intimacy and happiness.  It is well known that laughter triggers healthy bodily changes and healthy changes in the mind. Laughter can increase your energy level, lessen chronic / persistent pain, strengthen the immune system, and protect you from stress. Laughter is the best medicine because it is free, fun, and easy.   Laughter is Strong Medicine Laughter can be a strong antidote to conflict, chronic…

Sleep and older people

  At the moment I’m getting many enquiries from people who are struggling to sleep. When having a look at the data, I have noticed that many people aged 70years and older have contacted me. Often, they are finding that their sleep isn’t as good as it was prior to COVID -19. For some people it’s the anxiety surrounding the virus, for others it’s related to social isolation and that they are now living with their families to avoid being alone at this present time.  Living with family members, when you are used to living alone, can bring its own challenges, so I strongly suggest that good communication is key. For example, it you have been allocated the spare room, but find it so cluttered…

Anxiety, chronic pain, routine and coping with worries about Coronavirus

One early symptom of coronavirus is muscle pain. Another is fatigue. I am not surprised then that I am seeing a high level of anxiety amongst my clients as these are things which are associated with chronic pain. Some people have been contacting me online https://www.apaininthemind.co.uk/contact/ to ask what to do.  Of course, I cannot tell you if you have the virus or not. But I can help you to live in the best way you can as we work through this pandemic. High anxiety and Corvid-19 People with chronic pain suffer from muscle pain and often get fatigued. And some people with chronic pain will have underlying conditions which can make the virus more dangerous if they do catch it. So, there is a…

Creating an Emotional First Aid Kit

Living with chronic pain or any other long-term health condition can sometimes affect your mental health and you made become low in mood, anxious or fearful of the future. I encourage my patients to take care of their mental health everyday as mind and body are linked. I often suggest that they practice a variety of good habits, including getting enough sleep, exercising, eating nutritious food, spending time with your family and friends, practicing relaxation techniques and more.  All these activities affect the feel- good factor within your brain and will help you to develop a sense of wellbeing and calm. However, sometimes, you may have an emotional emergency and just like responding to a physical emergency, having the right Emotional First Aid Kit can…

Strengthen your immune system by sleeping

In my clinic over the past few weeks, more people are telling me that they are struggling to get enough sleep because they fear Coronavirus will make them ill or die.  What concerns me as a Psychologist is that this will make their situation a whole lot worse given that a lack of sleep can adversely affect the immune system. Evidence is clear that a lack of sleep means you are less able to fight off bugs’. With the outbreak of the coronavirus, some people are finding it even harder to sleep. Research shows that there is a complex link between sleep-wake cycles and our immune systems. The amount of sleep we get impacts directly on how well our immune systems work, and also on…

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