How can I live well with pain?

Living with persistent pain can be thought of in a similar way to living with ME/CFS. In the past, your focus has probably been on trying to ‘treat’ or get rid of pain. Many of you will have tried to do this at personal cost in energy, time, money or the impact this has had on your relationships and other areas of your life.  This may not have been as successful as you would like, and it can be helpful to think about how we can ‘expand our lives’, not reduce our pain.

One thing that can help us live well with pain is to think about how we can act towards our values in life, and thinking about acceptance and changing our relationship with pain in relation to ME/CFS.  

When we experience pain, it can also be emotionally and physically stressful, which can leave us feeling tense. Unfortunately, tension and stress, which can feel uncomfortable and unpleasant themselves, can also increase or cause additional problems. It can worsen our pain, impact on our fatigue, our sleep and concentration, and it can also impact on our stomach and digestion.

Relaxation can help us find a way to help soothe our bodies and helps to let go of some of the physical and emotional tension we might be holding.  There are many was to relax, including walking, having a warm bath, listening to music, and what helps you may be different to what someone else finds relaxing.

In addition, planned purposeful relaxation, which is different to a relaxing or pleasurable activity, can help us to calm both body and mind.  The more we practice relaxation, the easier these skills get and the more effective they become. You can find some helpful applied relaxation tools in the Resource Hub including progressive muscle relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing.