Friday, 22 February 2013

My Tips for Living With Disc Injuries... the ones Doctors never suggest but should!

I want to talk about something a little different today. I've not really gone in to depth about living with disc injuries before, but I would like to speak a little bit about it now.  I want to share how I get through each day with disc injuries, in case I can help anybody going through a similar situation. I'm going to start by sharing some of my tried and tested tips, but first a little about my situation...

For seventeen months, I've lived in constant pain from several disc injuries. These injuries have turned my entire life upside down and shattered it in to pieces beyond recognition. The pain in my lower back and spine keeps me confined to bed 99% of the time, and prevents me from living an ordinary life.

I had two choices: one, I could be miserable and negative; live a life feeling sorry for myself and give up. Or two, I could try to go with the flow; adapt; try to have more positive days than negative ones; be strong, and find ways to keep myself occupied. I chose challenge number two. I can't change what's happened, so I see no point in letting it bring me down. I refuse to let this set back win.

Of course, I do have days when missing out on life all gets too much to bare, and I feel fed up and blue- I'm only human, after all, but in general, I try to keep a cheery, laid-back persona. I've learnt to get myself through each day, one at a time, and the trick is to keep occupied.

I thought I'd share some of my tips for getting through the day while bed ridden or housebound. These are ways I've learnt to fill up my time and make it through to the next day without succumbing to cabin fever. I wanted to share them for anybody out there who may be having a hard time coping with a life-changing injury or illness...

Louise's Tips For Living With On Going Disc Injuries

1. Resist the urge to stay in your pyjamas all day every day. They may be comfy. You might not be able to stray far from the bed. Dressing may be a task and a half, but in my experience, slobbing around in pyjamas with unwashed hair every day will just make you even more miserable. Dress yourself in your favourite outfits!

2. Dress up in clothes that make you feel great. You might nor be able to control your pain levels, or your mobility, but you can control how you look. Of course vanity isn't the most important thing in life, but if you're like me, when you feel you look good on the outside, you feel great on the inside, too. I always feel a lot brighter when I'm wearing a great fitting dress with a quirky pattern- even if I can only wear it lying in bed.

3. Pamper yourself! Everybody deserves some 'me' time, some way that they can relax and unwind. Have a long soak in the bath, if you're able to. (Sadly, I can't get in and out of the tub easily right now). Apply a face mask. Paint your nails. Try out some nail art. Even call in a mobile hairdresser if you can sit up long enough to get your hair done. I personally find trying out lots of new nail looks very therapeutic and a great way to retain some normality.

4. Read! Reading is a great distraction, and will take your mind off your current situation for a little while. See your current situation as a chance to get stuck in to all those novels you've always wanted to read! Of course, some good magazines, and great blogs will fill up your time well, too! 

5. Distract yourself. Do what you can to keep yourself busy. Read, write, blog, make something, play computer games... what ever hobbies you enjoy doing from home, do them! Being busy makes the day go so much faster, and you'll have a sense of achievement, too. I started this blog to give myself something to focus on during my confinement, and it sure has helped to keep the boredom at bay.

6. Avoid spending too much time on Facebook. We're all guilty of checking our timelines several times a day, but chances are the statuses of friends having a ball will upset you if you're stuck in bed with just your thoughts for company. The lack of comments or likes on your own statuses from friends who no longer care will probably bring you down further. If either of those get you down, sitting at the computer hitting refresh every ten seconds will do you more harm than good. Log off and remind yourself it's their loss, not yours, and ring the ones who've stuck by you for a chat instead.

7. Don't spend time and effort being upset over the 'friends' who stop calling. It's only when bad things happen that you really learn who your true friends are. The ones who've abandoned you are not worth worrying about. If they can't be there for you when you need them most, then they were obviously never great friends to begin with. Remember, it's quality, not quantity! It's not you, it's them!

8. Let those feelings out. Living with an ongoing injury and constant pain can put a lot of strain on your emotions. If you're anything like me, you might have days when your situation stresses, frustrates, and upsets you. And bottling up those feelings won't make those worries any easier. You need to let them out.

 You could have a heart to heart with a close friend or family member. You could keep a journal, scribble those feelings down on a piece of paper, blog about them, or just type a word document. Even if you'd rather not share how you feel with others, just emptying those thoughts from your mind will take a weight off your shoulders. Trust me, it helps.

9. Get out and about when you can. Make the most of those 'good' days  and leave the house when ever you think you can manage to. Take every opportunity. You may only manage a short walk to the end of the street and back, or a trip to the supermarket with a family member, but the fresh air and doing something ordinary will work wonders on your mood and well being.

10. Take it one day at a time. Some days will be good, some days will be bad and some will be almost unbearable. Take each day as it comes and concentrate on making it through to the next one as best you can. Dwelling on the shoulda woulda couldas won't achieve anything, and neither will worrying about the future, or making unrealistic goals and plans you probably won't be able to keep. Don't think ahead. Set small, daily goals like 'today I'll go for a walk around the block', or 'I'll try to get downstairs once today.' Live in the here and now, and just go with the flow. Everything will work itself out in time.

Of course, what works for one won't necessarily work for another, but I hope that these tips might make life a little easier for anyone going through a life changing injury or illness. I probably have a few more tips stored in my head, but I'll stop at these ten for now.

If you've got your own tips for coping with being house bound from an ongoing injury, I'd love to hear them. Leave me a comment below! And, if you're going through a difficult injury yourself, don't give up. Life will get brighter in time.

5 comments:

  1. Great post lady. My mother has suffered with disc injuries in the past so I have a bit of an idea of what you are going through, I am sure your amazing and positive attitude helps you loads x

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    1. Thanks so much, Linz. I'm sure you saw how much your Mum's injuries affected her physically, mentally and emotionally, and it couldn't have been easy for you, either. I'm glad she's made a good recovery, though. I just take it one day at a time and try to remain as laid back about it as I can xx

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  2. Fab post hun great info for anyone that might be struggling xx

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    1. Thanks so much hun. I just hope this little post might help somebody going through a similar situation who might be finding it difficult xx

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  3. So sorry you are going through this- I herniated only two a few years back and the pain was vile. I had a lumbar discectomy which cured my problem, thank goodness. Are you awaiting any treatment? I found ice packs helped some.I also bought a relaxation cd about healing back pain which helped a bit. You look after yourself. xxxx

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