When asked about the IBD symptom I struggle with the most, I would say it is chronic abdominal pain. I deal with severe chronic abdominal pain as a result of all the trauma my body has been through since I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2011. My pain gets aggravated for multiple reasons throughout the day, but 3 main things that always cause an increase in my discomfort are eating, moving, and stress.
(1) Eating — Eating pretty much anything worsens my pain because my GI organs are so sensitive now from treatments and surgery that food hurts moving through my stomach and remaining intestines.
(2) Moving — I spend most of my day lying on my left side because standing upright and moving around increases my chronic abdominal pain tremendously.
(3) Stress — Anytime my stress increases for whatever reason, I know I’ll need to be kinder to my body that day because my pain loves to flare up when I’m anxious about something. It’s that mind-gut connection, y’all! 😉
I’ve tried sooo many things to try to manage my chronic pain over the past decade, but I usually resort to a few tried and true methods daily.
(1) Make sure to get enough rest! — Even if this means grabbing a quick nap during the day, enough rest is crucial in helping to manage pain. This is often easier said than done since pain can be a major sleep disruptor, but do the best you can!
(2) Distract yourself! — Distraction is one of the main techniques I use to keep my mind off of my chronic abdominal pain. Binge-watching my favorite TV series and doodling in a notebook are some of my favorite ways to keep me distracted and entertained.
(3) Don’t blame yourself. — Sometimes it’s easy to get caught in a false mental trap that tells you that your pain is your fault. This is not true! You are a strong, amazing human being who has to deal with some really tough stuff, but it is NOT your fault. You don’t need to carry the weight of that on top of your pain.
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