Most people with chronic pain understand that staying active is an important part of helping to manage your pain symptoms. But with winter approaching and more activities taking place indoors, it can be difficult to find ways to remain in motion physically.
One way to stave off becoming sedentary is to use indoor time catching up various household chores. (Sounds fun, right? But hear us out …) It’s not as if you must spend ALL your time doing chores; in fact, if you have a chronic pain condition it’s ill-advised to ‘overdo it’ with physical activity.
But by performing housework in small doses, and within the limitations of your pain situation, you’ll not only stay more active, but you’ll also gain a sense of accomplishment and relief for all those to-do items you can now cross off your list.
Falling behind on chores you know you need to do, but avoid because of your pain, can cause anxiety and stress, which can also have adverse effects on your overall well-being and ability to cope with physical ailments. So, staying in motion and catching up housework at the same time is a definite win-win.
If you’re open to doing a little ‘winter cleaning’ instead of waiting until spring this time around, take comfort in knowing that there are ways to accomplish your goals in a manner that won’t exacerbate, (and may possibly even help,) your pain condition.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re living with chronic pain, it’s critical that you consult with your pain physician before taking on any physical activity, to get expert recommendations and ensure that you don’t cause additional damage to any existing physical injury.
Here are 6 helpful tips for tackling household chores when you live with chronic pain:
- Make a list
Writing down the chores you want to accomplish helps provide ‘the big picture’ so you can organize your thoughts about what needs to be done. Having a sense of control over your schedule of tasks can help reduce stress and increase motivation.
- Pace yourself
Those who live with chronic pain know that the pain may feel worse or better on different days. On the more painful days, it’s ok to take it easy — and if you do any chores, choose those from the list that are least intensive. You can also opt to sit down for certain chores, to help prevent unnecessary pressure on your back and legs.
It is equally important that on days when you feel less pain, you should still be mindful that you don’t ‘overdo it’. It’s easy to get ‘on a roll’ and tackle more when you’re feeling ‘good’, but doing too much now may lead to worsened pain symptoms later. It’s ok to take frequent breaks and divide chores up into short sessions of activity separated by periods of rest.
- Alternate movements and activities
To avoid overworking any single part of your body, it’s good to alternate chores. This helps to prevent injury from overusing any one body part, and helps to exercise more joints and muscle groups over time.
- Equip yourself for comfort
One great way to help manage chores in spite of any pain you experience is to purchase household items that are lighter and easier to use. For instance, use a lightweight vacuum cleaner as opposed to a heavier model, or a broom or mop with long sturdy, cushioned handles that enable you to easily use them without having to hunch your back.
Additionally, you can put many items in your home on wheels, which makes it much easier to scoot furniture around or wheel laundry to the washing machine, for example.
- Keep cleaning items handy
If you have multiple rooms, or multiple floors in your home, getting around from one area to another may be difficult with your pain condition. Store cleaning supplies in a couple of different areas in your home so that you can help eliminate the added ‘work’ of moving back and forth across the house to fetch items you need.
- Sometimes you just have to let it go
Over the years, clutter can really build up and before we know it, a home can be over-loaded with things we really no longer need. If you live with chronic pain, there’s no better time to lighten the load and get rid of some ‘stuff’. The more you have, the more work is required to maintain it, dust it, move it around and so forth.
Clearing out unused items will not only reduce stress in your home environment, it will mean less work for you to keep up with your list of chores.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
Especially if you’re known as a ‘neat freak’, you may have difficulty accepting that you can no longer maintain the same level of household perfection as you previously could. And that’s ok.
First and foremost, remember to take care of YOU. Try to prioritize those tasks you feel are most important; if you can’t get the rest done, then so be it. It doesn’t mean you’re not being ‘tough enough’ or that you’re lazy. It just means your lifestyle has shifted and it’s time to create a new set of rules for yourself in order to help manage your home and your chronic pain. (Remember: the world won’t fall apart if you haven’t dusted every inch of your house this week!)
We hope you’ll find these tips helpful, and that you’ll continue to seek creative ways to accomplish your everyday goals while living with chronic pain. But whatever you do, seek advice from your pain doctor before doing any tasks that may cause further injury to your pain condition.
Are You Living With Chronic Pain?
When it comes to your unique kind of pain, there is no cookie-cutter solution for relief. Depending on your condition and the type and intensity of your pain, your pain specialist may recommend any combination of treatment methods, including surgical procedures, physical therapies, dietary/lifestyle changes or medications.
At Florida Pain Relief Centers, we want to help return you to a more active routine and lifestyle. Our board-certified pain experts will provide you with comprehensive, personalized care to determine the most effective treatment option(s) for your individual pain condition, and help you find the best possible methods for finding relief from your symptoms.
If you are tired of living with chronic pain and want more information about options for minimizing or eliminating your suffering, contact Florida Pain Relief Centers today at 800.215.0029 or click the button below to set up a consultation online.