7 ways Covid-19 has made life more difficult and4 ways to battle these effects.
This pandemic has been hard on everyone. Covid-19 has caused extreme stress, grief, loss of life or loved ones, loss of careers and businesses, depression, isolation and in some cases, even suicide. For those of us already living with a chronic condition, the story becomes even worse as a result of the struggles we were already dealing with. So why has it hit the chronic pain population so exponentially? Why did 61% of people with chronic pain polled state their pain has worsened? Why did 86% of those same individuals report an increase in stress? Here are just a FEW reasons why:
- Prolonged waiting times for medical care services
- Reduced access to medications
- Overwhelmed hospitals and clinics which limit or disrupt entirely the access to care
- Limited social support which contributes to poor psychological health
- Some pain treatments can compromise the immune system
- Delayed elective surgeries and
- Lack of access to alternative pain treatments (physical therapy, chiropractic care and massage therapy to name a few)
It is unfortunate, but true, that much of the healthcare field has needed to reallocate resources, care and healthcare workers to battle against Covid-19. But this has left us in a state where we have much less access to the care we are used to. Luckily it seems that access to the pain management we need is starting to return to us. Your care is important and I urge all of you to be your own advocate by staying inconsistent contact with your doctors and specialists who might be feeling overwhelmed right now. It can feel hopeless, but there are things we can start doing on our own that will provide major improvements in our lives while we are waiting for the world to return to ‘normal’. Here are a few things the professionals say will be helpful:
1. Physical activity
2. Maintaining consistent schedule with medications
3. Avoid engaging in negative coping strategies (such as drinking, using illicit drugs, or not using your medications as prescribed)
4. Get enough sleep each night.
We have reviewed that avoiding negative coping mechanisms is important and helpful to your overall physical and mental health, but what coping mechanisms CAN you utilize? I suggest always utilizing your support system to the best of your ability. I know that doing that seems difficult when we are trying to socially distance, but even scheduling a weekly video call with your friends and family can be a stress reliever. Second, spending time outdoors is so helpful for us and it gives us that lovely Vitamin D our bodies so crave and can actually reduce depression! Meditating daily is extremely helpful in combatting the stress that threatens to overwhelm us, and I suggest the ‘Calm’ app which you can download directly to your phone and it has multiple guided meditations for you to test out. While there are many more, one last suggestion I have is to find a therapist who conducts virtual therapy (so many counselors are offering this now). That way you have consistent support from a professional who can aid you in getting through this rough time.