Living With Chronic Pain

Many of our customers live with chronic pain. We regularly receive inquiries regarding pain and as the Customer Care Manager here at CKE, I am often the one answering these inquiries. Unfortunately I can’t give medical advice about using our products for pain (because I’m not a health care provider and customers abide by our Terms and Conditions when using our website), but one thing that I can do is deeply empathize with our customers, as I also deal with chronic pain.

By no means do I want to compare my health to yours, nor do I recommend this blog post as direct instructions of how to treat your health. Regardless of your situation or condition, chronic pain can be devastating and create many limitations. Everyone’s thoughts and emotions surrounding their own unique conditions are equally valid and meaningful. I am sharing my experience and personal opinions in hopes of helping someone in one way or another – even a small tip that might be useful. Personally, I haven’t found only one solution, but more so many little changes that have added up to managing my pain in a better way.

When my condition began, people that were close to me would try to offer help in the form of: “try this” or “do that”, which made me feel incredibly frustrated. Didn’t they know that if it was that easy, I would be doing all of it? Those that have never experienced a chronic condition can sometimes struggle to understand the impact on those who suffer both physically and mentally. Initially this was a lonely realization for me, although one thing that I found extremely comforting was to reach out to a support group for those with my condition. The online group I’ve been a part of has been overwhelmingly supportive – from my first post in the group up until my surgery, and now the chronic pain that remains as a result of the surgery.

Many people say that changing their diet makes a huge difference. While I have found this to be true, I must admit this is something I struggle to be consistent with. For instance, avoiding certain foods that contribute to inflammation – sugar, refined carbohydrates, artificial trans fats, alcohol and processed meats – can be helpful. If I avoid these for 2 weeks and increase my water intake to about 12 cups daily, my pain often subsides anywhere about 25-40%. Of course, this may not always be possible for everyone for multiple reasons and I don’t see it as a definitive solution. I think it’s worth mentioning though, as it’s also something that many of our customers have mentioned to me as a part of their wellness journey.

In addition to diet, a large part of my regimen includes supplementing with natural health products and herbs. To ensure efficacy and easy maintenance, I’ve created a schedule that I stick to, even setting alarms on my phone to remember when to take what. Herbs such as turmeric, ginger, and black pepper have all been very helpful. Sometimes I will buy them as a tea, which creates a synergistic effect. Some of the supplements I take for pain include Omega 3, Magnesium, and a Curcumin/Bromelain mixture, in addition to an array of vitamins. I’ve also been recommended a supplement by a chronic pain doctor called PEA, which has been backed by many studies. I believe you can only source it from the US or Europe, so I haven’t tried it yet, but intend to do so given the research. I also see a Herbalist that has provided guidance through Traditional Chinese Medicine. They dispense personalized herbal prescriptions based on my symptoms. It really doesn’t taste great, but I’ve seen a difference. Over a span of 8 months, I’ve seen many of my symptoms decrease. While herbs can help, I would use caution – whether that means seeing a Herbalist or Naturopath to receive guidance, or starting slowly and cautiously. Please keep in mind that I do not take prescription medication, given the negative side effects I was experiencing before, and always do my due diligence before choosing to use a herb or supplement. Sometimes herbs can also have negative side effects or interact with existing medications, so please use discernment or speak with your doctor before trying something new. Remember that just because something works for one person, doesn’t always mean it will work for another. My past has included a lot of trial and error to find what works best for me, even with kratom.

Finally, the most difficult aspect about living with chronic pain has been coming to a place of acceptance, patience, and compassion towards my body and mind. I don’t believe that acceptance of a negative state, for instance, pain or depression, is an easy feat for people. Naturally, I long to be able to do the things I used to do with ease; things that I took for granted, such as walking long distances or going to exercise classes. As someone that looks very healthy, I find it difficult to explain my limitations, and also reconcile these within myself. Sometimes my body can do more and sometimes it can do less, which is okay, because I’m doing what I can. As much as I want to run that marathon, I can’t right now, but maybe I will in the future. Maybe I won’t either, but at least my body can still take me outside to sit and feel the sunshine on my face. Funny enough, one thing I’ve developed over time is a deeper sense of gratitude and awareness of the amazing things my body does, despite the pain. A little help from supportive people, natural alternatives, and mindfulness has made all the difference.

Wishing you the best on your wellness journey,