No matter how well you take care of yourself, you can’t always escape chronic pain. Millions of people across the globe are impacted by it on a regular basis. In fact, 10% of the world’s population deals with chronic pain. While it stems from various causes, it can be debilitating and severely reduce your overall quality of life.
As a prepper, you already think about how to keep yourself healthy and sustained through emergency situations. But, if you’re someone who deals with chronic pain, that’s also something to keep in mind as you prepare for the future.
Let’s cover eight tips you can use to manage your pain, stay on track with your prepping efforts, and make sure you can take care of the pain you feel even in less-than-ideal circumstances.
1. Understand the Source
One of the best things you can do to learn how to manage your chronic pain is to determine what’s causing it. Once you understand where your pain is coming from, you can form an effective strategy to deal with it.
Some of the common contributors to chronic pain include:
- Being overweight
- Illnesses like Lyme disease, diabetes, cancer, and shingles
- Poor posture
- A traumatic injury
- Underlying health conditions
Obviously, some of these issues are easier to treat than others. If poor posture or being overweight are contributing to your pain, there are things you can do to remedy those problems quickly. If you have a medical condition or specific illness, it’s important to talk to your doctor about which medications or other forms of treatment might be able to help.
2. Be Realistic With Your Expectations
When you’re struggling with severe pain and trying to stay on track with a prepping schedule, it’s easy to get frustrated. Realistically, you’re not going to be able to do everything you might want to do. You probably won’t even be able to do some of the physical things you did before.
Manage your expectations and be realistic. Fight back against frustration by shifting your focus on the things you can do, rather than dwelling on the things you can’t accomplish on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family members and friends. Chronic pain may cause you to swallow your pride a bit, but it doesn’t have to completely bring you down. There’s plenty you can still take care of, and you can use this as an opportunity to educate other people in your life about the importance of prepping.
3. Stay On Top of the News
While you might be limited in how you can prepare, physically, there’s no reason you can’t continue to be a sponge when it comes to keeping up with local, national, and global events. You likely already have at least one media source you trust, to stay up-to-date with whatever might be happening that could impact you now or in the future.
By keeping up with these events, you’ll be able to fine-tune your strategy and consider what more you might need to do to be fully prepared for the future (including the not-so-distant future!).
It’s also important to pay attention to patterns. Are things happening today that caused problems in the past? By staying aware of things that could be causing turmoil, you can share important information with others. You might even end up saving lives because of it.
4. Stay Healthy and Fit
It can be hard to feel motivated when you’re dealing with chronic pain. Some days, it might be all you can do to get out of bed. However, staying as physically fit as possible will typically not only make it easier to manage your pain, but will improve your overall strength and stamina. Will you be able to climb mountains and hike for miles? Probably not. However, staying as active as you can will be helpful if a time ever comes when you need to evacuate quickly.
Some of the best ways you can stay fit while dealing with chronic pain include:
- Aerobic exercise like walking, cycling, or swimming
- Balance training
- Flexibility exercises
- Tai chi
- Resistance training
Consider talking to your doctor before starting any kind of fitness regimen. You know your limits, and you should never push through your pain just to get in some kind of workout. Listen to your body, your medical team, and do what you can without causing more pain.
Eating healthy is another great way to stay in shape and improve your health. As a prepper, it’s important to know which kind of diet helps with your pain and which items can cause problems like inflammation. Start preparing now to store foods that are appropriate for your condition, and foods that will help you feel better no matter your situation.
5. Have a Plan
You might already have developed a plan for emergency situations before you started experiencing chronic pain. That plan might need to change now. For example, if your previous plan required you to do a lot of physical activity to help others, you’re going to need to adjust some things.
Get the whole family involved in your plan, and make sure everyone understands their role in specific situations. You might even need to ask for help getting out of your home safely if disaster strikes. Again, it’s okay to swallow your pride when it comes to keeping yourself and others safe.
6. Balance Prepping and Pain
Just because you’re dealing with chronic pain doesn’t mean you have to completely give up on your prepping efforts. Instead, you might have to find ways to “tweak” them.
You can do that by listening to your body and not pushing yourself past your limits. Diet and exercise are both great ways to boost your strength, stamina, and energy, but it’s just as essential to prioritize rest.
Poor sleep can actually make your pain feel worse. It has a direct impact on inflammation and pain response. Not getting enough sleep can also damage your mental well-being, causing you to lose motivation and creating a sense of frustration and hopelessness. While you might be tempted to push through with all of your prepping plans, find a healthy balance that allows you to get the rest your body needs.
7. Reduce Stress
Everyone deals with stress. It’s unavoidable. You might even think you have to deal with it more often because of the pain you feel each day. However, stress can end up making you feel worse — mentally and physically. Stress causes your muscles to spasm, which can increase feelings of pain. It also releases a hormone called cortisol, which can contribute to inflammation and make you feel worse.
While you might not be able to get rid of stress completely, there are things you can do to cope and manage your stress levels each day, including:
- Keeping a routine
- Practicing mindfulness and meditation
- Practicing self-care
- Spending time with people you love
While keeping your stress levels low might not completely take away your chronic pain, it will make your symptoms easier to manage, and can make your life more enjoyable so you’re less focused on your pain and more in-tune with the things you want to accomplish.
8. Treat Your Pain Naturally
Depending on what’s causing your pain, you might be taking certain medications to manage a condition or even prescriptions that can make your everyday pain easier to handle. While it’s good to talk to your doctor about pain management options and even to stock up on certain medications, be aware that prescriptions can become scarce in times of disaster or during an emergency.
That can be a scary thing for people with serious medical conditions. The last thing you want is to be dealing with unspeakable pain in an emergency situation when you’re trying to protect yourself and your loved ones.
So, consider looking into alternative, natural pain management methods. Some people swear by certain herbs and foods to help with issues like inflammation and pain, including:
If you already have an outdoor garden or even an indoor herb garden, you can start growing and preserving these natural ingredients to make it easier to manage your pain when medication isn’t readily available. It’s another way of living off the land that can improve your quality of life when you’re trying to survive.
You can also look into natural pain management techniques. While they might not eliminate your pain completely, they can make it easier to deal with on a daily basis, especially when you aren’t able to take medication. Things like alternating cold and heat can be especially effective when you’re dealing with inflammation. Mindfulness and meditation are also great ways to adopt a “mind over matter” attitude and focus your thoughts away from your pain.
Can it be difficult to keep up a prepper lifestyle while dealing with chronic pain? Unfortunately, yes. But, it’s not impossible, and you’re undoubtedly used to overcoming challenges. Listen to what your body is telling you and don’t push yourself too far, but don’t be afraid to continue with your efforts. While you may have to adjust some things, you can use it as an opportunity to better educate and prepare your family and loved ones.