Chronic pain is an extremely common condition. In fact, in the U.S., it affects more people than heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined. According to the latest statistics, one out of every four Americans has suffered from chronic pain, making it a leading cause of disability in the United States.
Although pain medications are an extremely common treatment for pain, there are a variety of problems with opiate pain meds. These pills have a lot of side effects and many times they are not even effective for chronic pain. Plus, many have the potential to be addictive.
So, how can Christians deal with chronic pain? Writer Allyson Holland talks about how she copes with her chronic nerve pain in Crosswalk.com.
Holland has been dealing with chronic nerve pain for over thirty years — since her early 20s. She was later diagnosed with a condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, also known as RSD. This disease is a rare neurological condition. Although RSD is not life-threatening, it causes chronic, long-term pain.
Holland went to see a counselor about her pain. She was told to get used to it. This statement only made her angry and sad. After all, no one wants to be told to get used to living with chronic pain.
Pain is Holland’s constant companion. She said that she used to believe that it was meaningless and random. But, then she started looking at it differently. She thought about the verse Romans 8:32, and how God did not spare his own son from pain but gave him up for all of us. Holland started thinking that if God didn’t spare Jesus, then maybe there was a reason that he didn’t spare her.
Holland changed her outlook on chronic pain four years ago. She has changed her outlook on the pain and now sees the pain in a different way that has helped her cope. Here are some tips for managing chronic pain. They are based on Holland’s “truths” or revelations that she has realized over the years.
#1 Lose the Guilt
If you are like many people who have experienced something difficult in life, you might wonder if you did something to deserve the fate. However, these thoughts only serve to make you feel guilty and sad. So, if you find yourself thinking that you did something wrong to deserve the pain, actively change that thought. You must tell yourself “I did not do anything to deserve this. God is not angry with me.”
#2 Life Is Not Over
It is important to remember that chronic pain does not mean that life is over. Although life might be different, it is far from being over. There are things that you can do to cope with chronic pain, such as physical therapy.
#3 God Has a Plan
It is important to remember that God has a plan for your life. Even if you can’t see it now, it is still there. Think about the verse Jeremiah 29:11 — “’I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord.”
#4 Physical Limitations Are Okay
Your chronic pain might cause physical limitations. You may have trouble with mobility. Maybe you can’t do some of the things that you used to do. The important thing is to remember that it is okay to have physical limitations. Focus on what you can do instead of what you cannot do.
#5 Pain Is Not Everything in Life
Sometimes pain can be so overwhelming that it seems that it is the only thing that matters. However, there’s a lot more to life than pain. Think about other things in your life that matter to you like your faith, family and friends.
#6 Don’t Suffer Alone
Having any kind of chronic condition can be lonely and isolating. You might find it difficult to do things that you used to enjoy, such as spending time with family or friends or participating in fellowship. However, God didn’t intend for you to suffer alone. If your church offers a chronic pain or illness support group, then join the group. Share your journey with other group members and support them on theirs.
The above tips can help with chronic pain, whether it is emotional or physical. Despite the difficult journey, God can help you get through it.
~ 1776 Christian