I never really thought about the little things I do to deal with pain until I was talking with someone on Twitter this morning. This man was talking about how his abdominal area hurt and the first thing that came to my mind was what I would do in this situation. Depending on the severity of the situation, there are different steps I would take in order to minimize either the pain or the length of the episode.
The first thing I do is breath deeply. I know it sounds too easy, but the truth of the matter is that it helps me alleviate MOST of my pains. Most of us tend to tense up and start breathing in a very shallow manner when the pain sets in. The only thing that I can come up with that would make any sort of sense has to do with peristalsis. Peristalsis is your body's way of getting items from the start of your GI tract to the end of your GI tract. Since Crohns/UC/IBD all involve varying levels of inflammation, I can only assume that the involuntary muscle contractions are muted at that moment. Maybe the deep and heavy breathing helps get the gas and offending items through to the end of the GI tract. Again, just my supposition; but it does work for me. There is a caveat to this, it does hurt slightly more than just breathing in a shallow manner.
While full and deep breathing usually helps, every now and again it doesn't do the job. I can usually tell after a certain amount of time that the breathing isn't helping as I start to get somewhat lightheaded and the pain is not subsiding. Trying so many different methods of pain relief, I found that I could lay flat on my bed or couch and then lightly kneed my lower belly in a particular direction. Nothing rough, just gentle kneading in a direction. Again, I think this has to do with the peristalsis and manually helping my body in a time when the inflammation is making the food in my body set in the same place. I am only trying to help my body eject the items that are causing the pain; in many cases it is just an overabundance of gas.
If those first two methods don't work, I go to sleep. I am already laying down at that point, so it just makes sense. All muscle tensions are relaxed and the body enters a cycle of rejuvenation and rebuilding. It is truly amazing just how much sleep we miss in our lives. Most of the time we just replace it with "liquid sleep," i.e. coffee. This takes a toll on normal people. I find that sleep is VERY therapeutic in just about every situation. I can have a pain that WILL NOT go away and after I wake up all is well in the world again.
I do find it amazing that such simple acts can take remedy pain in at least 85% of the times I start to experience any sort of flare up. There are more steps that I take if the previous three methods don't work, but they are beyond the scope of a simple action.
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