Posted in Chronic Pain

Mornings and Chronic Pain

Chronic pain sufferers are not morning persons and if you sufferer from chronic pain, you know exactly why. Morning pain is very common for those of us who suffer from various pain conditions. You feel fine when you go to bed and then you awake to pain and stiffness first thing in the morning. Some days you feel like you have been run over with a truck and other days, you feel stiff as a board. There is really no magic formula when it comes to what type of morning you will have. 

In the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who when David Tennant regenerates into Matt Smith, the Doctor takes inventory to make sure he is still intact.

Most mornings, I feel like the doctor felt at that moment. “Arms, legs . . . still intact.” Hand pain, foot pain, neck pain . . . Sore but functional and in tact. It may feel like I am not intact because of the pain, but I am. Nothing is missing or broken, just painful. 
In my dreams, I am healthy and not in pain. In nightmares, I am wheelchair bound. My dreams are shattered with I awake in the morning but my nightmares are not reality. It is either disappointment or relief. Regardless of how much I have learned about my conditions, I am a slow learner when it comes to accepting the reality of my conditions. On the other hand, I might just be a believer of hope and miracles.

Some mornings I limp to the bathroom. Other mornings, I make it with some stiffness and there are mornings where I need to use the walls for support because I am afraid to lose my balance. The thing about mornings is that there are not unpredictable. While I know that I will wake up in pain, I never know the extent of that pain until my alarm clock goes off. I have not had a pain free morning in over two years. However, I do have good days on the mornings where I awake with some achiness and stiffness so they are, if anything, indicators of better days. But I don’t actually recall a pain free morning and if anything, mornings are reminder that remission is so far away for me.

Aside from the pain, I deal with what I call “fibromyalgia mornings.” These are the mornings where in addition to pain, I wake up with an upset stomach, nausea, a headache and/or neck ache, and of course, pain – like I have run over by a truck while I slept. These are the days where I really want to call in sick and just sleep, but I don’t think my employers would keep me if I did that every time I felt this awful. To me, those mornings are the most challenging.

I know that I am not immune to illness and pain. In fact, I am reminded daily and while I want to give into the pain and the ill feelings, I know that I can’t. The worst thing I can do is to give in and lay in bed all day. I need to get up, go out and live my life. I need to show my body that I am capable and that my conditions don’t get to win. I need to succeed to feel to somewhat “normal,” and I need to feel like I can work towards improving my health. Letting my diseases win won’t going to get me anywhere but bedridden.

The only advice I can offer here is not to give into the bad days and to keep moving despite painful mornings. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in the cycle of impossibility and strive for little victories because little victories can become bigger ones. I have learned that I can still set achievable goals; hold myself accountable for all my responsibilities, and I can still be successful. My definition of success may have changed but I have not. I am still as strong and as stubborn as I have always been.


7 thoughts on “Mornings and Chronic Pain

  1. Lana,Thanks for this post. I think you're right that one of the worst things you can do is just give into the pain. One or two days is okay, but I think it's best to keep moving. Pain can overtake your thoughts and drains your motivation if you let it. As I prepare to return to school for my second year of graduate school, this post was an important reminder. It would be easy to just give up (something I've been toying with through all of this pain), but in the long run it would probably hurt me more. Thank you Lana

  2. You are welcome Maya. I have a few months left until I get my master’s degree and some mornings, I am not sure how I do anything – living my life, going to work, taking classes, and being a mother to my kids. It is tiring but I try not to complain, because I know that these days will be a distant memory when my kids are older, and I will actually miss them. You are absolutely correct about the “long run.” Moreover, our attitudes play an overall rule in how we feel.

  3. The bad thing about this is, I am a morning person still. My mind still wants to get up and get started but, like you point out, the body is not so ready to. The first 30 minutes is the worst, on my days off, I often jump in the hot tub after waking up to loosen everything up. On work days a "hot as I can stand it shower" helps me. From time to time I dream of being healthy and racing motorcycles again. Without fail though, the shrill beep, beep, beep of the alarm clock always brings me back to reality. It's not easy being us, living with chronic pain is not for wimps.

  4. Thanks Amanda. I believe that while we do not have a choice to be sick, we still can choose to be happy despite chronic illness and pain.Thanks Sheila. That is the way I choose to live my life. I don’t believe in missed opportunities because I have either taken them or thought fully about not taking them. Terry, I want to still be a morning person but it is hard. You are absolutely right that “living with chronic pain is not for wimps.” I did not realize how strong I was until RA and FMS reared their ugly heads.

  5. wow im so glad i came across you blog.. lost of info just want i was looking for i start one called goodmorning pain.. your still here . but it doesnt look that your maybe as i go along any who… GOODMORNING TO YOU . have a pain free day


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