Hey there! It’s Megan from AustenDumas.com. I wanted to discuss an aspect of the Dewey 24-hour Read-a-thon that you rarely hear about: managing chronic pain during this unique event.
I have Lupus, an autoimmune disease that can affect every organ in the body. One of the many ways it affects my body is by inflaming synovial joints. It’s the most common joint-type found in the body, and some examples of synovial joints are: hips, knees, wrists, elbows, knuckles, and between the C1 and C2 vertebrae (in the neck).
There are many reasons why a person could experience chronic pain. They could have a chronic illness, like Fibromyalgia or arthritis, or it could be a lasting impact from a previous injury. I did my best to consider as many pain-causing health problems as possible, but I am most familiar with arthritis. If anything I say goes against what your doctor has told you, listen to your doctor.
Here are a few things I have discovered make the read-a-thon easier on your body.
- Get plenty of rest leading up to the read-a-thon. This is especially important if you plan on staying awake for the entire 24-hour period. Many people with chronic pain suffer from insomnia—I know I do—and accumulating a sleep debt can be difficult to pay off. Try to get a good night of sleep for a minimum of 3 days before the read-a-thon. Doing the same thing after the read-a-thon will also help speed up recovery.
- Do you have your hot packs and/or ice packs ready? Or your favorite pain management devices? Hot packs are most effective on muscle tension and ice packs reduce inflammation/swelling. I also like to put a small squishy pillow behind my lower back for extra support.
- Consider your seating options. Some chairs are deceptively comfortable, but leave you feeling like you tumbled around in your dryer. Think about what body parts you need to support. Back? Hips? Neck? Wrists and elbows?
- Don’t spend the entire day sitting in one spot. This is the most important piece of advice I can give you, and it’s the one I most often neglect. Shame on me. As a former Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program certified instructor, I cannot help but gush about the Arthritis Foundation’s various exercise programs—especially the ones you can do while sitting down. They even have videos you can watch online here: http://www.arthritistoday.org/what-you-can-do/staying-active/exercise-videos/ You might want to try the two minute exercise routines. And if you don’t want to waste a single minute while you’re moving around, grab an audiobook.
- Stay hydrated. It’s easy to get absorbed in a great novel, but staying hydrated will help keep your body from feeling like it has a hangover the next day. Set your timer to go off at different intervals so you can hydrate and update your social media status.
My advice is mostly common sense, but it’s not always ‘fun’ advice to follow. And sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. This is your reminder: Above everything else, take care of yourself. And have a fun, pain-free Dewey 24-hour Read-a-Thon.