The sun and warmth of spring have finally arrived and we are longing to get outside and do some gardening, ride our bikes or find other fun spring & summer activities to do.
It’s easy to get carried away and do lots of fun things and find lots of things that we “have” to do. Why do I put “must” in quotes? Because these “musts” are things that have nothing to do with our survival, they are musts we create or that we inherited from previous generations, but if we zoom out, it might not really be a “must”.
If you are living with any kind of pain, you need to prioritize what, when and how much to do. If you have a lawn to rake, you may need to split the raking up over several days and make sure you get good rest and recovery between raking so that you don’t have a setback or have an increase in pain so that your daily life is affected. The same applies if the boat is to be painted, the windows washed, or whatever needs to be done, regardless of the season or activity. Do a little at a time and you’ll be able to do more in the long run.
Lifehack #1 for gardening
One spring, when I had a serious setback and could barely move, but I still wanted to be outside and get the dry autumn leaves off the lawn, I found a way to rake that worked for me. I sat in a plastic garden chair and pulled the rake straight towards me. It took time, absolutely, but the alternative would have been that I couldn’t have raked at all because standing up and raking, as usual, was not an option. This way I could still be outside, get some exercise and at the same time be useful. It didn’t matter that it took time, just being able to do something was extremely valuable to me.
Nowadays I use my TENS machine from the start if I have to rake, for example, to prevent the pain from being triggered too much. TENS is electrostimulation via impulses, using electrodes that are attached to special places where the pain tends to come. These impulses partially or completely block the pain. Massaging an area that hurts usually feels good, or as has always been done – you blow on the pain. Massaging or blowing are other ways of blocking the pain impulses, although TENS is much more effective.
If you place the electrodes on a muscle in the area of pain, the muscle starts to work and the body’s own morphine-like substances, endorphins, are released. The endorphins relieve your pain.
The link below will put you in touch with Enovis (formerly DJO), which has retailers all over the world and is an expert in TENS and other products.
Lifehack #2 – for a chafe-free summer
An extra tip for avoiding blisters on your hands and preventing both thigh and shoe chafing is The Skin Agent’s anti-chafing stick. So easy to carry, non-sticky, and much more comfortable, kind to skin, environment, and wallet than using anti-chafing plasters.
Of course, this works great if you have orthoses or joint supports that can also cause chafing.
No, these aren’t products I sell or get any kickback for, I just want to share really great products that help me create a better everyday life with my pain. That’s how I’ve made my invisible pain to my faithful companion instead of the hated enemy it once was.
Take care of yourself and enjoy the spring!
ALL my best,