Don’t Let Those “Pain Companions” Affect the Quality of Your Life

Temporary Seating That Closes Itself !

Don’t Let Those “Pain Companions” Affect the Quality of Your Life

By Khadi Madama Quick-Seat Chair Wellness Coordinator

When I first began working in the health care industry back in the late ’70’s, I was so happy to be in a field where I could make a difference, and grateful that I worked for a company that invited, welcomed and shared my zeal for innovative ideas to improve the lives of those in assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care. I was given a very wide berth to use my holistic skills to engage, educate and entertain the residents in my classes and workshops. Sometimes this included visits from various agencies to check out what I was doing and to make sure that I was in compliance with their guidelines. I always was, and to my delight, I often got them to participate along with my regular attendees. It was a great experience for sure, for nowhere is it more possible to understand the scope of other’s physical restrictions than to participate with them. It was fun, on occasion, for my wonderful residents who had gotten pretty strong and flexible, to out-perform the agency’s surveyor.

It was important for me to be observant of any restrictions of the residents. I was very young at the time and didn’t have any physical or medical problems of my own so clearly being sensitive their restrictions was foremost in my thoughts. Working in concert with both the recreational and physical rehab departments, I can tell you how much better things would have been for having a few Quick-Seat Chairs dotting the long corridors for some of the walking programs I had created.  Quick-Seat Chairs would not be invented for another 30 years. I wanted to learn all that I could about Arthritis, COPD, and other age related problems, going on a deep dive of research any time some new facet arose that I knew was important. I noticed that often time’s people would be afraid to try something new not because they knew it would be painful, but rather because they feared it would be painful. That fear was my enemy as I worked to assure my charges that anytime we were together, we could monitor, mitigate and modify any movements we were making so that they would be able to participate in some meaningful way.

I learned about “pain companions,” a term used to describe how our bodies react to loneliness, grief and fear and how it can manifest in restrictive pain, kind of like an unwanted visitor.  How it can keep people from normal daily activities that they want to do or need to do and that they enjoy doing, and in so doing, compound and exacerbate a mole hill of pain into a mountain of pain and often isolation from friends and family. A newsletter that I received from one of the Arthritis support organizations had a name for this physical problem. They called it “Pain Behavior,” explaining that the mere thought of trying a new activity would cause pain and therefore, the person avoided even trying something new.

The great thing about this, however, is that it’s manageable. By making small changes, the pain companion starts to dissipate the more the person reaches out and makes small steps to override those fears, gets proper advice from their trusted medical professionals and starts to take control of their pain management through planning and embracing a hopeful attitude. Planning ahead for visits, outings, travel and any activities outside the home can make a huge difference. If we know that we won’t be stranded with no place to sit, it sure speaks volumes as to whether or not we can attempt a new activity. 

This year I’ll be doing a “walk” along the 50 mile hike in south New Jersey known as the Batona Trail in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. I can tell you honestly, I won’t be walking all 50 miles. The journey will be broken into smaller sections and accessed from various points available. Even though I don’t have arthritis, you can be sure that I’m looking into all of the amenities and where they are located just in case to be on the safe side.

I often think of walking and sitting as a kind of Yin and Yang. A balance. And, I always think of the sitting part as being fulfilled by a Quick-Seat Chair, because it’s not at home that you have to worry about so much, it’s ‘out there’ when you’re trying to live your life. Be encouraged to take small steps with well-laid plans, great advice from your medical professional, good walking shoes, knee supports and whatever you need to reclaim and enhance the enjoyment in your life. Stay tuned for more ways to walk and sit with us at Quick-Seat Chair, we salute you! May the wind be at your back and a Quick-Seat Chair nearby to sail through life’s journeys?

Temporary Seating that closes itself

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