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Living Beyond Your Pain Book exercise by Joanne Dahl and Tobias Lundgren: Clean and dirty pain

I bought a book quite a few years back called ‘Living Beyond Your Pain’ by Joanne Dahl and Tobias Lundgren. In the past, I got a little way through it and then never followed through with it. However, I’ve decided to pick it back up and try some of the exercises. I want to share the activities I do in the hope that it will help you on your chronic pain journey.

Living beyond your pain book.

The principle of the book is “using acceptance and commitment therapy to ease chronic pain.” It introduces theory and practise as one. For those of you who aren’t familiar with ACT, it is a practise of therapy that focuses on accepting what we cannot control and take action to improve our lives.

What is ACT to help with pain

Chapter 1: What is Pain? What is ACT?

To start the book, this chapter explores your experience with pain management and the strategies you have used over the years. It looks at what you have tried, the effect of them in the short and long term on your pain and the positive or negative effect they had on your quality of life.

Types of Pain ManagementShort-term effects on painLong-term effects on painLong-term effects on quality of life.
Occupational therapyGiven hand splints to wear, advice for stress management and exercises. The hand splints help in the short term for flare up of hand pain. Stress management advice works in the short term but I often forget about it in the long term and the exercises helped for a bit but they became boring. Hand splints don’t take away the hand pain completely, Stress management fluctuates and don’t need the exercises anymore as I have progressed with my exercise level. The OT was really nice to talk to, understanding, kind and compassionate but ultimately I no longer require the advice of the OT. She helped me to continue with my running.
Naproxen Pain KillerNaproxen helps in the short term with pain management. I take it when in a flare or when my pain is at a high level. Doesn’t get rid of the pain but helps – whether it’s a placebo because you know you’ve taken something?Long term use of Naproxen not recommended and doesn’t take the pain away in the long term. Can cause constipation and stomach upset and I have to be careful what I use as I am breastfeeding. Long-term they are a useful tool to be able to order from my doctor as something I know helps in a flare.
Bupherphorine Pain PatchesThese had some effect in the short-term on my pain when I was in a major flareup after childbirth. Long term use not recommended and doesn’t make the pain disappear.Became allergic to the plaster that you stick the patch on with. Couldn’t take long term due to the addictive quality and because I was breastfeeding. I won’t be able to use these again.
Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. These have a short term effect on my pain and dull the very edges of the pain I experience. Again, not a miracle cure and not something I take regularly. The mental load of remembering to take it can become too much and ibuprofen can cause me to have an upset stomach. Long term they are a useful tool to rely on in an acute flare.
Physiotherapy /Chiropractor Some relief from initial massage or manipulation. Slightly sore after a day or two. Short term benefit from the exercises given. You only get 12 or so sessions on the NHS of physiotherapy so isn’t a long term strategy. Long term relief isn’t given with physiotherapy. Helped me to prepare for my weight lifting competition and get over shin splints. Hard to keep going to appointments though and finding time and childcare. I find it hard to keep up the exercises on a long term basis.
Heat such as hot baths and hot water bottleSome short term relief from heat. The bath helps whilst I am in the water. The hot water bottle allows me to sleep and helps my lower back pain short term. Once out the bath, not much relief felt. Heat doesn’t have a long term effect on it but helps in the short term. Enables me to sleep without too much pain. Baths can be challenging to get into and out of and sometimes I don’t have the energy to take a bath. Heat is a useful strategy and tool to have.
Tens machineSome short term relief. A little painful to begin with. Doesn’t help long term. Useful tool to have and helps me to sit on the sofa and watch TV.

To conclude, this exercise has been really useful to me as sometimes I can think that the pain I am in is never-ending and there is nothing I can do about it. On reflection, I can see but I have some short term tools that I can use when my pain becomes overwhelming.

Mummy the Fibro Warrior Top Tip

  1. So, now, over to you! Firstly, think about all the treatments you have tried both medicinal and non-medicinal. What were the short term effects on your pain? What were the long-term effects? What were the long term effects on your quality of life?

If there is one takeaway I’d like you to remember today is that when your pain is bad all hope is not lost. Remember what things offer you some relief from your pain and use them to your advantage! I need you to know you are doing the best you can, your child/children love you just as you are and you are Mummy the Fibro Warrior.

Until next time,


p.s. I’d love for you to let me know what types of pain treatments you have tried so that we can help others and share knowledge. Do let me know in the comments below!

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