Adults Pain Management
Here is an exclusive preview of Managing Your Pain: Beyond Standard Treatments – one of the Perspectives resources. Managing Your Pain addresses pain and the multitude of alternative pain management options, examining what these options may offer you as an adult with hemophilia.
Take advantage of
the Perspectives program today.
Hemophilia and Pain: A Reality for Many
Hemophilia and pain go hand in hand. Because you have hemophilia, pain is likely very relevant to your daily life.1 Joint and muscle bleeds can both cause pain. For people with bleeding disorders, pain often affects quality of life more than anything else.2 In one study of adults with hemophilia, 89% said that they had significant problems performing daily activities because of pain. Eighty-five percent described their quality of life as only moderate because of low spirits.1
There are many options for treating pain. In general, these options fall into two distinct categories: 1) medical treatments and 2) complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
Meditation: Transcending Pain With Nick
Staying as mentally and physically healthy as possible is important for people with hemophilia. That’s why I began learning karate*† almost 20 years ago. My doctors encouraged me because they knew that the stretching and strengthening could help me keep my joints and muscles healthier.
†NOTE:Non-contact karate is recommended.
On my way to becoming a second-degree black belt,* I was introduced to meditation. Its calming effect helps me in many parts of my life. For instance, since I’ve been back in school, I use meditation to mentally prepare for tests, relaxing and focusing my mind on an upcoming exam. I also found that meditation helps with my joint pain. It doesn’t physically stop the pain, but it changes my experience of the pain. I find it very effective for mild to moderate pain. More severe pain is harder to control, but I can at least reduce it with meditation. Basically, I manage to transcend the physical pain, kind of tricking my mind into thinking that the pain is gone.
Meditation isn’t difficult to learn, but it can take some time. It took me about four to six months of practice before I could use it effectively for pain. Some people can get there faster, and for some it takes longer, depending on personal factors such as your motivation and desire to learn it.
Learning to meditate is worth the effort. Meditation has certainly helped me manage my pain, and it has no side effects or risks. Sadly, it’s part of our culture that we often want the “easy fix.” We’d rather just take a pill than work at achieving a healthier life. But I’ve learned through practicing karate*† and meditation that the easiest way isn’t always the best way.
“Pain can impact your life in many ways. It can affect your sleep, appetite, social life, relationships, work, and hobbies.”
*NOTE:Not all activities are appropriate for all people with hemophilia. Consult with your healthcare professional about which activities are appropriate for you and what safety precautions to take.
- Wallny T, Hess L, Seuser A, Zander D, Brackmann HH, Kraft CN. Pain status of patients with severe haemophilic arthropathy. Haemophilia. 2001;7:453-458.
- Pain—the Fifth Vital Sign: a Resource on Managing Pain for People With Bleeding Disorders. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Canadian Hemophilia Society. http://www.hemophilia.ca/files/Managing_pain.pdf.