I haven’t seen much talk about the effect of distraction on managing pain so I thought I would start a new conversation about it.
I was raised to “walk it off!” whenever something happened. Basically (said with tongue firmly in cheek) unless you were bleeding profusely or had a compound fracture my parents told us to “jump up!” and “walk it off!” and “get back in the game!” and “get moving and see how you feel in a hour.”
As it turns out, they were right. There are more and more official studies out there about how “walking it off” and “keeping busy” distracts your brain from pain. Some studies have indicated that the busier your brain is dong other things the less amount of brain space is taken up with the perception of pain. If you search Pain Research Distraction a ton of information comes up.
I know this is true for me. If I can just get to work, I can get distracted, and whatever the current pain is isn’t so bad any longer. Most of the time. Of course there are those days… but this isn’t about that, this is about keeping busy.
I have several hobbies I enjoy, I read constantly, I contribute to blog sites like this one. Keeping busy keeps my perceived pain level down. I’ve even been known to haul myself over to a friend’s house and sit on their sofa in general misery watching their TV instead of my own because it forces me to “get moving” and to interact and interaction helps distract me and reduces the misery.
What about the rest of you? How does distraction work for you? How do you “solider on” through it?