Dealing with chronic pain tough but it can be done

On November 19, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

(repost from a 2011 article that I wrote)

Let’s face it. Being in constant pain is no fun.

For those of us who live 24/7 with the chronic pain of fibromyalgia, there is usually a desperation to find something, anything that will relieve us of the seemingly never-ending pain.

I’ve been living with fibromyalgia and chronic pain since June 28, 2000, as a direct result of a car accident on Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia (yet) and no, it is not all in my head.

And chronic pain? Well, I’m not alone there either.

  • *One in five Canadians suffer from chronic pain, children are not spared and the prevalence increases with age;
  • Chronic pain is associated with the worst quality of life as compared with other chronic diseases such as chronic lung or heart disease;
  • Chronic pain costs more than cancer, heart disease and HIV combined. Estimates place direct health care costs for Canada to be more than $6 billion per year and productivity costs related to job loss and sick days at $37 billion per year.

(*Phillips and Schopflocher 2008; Schopflocher, Jovey et al. 2010)

My goal is to offer hope, inspiration and encouragement to so many people who suffer with daily pain.

I offer speaking engagements, and am working toward running (not walking) eight kilometres.

One step forward, two steps back — that’s how chronic pain works.

At the moment, I’m getting help from Mia Sutherland (now Mia Jerritt) a medical exercise specialist at the Core Fitness Studio in Comox. Mia’s chronic pain program is superb.

Exercise, although painful, is crucial to happiness, when living with pain.

I believe that too many people who live with chronic pain give up, stop moving, stop trying.

Although I understand (I have been there, and still is there, on many, many days), it breaks my heart, because people just need support. They need people in their cheering section, and to know, that it doesn’t take much movement, to get the ball rolling with movement again to receive some benefit physically, but even more importantly, socially, mentally and emotionally.

I know exercise well, having studied physical education at a university level, and having worked for New Westminster Parks and Recreation for almost 10 years, and having been the co-ordinator for the pilot project for the City of Courtenay’s Prescription For Health Program.

If you are reading this and suffer with chronic pain, and I could say just one thing to inspire you, it is :

Never, Ever, Ever Give Up.

There is always hope.

There is always someone out there who will reach out and give you a hand, if you will receive it.

This class with Mia Sutherland is that hand for me. After 10+ years of living with chronic pain, I know that with fibromyalgia can come anxiety and overwhelming fear, and that to just show up, to get through the door of any fitness program can be hard for many of us, and takes tremendous courage and mental energy.

Maybe if I can share a little of my journey, it might help you walk through the door?

You can do this.

By Brenda Johima

You can find Brenda Johima on Twitter at @brendajohima and on FaceBook at @johima

Photo: Brenda Johima Nordic walking in Paradise Meadows, on Mount Washington.


Article Update: Mia Jerritt is now an ACCC & Certified Professional Coach through the International Coaching Federation and owner of Integrated Life Strategies.


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