Coronavirus and Chronic Pain

Coming Home to the Coronavirus

We came home from the beach to the Coronavirus!!!

My husband and I were at the Oregon Coast for our yearly vacation in early March. The decision was made to stay off the Internet while in our room and to only briefly check emails when out.

Blissfully Unaware of the Coronavirus

We enjoyed a lazy, slow pace staring at the ocean, the sunsets, and the full moon. Playing energetic games of ping pong, and walking on the beach led to long blissful naps.

We headed home and as we unloaded the luggage our son told us about the Coronavirus. That’s when we found out that bars, restaurants, and schools might be closing.

Returning Home

Photo by Mehrad Vosoughi 

There were two more days left of vacation at home so we spent the first day unpacking, reading emails, and just hanging out at home. We reminded ourselves that we were still on vacation, so we watched a movie, took a nap, and ate leftover gluten-free pizza.

Upon noticing our slow vacation pace, our son said, “You better get out and shop. They are talking about self-isolation starting tomorrow.” So, that’s what we did and have been sheltering-in-place since then.

Coronavirus Questions:

Photo by Alexandra Gorn 
  • How will I pay my bills?
  • Where can I buy toilet paper, brown rice, and dried beans?
  • Do I need to stock up on canned foods?
  • Will my senior graduate or my children go back to school this year? What happens next year?
  • Can I return to work? What happens if my company closes?
  • I have to know when will I see my elderly parents, adult children, grandchildren, partners, or friends?
  • How long will my unemployment benefits last?
  • What if my savings run out before this is over?
  • How do I stay out of the hospital if I get the virus?
  • Will I ever have deep restorative sleep again?

As I’ve talked with others, I have heard their fears during this time are filling them with more discomfort.

The questions you ask are pervasive. They hang in the background of your thoughts no matter what you are doing. So even though you all have different stories, you are all living through the same pandemic. You do not know what the future holds because of the coronavirus.

Is Your Pain Worse?

Fear grows.

Stress grows.

Anxiety grows.

Depression grows.

Pain grows.

In the time of the coronavirus have you found that your chronic pain is worse? Do you have more flares? Why?  “The human brain… is an ‘anticipation machine, and ‘making future’ is the most important thing it does.’ …Uncertainty diminishes how efficiently and effectively we can prepare for the future, and thus contributes to anxiety.” US Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI)

Increased stress, anxiety, and/or depression feels physically painful and if you already have chronic pain, you need to be even more aware.

“The overlap of anxiety, depression, and pain is particularly evident in chronic and sometimes disabling pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, low back pain, headaches, and nerve pain…. Chronic pain is depressing, and likewise, major depression may feel physically painful.”   The pain-anxiety-depression connection by Harvard Health Publishing.

In the deep dark depths of your feelings, don’t expect to say, “I’ll just be happy. If I fake it, I’ll make it all will be well.”

You may feel sad and lonely or guilty when you feel happy. Your feelings are valid AND you have those deeper thoughts while having daily persistent pain.

This is why creating a list of Transformative Tools is so important. Create one for yourself and DO at least one every day. Take a look at my blog for numerous ideas!

You Can Do This Right Now!

It takes no special tools. You don’t even have to change where you are sitting or standing. Have your family and friends join. Start all your online meetings with this.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Drop your shoulders. Repeat this until you feel yourself relaxing. That’s it!

Do You Feel More Relaxed?

I use many ACTION ITEMS daily to DISTRACT myself because I live with Trigeminal, Occipital, and Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia, Migraines, Fibromyalgia, Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Ulcerative Pancolitis. Without taking action to distract me I would be lost.

You will find a large list of Pain Management Tools on my website because I want to help reduce your pain. Now it is even more important than ever to take extra care. You will need many ideas to honor that you feel differently each day.

If ever there was a time to share knowledge on how to thrive with chronic pain, it is now. Please feel free to forward this information to not only those in need but those who live with others who have chronic pain.


Gail Sinclair, MHt, CNC is a hypnotherapist who helps those living with chronic pain go from discomfort to thriving by using hypnosis, pain management tools and resources.

She is a Master Hypnotherapist, Nutritional Consultant, and a Reiki Master Teacher. She has over 20 years in healing work and is an international award-winning speaker.

Gail lives in Portland, OR with her delightful husband, son, and cat. She can be found cooking, knitting, writing, and figuring out new ways to thrive with Trigeminal, and Occipital Neuralgia.

You can reach her at

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