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Preventing a pain crisis: My Pain Plan

Methods of Avoiding Pain Crises
1. Drink lots of fluids: Water, juices, Gatorade are all good choices. Most pops and caffeinated beverages do not provide as beneficial hydration as these other choices

2. Dress warmly: make sure you have a jacket with you whenever you go out, just in case the weather turns cold or wet. Having an umbrella close by will help keep you from getting wet and cold, also.

3. Only swim in water warmer than 84 degrees: Most of the regulated swimming pools in Seattle are this warm, but check with the pool managers to make sure before jumping in. Also, if you begin to feel cold while in the pool, come out right away, dry off quickly, and get warm clothes on.

4. Get enough sleep at night: Having a regular bedtime schedule with at least 9 hours of sleep will give your body time to rest, reduce your stress and give you energy for the next day.

5. Reduce your stress: Take time to relax during the day with yoga, walks or meditation. Avoid situations that increase your stress as much as possible. Plan your days with times of activity separated by times of rest.

6. Stay active: Having regularly scheduled exercise at a level that is comfortable for you at least 3 times a week for 20 minutes will keep your muscles and bones healthy. Make sure to stretch well before exercising, and take it slowly if you are just starting an activity or returning to your activity after a pain crisis.

Helpful Pain Management Strategies
1. Heat: using hot water bottles, warm packs and heating pad to the area where you are having pain can significantly help reduce pain in that area. Make sure the heat source is not so hot that it will burn you, and only keep it on for 20 minutes at a time, with at least 20 minutes between treatments.

2. Rest: Your body needs time to rest when you are having a sickle cell pain crisis, so get plenty of sleep. Yoga is another good method of helping your body rest well.

3. Mobility: While it is important to rest when you are having pain, it is also important to have some exercise during the day to avoid having other complications such as pneumonia. Take at least 3 five minute walks a day, and use your incentive spirometer or take at least 10 deep breaths every 2 hours to keep your lungs functioning well.

4. Massage: Depending on how your pain feels, having someone massage the area can help ease some of the pain. Be sure that your doctor is not concerned about blood clots for you before massaging your legs.

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