Chronic Pain - My Story
by Lisa Poole on Thursday, January 08, 2015
Chronic pain stinks.
I lived with pain for a bunch of years.
In the beginning, it was on and off then grew into constant. Some days were better than others but it was always there singing in the background. I am now happy to say I do not suffer from that pain anymore. Yay me! Here is my story….
I have been reflecting the past few days on how my life changed in 2014. Last year at this time I was in recovery from a hip replacement surgery. I was in pain, doped up, depressed and anxious. What led to the surgery started years ago. I was told when I was 27 that I had degenerative arthritis in my right hip and that I would need a new hip by 50. At 27 you look at the doctor and think he is nuts. Especially when he tells you to quit the activities you love to do. Did I listen? Nope. I continued with my exercise programs and chasing the baby about. Shortly after diagnosis, I got preggers for the second time and the weird hip pain I had stopped. After my second son was born I did not get the pain in the hip back for many, many years. I did have chronic lower back pain but never put the two together.
Speed up to 5 years ago. I started to lose some range of motion in my hip. Hmmmm thought nothing of it.
Then I started having this weird knee ache with leg and hip pain.
I tried chiropractors and having lots of massages. The pain continued and kept getting worse.
I went to PT (thinking this will fix it) to be told again I needed x-rays and an MRI.
The PT sent me to a sports medicine doc.
I was hopeful.
Off I went. X-ray first thing. Doc comes in and says “Boy. I am glad I don’t have your hip.” Me “No kidding…”
He gave me his thoughts and said what everyone had been saying, go for an MRI.
The last thing I wanted to do.
The thought of being stuffed in a tube made me nauseous. I sucked it up. It was not pleasant but I did it.
Two days later back at doc’s office.
Again I hear ” I am glad I don’t have your hip.” again “No kidding…”
To make a long story short a visit with a surgeon who said hip was shot and I need it replaced. It was up to me when.
I tried living with the pain. I tried meds (made me nauseous), I tried acupuncture (it did help manage the pain for a bit), I tried a Naturopath along with Chiropractors and massage all to no avail. Finally a visit to a new surgeon, same story. The decision was made, the date booked. December 26th 2013 I got a new hip for Christmas!
Here are my thoughts on chronic pain. First I got irritable (who the heck wouldn’t, you hurt all the time) from the pain and the lack of sleep it causes. Then I hit anger. Why me what have I done to cause it. Why can’t these doctors tell me why (mind you I would not go for the MRI to find out for a long time)?
Then was fear.
Fear of finding out what really was the cause.
Sometimes it is easy to be angry at the unknown then to face and deal with the known. You add these emotions into the daily stresses of life and it does more to your personality than you realize. It changes you, changes how you react to situations and how you view life in general. It did me. I became very insecure and my self-esteem plummeted. I also became depressed and very anxious. Did I realize this was happening to me? No, and if I did I would have denied it all.
After several years of chronic pain, 2014 started off as a huge challenge. I was in pain, depressed and worried I had made the worst decision of my life. Time passed the pain got better and rehab continued. Before I knew it I was pain-free, moving great and mentally feeling better than I had in years. I was truly happy for the first time in a long time. My day to day life had not changed. I was still working the same as before but my whole outlook has changed. I was sleeping like I had when I was a teenager. I was not constantly worried about how I moved and if it would hurt more. Life has really changed.
Why did I share this with you? I want you to know I understand pain. I understand how it affects you and those around you.
There are people everywhere who are in chronic pain. They can be a family member, a friend or co-worker. You may know about it but you may not. People with chronic pain try and fake it. Most of us don’t want to seem weak and needy. We pretend. Many get so depressed thoughts turn black. You watch them change and don’t understand why. They change and don’t even realize. *There are even bigger problems with chronic pain and drug addiction which is also an epidemic here in the USA. Way beyond my scope.*
How does this all relate to massage? Even though massage may not take the pain away what it can do is help with the stress of it all.
Massage has been shown to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) and increase endorphins (happy hormone and is also a pain reducer). A reduction in stress levels is so important when you are dealing with chronic pain. If you are stressed this exacerbates the pain and only makes things worse mentally and physically.
If you or a loved one is in chronic pain. Come my way. Let's reduce your stress and get some good hormones flowing to help you conquer another day.