Living in Pain

I’ve said for a very long time that I make a horrible sick person! I hate not feeling 100% and when I’m not, I often self-sabotage in other areas that I can actually control – like what I eat. You’d think if I’m unwell and can’t work out, I’d at least continue with healthy eating habits. Nope. Thankfully, due to covid and not at work, I don’t have easy access to complete crap and I don’t have junk in the house. And though I was unwell, I wasn’t sick.

I was in pain. Excruciating, mind numbing pain. Tuesday of last week, I was having sinus/allergy issues including a sore throat. Wednesday I still had a sore throat but I realized it wasn’t due to the post-nasal drip from the day before but it was a skeletal issue; something in my cervical vertebrae was messed up. Messed up big time. Thankfully my request for chiropractic treatment was approved and the change in clinic went through so I had actually made an appointment the day previous as I knew I needed an adjustment, but Monday – almost a full week – was the earliest they could get me in.

It was the worst pain I can remember. Possibly ever. Even more so than my foot surgeries. At least with my foot surgeries, I could put my foot up and it was all good! With my neck, every time I moved, pain. I had zero mobility in any direction. And, yeah, swallowing hurt. Thursday night I almost had my husband take me to the hospital I was in so much pain and Friday night he almost did. He either wasn’t asleep or I had woken him with my crying.

Yes, I went there. I had been in excruciating pain for days and I had zero relief. I didn’t know what to do to make the pain stop – tylonel or advil? Heat or cold? Sleep which is supposed to be a time of restoration was a time of constant pain. Every flinch, twitch, attempt to roll over was met with insane pain. I had enough. I was exhausted. And I cried.

Thankfully with my husband’s help, I found some relief. We had one of those triangular pillows that could go under your knees for support. Though I could barely articulate what I needed (other than for the pain to stop) he helped me on my back and get comfortable, propped up my knees, turned the AC back on – we’re also going through a heat wave which hasn’t been helping the sleep situation, either!

Blessedly, because of my husband’s help, I managed to calm down and get some sleep. Unfortunately, I also snore when I sleep on my back, so on the second night, when I woke on the Sunday and hubby wasn’t in bed, I thought he had gotten up – albeit early – but no. Apparently I was snoring SO loud – comically loud as he put it – he moved to the spare room and even then, every now and then, with his earplugs, he could STILL hear me! Thankfully I can start sleeping on my side a bit more so the snoring has lessened!

The chiropractor session was painful. As this was my first visit, there were all sorts of paperwork and assessments to be done – and why I couldn’t get in for an emergency session. Now that I’m a client, I’ll be able to get in short notice.

I can’t imagine living in pain constantly. Yes, I’ve had to deal with migraines and I’ve had plenty of injuries and a few surgeries but everything in the past I knew was temporary and/or I had medication to deal with the pain. I knew what to expect. I knew when the pain would peak and then it would subside. Last week, it got worse and worse and worse. I didn’t know specifically what was wrong and I didn’t know when it would end. No pain killers would work – but it didn’t stop me from trying and it showed me how easy it was to abuse drugs. 2 Tylonel didn’t work, up it to 3. Then 4. Let’s add some Asprin. If you don’t know what’s wrong and how to fix it, it’s very easy to self medicate incorrectly and that can be dangerous.

This is why it’s important to be self-aware. I didn’t know what was wrong or why it happened but I knew I needed to go to the chiropractor. The times when I was the most upset and gave into the pain was when I stopped focusing on my body cues. I knew something was wrong with my neck and I knew that I needed the chiropractor but I knew I had to have the assessment. So what can I do? Immobilize my neck. When is it the worst? When I sleep. So what can I do to help with that? The Thursday night I slept on the couch as I can sleep on my back on the couch. The Friday night I gave into my despair, so I lost the rational thought process – thankfully hubby stepped in for me and we found a solution.

And “funny” enough, once I started getting decent sleep was when my neck started getting better.

By the time I made it to the chiropractor appointment, I had about 45% mobility whereas when it was at its worst, I had probably only 30% mobility or less. After my chiro appointment I was up to 60% mobility and I go back on Friday for another adjustment.

Despair is a horrible thing and can drive you to make poor choices. It takes your focus off what ultimately needs to happen and leaves you focused on the immediate problem – in my case, physical pain. I was SO focused on the physical pain, I couldn’t think of anything else and that got me no where except in more pain. After my husband got me settled, I was able to breathe and meditate as best as I could and guess what? I was able to get sleep and I started getting better.

Pain sucks. A lot. Being in discomfort sucks. Being uncomfortable sucks. But how you react to these shitty moments directly reflects other areas of your life. Are you one to work through the uncomfortable moments or do you hide, avoid, and numb the discomfort?

I used to numb and it got me nowhere. When I stopped numbing and avoiding, I was able to grow and move forward. Yes, not all pain and situations are that easy to get through, but what’s the alternative?

Pause, breathe, ask for help, and know that nothing lasts forever. You can get through it.

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