Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bittersweet Pain

If you experience physical pain, please don't ignore it! I tried working two demanding jobs and ignored the pain I was in, but it kept getting worse. Now I know that as soon as my pain increases, I need to stop life's craziness, rest, and address the pain. Otherwise, I know it will get out of control and become more difficult to treat.

Newsweek featured an article entitled "The Changing Science of Pain" by Mary Carmichael (June 4, 2007). In the article, Mary discusses the complexities of chronic pain. Pain can be a beneficial signal in our body that tells us something is wrong. With chronic pain patients the neurons are constantly firing, screaming to the brain that something is wrong. "Chronic pain is one of the most pervasive and intractable medical conditions in the United States...Regardless of [the patient's] injuries, their genes, their gender or their background, nearly all chronic-pain patients agree on one thing: the hyperactive neurons can make life near unbearable. The cascade of changes in the nervous system can lead to an equally painful cascade of events in a patient's life; memory loss, job loss, marital strife, depression, suicide. And through it all the body hurts like hell."

How do you stop the pain?!

I've been through a lot of surgeries, medications, and experimental treatments. I have finally found a combination of therapies that help to somewhat numb the pain. Everyone responds differently to treatments, so be sure to consult your doctor before trying anything new.

I go to a multidisciplinary clinic. At the clinic, there are physical therapists, doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, dietitians, and psychologists all working together to treat pain. Chronic illness needs multipart therapy. Acupuncture helps with the nerve pain. Physical therapy treats muscle pain. Diet, medications and supplements help with inflammation, and my primary care doctor/ pain specialist oversees how it all works together.

As far as pain treatment goes, I love acupuncture. I would never voluntarily go and get 12 needles stuck in me several times a month unless it worked, and it definitely helps. Acupuncture interrupts the pain signals from continually firing, and gives me some needed relief.


Ben and Heidi said...

I think you are doing so great Em. It is good that you are always continuing to do and try new things to help you feel a little better.

Em said...

Thanks Heidi! You are really sweet and I love your blog!

carrs in tally said...

i love your pic w/ the needles! you're so creative and always give great advice with your research!