Wednesday, 26 September 2018

September is Pain Awareness Month 2018

So I thought I do a post on pain as September is Pain Awareness Month. Unfortunately chronic pain is a key symptom of all of my main illnesses. Whether it be headaches/migraines, muscle spasms, joint pain, musculoskeletal, stomach/abdominal or neuropathic pain.

Pain can either be widespread meaning is is in multiple parts of your body or all over body pain. Or there is regional pain which is pain in a specific area such as your right shoulder which is because I've just dislocated it.


Acute pain is sudden pain and doesn't hang around for long, where as chronic pain is longer lasting and may lasts days, weeks or even months.


For me I had a baseline level of pain which is my usual level of pain that I live with daily that is managed by daily medication and PRN (as and when needed) pain relief medication which I use as 'breakthrough' pain relief when the pain flares 
where my baseline pain flares up and becomes more severe. The PRN medication can range from paracetamol to morphine depending on how much and how bad the pain is. I also use alternatives too such as my TENS machine and heat. I also use exercises such as the ones given to me by my physiotherapist, or just doing some yoga stretches; I also use splints and braces; pacing myself is also a really good tool and I also use mobility aids like my wheelchair or my crutches.

I prefer personally to use the term 'pain relief' as often it never full takes that pain away. It just reduces the level of pain I'm in so I can get on with my life as much as possible.

Pain is very tricky to control as it's very unpredictable and is very difficult to live with.


I struggle with lots of different types of pain which can be tricky and sometimes unbearable at times.

Musculoskeletal pain 
affects the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and bones. My back, especially my lower back where I have my hyperlordosis (inner curvature of the lower spine) and also from my muscle spasms. 

Neuropathic Pain is caused by damage or problems with the nervous system. It can result in a number of different sensations from burning, to numbness to a pins-and-needles sensation.


Joint pain is attributed mostly to my hypermobility with my joints being lax so they easily sublux or even dislocate; because my joints are 'loose' it can cause discomfort and pain.


Muscle pain can range from aches to muscle fatigue to tenderness and more. Most of my muscle pain comes from having M.E. but also from having tonic-clonic seizures.


Abdominal/Stomach Pain which is mostly due to my IBS but also because my digestive system is stretcher due to having faulty collagen because of my HSD.

Headaches and Migraines I live with Chronic Daily Headaches, I've gotten so used to having them that they're just "there". Sometimes the headaches brew into a migraine, for me its either a Migraine with an Aura or in the extreme a Hemiplegic Migraine, but thankfully I'm not on medication and since them I haven't had any major migraine attacks.

"Many people with HSD will experience frequent acute injuries such as sprains, strains, subluxations and dislocations. These injuries can cause short-term pain but many people with HSDs also have chronic pain." - JB Occupational Therapy

"Pain that can be persistent and difficult to control. Pain is often muscular, but it can also be rheumatic or neuropathic (where it has a burning or searing quality and may be associated with paresthesia and other sensory disturbances)." - M.E. Association
"Chronic pain occurs when signals of pain remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or even years. This can take both a physical and emotional toll on a person. This type of pain does not always respond to medication." - FND Hope


Living with chronic pain isn't easy, you get so used to being in pain that you forget what it feels like to be pain free.

I embrace the good days when my pain is minimal and I can get on with my day, but in an instant that can change. My abdominal pain my suddenly flare up, or I my dislocate my shoulder. And I dread the bad pain time, when I'm in such unbearable pain I can't do anything and I am restless because I can't get comfortable and I'm exhausting all my resources to ease the pain just that tiny fraction. 

Even sensory information can be painful, this is partly due to my M.E. and partly to do with my headaches/migraines; I wear tinted lenses as I'm very light sensitive and I have a pair of ear defenders for when noise can be painful. Sometimes when I'm quite unwell even touch, like the weight of my body on the bed or the weight of a blanket on top of me and movement can be painful.

Living with chronic pain is hard to sum up and it is much more widespread than the pain itself, you get the side effects from the medication you take to manage your pain, pain can leave you tired and brain fogged, it affects my sleep and mood. It can also be very isolating, especially when people around you don't understand your chronic pain, especially as it can't be seen.

I've come to learn to live with chronic pain and embrace the good days and endure he bad days.

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