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Living with Chronic Pain

I am always saddened to read stories like this. Being born with a chronic pain illness is one thing – acquiring it as an adult is another. However, the worst has to be getting injured while trying to do something good. I know that most of you have had the thought, “What the hell? I have been a good person, I have done good things, I have/am/done… Why am I being punished this way?!” It’s a common sentiment and there isn’t always an explanation. I wish everyone well, and please let me know in the comments your thoughts on acquiring chronic pain later in life.


Living with chronic pain: ‘I was determined to overcome the challenge life had set me’

Ian Semmons

By
Last updated: Wednesday, 30 January 2013 at 3:59 pm

Ian Semmons (right) at the Pain Exchange

A few minutes some 20 years ago changed my life for ever. Trying to prevent a robbery left me critically injured and fighting for life – a broken back, shattered ankles and head injuries led to many operations, nine months in hospital followed by 12 months in a rehabilitation centre as my battered body fought to recover.

It was tough with many ups and downs along with days of despair and frustration but I was determined to overcome the challenge life had set me. A constant companion was pain at a level I had never experienced before which left me physically and emotionally drained, often getting in the way of my recovery.

It made me irritable and at times difficult to get on with. I hate to imagine what people thought although I often wondered if they really understood my pain as they could not see it or feel it. Heavy doses of medication left me feeling out of control of my life along with physical discomfort which manifested in several ways. I had this nagging believe that one morning I would wake up and the pain would be gone.

After all the injuries I had suffered in the past, I wondered why the pain was not fading away this time. My family life suffered; the inability to play with my young daughter upset me and my partner asking why I got involved in the first place contributed to wearing me down.

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Illinois Legalizes Medical Marijuana For Children With Seizures

I am glad that finally someone has discovered the sense to act on this. Illinois has now legalized medical marijuana for children with seizures. I thought that this would have take much longer to come to fruition – it has been hard enough to legalize MMJ for adult use! I am interested to see where this goes. I am just glad that children are now getting the relief they need.


Illinois Legalizes Medical Marijuana For Children With Seizures

Posted: 07/20/2014 5:29 pm EDT Updated: 07/20/2014 5:59 pm EDT
The highly-rated strain of medical marijuana 'Blue Dream' is displayed among others in glass jars at Los Angeles' first-ever cannabis farmer's market at the West Coast Collective medical marijuana dispensary, on the fourth of July, or Independence Day, in Los Angeles, California on July 4, 2014 where organizer's of the 3-day event plan to showcase high quality cannabis from growers and vendors throughout the state. A vendor is seen here responding to questions and offering a whiff of the strain | FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images

The highly-rated strain of medical marijuana ‘Blue Dream’ is displayed among others in glass jars at Los Angeles’ first-ever cannabis farmer’s market at the West Coast Collective medical marijuana dispensary, on the fourth of July, or Independence Day, in Los Angeles, California on July 4, 2014 where organizer’s of the 3-day event plan to showcase high quality cannabis from growers and vendors throughout the state. A vendor is seen here responding to questions and offering a whiff of the strain | FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images

July 20 (Reuters) – Illinois children and adults with epilepsy will soon be allowed to use marijuana to ease their symptoms under a law signed on Sunday by Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, the latest in a series of measures loosening restrictions on cannabis by U.S. states.

The move to add epilepsy and other seizure disorders to the list of conditions legal to treat with marijuana or its extracts comes as numerous states have made medical use of the drug legal. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized its recreational use.
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How to Talk About Pain

How to Talk About Pain – Courtesy of http://www.nytimes.com/
By JOANNA BOURKEJULY 12, 2014

Credit Paul GarciaLONDON — IN 1926, Virginia Woolf published an essay on pain, “On Being Ill.” Isn’t it extraordinary, she observed, that pain does not rank with “love, battle and jealousy” among the most important themes in literature. She lamented the “poverty of the language of pain.” Every schoolgirl who falls in love “has Shakespeare, Donne, Keats to speak her mind for her; but let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry.”

Where are the novels or epic poems devoted to typhoid, pneumonia or toothaches, Woolf wondered? Instead, the person in pain is forced to “coin words himself, and, taking his pain in one hand, and a lump of pure sound in the other (as perhaps the inhabitants of Babel did in the beginning), so to crush them together that a brand new word in the end drops out.”

The difficulty in talking about painful sensations forces people to draw on metaphors, analogies and metonymies when attempting to communicate their suffering to others. Woolf — writing nearly a century after the popularization of ether, the first anesthetic — was perhaps too pessimistic about the creativity of sufferers. Take lower back pain, the single leading cause of disability worldwide. In the 1950s, one sufferer of back pain said that it felt like “a raging toothache — sometimes like something is moving or crawling down my legs.” Half a century later, one person confessed that “my back hurt so bad I felt like I had a large grapefruit down about the curve of the back.”

Woolf would not have been impressed perhaps by claims that backs hurt like a toothache or a grapefruit, but she was right to recognize that people in pain seek both to describe their suffering and to give meaning to it.

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Taking Your Life Back From Chronic Pain

Taking Your Life Back From Chronic Pain

US News

Imagine gritting it out with sharp, throbbing pain from a migraine or back injury for just a few hours. Or doing your best to concentrate at work through the ache of an abscessed tooth.

Now, imagine coping with similar pain for years — and though it goes away at times, it’s never for long. Sadly, that’s the reality for millions of Americans. Chronic pain can take over a person’s life, but it doesn’t have to. Still, there’s no magic pill. Learning to manage pain is a process you go through and a decision you make.

Pain’s Wide Reach

Pain is invisible — others can’t see it or touch it. There isn’t a blood test that measures pain, or an X-ray that confirms its existence. It can be hard for people to get their pain taken seriously. But pain is a big problem. About 100 million U.S. adults are affected by chronic pain, and it costs up to $635 billion yearly in medical care and lost productivity, according to a 2011 Institute of Medicine report.

Backaches and headaches (especially migraines) are the most common pain culprits, but there are many others. Arthritis, injuries, pain from cancer or heart disease, genetic conditions like sickle cell disease, and surgical complications like severed nerves — any of these can result in pain that becomes a continual presence.

[Read: How to Describe Medical Symptoms to Your Doctor.]

Here to Stay

For Penney Cowan, founder of the American Chronic Pain Association, the journey with pain began nearly 40 years ago. Fibromyalgia was the reason, but it took six years for doctors to properly diagnose it. Even today, the cause of fibromylagia is still unclear, but common symptoms include widespread muscle pain, fatigue and sleep problems. In Cowan’s case, pain affected nearly her entire body and worsened to the point that her quality of life was “down the tubes,” she says. “I couldn’t even hold a cup of coffee; it was too painful.” It became so bad, she says, that it consumed every waking thought and moment.

When does pain cross the line from temporary setback to lifelong condition? “If the pain’s been around for five years, the chances of having zero pain are probably pretty small,” says Robin Hamill-Ruth, an anesthesiologist, pain management specialist and president of the American Board of Pain Medicine. At that point, she says, pain management becomes the goal: “How do you get the pain to a level that it doesn’t control [patients’] lives — they control it?”

[Read: Yoga with Fibromyalgia: Carol Royal’s Story.]

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15 Things Not to Say to Someone with RA

For many of us with different issues we know that there are just some things that we would rather not hear from someone. Not everyone comes with the full knowledge of whatever illness we are experiencing and though they intend well, they inevitably say the wrong thing. The following article was posted a few weeks back called, 15 Things Not to Say to Someone with RA. I think that these 15 things extend past arthritis and can be used in some circumstances such as Lupus or other major illnesses. I’d like to use the 15 topics from the original post and elaborate on them with my own thoughts and not in any particular order. These are just my responses to the statements. They might not be the same answers you would pick so please let me know in the comments what you would say!

1. Those drugs are too dangerous…

Really? I know that most of us have read our labels and have been told countless times how dangerous the drugs are. In some cases, the side affects are almost worse than the illness itself. So, I don’t need your uninformed opinion or your judgment. You can converse with me on what I take (if I have told you in the past), but please: do not make judgmental comments.

2. My grandmother has it…

This statement does not bring understanding in any way. Just because you know someone that has our illness does not make you more qualified to speak about it. She is qualified to speak about it but not you.

3. You need to exercise more…

Some don’t realize the pain or difficulties that we go through. Not everyone has the same illness or experiences it in the same way. Some of us can get to the gym and get in a quick workout, but some of us can’t. For example: some days my knees want to give out. For no reason they just don’t want to work. In this case, I just cannot work out and don’t need to be reminded of it. Also, every activity that I do means that they’re others I cannot. I live on a bank of energy that steadily goes down through the day. This means I have to carefully choose what I want to do vs what I need to do. Exercise might just be on the lists of want that day.

4. Aren’t you feeling better yet…

With a lifelong illness I may never feel better. I have good days and I have bad ones. You might think that this is like any other illness where you can get ‘better’ and with new technologies I still might one day. I don’t need to be reminded though that I am not feeling better on a constant basis.

5. Have you tried glucosamine?

You are not a doctor. Enough said.

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Want to see the silver lining? Wear polarized shades!

Experts say that the sun is good for you and that might be true. However, the experts haven’t quantified how annoying and unsafe the sun can be as well. The brightness and glare personally causes me migraines and general irritability. Due to this I wear shades to help with the discomfort. I never realized though that there were different types of sunglasses until a trip to Hawaii a few years back. While there, a friend of mine introduced me to sunglasses that contained polarized lenses. Simply put: polarized lenses work by filtering out certain ‘orientations’ of sunlight. Usually when sunlight is reflected off a surface it arrives to our eyes in a ‘horizontal orientation’. This orientation is the bright glare that we all despise. Polarized lenses filter this specific orientation of light while permitting others through. How does this help us?

Polarized lenses allow us to see the world more clearly with less glare and light intensity which can help those like me that are over-sensitive to the sun. Not only that but these lenses also promote safety. Safety comes when eyestrain is lessened, our irritability level lowered, and concentration increased due to less distraction. For example, the picture on the left illustrates the appearance of a child where glare once existed. But, these are only some of the more practical reasons for spending the extra few dollars on these types of lenses. The other reason (and the one that I like the most) is the new view of the world that one get from wearing them.

We have seen how glare and light intensity are reduced without mentioning the other important side effect: vivid color changes. What was once an expected landscape of brightness has now been replaced with a view that is just a little more beautiful. This can be seen in the image below: the picture on the left is un-polarized while the one on the right is. I mention this because science states that sunlight is generally good for depression. Now, not only can one get out more, but they have a better view when they do. Try it sometime. Your daily drive will be a whole new more positive experience.

 
 

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