How it all started
About 15 years ago, when I was still teaching 11-13 year olds, I remember not being able to write at the top of the whiteboard, because my neck hurt too much.
A regular visit to the physio and I was fine again for months. Then weeks. The physio applied traction, acupuncture and pulses. Tried an osteopath, she tried ‘snapping’ my neck (you know, when you lie on your back hugging a pillow on your chest and they apply pressure) I always found this way too close for comfort and scary.
After about 8 years (I had stopped full-time teaching at this stage) the physio asked me: Do you realise you have been coming to me for the same issue for years and that the intervals of being ok are getting shorter? No- I actually didn’t realise that. He suggested an X-ray be made of my neck. OK, done.
Oh dear… Trouble- C2-C4 wear and tear, additional spurs growing, C4-C6 ankylosing spondylitis, the closing of the foramen around the nerves- resulting in chronic nerve pain. A visit to an orthopaedic surgeon was next on the list, who had some nightmarish prognosis for me. This was not going away….
The pain became worse and I did not know how to deal with it- tried panadol, panadeine, codeine, mersyndol, ibuprofen, nurofen, NIX might as well take a bloody peppermint!!
When the pain became so bad that I was hiding from the world and felt like I was turning into a rock, no interaction with people and NO movement for fear of triggering an even bigger attack…
Off to the doctor. To see if maybe he would have some painkiller, that could deal with this. No, he said, with a grin of recognition, the fact that over-the-counter painkillers are not helping is typical for chronic pain- You better get used to it.
YES, you are reading this correctly- While I am rocking my body in the chair next to his desk, wringing my sweaty palms in desperation with a pain level of 8/10- he said casually “You better get used to it“… If I didn’t love my family this much and life in general, I would have topped myself that night. NEVER went back to him.
Next visit was to the TBI (The Back Institute) They are specialised in backs and necks. Verity was fantastic- She gave me hope and exercises and changed my outlook on life.
However, the pain is here and it is to stay, how I (don’t) cope with it- That’s what my blog is about.
My name is Annette, with this blog I hope to reach people who experience chronic pain and to exchange ways of how we deal with it in our daily lives. warts and all.
Thanks for your time and interest.