Very recently however, I've found a doctor who prescribed extremely low doses of medicines normally related to depression; and the effect has been almost instantaneous in turning off the 24hr pain. I followed up the medical literature and this seems to be a niche but evolving area - worth checking out with your physician. I'm hoping that I'll be able to drop taking these daily in the near future and get back to what normal people feel like. My productivity has gone through the roof as well as being able to concentrate better on work and not on the constant pain.
Now to start making the journey back to fit again :)
After a slew of non-working pain meds, my doctor prescribed an anti-seizure drug, gabapetin, and in days the pain was gone. With the pain gone, I started swimming and strengthening my back and the disc moved back into place, and got off the gabapetin. Every few years or so, something goes wrong and I do the same thing -- gabapentin, swimming, back to ok.
I hope you both find something that works.
I have constant pain due to a small lesion in my CNS. The doctor tried some anti-depressants and even a couple of very old anti-psychotics. The idea was that, even though I would still mentally register the pain, it would become more like background noise.
It worked, to a certain degree. I'd still love to find an ultimate solution, and I still need to limit myself for some activities (long walks). But I'm able to get through a regular day without pain medication - which I've so far refused to take.
Pain is an incredibly subjective area though. Some people gain great relief from simple measures such as heat treatment while others with similar injuries/problems will need strong opiods.
(Edit: I'm glad that you've found a way to overcome the pain!)
I'll try to do more of my runs after this one without the extra weight though - thank you for your input! What ultras have you done?
this post follows a common template (motif? i'm searching for the right word). something along the lines of "i was an idiot then [random bad thing] happened and things turned out for the better".
but. but. but what people seem to draw from this is that [random bad thing] means life will be good. that's missing the important part. the important part was i was an idiot. that is why things got better - they stopped being an idiot.
and this is important, because when [random bad thing] happens people trot out this kind of story as platitude. which REALLY DOES NOT HELP.
look at it this way. at best, you're assuming that before [random bad thing] i was living an unreflective, impulsive, poorly thought out life. and now i will be forced to re-evaluate my stance.
but maybe i already had a good life? maybe i already was cool? maybe i already was happy?
[random bad thing] is defined by bad. so stopping using dumb stories to "cheer up" people who are affected (well, if you do; sorry, got a bit carried away there).
thanks. this was a public announcement on behalf of someone who was recently diagnosed with [random bad thing] and really doesn't appreciate being told how this opens up so many options. is that all you are waiting for, to be awesome? being a cripple?
It's fantastic that the author found peace with his pain, but I wouldn't wish chronic pain on my worst enemy, and I definitely wouldn't expect people with chronic pain to view it as a new opportunity.
I really hope your [random bad thing] works out to something not quite as bad. Modern medicine is pretty awesome.
I've been suffering from chronic dizziness the past few years, and it sucks. Doctors are not much use. This happened to me a decade ago for two years and then it suddenly cured itself. But now it's back.
I can't imagine ever asserting that chronic dizziness makes me happier. On the other hand, I trudge on and have been happy despite this very frustrating affliction.
Rob's article is definitely something that makes me feel a bit better about wanting to challenge my body a bit more. I've taken up dancing and cycling since my collision and I think that it can only get better.
E.g. Maybe if you broke your leg, you would notice, but what about a sprain/strain? Would it be possible to not even know, and further injure yourself because your didn't modify your behaviour?
I now have pain in my feet that takes a couple of days to a week to go away with meds. I bite through the pain, but I can also feel when I hurt some other part of my body while working out. The pain is different, has a different intensity and just in general is nothing like the pain from the gout.
One thing it does do is numb pain in general, even with different pain in different parts of my body I have a higher pain tolerance in general, and I feel the pain differently.
as for the article title. it's not really true, is it? i have mild chronic pain (i have ms, which means nerve damage, somewhat similar to the article). you can learn to live with it. and you can cope. but i'm certainly not happier than i would be without it...
There are times where it gets worse, and it's like somebody's kicked you, and times when its really bad like when somebody's stabbed you.
But generally, I feel the pain, and then any extra pain on top. And it's not like an actual injury where it hurts more when you move, its just there, like background noise of your nervous system.
Out of interest: have you read any Stoic (or similar 'acceptance' philosophies, e.g. Epicureanism, Buddhism, Taoism) literature? If so, have you found any of it helpful?
So, the Taoist stuff deals mostly with the nature of reality. Buddhism tends to run the gamut but has a lot to do with your experience, and Epicureanism is sorta like Buddhism, but with more heavy language and serious attempts to remove any hint of internal conflict and paradoxical teaching (those can both be handy teaching tools).
All of them, to varying degrees, teach that you can alleviate suffering through proper response, though it might be more accurate to say you can refrain from creating more suffering. The mind is like the body. When you get cut you clean it and bandage it and leave the thing alone. Anything else directly messing with it is just hindering the process, however, you can help yourself by doing things like making sure you have a good diet and get plenty of rest. The above three teach you about diet and rest and so on, but for your person.
Since you're still able to walk, and surprisingly, rollerblade and run,
you should to count yourself as very lucky.
I mean this sincerely. I won't compare pains in public, but I'll just
say, I still appreciate my good fortune and I always count my blessings.
Whenever you have moments when you're unable to do the things you want,
try to remember the things you can still do. It helps. Even if the only
things you can manage to do today is get yourself out of bed into a
chair and try to concentrate well enough to read, those are still
accomplishments and you are lucky to be able to do them.
You managed to use a computer for awhile or maybe even did a bit of
typing today? -- FUCK YEAH! Major Win!
Celebrate the wins. Appreciate the little things. Until a person is no
longer able to do the little things, those little things are taken for
The supposed little things seem so pathetic by comparison, but
comparison is the real problem. If you compare yourself with others,
there are only two possible outcomes and both are harmful; either you'll
become vain, or you'll become insecure.
The best answer is to just do your best. At times, your best will be
truly bad, by comparison, but this is true for absolutely everyone. When
you learn to accept your abilities and appreciate your best, you've got
the positive momentum to keep striving for better. Everyone endures
setbacks, and everyone is enduring some rate of deterioration -- for
example, think of some skill you had but are now a bit rusty due to lack
of practice (like SYS/360 or VAX assembly code?). Only by continually
trying to do your best can you stave off the eventual decline a little
longer, but more importantly, doing our best is where we find happiness.
The rogues gallery of interaction on the Internet is always there, and
every day it seems to become more of a competition and conflict of
harmful comparisons. Whether it's the effigy of yourself on some
"social" site being compared with others, or your best work being
compared with alternatives; the comparisons are always there. The only
thing you should ever take with you from a comparison is new ideas to
improve your best.
Laugh! It helps. Make jokes so others can laugh with you. (Yes, even
here on HN)
If you, or others, in our situation would like to contact me privately
through email, I have a good collection of information that can help
people living with chronic pain. My email is in my profile.
Teach Us to Sit Still: A Sceptic's Search for Health and Healing
An accurate review comment:
this autobiographical account of his journey from a life dominated by acute pain to one where a reasonable equilibrium between body and soul enables him to live in relative comfort and healthy productivity.
Unfortunately it's not a sine wave, it's more like a downhill slope. As you age, it only gets worse. I hate to appear like a dark cloud over the OP's sunny article, but I'm 27 years in. For the first 10 years or so, I too believed it made me stronger, tougher etc. Now I'm just happy to make it stop - whatever it takes.
Having said that - I'm glad it's working for you as well.
My hope for the OP and my intention in writing was to encourage him to have some psychic cushion for the potential of a return to strongly symptomatic existence. The only constant is change.
I find the concept that the brain could cause pain to exist where there is no "real" (like sliced/torn nerve endings) fascinating and terrifying at the same time. I didn't even realize that was a thing that could happen 'til I read this article.
Thank you, for sharing.
I've been also suffering from chronic pain since I was ~20. I remember it
started with mild focusing problem: I would feel unable to concentrate, and
every ~60 seconds or so I would have a sensation of disorientation that would
break my train of thought. Sounds innocent. I also thought that too, until it
started to get worse and I had to start looking for medical advice.
I carried on, even though you can imagine that even though there was actually
no pain, it's incredibly debilitating. At some point it got so bad, I remember
I had occasions where I would feel "lost" in the middle of a room, I would try
to remember what I was doing but as I was doing that I would re-start from 0,
and ask myself: what was..? Fortunately it wouldn't last for very long (maybe a
couple of minutes),and I actually never lost the "memory", I would just be
unable to think.
I still believe this was the onset of everything that followed. This feeling
got less and less frequent over the months. After 3 years I didn't have any of
those "lost in a room" moments. But as this feeling disappeared, I started to
have tingling pain in the fingers, that later extended to the whole arms. I
later (after years, medical examinations, etc) discovered that what was
actually happening was muscle stiffness in the forearms, then neck, and then
the whole body, which created varying levels of suboptimal blood circulation,
and subsequently increased stiffness resulting in a negative feedback loop.
At various times, I had rippling muscles, like this:
Some other times I could strike any muscle with a finger with minimal force,
without pain at all, and it would form an isolated contraction, so small I
could actually draw shapes on the biceps, which is something I would have
always fun doing to show doctors.
But the biggest problem became very soon to be pain. Everywhere. Due to
stiffness, fatigue, or whatever. I was doing piano lessons since a couple of
years, but I couldn't take it anymore. After a session I would feel stiffer, I
couldn't articulate the fingers smoothly as I could at the beginning of the
lesson itself. It was something that I loved, and the more I tried the more I
would feel powerless. Very, very slowly I stopped doing any piano entirely,
because I would only feel enraged, bad, and depressed.
I had to slow down work. A lot. Typing became a serious issue. I switched
countless keyboards. I would before "think while typing" and correct/fix the
code along the way. I now "think before doing anything".
One of the things that I always liked was hiking. I hiked a lot, 3-12 hours,
any elevation gain, any distance, no problem. I could hike slowly and think, or
I could just as well hike to stop thinking, which is also incredibly effective.
It's the perfect stress/pain valve, until last year I started having the same
issue in the legs too. Again, very slowly. Sometimes I would just feel tired,
and recover quickly. But over time the recovery took longer and longer, until
now it seems that I cannot properly recover even from mild activity.
The biggest "a-ha" moment for me was two years ago, when I stopped doing piano.
The author of the post says it's "happiness" and enjoying the small things. I
don't think so. For me it was the moment I gave up. I tried fucking hard
doing everything I could to fix the issue. I spent literally everything I had
on medical doctors, visits, etc. I tried alternative medicine. I explored every
detail I could, and failed. At this point you just let go, and accept the
problem as it is. I'm basically forced to care for the issue, otherwise I
wouldn't work at all, but does this make me happy?
I'm sorry, but no. I'd give you anything so I don't have to suffer
continuously, so that I could do piano again, or hike without having to worry
about pain later, or even sit at the computer without feeling pain.
The way I work now is very different. When I want to work on a problem, or do
any activity, I have to focus hard, "zone out" completely if you will, to the
point that anything beyond the problem at hand has any space. It's hard to do.
But you can become good at it, like everything else. And it's not a method for
stress relief, because the moment you "let go" the pain is brought back too.
Maybe I'm missing the enlightenment the poster had. But chronic pain is
incredibly debilitating. I have moments were I really feel handicapped, even
though I can literally do everything. Chronic pain is bad guys, there is no "good" that I can think of :(.
Apparently, it comes down to the same thing: your attitude and emotional response to pain are extremely important.