JD's Pain

>> Sunday, April 5, 2009

From PhotobucketJD asks: I have chronic back pain from scoliosis. Five days ago, I started having worse-than-usual pain. As far as I know, I didn’t do anything specific that would bring about the pain. I’m spinning my wheels on what to do, because I just can’t be objective about my pain. If I seek help, I feel like I’m complaining. I keep saying, one more day. If it’s not better, I’ll do something. Can you see anything? Should I just ride it out? Go to the doctor? I don’t know why this is so hard for me.

Oh, JD, I hate that you’re in pain. Chronic pain is hard enough. People who don’t have chronic pain don’t appreciate how it filters into every aspect of your life. I’m sorry about your scoliosis. My mother-in-law has the same problem which precludes looking to a chiropractor for relief. I’m worried about a new pain as well.

One issue with chronic pain is that it can help mask pain for something else. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something’s wrong. Of course, something’s can’t be fixed, sometimes pain is acute but not dangerous and, sometimes, it’s a sign you need to take care of. I think it’s harder for someone with chronic pain to bring themselves to go to the doctor, even when the pain changes.

When I was in college, I started to get the worst headaches, severe pain every night when I went to bed, when I woke up and, even when the severe what-if-I-stabbed-myself-in-the-eye-to-stop-this pain abated, a dull pain remained so I was never free from pain. OTC painkillers wouldn’t touch either one. It started to affect my school as the pain moved from weeks to months without ending. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the doctor for a headache and, even when my roommate dragged me there, I kept apologizing for wasting the medical staff’s time, but they were able to treat it (at least give me an occasional rest so I could function).

But, is this a passing aberration or is this something to take to a doctor? Per your request, let’s ask the cards.

Two of Wands - This card is clearly an indication of you Disciplined, self-reliant, brave, you’re mature and skilled, the sort of person people turn to for guidance. It’s always hard for types like that to ask for help themselves.

Four of Swords (reversed) - This card means precaution and prudence, doing the cautious thing (presumably going to the doctor, but suggests relaxing, that the problem isn’t as bad as you think. By itself, this would argue for going to the doctor but finding that the solution is workable (and not life-threatening).

Ten of Coins or Pentacles (reversed) - This card speaks of sloth, of losing one’s focus and a dulling of the mind, a loss of vitality. Taken in concert with the other cards, I would say this is an indication of the consequences to not going to the doctor. Even though the cards do not indicate danger, they do indicate that the pain is distracting and, in time, debilitating, that not addressing it, where it might be readily treated, can work against your overall well-being.

Normally, I’d pull more cards for clarification, but these are pretty straight-forward and clear. They argue for going to the doctor but suggest that the cause is treatable and not life-threatening, that putting it off will affect your sense of happiness and functionality (much like my headaches did once). You’re not silly to look for an answer. Given, however, that this is a matter of health, I’m going to pull one more card to get confirmation of my own reading.

Five of Cups - Whoa! Disillusion, disappointment, apology in order… looks like I might be missing something. Let me pull another card for clarificatio:

Two of Coins - Ah. Still no indication of real danger, but not necessarily readily cured. It talks about a cyclic issue, alternating health and illness, etc. It may be treatable but an indication of something that might come back, whether related to the scoliosis or not. At least, you can find out the scope of it and what steps you can take to deal with it.

Sorry I couldn’t provide you more. I hope that helps. The cards tell me to tell you what I, as a sympathetic ear, would recommend. Go to the doctor. Don’t feel stupid. Better to know what you’re dealing with than to the let the pain and worry eat away at you.

Take care, JD. We need you around.

5 Responses to “JD’s Pain”

  1. JD at I Do Thingson 23 Mar 2009 at 8:56 am edit this

    Thanks, Stephanie.

    In addition to just plain making me feel better, you’ve helped spur me to action. I’m making an appointment first for a deep-tissue massage. If I don’t feel better, I’m making an appointment with my orthopedist. If HE can’t help, I’m going to my primary care physician and ask for her help. Actually I may go see her first. She’s easier to talk to. Regardless, I feel like I can at least DO something instead of wallowing in self-pity.


  2. Lolaon 23 Mar 2009 at 9:27 am edit this

    @ JD - Have you tried seeing a Physiatrist? They diagnose and treat pain. They can prescribe pain medications, physical therapy and if the pain is bad enough, they can refer you to a pain doctor, which is usually an anesthesiologist, for injections. Physical therapy can help. It helped me to be able to stand up straight. It also reduced my pain. Personally, I would not recommend injections. I had 4 sets of them and all they did was cause pain in other places and caused me to have to reach for the narcotics for a week after the procedures because they increased the pain rather than decreased the pain.

  3. stephanieebarron 23 Mar 2009 at 9:37 am edit this

    JD, I’m glad I could help. You are welcome to wallow in self-pity any time here. I love to see you and anytime you show up here is a happy day for me. If I can help you, it makes my day.

    Lola, you highlight the importance of being an informed patient. In the end, you have to take advantage of the knowledge you have on your own body. No one will know it better. Make sure you have a doctor that listens and responds to you.

  4. Musingon 23 Mar 2009 at 4:50 pm edit this

    I sympathize with anyone who suffers from back pain. When I was pregnant with my third child I had a terrible case of sciatica.

    I hope JD finds some relief soon.

  5. shakespeareon 25 Mar 2009 at 4:15 pm edit this

    Okay, since I’m not sure you are fielding some questions, or need more, I have one:

    What can I do to get more TIME? I make lists, try to stay organized, but I have so much housework, so much other stuff, and I feel as if I don’t get to half the stuff I want to each day. What can I do to eke a little more time from each day?


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