My pain story is one of continued hope, disappointment and mystery.
When I was 21 years old, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I suffered greatly for a year or more, losing vision, having chronic migraines and nausea and experiencing extreme fatigue. When I was at the tail-end of that pain crisis, I was in a car accident. At first, I didn’t notice anything abnormal, but one day I woke up and was in a great deal of back pain.
Initially, the injury was not serious. My pelvis was out of place and there was some inflammation, so I started seeing a physiotherapist who put it back in place and sent me on my way. However, the pain kept persisting and I went to see her again. She did a manipulation that ended up putting my back in more pain than before. At this time, I was in a relationship with what turned out to be a very abusive and insensitive boyfriend. He took me to see a chiropractor, who was also a doctor. Because I had already been hurt by one therapist, I was very insecure about seeing another one.
Tired of having to deal with this pain right after a year of an MS episode, I explained that it was really hard to sustain this injury. He immediately minimized my pain, saying that I should look up to people like Rick Hanson, and telling me I was weak. At the same time, my boyfriend was being consistently insensitive, not understanding the extent of my pain, which added to my sorrow. I thought that because the chiropractor was my therapist, I could speak to him openly about my condition and that he would want to know what was hurting and how much, etc. However, he would take to interrupting me and making jokes with my boyfriend, saying my body would heal, but he didn’t know about my mind.
After only two weeks of therapy, he took my boyfriend aside and said if the injury wasn’t better in a couple of weeks, I should see a psychiatrist. He was, however, doing a good job of helping my back. He had to go on leave and recommended me to another chiropractor whom he sent his family to regularly. But low and behold, this doctor did a manipulation that made my back worse than ever. By this time, I had left the relationship with my boyfriend and had no sympathy from friends or family, most of whom thought the pain was in my head and that I was weak.
So for three years I kept my mouth shut and also refused to see any therapists, quietly sucking up the pain and losing myself in a career of activism to forget my own woes. However, by age 25, the discomfort was too much and I actually found a physiotherapist who has been able to help me. However, I am now 31 years old and still debilitated by this injury. It does get better, but any wrong move throws my pelvis out. I am unable to travel, lift anything beyond 10 pounds, sit for more than 3 hours a day, or work more than 4-5 hours a day. Last summer, I tried going on a short hike, and it has put me in acute pain for almost a year after.
As always, I pretend to be ok around friends. I don’t want to lost them. My x-ray is perfectly normal, and my therapist says my only problem is muscle weakness, which could also be related to the MS. I am now on a very intense exercise schedule, but am losing stamina for this and can only keep hoping things will improve.
Thanks for listening…