Whenever I have a pain setback, I’m grateful for how little pain I have had

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

December 19th, 2010 • Living with Chronic PainPrint Print

Whenever I have a pain setback these days, I feel tremendous gratitude for how little pain I have had, and how highly I have been able to function, over the past few years.  Last week, I woke up with pain in my left neck and shoulder area.  It continued to bother me throughout the week but was not getting in my way of activities. Then yesterday, I woke up in horrific levels of pain in that area, extending down through my left shoulder blade, and I could not tilt or turn my head to the left.

It’s amazing how something like that can just bring down every part of life.  I’m struggling with basic activities like cleaning dishes, typing (I’m using a headset and voice-activated software right now), driving (changing lanes is a bitch), and sleeping.  Last night was pretty much hell for the first part of the night.  I was stuck in so many directions, unable to turn this way or that.  In order to switch from lying on my back to lying on my right side, I had to grab hold of the mattress on the right side and hoist myself up to a certain angle of sitting, then lie back down.

I remember the period following a terrible chiropractic adjustment that left me bedridden for a couple of months. During each night, as I grabbed onto things to move a few inches, and as I struggled to choose between working around the pain in my right shoulder, left shoulder, neck, back, and both wrists and ankles, I would think to myself, “Someone who has never had pain could not possibly understand this hell.” How, I would wonder, can I even articulate it? There are so many subtle nuances of movement that those of us in pain need to become phenomenally precise about — expert in preempting any angle or shade of movement that could possibly trigger X,Y, or Z.

Fortunately, between the massage I got last night, the healing energy my mom was sending me, and the buckwheat pillow I was using instead of my normal pillows, I made it through the night, and my pain levels decreased dramatically as I slept or rested. Today I am able to function more or less, albeit slowly and in modified forms.

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