And by getting help, I don’t mean in the vague sense that’s code for quitting drugs or treating a mental illness – I’ve already done that!
I mean the seeing a therapist part. Not the quitting drugs part.
Not that I’m not quitting drugs, I’ve just never done drugs in the first place, so there’s nothing to quit.
Wow, I live a wild life.
Rather, what I’m referring to, is the neck pain that’s been wreaking havoc on my daily life for, let’s see… 2.5 years.
I haven’t shared 100% of the details on here.
That’s partly because it’s difficult to share what’s going on when you yourself have no idea. Partly because I get flooded with
terrible unsolicited advice when I try. And partly because it requires long and boring descriptions of how the danish health care system works to explain it.
But let’s try with a short recap anyway.
From fitness to pain
I used to love being active; mainly lifting weights, yoga, long walks – sometimes running. I am (was?) so passionate about it, I even decided to study Sports Science & Health.
But in August 2016 I got mononucleosis. Which is horrible. It’s unclear whether the Epstein-Barr virus caused/is connected to the neck pain, or if it’s simply random that they occured around the same time.
Yet, prior to that is the last time I remember feeling truly well.
What’s sure is, the pain has stayed. And it’s gradually worsened. With time, I’ve become less and less capable of, well, living a normal life. No matter how hard I wish it wasn’t so, pain is starting to define how I can live my life.
And it’s not for a lack of trying to get better.
I’ve tried to heal myself
I’ve seen multiple physiotherapists and chiropractors with different approaches. For a long time I thought it was a matter of posture, and exercises, stretching and foam rolling would, with time, fix it.
Still, here I am. Fatigued and in pain every day. For a while, it was suspected that I was developing rheumatoid arthritis. There’s a family history, and some symptoms (like morning stiffness –of the neck, people!–). But so far, according to the tests I’ve been through and specialists I’ve seen, RA is not the answer.
What’s the going on then? That’s the million dollar question – and the answer seems elusive.
Because of the lack of a diagnosis, treatment has been lacking as well.
All I’ve done is seen physiotherapists who has tried to advise me, experiment with me (I was in on it too), but without really knowing what’s going on, and without much of an effect.
The last PT is a bit of an exception though. He’s been giving me the most helpful advice to me situation; a few exercise suggestion, but mostly focused on understanding and coping with the pain. Which, while far from a miracle cure, has helped me slowly –so frustratingly slowly– be more active again. But I couldn’t keep seeing the PT of the arthrities clinic without arthritis (and I don’t know how to get that, nor do I want to).
What I’d love to have, however, is further help with coping with the pain.
How to cope?
My old GP had been talking about sending me to a pain clinic for a long time, but always kept pushing it off to the next appointment – because what if I’m better in a month, what if changing the my dosis of D-vitamin cures me, 20-something is too young…
Whether it’s good or bad luck, moving late last year meant I had to get a new GP.
I’ve seen her a couple of times already since the start of the year, had some more blood tests done and so on.
She also had some resistance towards referring me to the pain clinic. “24 years is too young to be referred to a pain clinic”… and I left with the impression that she would also continue to push off doing anything the last time I saw her.
So I was happily surprised when I got a letter from the pain clinic.
Finally, I’ll get some help from people who are experts on chronic pain. Just the thought of that brings me hope. A hope I had slowly lost through the continuosly resultless appointments and time without progress I’ve had.
There is a but – but it’s small in comparison with the fact that something is finally happening!
There’s a long waiting list, and we’ll have reached the last days of November before my first appointment.
I know it could be worse, but that’s still a long time! Especially when the time I’ve waited just to get the referral in the first place is taken in to account.
But I’m not complaining. I’m just so excited to finally get help, and learn how to help myself. And I have some options, that I’ll be investigating closer in the near future. It’ll likely require more travel time and expenses, but it’s a worthwhile tradeoff. We’ll see about that.
For now, all I want to do is get up and do a little happy dance*
I’m finally getting help 🎊
UPDATE: In the time between writing and publishing this post, there’s been a development. *DUN DUN DUUN* – I start treatment on wednesday!I’m so happy.
*not raising my arms above my head though, because can exacerbate the pain.
wow, I can be so pathetic 😂