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God's Free Gift

Pain >> Is it a good day - or a bad one?

The problem with pain is that the cures are often worse than the condition. Like Christianity, pain management should be one of moderation, a fine balance of medicine and pain that allows the patient to perform some number of tasks without feeling like a


Chronic pain is pain that is ever constant, always with you,  and in most cases without a real cause, as far as doctors can specifically determine. The problem with pain is that the cures are often worse than the condition. Like Christianity, pain management should be one of moderation, a fine balance of medicine and pain that allows the patient to perform some number of tasks without feeling like a zoombie or worse.

Pain itself slows us all down and prevents us from performing our daily functions, including driving, working, playing, or even reading or watching television. There is no direct cure for pain. You fight the symptoms.

In may case, the cause is obviously some nerve somewhere in my back that is pinched or damaged. While it is likely that the nerve damage is below L2, that is not entirely certain. No tests and to the extent helpful no physcial examination, including during surgery, has located a junction where the nerve(s) is pinched.  In other words, the doctors don't really know where the damage is and have no idea what is causing the pain. In practical terms, this is true of the majority of people who have chronic pain. There exists a description similar to mine that narrows the area of cause, but the precise case of the pain is unknown.

Or, in some cases, the cause / location is know but there is no cure. At least, there is no cure that is reasonable.  For example, you might be able to pin-point the spot of nerve damage, but he only cure may be killing the nerve which might cause other consequences - loss of feeling, paralysis, or something similar.  So, as with me, the doctors treat what they know about -- the pain itself.

Some use needles and magic concoctions designed to deaden the nerve so that you do not receive any pain messages in the first place.  These are usually, but not necessarily a mix of a light anesthesia (novacaine type, for example) and a steroid.  These are referred to as nerve blocks. I have endured several of these, all without success in my case.

Then there are the medicines -- mostly narcotics and a bunch of "helper" drugs.  The helper drugs are newer medicines which are designed to fight particular types of nerve damage. Being successful in a specialized case, their use is expanded to determine if they will fight other types of nerve pain. They, like all drugs, have a variety of side effects. In my personal case, the major side effect is that they make me sleepy. In fact, they knock me out most of the time for several hours.

So, you take narcotics to control the pain. Then you take a sleeper drug on top of the narcotic. The net result is that the pain is gone for a short period of time. At least the pain is masked enough that you could undertake to perfom some duties, assuming you are not reacting to the medicines themselves.

It does little good to have no pain if you are so drugged or sleepy that you cannot get out of bed or focus on reading or watching television. There is no way you can drive or work machinery. In these cases, being without pain is of little benefit.

The magic trick is to combine all of these cures, along with exercise, and the old fashion "grit your teeth" approach to find the balance of pills which does not knock you into a drug induced la-la land while removing enough of the pain that you can use the "grit you teeth" cure to endure the pain for some period.  For those of you without pain, this period is usually only a few hours in length.  Certainly, it is not long enough (nor its presence consistent enough) to obtain meanful employment.

One can understand why those of us with chronic pain become depressed or frustrated. Often what works today will not work tomorrow. It is not a fun experience.

God and the Bible see me through all of this experience, but either my faith is not strong enough or I do not understand the meaning of endurance to allow me to skip the periods of frustration (and I suppose periods of depression). These periods pass and I do find balances where I can function, like times to maintain this site, but you will notice that most of these periods of consistent time have been after my second surgery. There was little work performed on the site for the almost three years between the first and second surgery. There was little balance then and to the extent I was functional, other priorities took control.

So, when you pray for those with chronic pain, pray that they find the balance to act "normal." That will help them as much as anything, short of a miraculous cure.

Jim A

Posted On: 2006-01-31 11:38:14 || Comments (0 ) || Add a Comment
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