Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Relief at last

I wage a battle every day against a formidable opponent. Back pain.

I don't recall having any kind of chronic physical pain through my 20s. The year I turned 30, I had a cesearean section, and that is where things began to go downhill. My back was just really never the same after the epidural. Now, getting the epidural was HEAVEN . . . it was instant relief from pain and pressure and I would have killed for it at the time. I think the combination of the surgery severing my abdominal muscles and the injection created a tag-team of pain, and so it has been since about 1995.

Fast forward to 2001. Another baby, and another cesearean section. This time, I was delivered of a strapping 10 lb. baby boy. Again, the epidural provided blessed momentary relief, and the huge incision severed my lower abdomen, and I really have never recovered.

It is strange to live with chronic pain. I have really grown used to waking up in pain, going through my day aching, and retiring into bed feeling shooting pain in my lower back. The few times I have attempted to exercise my abdominals, I was very, very sorry for it . . . the pain was MUCH worse.

I have used Tylenol, Aleve, aspirin, heat packs, ice packs, pillows between my knees, analgesic rubs, and all have offered very temporary relief, but sooner rather than later, that nagging pain begins to creep back into my consciousness.

It has been a hindrance . . . its hard to go on long walks, pick up the kids, carry groceries, and do the normal things that people do every day. I still do these things, but the pain has worn me down. At times, it is really hard to convince myself to get up out of bed and get moving, and some days, it is impossible. I frequently find myself laying down on the sofa in the middle of the day - reclining is pain-free, and I do it more often than I wish I had to.

OH, but last night, I think I may have discovered a TRUE reprieve from the pain. I swam in the pool. Not just floated and paddled, but I swam laps, using a styrofoam noodle, and just took it at a leisurely pace. Back and forth, I kicked and made my way up and down the pool lane 4 times. I noticed that as I swam, some of the stiffness seemed to lessen.

After the 4th lap, I was fairly winded, and I just kind of relaxed with the noodle up under my arms, and I just . . . floated. My legs were just hanging, not touching the bottom, and I was completely . . . pain . . . free. No drugs, no creams, no painful exercises. Just blissful, peaceful, painless floating. I nearly cried with relief.

I slept very well, and only woke up once to readjust my pillows under my knees, and this morning, I was still pain free. As the afternoon has worn on, I have felt a twinge in my back a time or two, but I chalk that up to sitting in this damn chair working at my computer.

I am hoping and praying that I can continue this little regimen and rid myself of this pain. Maybe I'll be able to get back on my treadmill, and regain my strength and flexibility. That would be such a pleasure.

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