Exercise helps chronic pain

People with chronic pain often hide their condition; perhaps they are embarrassed by their suffering, or they are just tired of people saying to them “but, you look fine”. I have been very open with my struggles because I want people to understand that the face of chronic pain is very different from the stereotypes. Chronic pain sufferers are not all drug addicts, or lying helpless in bed, or unemployed, or look like shit. And, … Continue reading

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Are you happy?

What is happiness? It is a subjective emotion that Wikipedia has defined as “a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy.” The other day, while shopping at Safeway with a friend, I asked him if we polled everyone in the store, how many would say they were happy? When I got home, I looked online to determine whether people, in general, are happy. Polls indicate that Americans are 49-81% … Continue reading

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Accepting Acceptance

We all must be open to accepting acceptance. Tenacity is lauded in endurance sports, often with dire consequences. People view the Ironman motto as “Finish at all costs” rather than their current salvo of “Anything is possible” (which is equally mythical), since anything but obtaining a coveted medal after crossing the tape is generally deemed intolerable. The truth of the matter, though, is that despite putting forth best efforts, and pushing and pushing and pushing, … Continue reading

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My friend called pain

I have a new friend. Its name is chronic pain. Since receiving the diagnosis of intercostal neuralgia, and learning that the condition is permanent, I have unilaterally viewed the pain as an adversary. The 24/7/365 symptoms of stabbing, throbbing, and dull pain around my ribs along with the muscle spasms and difficulty breathing would test the patience of anyone; of course, I would view such an interruption to my life as adversarial. Who wouldn’t? Recently, … Continue reading

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Resetting the pain scale

The common question after my countless surgeries (I’ve had 7) or ablations (I’ve had 17 ablations of thoracic/lumbar nerves T5-L1) is “Are you pain-free yet?” Those who ask always have the best intentions, and I almost feel like I am letting them down when I say “no”. The answer is always no. Since my chronic pain, and many of yours, is forever, I suggest resetting the pain scale. The pain-free ship sailed many years ago. … Continue reading

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Chronic pain roller coaster

Chronic pain can strike anyone. I never imagined myself as a person who would visit not one, but two pain clinics and have two surgeons on speed dial. The seven-year anniversary of the bike accident that started this all is in a week. Over the years, I have had six chest wall surgeries to repair extensive damage to my rib cage, along with numerous other procedures meant to curtail the incessant rib and abdominal pain. … Continue reading

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