The Pain IS the Problem

The second or third time I sat down with a nurse practitioner who worked with my new OB/GYN that I found near my home after giving birth to my daughter and finding myself in severe continuous pain, she tried to explain to me how pain works. It took a lot of appointments with different doctors – gynecological specialists, pelvic pain experts, a psychiatrist, a neurologist and a handful of physical therapists – for me to really grasp the whole concept, but one thing she said to me that at first really confused me was “the pain IS the problem.”

I was always looking for the root of the cause of the pain but after a certain point, it doesn’t matter what the root is because the pain becomes a neurological misconfiguration in itself and thereby is the problem. So here I am embarking on yet another medicinal journey to try another new drug – typically used for a wide range of different things – to relieve my pain. Lyrica, the latest in the arsenal, I’ll start taking this weekend and then several months of treatment commence. It may take a combination of a couple of drugs and we don’t know what dosage will work, but because the pain is the problem, nothing less than 100% success in relieving the pain will work.

I’ve read a lot about this now, but essentially due to the nature of messages transmitted up and down the spinal cord to the brain from the affected nerves in the pelvis, there’s a continual state of irritation, stress and inflammation on the tissue that over time has probably already altered the nerves and my spinal cord. So now we have to make them forget they are, were, or ever have been in pain so they can calm down, heal, and reset. Then and only then can I go back off the drugs and attempt to have a pain-free life.

Honestly, at this point I’d be happy with 70% pain relief. That would be dreamy. 80% would be like heaven. 90% I’d feel like a kid again. 100% I cannot even fathom. So one might see where I could be skeptical this whole thing will work, but it has worked for others and I have to be optimistic in order to make it work for me, so here goes nothing. It’s been 16 years since my last A+ was recorded, so I’m a bit rusty on the concept, but I guess it’s time for some Yoda wisdom: do or do not – there is no try.

6 responses to “The Pain IS the Problem

  1. I’m so sorry you are experiencing this pelvic pain. If there is no other medical explanation, I might suggest you could have a rotated pelvis causing your pain. There are muscles that attach to the front of the pelvis from both legs and quite often one side becomes tighter than the other side pulling the pelvic bone forward relative to the other side. This creates pelvic and SI joint pain as well as back pain. I wrote a blog about this as it relates to sciatic pain which you can check out if you like. Otherwise, I’ve also written a book, Fixing You: Back Pain, which talks about this. If it is a rotated pelvis, it can be corrected fairly quickly and easily using the TFL & Quadriceps Stretch from my book. I wish you luck with this and feel free to email me if you’d like to discuss it further.

  2. I always want to find the ROOT of the problem, any problem, so this is also a difficult concept for me. I wish you the best with this new treatment plan.

    Nerve pain is so hard to both explain and understand. I still don’t know what started my pudendal neuralgia, but I know that in my day to day life, it doesn’t matter WHY I hurt. I just hurt, and that in turn hinders my life.

    I’d love to hear what you have planned once you get started on the Lyrica. Take care.

  3. I tried the Lyrica but it was so debilitating I had to stop – I was a vegetable unable to really take care of my daughter. I know the effects dissipate but I have to retry it sometime when I have more help with her.

    • That’s unfortunate you couldn’t continue with the Lyrica. But, it’s unrealistic and naive to think you can put your whole life on hold for months while you wait for side effects to dissipate. I’m childless, but must work in a demanding job, so I too cannot be a zombie for any amount of time.

      Please keep us posted with your treatment–and with your life as you continue to live, parent, and work through the pain. I’m thankful for blogs like yours that highlight this life we lead despite chronic, unspeakable pain.

  4. I had a major PN flair a few weeks ago and out of desperation took 75 mg of Lyrica (starting dose) which knocked me out for 2 days. I’ve sense backed way off and am restarting at 25 mg/d. I’m going to go really slow and see if I can get my nervous system to adapt as I double the dose every week or so. I’m so tired of the pain and know I need to reset the signals to my brain and spinal cord. So far, so good…maybe this would work for you??? Best of luck.

  5. I started with the minimum dosage of Lyrica. If I had 2 weeks where I had no responsibilities and could just veg out – no kid, no work, no nothing – I would be able to find out if I can adjust to the Lyrica. Unfortunately that’s nowhere in sight. Meanwhile, the drug made me so apathetic, it did take on a depressant form worse than Neurontin. Neurontin made me nauseated but at least after a while I became interested in life again. Lyrica made me feel like nothing mattered, and I don’t need a drug to drag me back into depression when I fought so hard to get out.

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