Central Sensitization, Chronic Pain, Creative Writing, My Story

How I developed central sensitization, Part 4

I began to wonder if something about the compartment syndrome and the leg surgery could have changed something in my chemical makeup, weakening my body and depleting its healing response.

After all, pain was supposed to be my body’s way of telling me that I was injured.  Something was broken; something was wrong.

Time and time again, I’d go to see a doctor, and they wouldn’t be able to find anything wrong.  My elbow was fine; my wrists were fine.  One of my shoulder muscles had a knot the size of a pea, but according to the pain specialist I saw, it  “shouldn’t be causing this much pain.”

It was honestly so, so frustrating.  I really started to think there was something wrong with me that doctors just couldn’t find.  Something wrong in my tissues; maybe some kind of problem with inflammation.

***

My primary care doctor back home started to think there was something wrong with me psychologically; that maybe this was depression, or anxiety.

But her suggestions just didn’t resonate with me.  I’d been depressed before.  I knew what it felt like, and this wasn’t it.  As much physical pain as I was in, I was still in so much less pain, emotionally, than I’d been in as a teenager.

After all, I’d been through a time when it felt like daggers just to breathe; when I was so exhausted from trying to make it through the day that the walk from my parents’ driveway into the house seemed so far I might not make it, and I had to rest in my car.

I’d been through all that, and it hadn’t resulted in physical pain like this.  In fact, my body had been at its peak, running faster and faster.

Now I’d come out of all of that– the clouds had finally lifted, and for the first time, I felt like knew what I wanted out of life.  I was enjoying my classes, and the fact that I was meeting so many like-minded people.  I felt like we were all going to graduate and change the world together.  Finally knew what it felt like to be happy, when before it had been just a word.

How could depression be causing this debilitating pain now, when it never had before?   Apart from the pain itself, I was actually happy with my life now.  It didn’t make any sense.

To be continued in Part 5.

To start from the beginning of this series:

 

2 thoughts on “How I developed central sensitization, Part 4”

  1. Wow, I have never heard of a lot of what you went through — then again I haven’t heard of a lot of injuries/chronic pain causes — so they seem so unique to me. Is central sensitization rare? I feel like you’re really going to be able to relate to patients & also be a better teacher since you’ve experienced all of this! <3

    1. Thank you so much, Jess! I definitely hope to be able to turn my experiences into something good, and use them to help others!

      Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply– I’ve actually been thinking a lot about your question. I don’t think central sensitization is rare, so much as it’s under-recognized. It was only discovered in 1983, and it was a pretty controversial idea at first. Although now it’s a well-respected scientific theory, like any scientific discovery, it’s taking a while for this knowledge make its way out of the research lab and into actual exam rooms where doctors treat patients. You are definitely not alone– most people haven’t heard of it.

      It means so much to me that people are reading my blog and learning about central sensitization, so thank you for the excellent question!!

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