Pain and Frustration

Pain and Frustration:

For me, pain and frustration go hand in hand. Any injury I’ve ever had has in some way prevented me from completing some task or goal. Frustration can be defined as a person or stimulus which prevents someone from completing a task or a goal. Standalone frustration is a disconcerting feeling, combine that with an impelling force, and you have a recipe for a bad day.For me, frustration not only means the inability to do things I enjoy purely for enjoyments sake, but also things I enjoy because I’m required to do them, and things I’m simply required to do. For example, I can no longer freely join my friends in their activities; I’m constantly hesitant from fear of doing bodily harm or damage. When I started blogging again a few weeks ago I set a goal to write ninety minutes a day. That goal eventually developed and I began to create blogs centred around one idea (not just a stream of consciousness) and blog instalments in various parts; this all entailed a great deal of research and planning. My pain also prevents me from seeking, and holding, gainful employment; in all honesty, I’d even be ‘happy’ — although, satisfied is a better word — with a job I completely hate. This is my frustration: the inabilty to do anything I once accepted freely as a normal part of life — something that would always be there to fall back on no matter what, and something I totally took for granted.Naturally comes the quesiton: why can’t I do these things. I’ve struggled with that question a lot. As a result, I’ve been able to pretty clearly delineate ‘why’ and set it apart from the ambiguity of suffering.

My shoulders are what hold me back the most — they just don’t ‘work’ properly. I have bi-lateral labral tears, bi-lateral acromioclavicular and subscapular bursitis, rotator cuff tears and inflammation, bi lateral  luxations in all three joints of the shoulder (acromio-clavicular, gleno-humeral, sub-scapular (as well as sternoclavicular)) and problems with my lattisimus dorsi and teres major on my right side. I also have issues with my neck: atlanto-axial instability and suspected cranial settling and Chiari Malformation. All of these injuries have culminated in daily pain — I’m hesitatnt to totally label it ‘chronic-pain’ because there is so much tissue damage occurring daily. The majority of these muslce groups, tendons and ligaments are innervated by nerves originating in the corticobulbar and corticospinal tracts which are under constant compression as a result of my AAI and suspected Chiari, which further aggravates my state by contributing neuropathic pain. Anyone with a basic understanding of physiology and anatomy can make biomechanical inferences, even at an incredibly basic level, to help them understand how even basic movements like typing, picking up a piece of paper, writing or even moving my arms will result in pain; the more and more those movements and actions are repeated, the more prone I leave myself for injury.

I often find myself in this state of perpetual pain. I sort of experience it in ellipses, or cycles — better for a little while, then worse for a while longer. I often compare it to a migraine. Migraines have four stages — which is something most people don’t know and is why the term ‘migrane’ has come to connote all things headache-ey. The first stage is called the prodrome. This phase consists of irritability, altered mood — depression or euphoria — yawning, excessive sleepiness, craving for certain foods, cramping in the neck and visual or visceral symptoms. The symptoms precede the migraine attack by a few hours or a few days; eventually the person and his or her family recognize this stage, and can detect when a migraine is near. The next stage is called aura. This phase immediately precedes the headache and is characterized by neurological manifestations — usually visual disturbances; flashes of light etc… Stage three is called the pain phase, or the headache phase —  I don’t really think I need to explain this any further. Finally we have the postdrome stage; the effects of the migraine can last for days after the pain phase has occurred.

My experience with pain is a sort of pseudo-cycle of sorts, where I have an event which precedes my pain getting worse, a stage right before when I know that the pain is coming, the pain itself and then the effects — which last more than a few days, that’s for sure.

Pain frustrates me, and I have yet to come to grips with how to manage it effectively. Its difficult to find an effective way to cope when your constantly being thrown for a loop.

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