I pick up my pain story where I last left it in January.
I finally had my first appointment with the pain clinic. I saw a doctor who specialises in pain. She asked me a lot of questions and tested my range of movement. I had bloods taken by a nurse to check for inflammation or any other cause of my pain, just in case, but the doctor seemed doubtful anything would come of it. I was told about a talk I could attend led by pain specialist physiotherapists. If I found the talk helpful I could then book onto more talks on various pain related topics and onto short courses to get me more active again in ways that might help. I thought it was at least a start and could help me to learn more about my pain. I then had to wait for the doctor to refer me.
A couple of weeks later I got a letter from the pain clinic with a report from the doctor of what we discussed. It might come in handy if I apply for Personal Independence Payments benefit anytime soon. Having had this chronic pain so long and on top of my other conditions I suspect I might now be eligible for it.
Then a day later I got another letter, this time confirming my referral to the pain physiotherapists. I got a short questionnaire to fill out with it about my pain and sent it back to them. Not long after that I was sent my appointment for the initial talk with them.
I attended the talk at the start of March. It lasted about an hour and half with a short break in the middle, with about twenty other people. The first half was about pain itself, what pain is,different kinds of pain and how it can affect people. The second half was about the services they offer and other services offered elsewhere. We then had to decide if we wanted to attend any of the seminars or workshops on offer from the pain clinic. I made my initial choices, but was told that if I change my mind and wish to attend something different I could. I decided to give the seminars a miss for now. I definitely want to give the short course of Tao Chi a try. Physiotherapists have told me my shoulders are very tense and I need to learn to relax them. I am hoping Tai Chi can help with this and that can help reduce the pain in them. I also selected PhysioYo, a short course of physiotherapy mixed with yoga style movement that can be adapted to each persons needs. Having done a little bit of yoga at university, I think I could get on well with this. I decided to also see the occupational physiotherapist who you see one to one as she could have some helpful advice and ideas on how to make my everyday life a bit easier.
Towards the end of March I got a letter confirming I am on a waiting list for the pain clinic services I chose. Then Coronavirus became a serious issue world wide and the UK went into lock down. So another letter was soon sent to me, to let me know that their courses have been postponed until further notice.
For most of March, although still there, my pain was less intense. However since the start of April my pain has flared up again. I think my mental health could be a contributing factor to my physical pain. The frustration of the lock down, living alone, not being able to visit my family and do the things I want to do can sometimes put me in a low mood or an angry mood which may not help. Although it cannot be the only factor as I am not in a low mood constantly. It is frustrating being in pain not being able to get on with the pain clinic things I was quite hopeful about.
The other issue with lock down is getting hold of pain medication. I went for two weeks without paracetamol as everywhere in town had sold out, which made me quite cross about panic buyers who may not even need them right now. Luckily I have my prescription codeine which is more effective anyway, but I do not like to take it all day as it can make me very tired, can be addictive and can become less effective if used a lot over a very long period of time. I agreed with my doctor to take it first thing when I wake up and last thing at night only. So on a bad day I use paracetamol to take the edge off my pain in the middle of the day along with ibuprofen. There have been days since when I have been unable to get paracetamol, but I try to make sure I start looking for it before I get too close to running out now. I also have to make sure I order my prescription in good time now as it take up to a week to get from the doctor’s surgery to the pharmacy.
I have also had to learn to deal with my Raynaud’s in this time to stop that from causing too much additional pain. It does still flare up and hurt, but I am getting better at preventing a flare up or sometimes can at least reduce how bad a flare up will be using various ways to keep my fingers and toes warm. Now it is spring and the weather is a little warmer, it is not quite so bad all the time, but stress can also affect Raynaud’s and it never totally goes away completely. Sometimes the stress from my other pains acting up can cause my Raynaud’s to get a little worse again.
That is all I have for now, I will come back to this when I have something else to report on my pain issues.