Posted in Ankylosing Spondylitis, Hope & Inspiration, Living with Pain

A Heating Pad, TENS unit and Flexeril Walk in to the bar….

Did that catch your attention? If you live with any chronic pain you likely understand my title and for that, I’m sorry. I recently went through a week of having gorilla pits because I was in so much pain I could barely clean myself in the shower, never mind pick up a razor.

It was a Wednesday morning, like many other days. I left the house for work at the last possible moment, speeding not an option because: A – I don’t speed, B – There are too many deer that randomly run across the road around here, and C – I live in a small community and work for the county government and don’t want my bosses to hear my license plate and name over the radio as the deputy calls in my information to the dispatcher. But mostly I don’t speed because I live a life now that I don’t have to.  But I digress…

By the time I pulled in my parking space, I suddenly felt that long forgotten rusty rebar spine feeling. As I looked down to unbuckle my seatbelt, hot searing pain shot down my spine. Oh holy shit….what the hell just happened??? I painfully inched my way out of the drivers seat and managed to stand upright while catching my breath. Walking like The Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, I painfully and slowly navigated my way to the stairs to the front door, all while carrying on a conversation with a co-worker not letting on how much pain I was in. Fortunately she was walking just a bit in front of me and didn’t see my tin man walk or my one-step-at-a-time up the stairs. I was totally having a flash-back to the time when I lived like this 24/7 acting as though nothing were wrong. I initially thought this searing pain down my spine would go away in a few minutes, just a fluke, maybe a muscle spasm. Over the next hour it got worse, I could barely move an inch without shooting, red-hot stabbing pain running from my neck to my sacroiliac joints. WTF is going on??????? If I attempted to lower my chin to my chest 1/2 inch the pain level went from a 9 to a 900 on that pain scale with no resemblance to a happy face. I sent my husband an email at work, looking for advice. He said it sounded like a muscle spasm and to take a flexeril. I protested at first, I didn’t want to become a zombie at work. His logic was sound – he said I could be a zombie at work and not get anything done or I could sit there in utter pain and still be useless. So I might as well make an attempt at reducing the pain. I cried uncle and decided to go home 11AM, driving my car with my mom following in her car.  My pain level was so high the flexeril hadn’t affected my brain yet – so I felt safe to drive those six minutes home.

Gingerly stepping around cats who were very excited at my arrival home at an unexpected time, I worked my way to my bedroom, one hand over the other holding pressing along the wall to my bedroom whereby I carefully slid my clothes off and my sweats on. I wanted the couch….I needed the couch…I needed to close my eyes because surely the pain would be gone when I woke up. This was just a fluke I told myself.

It was not a fluke, unless you want to call it a week-long fluke. With pillow, heating pad and prayer shawl keeping me company on my couch, I visited the inside of my eyelids the rest of the day and most of that second day. My husband happen to visit the company doctor at work and mentioned how I was home with a muscle spasm. Thankfully the doctor mentioned a TENS unitDing Ding Ding – Oh Yes! I have one of those!! And even better – I know where it is! Getting the pads in just the right places, I dialed in my vibrational relief. Choosing between the various settings I was able to attack that spasm back. Add in a dose of heating pad and a flexeril and I was good to go. Until the third day. None of those three things really helped anymore…I don’t think this is a muscle spasm…hmmmmm.

It was then that I remembered…Oh yeah, I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. This is bone pain. In fact, it really felt a lot like when I had compression fractures from osteoporosis. Then the inner dialogue started….”this can’t be a flare, can it?” “if I have a fracture, how did it happen?” “could this be from my exercise last night?” finally to, “there is no way in hell I’m doing this again!” And once again, my fierce determination came out and I decided to be healed.

Breathing was a chore, and it was very shallow. But I know when you are experiencing pain the last thing you want to do is hold your breath and constrict so I forced myself constantly to observe my breath, to take slow deep breaths until I felt a stabbing pain in my vertebra. I meditated, did Reiki, and thanked my guardian angels for their help. I repeated out loud and silently “I am well.” I also gave in and got out my cane to help me walk. I felt like getting out the cane was an admission of guilt, of needing something else to help me. But I also figured the way I was walking all hobbled over was going to cause problems too, so a cane would be a good thing. Slowly as the weekend progressed, I did start to feel better – not 100%, but better.

At this point, you might be thinking that this girl is full of it….trust me, I know it sounds like a total load of crap that doing these things helped me to feel better. Seriously, talk yourself out of pain? Well in fact it is possible, because I believed it to be possible. I knew that by focusing on my connection with the Universe/God/Goddess/Gaia/Deity – (whatever you look to for a higher source) I would begin to feel better.

One of my favorite spiritual leaders in the world is Dr. Wayne Dyer. I was listening to him recently on a recording of The Aware Show with Lisa Garr. He said (I’m paraphrasing here), “Jesus said, With God – All things are Possible. It’s in the Bible – Matthew 19:26. He didn’t say Some things are possible, he said ALL things are possible. If ALL things are possible, what else is there?” So why not believe that focus and connection with the universe can help us feel better. If we solely focus on our pain, illness, injury that is what we see. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting here pain free as I write this. In fact, I’ve got some nerve pain in my rib cage that is three years old that still hits me out of no where. But my changing my focus, I change my experience.

So my challenge to you today is to try something new. Rather than focus on your pain, focus on one positive thing, one beautiful thing. Let that feeling fill up you, even if it is a distraction for just a moment – that is your moment of pain free life. When you practice this, those moments grow one by one.

I’ll leave you with this thought today from Dr. Wayne Dyer:

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change”


Hello and thank you for visiting my blog! I am a mixed bag all jumbled up with glitter writing a book, playing on ham radio (I'm WY7YL), being a Parrothead, making jewelry, running, reading, or running around with my camera taking pics of nature and my cats. This blog is a smattering of all of it!

10 thoughts on “A Heating Pad, TENS unit and Flexeril Walk in to the bar….

  1. Just 11 cats? Counting our ferals we are taking care of 14 here. Glad to hear you’re on the mend, , great read Katie, see you down the log, 73!

  2. Katie so sorry to hear about your pain issue. No fun! Hope you are feeling better, and did you ever find out what it was.

    Debbie Abernethy

    1. Oh, thanks Debbie!! I am doing much better now thanks. I haven’t resumed exercising yet but hoping to next week. Just been taking it very easy.

  3. I am totally with you on our ability to talk ourselves out of pain (or into it for that matter, but that’s another post). Like you, I often forget about some of the tools I have to help myself feel better, whether it’s the TENS unit or just a positive thought.

    1. Thanks for sharing Julie!! That reprogramming of our brains to remember all we can do to help ourselves sometimes gets lost in the pain. The old memories of a time when I didn’t have those tools crop up…fortunately now I remember more than I forget!

    1. Thanks so much!! It’s so much harder to actually put in action, that’s for sure. But like many other things, when it becomes habit or practice, it becomes more of our way of life. Ultimately when you suddenly notice that you aren’t paying attention to your pain, you know you’ve started to figure it out! Thanks for sharing my post, I greatly appreciate it!!

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