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Re: men in pain/coping mechanisms

Re: men in pain/coping mechanisms

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Posted by John Honsaker on March 25, 2000 at 08:04:35:

In Reply to: men in pain/coping mechanisms posted by ila on March 25, 2000 at 02:31:34:

: Hello JohnV and anyone else who is reading this post. Hope it finds you in good spirits.

: As I said last night, it was good to get an honest overview of your pain and how it affects you.

: I find it extremely hard not to be sarcastic when people can't understand why I can't play netball, basketball or whatever else they ask me to play.

: At the start of every season I'm asked the same questions, generally by the same people. Why? Because I had a very successful "public face". So much for foolish pride huh!

: I'm finding that as the years go by (only been 4) it's getting harder to put my public face on. As well as that, it doesn't seem so important and I'm too tired and in too much pain to really care what anyone else thinks anymore.

: My partner says he doesn't know how I do it. Honestly speaking, neither do I and I've only had 4 years of it.

: I hurt myself at work - carrying a heavy desk top with a couple of work mates. I consulted with a Dr. who said I'd "pulled a muscle" in my back.

: As a result, continued to play netball and tennis. Pain continued to worsen, saw a Dr. 2 mths. later. He to said I'd pulled a muscle. Why? I'm told it's because I wasn't displaying the "normal" signs of someone who has prolapsed a disc.

: Another month and another Dr. later I finally hit a good one - "something seriously wrong here" - referred to another Dr. who said I'd prolapsed a disc but she couldn't be sure. Regardless, prescribed anti inflammatories and pain killers and referred to an Orthopaedic surgeon.

: Another month and I finally see the surgeon - straight into surgery that afternoon. S1 nerve is "bruised and battered" (purple), L5 6 disc diffuse prolapse.

: Given exercise regime normally reserved for normal disc prolapse, no consideration to nerve damage.

: Problems have escalated since that day. Apart from the neuro whose chronic pain clinic I attended, I had never seen another specialist experienced in treating chronic pain cases until this month.

: I didn't go back to the P.M.C. because they focused on the psyche of the sufferer being the total reason why chronic pain was present.

: My saviour has been the physio. She also was the one to refer me to the sports medicine physio physician experienced in treating chronic pain cases.

: Regardless of his expeience, it is still necessary for him to "advise" my GP to refer me to the neurologist and chronic pain specialist and change the pain relief medication I'm on - isn't that the most pathetic thing you've ever heard of.

: Which brings me to men. How would a man have coped with all of that?? My partner got frustrated and angry helping me cope with everything I've had to put up with, and he doesn't know the half of it.

: While at the pain clinic, our pain was never discussed. What was discussed was our need to meditate, exercise and nutrition.

: Consecutive attempts were made to make us feel as though we were lacking in "grit" if we couldn't do the exercise regime set out for us.

: One of the blokes there had major neck problems. The challenge of women beating him was put out. He beat some of them to his detriment.

: At the end of the clinic his neck pain was excruciating and he couldn't do much else but watch.

: They didn't once say to us, or more importantly to him, "o.k., you have pain, we can help you understand and cope??

: Personally speaking, I came away from there thinking the pain was all in my mind and exercise was the key.

: I exercised till I dropped. Improvement - no, extension of pain and area - yes. Felt like a complete failure, both physically and psychologically.

: Have only now come to terms and accepted that I am in chronic pain and I may be that way for a long time yet.

: Seeing the physio/physician assisted in coming to terms with my predicament. He explained everything about my pain in laymans terms - where it the major pains came from, why they referred etc.

: I'm told I won't be able to rejoin the work force for a long time yet, I won't be able to play my beloved sport and I definitely won't be able to enjoy my favourite pastime of dancing.

: I know I will soon get appropriate pain relief medication and I won't be addicted, I'll be dependent, and I can handle that. I also know that appropriate professional help is on it's way and I love that.

: It feels as though a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

: But how would a bloke handle that?? What mechanisms are you guys equipped with that would allow you to handle the most diversely frustrating scenarios??

: I'm interested, and maybe, like you JohnV, just talking about your situations will help clear the mind.

: Am not able to continue, please excuse me. Absolutely stuffed. Log on later. take care, kia kaha, ila

: "kia kaha" means "be strong" in Maori. I'm an indigenous New Zealander (kiwi).

Hi Ila,
I have had the pain since Nov, 93. Your letter sounds typical, about first having nothing done, then finding the problem, the operation, the chronic pain. All of your postís ask how men cope with this, are you doubting your self? Itís common to doubt yourself, especially with the depression that comes with the pain and the loss of your ability to do anything. I thought I must just be a wimp or something because I couldnít handle the pain so off to pain management I went.
After finding out that I just wasnít eating a good enough breakfast, drinking enough water, listening to enough waves crashing against the rocks, etc., I still was in horrendous pain. I have always been a strong man, I am 51 years old, 6í 2", 23x lb. with a high tolerance for pain. But this pain has brought my to my knees and is enough to make a grown man cry (it has me on many occasions). We men donít have any special method to cope with the pain.
If the reason you are asking about how men cope is because your partner is having a hard time dealing with your pain Eg, "how would HE like it if things were reversed" then you should consider that you BOTH have to go through the grieving process. The first part of the grieving process is denial. It took me about 4 years before I could accept this damn pain. It is harder for your partner to accept it because he/she canít feel it, see it, touch it. Part of him/her has to wonder how bad it can be, it takes more time for him/her to get over the denial.
Donít give up on the exercising. It has been found to lower your depression level. There is usually something you can do, I joined the YMCA and swim for a half hour once a week. It really helps. You might want to consider a weekly massage also. Because I have to spend 90-95 % of my time laying down I found that after a few years I was getting worse. I started getting a weekly massage and he found some trigger points were causing some of the increased pain, he massaged them out and I am back to fighting one problem instead of two.
Good luck and God bless,


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