My Battle With Chronic Pain Part II: Tendonitis, Sacroiliac Pain, Muscle Strain, Whatever
To read Part I Click here. Again, this is a chronic pain post: feel free to skip this one if it’s not your cup of tea. I promise to not always blog about hip pain y’all…
Now onto Part II of the saga.
So where did we leave off? Oh, yes. I was lying on my bed, probably on a hot pad, staring at the ceiling, praying, and crying.
I prayed for help. It came. God has always been so faithful.
The doorbell rang.
“I’ll just pretend I’m not home,” I thought.
“Mom! Mom! Mom! Someone’s at the door!!! Mom!! Get up! The doorbell!”
Groan. Obviously, we are at home.
“I’m coming. Okay.” I hobbled down the stairs, keeping my arm tucked in close. I answered the door. Just a nice lady needing to ask me a few questions. I don’t even remember her name.
I apologized for taking so long to answer the door. I explained that I’d been having trouble with my back. (It’s just much quicker than saying hip and shoulder.)
And do you know what she did?? She said she could relate! And then she pulled out her phone, and she said, “I have this chiropractor, his name is Dr. Bodnar. Let me give you his number.”
She assured me he was the best, and then she left. I never saw her before that day, and I never saw her afterwards.
I had only been to a chiropractor one other time, way back in 2005, when I was 8 months pregnant and also desperate for help with the hip.
I called the chiropractor. They got me in the very next day. Take that, physical therapy clinic! They were thorough. As my Granny, a fellow pain sufferer, once said, “They measured every bone in my body.” They also took x-rays.
One visit. One visit was all it took to fix the rib-cage thing. He just crunched my back, and bam! that rib went back to where it belonged. The truly fantabulous part is: It never came back!! Phew!
My neck was also repaired quickly. In only a few appointments, I could back up my car with a clear conscience. Wahoo!
Even the hip and shoulder tapered down to a manageable level. I was sold. I didn’t even bother to go back to the doctor who did the x-rays at my regular clinic. These chiropractor people were helping me, so I’d stick with them. No, my insurance didn’t pay for it, but I was breathing, walking, and sitting! Things were looking up!
They explained to me that my neck was straight rather than curved as it should be, and one side of my pelvis is higher than the other.
That’s when I also began to exercise. Dr. Bodnar gave me a few basic stretches and elbow planks to strengthen my core.
Y’all! When I began to do elbow planks in 2012, I couldn’t hold it for more than 3 seconds! It was so sad!! Now I can do 3 sets of 30 seconds a piece, in a row! I have come so far. At that time, the weak core explanation for my pain was something I could settle for. It was true back then. Not so, these days.
I lost 15 pounds. I ran. I swam. I was feeling great.
“Hey! Let’s have another baby!” You know I love babies.
But the truth had sunk in by this point that my hip and shoulder were chronic. This is a pain I will be “managing” for the rest of my life. Sometimes, even with the chiropractic care, my hip would flare up for a few days and then calm back down. The shoulder is more of a steady pinch, but I mostly only notice it when I’m lying down or sitting.
I call it sciatica, a hip problem, or a rear end problem. I know it’s confusing. The thing is that when it’s flared up, it hurts to drive, sit, lay down, or climb stairs. When I touch my foot to the pedals of a car, it hurts in my rear end and lower back, just to the right of my spine and deep into my rear.
But then there’s another aspect beside the sacroiliac pain. The hip joint itself is also angry, so if the flare up gets bad enough, I have trouble walking. Maybe it’s all part of the same thing, but that’s why I keep saying I don’t know what I have, I just know it hurts.
So I was careful about the fourth pregnancy. I faithfully visited Dr. Bodnar every other week. It was my healthiest pregnancy of all four. The pain still came and went, but no horror stories. It was super mild. The worst problem I had was pregnancy anemia and women in grocery stores asking me if I was sure I wasn’t having twins!
Rudest thing ever people. Just tell pregnant women, “You look great.”
During that pregnancy, I also finally made it to a dermatologist for several things. I’m supposed to go every year, but I don’t. That was when I learned that I had psoriasis. Phew! What a relief! I was afraid that crazy nail was fungus or something, and oh the public disgrace! But no, just psoriasis. No biggie. I’d had the scalp and nose rash for as long as I could remember, but I’d never bothered to find out what it was. It’s not big or very noticeable, so I don’t worry about it.
From 2012 to Fall 2014, the shoulder and hip would wax and wane in intensity, but it mostly stayed mild and manageable. We moved across country, and I made it–all of that car riding!–with no problem. Those were two happy, fit years, even with the c-section thrown in. I was quick to recover. I worked hard to get my ab muscles back in tact, thanks to my Lindsey Brin fitness DVDs and my yoga instructor, Monica.
But then came the 2014 move. I was good the first few months, but as I began to home school the boys, I could not find time to exercise. Plus, I was so tense and stressed. My old pain came back knocking hard.
I found a local chiropractor. That helped. Then I went on Christmas vacation. I had a truly happy outlook. For some reason, that seems to make a difference. I had a fun time in Alabama, and when we came back I had my very first 4 completely pain-free months since 2011! I was ecstatic. I’d thought that ache was just part of me. But it disappeared for four whole months!! Wahooooooo!
While the shoulder ache and the hip pain evaporated, a new pain showed up around Fall 2014. Remember the white pinky nail I mentioned in Part I? Well, eventually every single fingernail, save one or two, went white and yellow and pink on me. Toward the tip, it gets super thick and looks like it’s separating from the nail bed. It’s embarrassing.
Also, it hurts. That was when I learned to wash my hair with only whatever one or two fingers was working properly. It wasn’t like the arthritis fingers, where they have swelling in their knuckles. It was just the tips of my fingers that hurt. I still have it in my thumb.
I learned to not even attempt buttons or jars. At least I could walk. Four whole months of no shoulder or hip pain! 2015 was off to a smashing start! I was happy. Home school was going better. I was finally making friends, and suddenly I had offers to make money blogging.
Life was looking up for April. I even began to tell myself that perhaps the shoulder and hip thing was truly over. I even took on a sponsored post with a personal trainer who put me on this Water Challenge that totally fixed most of my nails:
We’ll talk about Part III next time: The pain came back, and I finally met a health care professional who questioned my spine theory.