For as long as I can remember, chronic pain has controlled my life. I have had to anticipate it, prepare for it, plan around it and work through it nearly every day since I was diagnosed with scoliosis in sixth grade. I had an “S” curve – my spine was 25 degrees on top and 26 degrees on the bottom.
Since my diagnosis 12 years ago, my life has continued to center around me being in and out of different doctor’s offices, physical therapy clinics and hospitals trying to decrease or maintain my curve and manage my pain. I wore this ugly plastic Boston brace for several years before switching to a night-time brace, and ultimately I had to get my spine fused (T5 to L2) in June of 2013.
I’m 22 years old now. My spine is fused, but it’s starting to curve again above and below the fusion. I also have degenerative and bulging discs, and I still suffer greatly from chronic pain.
There are a lot of things I’ve learned to do over the years to adapt to the pain scoliosis and spine problems have caused me.
The first thing I do is always warn people about it, mainly new friends and coworkers. I never completely commit myself to plans outside of what I’m required to do each day.
During my undergrad, I had a hard time keeping up with the traditional social life of a college student because I was always either in pain, or I feared pain would come and I’d either be trapped somewhere or have to find a way to leave without making a scene. More often than not, I just have to tough it out.
All of this has taken a toll on me, not just physically but also mentally. The way chronic pain has interfered with my life has brought me a lot of anxiety. I’m always afraid people aren’t going to understand it.
Chronic pain is not something easily understood because it’s not visible on the surface. If you have a visible ailment, people can see you are suffering. This isn’t the case for chronic pain, and I’m always worried that people are doubting me.
I fear others think that I just don’t want to do something with them or that I’m being lazy. This anxiety has gotten increasingly worse over the years, getting to a point where it has begun interfering with my sleep schedule and diet habits. Most days, I feel like I’m trapped inside my own body.
Over the years, I have tried many approaches to pain management. From physical therapy, to back injections, pain medicine, a TENS unit, etc.
Every doctor or specialist I see just seems to want to throw painkillers at me, write a script for physical therapy and send me on my way.
The problem with these “solutions” is that I have had years upon years of treatment from physical therapy, and I am still in the gym four to five days a week consistently doing things I learned in treatment.
I have never reacted well to painkillers. I get very nauseous and can’t function as I need to to get through my days. Most importantly, I’m still young and I really don’t want to be depending on pills that cause additional side effects and put you at risk for addiction.
The only medication I take for pain is Motrin 800s. I took these a few times a week in college, but after starting a full-time job that involves a lot of work at a desk, I started taking them more frequently.
Between early summer and late fall of 2017, on average, I was taking anywhere from one to three pills a day and they were barely touching my pain.
Since I was constantly in pain, my efforts in the gym started suffering as well because the pain drained my energy. Again, all of this took a toll on me mentally and I felt myself slipping back into that dark place of feeling trapped.
I started taking CBD pills last fall. I began by taking two 15 mg pills daily – one in the morning and one at night. I immediately began seeing relief from my pain.
I noticed how I had more energy at the end of my workdays, and overall my body had begun just moving and feeling better.
I’ve only had to take a Motrin a handful of times over the last several months, and I even have had some completely pain free days, which are not common for me.
I recently changed from the pills to actual oil. I take this by mouth in the morning and at night each day. You can immediately feel your body relax after taking the oil, and although I still have pain, I have more good days than bad.
In addition to pills, I also use CBD topical cream for areas of my body that are aching or in pain. This cream is applied directly to the site of pain, and it feels like icy hot, just a lot more intense. When I use this cream, I feel relief from my pain within minutes. It’s like magic.
I’ve learned to come to terms with the fact that chronic pain will always be part of my life and part of who I am, but CBD oil has been a huge asset for me to help manage that pain and has worked better than anything I have tried before.
I have no side effects – I don’t feel drowsy or out of it throughout my days and I sleep much better than I ever have before. Plus, it’s natural! It has been lifesaving for me and I would recommend it to anyone who is currently suffering from chronic pain.
Erik Christian Johnson is a full-time blogger, self-development advocate, and full-time network marketing Entrepreneur.