Nerve Pain – what it does to you…

Brachical Plexus

For the last six years, I have constantly suffered from nerve pain, which spikes when it’s cold – it sucks!

So… what’s the reason I suffer from nerve pain you may ask – I had an accident (read my first few articles) back in 2013 that left me with a severe Brachical Plexus Injury to my right arm as well as a Traumatic Brain Injury. A Brachical Plexus Injury is an injury to group of nerves that come from the spinal cord in the neck and travel down the arm. These nerves control the muscles of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand, as well as provide feeling in the arm. My injury was pretty severe, it has caused permanent disability to my right arm.

Anterior primary rami of C5-T1. Phrenic nerve C3/4/5. 3 important nerves originate above the clavicle. C5 root-dorsal scapular. C5/6/7 roots-long thoracic nerve (Bell) C5/6 upper trunk-suprascapular nerve. T1 contributes preganglionic sympathetic fibres to stellate ganglion.

Nerve pain (Neuropathic pain) is pain caused by damage or disease affecting the somatosensory nervous system. Neuropathic pain may be associated with abnormal sensations called dysesthesia or pain from normally non-painful stimuli (allodynia). It may have continuous and/or episodic (paroxysmal) components.

So what this means is nerve pain is caused by damage or disease to the nervous system. You’re nerve pain may spike from things as simple as someone touching you etc. Things that normally wouldn’t hurt.

People have asked me how I manage my nerve pain with having two kids? Well the simple answer is my husband at times has to carry much more of the load than most other husbands do. Like last night, I was having a pain attack & our new born wouldn’t settle, I went and got my husband up to take over because sometimes the pain is so bad it takes everything I have just to deal with an attack.

But at the end of the day, it was OUR choice to have children, so something that was instilled in me at a young age was – you have to do what you gotta do to do what you wanna do, so most of the time I push myself as hard as I possibly can for my children. I don’t care if I don’t complete things for myself, but I make sure I do everything for my kids – fed, bathed, make sure there not over stimulated, try my hardest to stick to our ever changing routine, etc.

Having ongoing chronic pain can have a significant effect on your entire life. It can cause problems sleeping – I’ve had to sleep train, listen to sleep meditation… even having to resort to sleeping pills at times. It can affect your ability to work and attend social events – at times I suffer so bad I’m unable to go places.

In many people, they won’t attend classes or seminars to help them better deal with their situation. Those classes and seminars have helped me in so many ways to better deal with the chronic pain I live with every day. There is so much information people can learn, better than medication so that they too can also live a much better life.

Adequately treating nerve pain and learning coping strategies to manage pain are very important to make sure that you maintain a good quality of life. Physical activity can help reduce stress and improve fitness. This is why I became obsessed with fitness. Not only did it help with managing my nerve pain, it also helped me become much stronger, fitter and leaner – really, I am 30+ kilos lighter, 4 weeks post having another baby! Gentle stretching and yoga can be good options as well.

Getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet are also important. When it comes to sleep, at times I have very little of it, or very restless. A healthy diet tends to reduce inflammation in the body and this may be helpful with nerve pain. I did change our entire diet for the better – healthy food is so yummy!

There are good days where I’m in go-go gadget mode and get so much done in a day, then there are days where I’m lucky to keep my kids and myself alive. Nerve pain can also turn you into not a very nice person. The only way I have been able to stop all my anger was to go on antidepressants – and they are really helping. I would love to be able to do more for my family, but truth is, living with chronic pain – you just can’t. Having to constantly fight off pain is exhausting! I have learn’t not to be scared of another pain attack but to embrace it, this has been one of the best coping mechanisms I have learnt.

If there’s any advice I can give to people suffering nerve/chronic pain, I would stress that firstly, you need to educate yourself about your condition and learn strategies to deal with pain being a constant factor in your life. Maybe look into if there is a pain clinic (public system) in your area. I was taught so much at different seminars the Townsville Pain Clinic held.

Look after yourself – Start living a life where you are able to manage your pain, not be crippled by it.

Below you will find details to Pain Australia, this organisation works with governments, health professional and consumer bodies, funders, educational and research institutions, to facilitate implementation of the National Pain Strategy Australia-wide. To contact a Queensland Health Pain Management Practice, the best way to do so is to get a referral from your GP.

Pain Australia

Telephone: 02 6232 5588
Unit 6, 42 Geils Court, Deakin ACT 2600
PO Box 9406 Deakin ACT 2600

For general inquiries 
admin@painaustralia.org.au
For media inquiries please contact Jessica Conway
jessica.conway@painaustralia.org.au or 0421 288 439

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