Pain is not always a four-letter word

Michelle’s Story

About ten years ago, I was involved in a car accident. It didn’t seem that dramatic at the time – just your run-of-the-mill launch off a stray pile of construction debris, a series of rolls through the air with engine screaming (onlookers too), then a last minute explosion as I dived for cover. Okay, so maybe it was a rear-ender, but that doesn’t make it any less serious. Unfortunately, if it doesn’t look dramatic, a lot of people can find it difficult getting their heads around the concept that people might be hurt as a result. I mean, I looked normal – no cuts, no bruises, but inside something wasn’t right. I soon found out that my neck and back had suffered some hard core soft tissue damage (excuse the confusing grammar, but you know what I mean).

Prior to my accident, I’d played a lot of sport, so I knew about injuries – remove the hockey stick, slap on some ice, rest and pretty soon you’re as good as new, so my attitude was the same with this injury. Maybe skip the part about the hockey stick – but essentially I expected with rest and treatment I would get better.

I iced, I rested, I treated – but I didn’t get any better. In fact, I seemed to be getting worse. The experts told me my job wasn’t helping – lots of craning over a desk or peering up at ceilings (don’t ask). Pretty soon I was in a serious cycle of pain. I couldn’t do most of the things I could before and the things I could made my pain significantly worse.

I’d suffer through work, go home to bed, then start again the next day. Weekends were spent doing as little as possible. Most of the time I was trying everything I could think of to make the pain go away. But I couldn’t think – the pain and the ineffectual painkillers were making it hard to concentrate.

My sporting career came to a sudden and rather jarring halt. Even something as simple as walking drove steel spikes into the base of my skull at every step. My social life withered and died and pretty soon my mood was sinking faster than the Titanic.

Was all lost? Hopeless? Doomed?

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