Good morning, Dear Readers!
I was just talking with a friend of mine about the physical pain she suffered with for years. Finally, she found someone who not only believed she was in pain, but also found the solution for her!
This got me to thinking about myself. When I was 19, my mother threw me into a wall. As soon as I hit that wall, I felt & heard what felt like every single vertebrae in my spine pop loudly. The pain & fear of that moment made me black out briefly, it was that intense. It was so bad in fact, I had to quit working a few months later at age 20 because of the pain. I had pain constantly for the next 10 years until one day when I was watching Joyce Meyer on television. After she was done preaching, she prayed specifically for people with back pain. My husband prayed too, although I didn’t know it at the time. Within a few days, my pain was gone!
The early days of that injury were awful. I spent so much time visiting doctors. No one believed I was in pain. No injuries showed up on the xrays. They said my MRI was fine, but it “disappeared” never to be found again, so no one but the one doctor, an especially cruel & sarcastic man, saw the results. One doctor even wrote in his report I was “fine & able to work” in spite of me repeatedly telling him otherwise. I had one doctor, a very sweet, gentle chiropractor, who believed everything I told her. To top it off, my mother, the reason for my pain, told people I was faking it so I wouldn’t have to work. She often poked or slapped me right where my pain was, or handed me something heavy- anything to make me hurt.
It was a painful time in many ways. Aside from the physical pain, it hurt having doctors act like I was crazy, making this whole thing up or being lazy, like my mother said. After about a year or so, I gave up seeing doctors. It was absolutely frustrating & a waste of time. I also doubted the pain I felt. With so few people believing me, & reminding me often of that fact, I really wondered sometimes if I was making it up. Even when I would be in pain, I wondered about it sometimes.
Then in 2010, July 25 was a rough day. While at a now former friend’s wedding reception, a storm moved into the area. As soon as the storm was over, we quickly came home & learned our home had been struck by lightening. The insulation around the one window air conditioner had caught fire, but quickly extinguished itself. Coming so close to losing our home & the furkids terrified me! My husband told my father about it, & the next time we spoke, Dad told me he told my mother what happened. He said “we could’ve lost our daughter” & my mother’s response was “you’re making a big deal out of nothing.” Her lack of caring, although not surprising, was extremely painful for me. I also learned my ex husband’s mother died that day. I’d loved her, so even though I hadn’t seen her in 16 years, it still upset me. Shortly after, one of our cats passed away very suddenly. A couple of weeks later, as I was leaving a store, my shoe caught on the curb, throwing me into traffic where I was almost hit by a truck. Shortly after that, I ended a 22 year long friendship. Somewhere during this very traumatic time, my back went out one day. I woke up in pain, & it got worse until I could barely move. I was afraid I was back to living with the constant pain I had in my 20’s. Thankfully, a friend of mine who does massage helped me quite a bit, & the pain was gone within a few days.
This friend suggested that rather than have a nervous breakdown as I’ve had before, I had a physical one this time. After all, I’d been through a lot recently. I researched stress & back pain. That search led me to PTSD, & how I think it was 55% of people with PTSD suffer lower back pain with no physical cause. That blew me away! It also led to me researching PTSD further, which later led to me researching C-PTSD.
PTSD & C-PTSD can lead to a lot of physical pain with no physical cause. Muscle aches & pains from the stress of being constantly “on guard” are very common, as are headaches, migraines, neck pain, digestive issues & inflammatory disorders (arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc). Personally, I have had arthritis since I was 31, but also get aches & pains all over when the C-PTSD flares up. When I am really stressed, my lower back aches terribly.
If you are suffering with some type of physical pain that your doctors say is “all in your head” or don’t believe is as bad as you say, it may be time to ask for a referral to a mental health professional. You too may be dealing with PTSD or C-PTSD. Or, you may be dealing with too much stress & need to learn healthy ways to cope. In any case, please learn from my experience- no telling how much pain I could have saved myself if I had seen a psychiatrist when I was 19.