In October 2012 I was cycling with my husband one Sunday afternoon, when I was hit by a car, leaving me with chronic back pain.
The accident fractured my L1 vertebrae.
Two days later I was on the operating table having a bone graft from my hip, and rods and screws inserted into my back and my T12-L1-L2 vertebrae were fused together.
After the surgery, I was prescribed opioids for pain relief. I took them for 10 months before switching to Lyrica. The side effects of the drugs were horrendous. I felt emotionally numb–like a zombie.
Living with chronic pain put a strain on my marriage and pushed me into depression. I was desperate to find a different way to manage my pain.
In March 2015 I began a 10-week pain management course at the Concord West Hospital pain clinic. The techniques I learned to control my pain such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, relaxation, regular exercise and pacing, changed my life.
Although I still have back pain, the skills I learned at the pain clinic mean that I’m better equipped to manage that pain and get more out of life.
I’ve also completely changed the way I eat and now follow an anti-inflammatory diet. I avoid stimulants such as gluten, caffeine, alcohol and sugar, which cause my pain to flare up. It’s amazing how much it has helped.
These days I don’t take any painkillers. I see a chiropractor and an acupuncturist every three weeks and am focusing on improving my gut health so my body can absorb the vitamins and nutrients it needs to repair and reduce pain.
I now focus on the positive things and absorb as much information as I can about nutritional medicine, pain and the brain. Knowledge makes me feel empowered.