Wednesday, April 6, 2011

FAQs: Pain

In yesterday's post I wrote about the pain I experience on a daily basis. Someone left me a comment and asked me why I experience so much pain when I can't feel. When someone breaks their neck or damages their spinal cord, it doesn't always mean that they lose all of their movement and sensation below their level of injury. No two injuries are like. Some people can't move but still have sensation, some people can move but don't have sensation, and a lot of other combinations of varying levels of being able to feel and move.

This is my personal experience: I have full sensation, head to toe, and I can also move a few fingers on each hand and I can wiggle my toes, but I don't have any movement that I can do anything "useful" with. Most people who have an injury as high up on the spinal cord as I do (second cervical level) DON'T have full sensation, so I'm pretty rare in that respect. Having so much sensation is definitely a blessing and a curse because on one hand it's nice to be able to feel if something is bothering me, but at the same time, I have a lot of physical pain which isn't fun to experience. (HOWEVER, even people who don't have sensation can still experience phantom pain in their limbs where they might not have sensation.

Neuropathic pain, or nerve pain is very complex and hard for someone to understand if you've never experienced it. Just know that paralyzed people can still feel pain even if they can't feel anything else.


Michele Chastain said...

Hey there :) I'm a t-5 paraplegic since 1987 and I also have all over sensation, but thankfully have never struggled much with unbearable pain. I think I've just become so accustomed to "aching" that it seems normal, but my docs have said I have a very high pain threshold, for which I'm thankful. I will say that when I first began getting feeling back, when I was still in rehab after my accident, that it was EXTREMELY uncomfortable. The girl who was in the room next to me is still someone I keep in touch with, and she likes to remind me of how much I screamed back when that was going on...LOL oops! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Heather! What a beautiful blog you keep. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself for the betterment of strangers.

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