I have been wandering around the house growling like a grizzly bear, trying to find the right ice packs, the right towel to wrap them in, the right ace bandage to wrap around all of that. All to go around my neck, where my second pain management doctor gave me two trigger point injections, one on each side of my neck.
For me, these have been helpful. They’re expensive. Only a few pain management doctors will do trigger point injections, and almost none of those will take Medicare. There’s no assurance the injections will work, or that they will continue to work. Just because they worked last time does not mean they will work next time.
As Dr. Shots finished today he said, “These are already swelling. You might want to put some ice on them.” He’s a nice doctor, and I like him a lot, but he’s prone to understatement. I have mump-like lumps, and my neck is swollen and sore from the injections.
For me, this had been an exciting revelation over the last three or four years: migraines can become so bad that they cause the muscles in the neck to clamp down hard enough to cause deafness, blindness, fainting spells.
The shots go in my neck, below each ear, making those seized-up muscles let go enough, hopefully, that I will be able to hear clearly. The injections are painful going in, so I’m relieved we’re only doing two locations now. In the beginning, Dr. Shots was doing a dozen little ones. After that, each point swells, sometimes leaves hickey-like bruises, and can hurt like a bitch. The muscle spasms, however, are the worst of it. Muscles that have frozen into that rigid state for a dozen years or more react badly to having a miniscule dose of “let-go” potion pushed into them. Those muscles respond with incessant spasms, cramping pain, and ongoing twitching. Let’s call all of this Rough Fix A.
I hope the pain of the injections, of the swelling, of the muscle spasms, will all be worth it as the trigger point injections do their job. When all goes as planned, I can hear out of both ears. I don’t have to shake my head at people, point to my ear and say, “I’m deaf, can you repeat that, and louder, please?” If it all works, the muscles in my neck relax, and I can rest easier. My therapeutic massage can go deeper and work better. My range of motion is greater. And best of all, if the injections work, I think my constant, permanent, grinding, aching, stabbing migraines are a little better. Let’s call the whole of this Possible Solution B.
Chronic pain sufferers, we have to make trade-offs. I’m willing to go through all of Rough Fix A to get to the potential calm waters of Possible Solution B. Chronic pain sufferers have to negotiate their whole lives. Will I do A so I can have B?
Will I go through this horrible, painful treatment so I can have a vacation with my family? Will I give up going out with my friends any night this week so I can make a presentation on Friday for my career? Will I take antidepressants so my wife will like me better, even though it will destroy our sex life?
Will I take this pain pill now, when I need it, or will I wait to take it later because someone else needs me to be/do/have/say something for them?
I don’t have the answers for any of you, but I remain your