Man reaching out in desperation to treatments including a TENS unit and an online forum that are just out of reach

I Am An Addict

A look into the addictive mind of a chronic pain patient...

If you listen to the news, chronic pain patients are the largest group of addicts in the world. Every day, on the top of the broadcast, they push some story about some doctor who was guilty of prescribing opioid pain relievers. They make them sound like they are equivalent to the back-alley heroin dealer and they are causing pain patients to become addicts.

While I don’t wish to get political and comment on the “opioid crisis”, I do have a confession to make.

I am an addict

And, while I can’t speak for all my Spondylitis brothers, sisters, and non-binary siblings, I imagine they are all addicts as well. Understand me when I say, I’m not an addict in the way the news media wants patients to be. My addiction is quite different. Simply put...

I'm addicted to feeling good!

I don’t want to feel high. Nor do I want to be lifted to some interstellar level of feeling and consciousness. What I really want is to feel as good as Joe and Jane.

Simply to do anything I can with as little pain as possible. Go for a run, work 40 hours, go home and cook a meal, and have enough energy to have a social life. The daily activities that Joe and Jane get to experience every day without a second thought.

In the quest to just feel “normal” I am willing to do anything I can just to achieve homeostasis. Again, not high, not flying, not circling Venus and back, just average.

So, I take my meds, get massages, go to the chiropractor, hook myself up to electrodes, soak in hot baths, hang upside down, search online, talk with other AS and chronic pain patients, and desperately hope to find something that works!

It doesn't always work

But, even if I do find something that relieves my pain and stiffness, there is always a chance for disappointment when something that worked before stops working, or causes me to feel worse. Because, treatments are rarely consistent. They are either total pleasure or pain.

I love how I feel after my chiropractor adjusts my non-fused sections of my spine. But, there are always times I’m in bad shape (literally) and I’m too inflamed to be manipulated. A hot bath and a good sweat does wonders for loosening me. But, I usually end up hurting more from sitting on a hard surface. I waited all week to inject my biologic to finally feel better, but this time around, it didn’t take. I’m looking for any relief I can find, and I only find disappointment.

So, I will keep searching, keep trying, and keep hoping that I can find some treatment that will allow me to just feel “normal”.

People say we are addicts, when all we want is to be addicted to life.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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