How I Managed my Chronic Pain

If you looked at me, you would think I am in perfect health. I’m 27 (now 28). In shape, active, and I eat clean; I am the poster child for fitness and health.

Although I ‘look’ healthy, I suffered from chronic nerve pain for years. Three long years of doctor visits, pills and prescriptions, pain, and testing with no cure or reason. During this time, I have realized even doctors don’t know how to solve chronic pain.

The last time I went to a specialist, he googled my symptoms in front of me! In fact, I have had a few doctors who were so floored with my symptoms they too searched the web. Sometimes, doctors don’t care and if they care, they don’t have the time to help.

50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. That is 1 in 5 adults. With so many people struggling with pain, I realized, doctors know how to treat the symptom, but they do not know how to treat the cause.

Table of Contents

When the pain started

In the summer of 2016, my body had had enough! My skin around my neck, back, and arms broke out in hives. My ears burned: I had pain and tingling on the top of my head, my mouth, jawline, and cheeks.

I suspected it was because of a YouTube hair concoction I tried. Immediately, I rushed to the dermatologists. I saw two. One prescribed me sensitive shampoo and conditioner, the other prescribed me gabapentin. I went with gabapentin. The shampoo and conditioner provided me with some relief, but the tingling and pain was chronic.

After 8 weeks, the pain traveled to my foot and toes. Gabapentin was no longer working and the shampoo and conditioner no longer provided me with relief. My dermatologist didn’t know what to do, but she took me off of Gabapentin. 

I went to my primary doctors and before I could sit down, he stated with absolute certainty, “You have bipolar disorder.” Two weeks later my nerve pain disappeared.  Maybe he was right? Maybe it was all in my head

Where did my chronic pain come from

God, I wish I could explain what nerve pain is without being so scientific, but I can tell you what it feels like: It hurts. Something external pricks my skin and something on the inside is setting my skin afire. For me, the pain shot through my entire body.  

For example,  If I had pain in my hip, it would travel to my ankle. 

I had aches all over my body; it was worse at night and sometimes it feels like it wouldn’t stop. I have had pain in my fingers, palms, knees, calves, back, shoulder, elbows, cheeks, and head. I feared the pain would never go away and I was scared that when I got older, it may become worse.

Being diagnosed with Paresthesia (pins and needles) 

In late 2017, after a year of being pain free, the nerve pain was back with vengeance. This time more intense—it was like my body had a vendetta against me. I went back to the doctors; I even saw a chiropractor. She told me it was food. The doctors told me to take a pill. I went with the Chiropractor: I did the candida diet for 150 days. I was pain free for the first 50 days. For the last 100 days, the firing came back! To stop the fire, I drowned myself in Advil, naproxen, ibuprofen, turmeric, and magnesium.

I have taken hundreds of pills to ease my pain.

In the end, the pills could not sustain me being pain free. I went back to the neurologist and not any neurologist, the one who saw me when I was first diagnosed with Anxiety disorder and OCD at age 19. We did many exams, and she told me the cause of my ugly nerve pain was stress and anxiety. She prescribed me Nortriptyline.

The problem with prescriptions for chronic pain

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know taking pills for chronic pain is asinine. Not only is this foolish, it is also unhealthy and can cause dependency. When I would run out of nortriptyline the pain would come back, and the medicine was also extremely expensive. 

Doctors have prescribed me four different medications. My last prescription was for cymbalta (a medicine I was taking in college). I have taken over a hundred pills. 

These drugs can be terrible for your stomach, but I tell you one thing, it would sap the pain so fast — but never cure it. It fed me up, so I did my research to find out what can help heal me. I’m not sure if this is what will work for you, but it doesn’t hurt to try! So far my pain is gone and if it comes back it comes back briefly. Here are some suggestions. (I am not a doctor)

Eat the Rainbow

Credit: Chantal Garnier

I know you are sick and tired of people telling you to eat your vegetables, but you should! I try to eat 4-6 servings of vegetables a day. My vegetable intake consists of potatoes, spinach, leeks, peppers, cabbage, carrots, and leafy greens. I can’t remember the last time I went a day without eating vegetables.

Black Cherry Juice

My dad told me that black cherry juice was good for inflammation. Turns out he isn’t far off base. Black cherry juice has many health benefits click this link to find out more –> https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/ways-cherry-juice-benefits-you <3

Cat’s Claw

My sister says that this stuff will cure anything. I haven’t tried the cat’s claw, but I do use the devil’s claw. Devil’s claw works well for me.

Hpericum Perforatum 30-150c

This stuff right here is a lifesaver! I can take 5 of these small tablets and my nerve pain will be gone in an instant! I take this right before I go to bed. I take the 150c strength. You can buy this at the Vitamin Shoppe, Whole foods, and Sprouts.

Devil’s Claw

This is my go to for pain! I love this stuff. Find out more about it here: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-984/devils-claw

I distressed and removed things from my life 

When my neurologist told me my nerve pain was caused by anxiety and stress, I dismissed her diagnosis. I didn’t believe her and I also overestimated the impact of stress! Stress is a killer and anxiety and stress can have physical symptoms. I did some drastic things to eliminate my stress and anxiety.

  • breaking up with my partner
  • quitting my full-time job
  • distancing myself from certain friends
  • taking a break from FB and any social media that was toxic
  • taking a break from music (I literally stopped listening to pop music for a few years)
  • moving back in with my parents
  • practicing meditation
  • introducing myself to Reiki

Getting rid of processed wheat 

I haven’t found any research on this, but I found when I was writing in my food diary that certain foods would make my nerve pain worse!!!! I mentioned earlier that I had food sensitivities. I knew I didn’t have a gluten allergy, but I also knew that when I ate processed wheat products the pain would start. Before I consume any type of grain, I make sure that it is minimally processed, made with a few ingredients, and as organic as possible. 

Inflammation 

Many people have food sensitivities and intolerances without even knowing! I believe with my heart that food sensitivities cause inflammation in the body. Studies have shown that your diet can cause inflammation leading to illness and disease. Inflammatory foods are mainly processed foods, foods that contain excess levels of sugars, saturated fats, and refined foods. Also foods that you are sensitive to can also cause inflammation. In order to combat this and eliminate diet might work best for you. Remember to keep a food diary and write down what you eat to see if a particular food causes you issues. 

Happy Light

The last thing that has helped my chronic pain is getting more Vitamin D from the sun and supplements. I have had low levels of Vitamin D before and have found that higher levels make me feel better.

How is my pain now? 

My pain now is much more manageable. I can go months without pain and every now and then the pain returns mildly.  I am still cautious with what I eat and make sure to take things out of my diet when I need to. 

Do you suffer from chronic pain? How do you manage and deal with your pain? Let me know in the comments. If you have something that cured your pain shoot me an email at fitandsavvycoach@gmail.com

Updated on 2/21/2021

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