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tess
Last Activity:
Apr 29, 2019
Joined:
Apr 28, 2019
Messages:
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Gender:
Female
Birthday:
Jan 21, 1974 (Age: 47)
Location:
Graham, WA
Occupation:
Writer / Homemaker

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tess

Newcomer, Female, 47, from Graham, WA

My Back Story Apr 28, 2019

tess was last seen:
Apr 29, 2019
  • My Story

    I have been living with back pain for most of my 45 years here. When I was ten my mother took me to see a back specialist after I complained enough to her about lower back pain. I was diagnosed with a slight curvature of the spine. In high school I had very large breasts. I was also a competitive athlete. These two did not work well together so I developed a hunched over posture when I walked or ran to "hide" the balloons bouncing all over the place on my chest. This poor posture is evident today with my rolled forward shoulders and protruding chin. I suffered from terrible headaches in my teens and terrible back pain. I attributed these both to the heavy weight I was carrying on the front of my chest. So when I turned 19 I had a breast reduction. I went from a size F to a size DD.
    When I was 23 I was making a left hand turn off a divided highway when a motorist slammed into the back of my car at 45 miles per hour. My six week old daughter was in the back seat. She was ok but I suffered severe stiffness and pain in my upper back and neck for the next two years despite seeing a chiropractor regularly. When I was in my mid thirties I decided to run my first marathon. I successfully completed the New York City Marathon in 2009 but not without pain. During my entire time training I dealt with a sharp pain behind my left shoulder blade that was later diagnosed by a chiropractor as scar tissue. For the last ten years my back pain has moved from the lower back region to the mid to upper back region. I have explained it away for years. I live in Washington state and make the 3 hour drive to Portland, Oregon to visit family on a regular basis. I had to eventually limit this to once or twice a year because "the drive aggravates my back." I have been a writer for the past 20 years. Most of my back pain has been blamed on this, poor posture at the computer, etc. Every time we moved picking up boxes was the culprit. When I had children my back pain was blamed on my large breasts again. Back pain has been such a steady presence in my life, has been my "normal" for so long that as crazy as it sounds I did not realize and label it "chronic" back pain until the last two years. In the past my episodes were fewer and far between and usually did not last more than a couple of days. Or if they lasted longer were not that intense in pain. So it was easy for me to explain it away and do nothing about it. It's only been in the last 3-4 years that I have begun to see just how disruptive my back pain has been in my life. The most profound example is my diet. And my families diet.
    I have subscribed to the notion that I am a terrible cook and hate being in the kitchen. It's true I don't love cooking. But this "story" was concocted subconsciously to hide the real reason I don't like being in the kitchen, because I'm in pain. Every night around dinner time I am in back pain. I eventually began labeling the pain on a scale of 1-10 so my husband would know whether he would need to make dinner instead of me.
    As a result I have not made the healthy meals full of whole foods I would like for me and my family. I have prepared quick versions off the shelf or out of a can. When my symptoms began to worsen, became more frequent and lasted longer in the last 3-4 years I saw multiple chiropractors and medical doctors. I was diagnosed with arthritis in my spine. Despite the doctor telling me it was a small amount I was so happy to have a diagnosis, an explanation for my mysterious back pain. Leading up to my break through moment this past month I took my pain more seriously and tried to make changes in all areas of my life. I ate an anti inflammatory diet, took supplements, bought a teeter to hang upside down on daily and studied and adjusted my desk and chair for the correct posture at my desk. I did yoga, back strengthening exercises, massage, heating pads, a firmer mattress, etc. All this at the beginning of 2019 when I had the realization, hey maybe I don't have to live like this.
    I have also felt incredibly guilty for years because I know my back pain has made me unpleasant to be around. When it's at a level six or above I am in a bad mood and have a hard time controlling my bad mood. But despite my "new years" resolution to fix my back pain the episodes continued. I started to take inventory like I am now, what is my back story? Again, it's crazy but I never looked back to see how long I have had back problems. It surprised me. It has just been my normal and I thought it was a lot of people's normals. My first red flag when examining what was happening at the time of my worst episodes was this. In 2013 I had a teenager, and two kids in diapers. My husband worked long hours with a long commute. We were broke so I took a part time job stocking shelves at Target from 11 pm to 5 am. I actually came to love this job. I am an athletic girl who has enjoyed being physical my whole life. I even played basketball in college. It felt good lifting boxes and throwing down the aisles. The overnight hours put too much strain on our family so I eventually quit but I worked at Target for about 8 months and guess what? I did not have one single back episode during this time despite the fact I lifted heavy boxes off a conveyor belt, pulled them out to an aisle, lifted them again onto the floor of that aisle, then opened the boxes and l stacked them on the shelf. Heavy items like canned foods, cat litter and laundry soap. All bending over and often with bad posture. No back issues during this time. Not one. And despite being very unhealthy then. I was smoking and not getting enough sleep. Realizing this was a big moment. It was the first time I realized something was not adding up here. The other moments have happened in the past few months. I had a back episode during the 2018 holidays that led to back pain right into the 2019 new year. This was normal as I usually had an episode during the holidays (stress was another thing I started to associate to all my back past episodes). Last month my husband and I took our two kids now age 8 and 10 to Great Wolfe Lodge, an indoor water park to celebrate our son's birthday. It was an hours drive from us and we spent two whole days at the park relaxing, playing and just having uninterrupted family time. The drive did not hurt my back nor did carrying the luggage. My back miraculously healed for just those two days (I was in the middle of an episode before we left). When we arrived home I helped bring luggage in from the car. Then I started to make dinner and within 30 minutes my back hurt. I hadn't even realized until that moment that I had been completely fine for the last two days but the second I stepped foot back in my house the pain started up again. It was a huge ah ha moment. Something else was going on here! I had already begun to mention to my husband that I thought my back pain was all stress induced and not related to anything being actually wrong with my back. I sited all the stress related events that were coupled up with my worst back moments. A picture was beginning to emerge. A month later I went on a business trip to Las Vegas with my husband. Again I was symptom free for three days in Vegas but the pain returned as soon as I came home. Then I noticed a book about back pain that I had saved on my favorite's list on Amazon. I don't remember when I saved it but there it was, so I bought it and read it and knew before I even finished the book I have TMS. I fit every single symptom mentioned in the book. I have a pleasing personality. I deal with anxiety and perfectionism. I have past trauma from sexual abuse, verbal abuse and abandonment. My pain moves around. I have experienced the other pain associated with TMS. Sciatic nerve pain in my legs, numbness and tingling in my arms and legs and a gradual lifestyle change of being afraid of doing certain activities (writing at a computer too long, riding in a car too long, lifting heavy items and giving up running for walking - a more appropriate activity for someone with back pain).
    So here I am. A big mess with my back and neck hurting right now as I type this up. But my spirit is good. I have hope. It took me a very long time to understand I don't have to live like this. I don't have to be in pain. Or, it took me a long time to realize I deserve to be pain free. Maybe believing I deserve to be happy and out of pain was the real first step toward shedding this painful life and creating a new way. I want it more than anything I have ever wanted. I had to hit my "rock bottom" and I just did. So now I'm looking up. I'm ready. Let's go.
    1. tess
      tess
      My Back Story
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  • My Story

    Gender:
    Female
    Birthday:
    Jan 21, 1974 (Age: 47)
    Location:
    Graham, WA
    Occupation:
    Writer / Homemaker
    Introduction:
    I want to educate myself and heal my back pain for good.
    Diagnoses:
    Slight curvature of the spine, Arthritis of the spine, Scar tissue in upper back
    I have been living with back pain for most of my 45 years here. When I was ten my mother took me to see a back specialist after I complained enough to her about lower back pain. I was diagnosed with a slight curvature of the spine. In high school I had very large breasts. I was also a competitive athlete. These two did not work well together so I developed a hunched over posture when I walked or ran to "hide" the balloons bouncing all over the place on my chest. This poor posture is evident today with my rolled forward shoulders and protruding chin. I suffered from terrible headaches in my teens and terrible back pain. I attributed these both to the heavy weight I was carrying on the front of my chest. So when I turned 19 I had a breast reduction. I went from a size F to a size DD.
    When I was 23 I was making a left hand turn off a divided highway when a motorist slammed into the back of my car at 45 miles per hour. My six week old daughter was in the back seat. She was ok but I suffered severe stiffness and pain in my upper back and neck for the next two years despite seeing a chiropractor regularly. When I was in my mid thirties I decided to run my first marathon. I successfully completed the New York City Marathon in 2009 but not without pain. During my entire time training I dealt with a sharp pain behind my left shoulder blade that was later diagnosed by a chiropractor as scar tissue. For the last ten years my back pain has moved from the lower back region to the mid to upper back region. I have explained it away for years. I live in Washington state and make the 3 hour drive to Portland, Oregon to visit family on a regular basis. I had to eventually limit this to once or twice a year because "the drive aggravates my back." I have been a writer for the past 20 years. Most of my back pain has been blamed on this, poor posture at the computer, etc. Every time we moved picking up boxes was the culprit. When I had children my back pain was blamed on my large breasts again. Back pain has been such a steady presence in my life, has been my "normal" for so long that as crazy as it sounds I did not realize and label it "chronic" back pain until the last two years. In the past my episodes were fewer and far between and usually did not last more than a couple of days. Or if they lasted longer were not that intense in pain. So it was easy for me to explain it away and do nothing about it. It's only been in the last 3-4 years that I have begun to see just how disruptive my back pain has been in my life. The most profound example is my diet. And my families diet.
    I have subscribed to the notion that I am a terrible cook and hate being in the kitchen. It's true I don't love cooking. But this "story" was concocted subconsciously to hide the real reason I don't like being in the kitchen, because I'm in pain. Every night around dinner time I am in back pain. I eventually began labeling the pain on a scale of 1-10 so my husband would know whether he would need to make dinner instead of me.
    As a result I have not made the healthy meals full of whole foods I would like for me and my family. I have prepared quick versions off the shelf or out of a can. When my symptoms began to worsen, became more frequent and lasted longer in the last 3-4 years I saw multiple chiropractors and medical doctors. I was diagnosed with arthritis in my spine. Despite the doctor telling me it was a small amount I was so happy to have a diagnosis, an explanation for my mysterious back pain. Leading up to my break through moment this past month I took my pain more seriously and tried to make changes in all areas of my life. I ate an anti inflammatory diet, took supplements, bought a teeter to hang upside down on daily and studied and adjusted my desk and chair for the correct posture at my desk. I did yoga, back strengthening exercises, massage, heating pads, a firmer mattress, etc. All this at the beginning of 2019 when I had the realization, hey maybe I don't have to live like this.
    I have also felt incredibly guilty for years because I know my back pain has made me unpleasant to be around. When it's at a level six or above I am in a bad mood and have a hard time controlling my bad mood. But despite my "new years" resolution to fix my back pain the episodes continued. I started to take inventory like I am now, what is my back story? Again, it's crazy but I never looked back to see how long I have had back problems. It surprised me. It has just been my normal and I thought it was a lot of people's normals. My first red flag when examining what was happening at the time of my worst episodes was this. In 2013 I had a teenager, and two kids in diapers. My husband worked long hours with a long commute. We were broke so I took a part time job stocking shelves at Target from 11 pm to 5 am. I actually came to love this job. I am an athletic girl who has enjoyed being physical my whole life. I even played basketball in college. It felt good lifting boxes and throwing down the aisles. The overnight hours put too much strain on our family so I eventually quit but I worked at Target for about 8 months and guess what? I did not have one single back episode during this time despite the fact I lifted heavy boxes off a conveyor belt, pulled them out to an aisle, lifted them again onto the floor of that aisle, then opened the boxes and l stacked them on the shelf. Heavy items like canned foods, cat litter and laundry soap. All bending over and often with bad posture. No back issues during this time. Not one. And despite being very unhealthy then. I was smoking and not getting enough sleep. Realizing this was a big moment. It was the first time I realized something was not adding up here. The other moments have happened in the past few months. I had a back episode during the 2018 holidays that led to back pain right into the 2019 new year. This was normal as I usually had an episode during the holidays (stress was another thing I started to associate to all my back past episodes). Last month my husband and I took our two kids now age 8 and 10 to Great Wolfe Lodge, an indoor water park to celebrate our son's birthday. It was an hours drive from us and we spent two whole days at the park relaxing, playing and just having uninterrupted family time. The drive did not hurt my back nor did carrying the luggage. My back miraculously healed for just those two days (I was in the middle of an episode before we left). When we arrived home I helped bring luggage in from the car. Then I started to make dinner and within 30 minutes my back hurt. I hadn't even realized until that moment that I had been completely fine for the last two days but the second I stepped foot back in my house the pain started up again. It was a huge ah ha moment. Something else was going on here! I had already begun to mention to my husband that I thought my back pain was all stress induced and not related to anything being actually wrong with my back. I sited all the stress related events that were coupled up with my worst back moments. A picture was beginning to emerge. A month later I went on a business trip to Las Vegas with my husband. Again I was symptom free for three days in Vegas but the pain returned as soon as I came home. Then I noticed a book about back pain that I had saved on my favorite's list on Amazon. I don't remember when I saved it but there it was, so I bought it and read it and knew before I even finished the book I have TMS. I fit every single symptom mentioned in the book. I have a pleasing personality. I deal with anxiety and perfectionism. I have past trauma from sexual abuse, verbal abuse and abandonment. My pain moves around. I have experienced the other pain associated with TMS. Sciatic nerve pain in my legs, numbness and tingling in my arms and legs and a gradual lifestyle change of being afraid of doing certain activities (writing at a computer too long, riding in a car too long, lifting heavy items and giving up running for walking - a more appropriate activity for someone with back pain).
    So here I am. A big mess with my back and neck hurting right now as I type this up. But my spirit is good. I have hope. It took me a very long time to understand I don't have to live like this. I don't have to be in pain. Or, it took me a long time to realize I deserve to be pain free. Maybe believing I deserve to be happy and out of pain was the real first step toward shedding this painful life and creating a new way. I want it more than anything I have ever wanted. I had to hit my "rock bottom" and I just did. So now I'm looking up. I'm ready. Let's go.