Monday 1 April 2024

Chronic pain Vs Acute pain

What is the difference between Chronic pain and Acute pain? 

Acute pain is normally a short timescale. It is the pain you feel after an accident, an injury or operation and generally will resolve itself once the body has healed.
Chronic pain is pain that continues after the body has healed or it is pain caused by nerve damage. This tends to be long lasting and doesn't necessarily resolve itself.

The pain I have is chronic pain, caused by nerve damage and I have had this pain since my symptoms first started back in July 2002. I can genuinely say that I have not had a day without this pain since it started all those years ago. 

Altered sensations and pain were among the first symptoms I experienced. I woke up one day with, what felt like, pins and needles in my left leg and the bottom of my feet. I thought I had slept awkwardly and assumed it would resolve itself but after a few days it was still there with the feeling more intense. 
I went to my GP surgery and, over a couple of weeks, I'd seen most of the doctors there. I had been given various suggestions about what it could be but each time I would go away and hope it would resolve but it didn't. 
I then saw a doctor who did several checks and eventually said that he wanted to refer me to a consultant neurologist. It was like he was speaking in a foreign language, I had no idea what he was talking about.
A consultant neurologist is someone who specialises in conditions that are caused by nerve problems or damage.

I got an appointment at our local hospital with a neurologist and was told he suspected Multiple Sclerosis. He hoped it would be a one off episode and that the altered sensations and pain would go away but it would need time for us to see what would happen. 
I ended up in the hospital in Plymouth, about thirty five miles away 
He organised the standard tests to diagnose MS, an MRI, Lumbar puncture, Evoked Potentials and various blood tests. You also have to give it time, to see what happens, whether the relapse resolves and leaves you with no lasting issues or if you do have symptoms, you need to see how those affect you. 

I know it sounds strange but I think I was actually really lucky with my diagnosis. I know of people who have struggled for years with various symptoms, that have come and gone over the years but have not had a definitive diagnosis. My symptoms started and within about six months I had a definite diagnosis. 
Finally, what I thought was all in my head and I was going mad, had a name and was a reason for what was happening to me. It was still very scary and I knew we needed time to see how my symptoms would develop, or not, as the hope was. 
Unfortunately a few months after my first symptoms started, I had another relapse, which was quite debilitating and left me in hospital. I have been on crutches ever since that relapse. 

It was about this time that I learnt about chronic illnesses and the difference between acute and chronic symptoms. My head was in a total spin but I had been referred to a wonderful consultant neurologist, who I still have today and is now a Professor. I'm so grateful for all the patience and support he has shown Martin and myself over the last twenty years. It is the support from the people with all the medical knowledge over the years, that has been so valuable to us both. My consultant, my wonderful GP and physio and all of the various services that I've used over the years, I am so grateful to them all. I knew that these people and services existed, but I'd never needed to use any of them until I was diagnosed with MS and suddenly a whole new world opened up for us. A huge thank you goes out to our wonderful NHS 🧑‍⚕️

It's amazing what an impact being in chronic pain can have on your quality of life. I wish I hadn't taken for granted all the things I used to be able to do, but I'm trying to look forward now and appreciate all the positive things I have in my life, of which there are many! 😄

XxXxX 💕

As I always like to share, here is some Rosie love for everyone 😻

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