For the past 3 years I have been living with chronic pain, in between my pregnancies I tore the ligaments in my hip and had surgery (hip arthroscopy) to repair the damage. About 6 months after having the surgery, I fell pregnant with my second daughter. I don’t know whether it was my age (I was 35 when I gave birth) or the after effects of my surgery, but ever since then my back has caused me significant and chronic pain.
In between my pregnancies and when I was in chronic pain I was a heavy drinker, one of the best things about being in pain was that I was on pain killers. I would take my pain killers as prescribed and with a few glasses of wine, would get an extra buzz. I know that on the packets of all pain killers is the big warning sign ‘do not consume alcohol whilst taking this medication’, but let’s be honest, all alcoholics ignore these signs.
When I fell pregnant I had to stop drinking and taking my prescription pain killers immediately and all of a sudden the pain hit me instantaneously. Not only was I dealing with the side effects of the first trimester of pregnancy, but I was also dealing with acute withdrawal from alcohol and pain relief at the same time, it was excruciating.
By the time I hit my second trimester, my pain had escalated, I found a pregnancy physiotherapist and was diagnosed with sacroiliac pain, a common hip issue with pregnancy. Every single day my pain got worse, the physical hurdle of carrying a baby combined with managing a 2 year old put so much pressure on my back, hips and pelvis, I could barely walk.
When I gave birth, I thought the pain would go away, but it didn’t and despite everything I tried to do, nothing would relieve the chronic pain. I tried clinical pilates, remedial massage, osteopathy and eventually I was back on pain relief. Through the day I would get by with heavy pain killers, Tramadol Sustained Relief, Tramadol immediate release and valium for the muscle spasms. When 5 pm hit, I would consume my liquid medicine.
As an alcoholic, having chronic pain was a double edged sword, I hated being in agony but at the same time the fact that I was in agony meant that I could use the pain killers to subdue the pain and the hangover.
It was earlier this year when I was at the doctors clinic and I had a blood test that identified a magnesium deficiency, this is one of the many health outcomes from alcohol abuse and magnesium deficiency can result in pain. Whilst this gave me a jolt realising that my alcohol consumption really was starting to impact my health, it wasn’t the catalyst to totally stop drinking.
Eventually when I finally decided to stop drinking and go to AA, I thought that the back pain would go away, unfortunately it didn’t. Even as my blood results got better and better, and the longer I maintained my sobriety, the less my pain would go away. I thought that with the elimination of alcohol, I wouldn’t need to take pain killers anymore, but nothing could be further than the truth.
I didn’t realise how much the alcohol was numbing my pain, now I do and every single day of my life I live in pain. Every day I am trying new things to try and eliminate this pain, I am still on a daily pain killers and these take the edge off, I’m about to try working with essential oils to see if they can help.