Device Orientation

Pete’s Story in 800 words

Pete’s Story in 800 words

My story is very typical of that of a pain patient. I was, like many pain patients looking forthat magic bullet to take away the pain. Managing my pain was like playing a game of snakes and ladders – a game of luck. Most days melted into the next and I have a very poor pain self-manager. I did not exercise or generally look after my body, I ate all the wrong foods and when something went wrong with it, I expected the doctor or healthcare professional to fix me. 

My darkest day was my birthday in 1994. It was New Years Eve and by early evening, I had taken my full quota of pain medication for that day but my pain was still raging. I started to talk to the guy in the sky and said to him…”if this is what my life is going to be like, I want to get out of the taxi now. Yes I thought about ending my life by taking the rest of the medication. I didn’t get a voice from the sky, no enlightenment, no, nothing. I was on my own. What I did get, was the idea to do some stretching. I did some and the pain eased off.

The next morning, the pain came back with vengeance. I was washing my face and looking in the mirror. I looked warn out. I was. But I said to myself, I need to take some action and learn how to manage my pain and I did. I needed to put my sister Maria called…putting on your business head.

Putting on your business means, getting back in the driving seat. I need to take more charge of my pain and my life. As I wasn’t going to get a bolt of lightning for the guy in the sky, I had to get off my butt. I did.

Back Pain Support Group

I started a back pain support group in early 1993. I read somewhere, that if you want to learn something, then teach it. Well I could teach anything, as I knew nothing, but I knew I could learn from others and the speakers I invited along.

One of those speakers was Amanda Williams from the INPUT Pain Management programme. She told the group about pacing, how I could do more throughout the day, with the pain increasing and how stretching and exercise could reduce pain. 

This is what I was reaching for, something to get myself, back in the driving seat. I signed up straight away, but had to wait 18months to get on the programme. It was worth the wait.

My Turning Point!

In July 1996 I attended the INPUT Pain Management Programme (PMP) London.  It was described to me as a programme that could help me to increase my confidence and mobility and provide me with the pain toolkit of skills to self-manage my pain. I thought this was finally something that could help me turn the corner and help me live with my pain.  

What the PMP gave me was the skills and tools to manage my pain, BUT I had to do the work.

I’m pleased to say, that 1997, I haven’t had to take any pain medication to manage my back pain. It was all down to learning how to self-manage my pain, using the skills and tools, from the PMP.

As I’ve become an older person, I of course now have older persons problems, like arthritis and prostate cancer. I still use the PMP skills from 1996, to manage these new challenges in my life and still not taking any pain medications.

Getting back to work

I have been back in full time work since 2000 and to date I have never had a day off sick. Again, all down to the pain management programme. 

Work for me these past 23years has been promoting pain self-management to others with persistent pain and healthcare professionals via writing booklets, programmes, presenting at pain conference and running workshops.

Take home message to people reading this.

  • My messages are simple. 
  • Get yourself back in the driving seat
  • Find a healthcare professional, who know about pain self-management
  • Set goals and make action plans.
  • Learning about pacing your daily activities
  • Have a setback plan, in case you overdo it and get problems. And you will
  • Learn the right stretches and exercises that are right for you. See a Physiotherapist to find out the right ones for you. Oh and by the way, do them daily.
  • Have fun and learn to chill out, relax
  • Last one…If I can learn how to self-manage pain, then so can you.

Good luck.