Recently I had kidney stones. This is my third bout. The previous two times were extremely painful, but they only lasted for one to two nights. I believe that as humans we can cope with most things over a short time period as long as we know what is causing our discomfort and we know that it will end. So, when the familiar back ache started this time, I calmly said to my wife that I was getting some kidney stone pain, took some Panadol, grabbed a hot pack and prepared myself for a very painful night.
Having got through the night, I thought the worst was behind me. How wrong I was. The pain only got worse and worse and worse. And it went on and on and on. At one stage, I heard Owen ask my wife timidly, “Does Dad need to pee the stone out or does he need to spit it out?” “Oh man,” was his reply when he heard the answer, “that’s GOTTA hurt.” Yep, he’s right. It did hurt. A lot. Eventually, after a week of pain, I went to my amazing GP, got some proper pain relief, a diagnostic ultrasound and even took a day off work. In time, the two stones passed.
I treat people in severe pain many times every single day. Most of the time this pain is a temporary thing in their lives. I can say that this will get better, your pain will go away and this is how we are going to fix the problem so the pain never comes back again. Sometimes I come across people who have had pain for decades. People who have tried many different treatment methods without success and they don’t know if their pain is ever going to go. As a result of the past few weeks, I have been blessed with a greater understanding of what these patients are going through. I can handle pain. You don’t get to play A-grade rugby league if you can’t. However, the biggest thing that impacted me with my kidney stones was the fact that I didn’t know when, or if, my pain was going to stop. I can only imagine the courage it takes to continue being a mother, father or going to work when you are suffering from pain that doesn’t seem to have an end point.
My colleague at Physique and my close mate Steve Schamburg has spent the past three years researching and attending courses to better understand how pain works in our lives. In particular, he has been focusing on how he can improve the lives of chronic pain sufferers and how he can decrease the impact of pain in these patients’ lives. Steve has an intimate knowledge of what it is to live with pain. A bit over two years ago he came off his bike and shattered his right shoulder. He has been in some form of constant pain since. He has found many of the techniques and knowledge that he now teaches his patients to be extremely helpful. If you are suffering from chronic pain, don’t just suffer in silence. Come in to Physique, have a chat with Steve and see if he could help make a difference to you as well.