Chronic Pain effects roughly 3 out of every 4 people with Cerebral Palsy. I’ve written about it before, because I am 1 of the 3 out of 4, and I get questions about it a lot.
I have a long relationship with pain, so long I’m not sure when it began. However, it’s changed over the last few years.
I’ve learned that not all pain is the same.
The pain I feel at the end of practice, a swim meet, or even just one race, is drastically different than chronic pain.
That pain, although usually more intense, fades away.
Chronic pain stays around for the long haul, it may fade, but it never goes away completely.
When I first started going to coached practices I was happy that my pain seemed to disappear as soon as I was focused enough on the task at hand, swimming, keeping my body afloat, while trying not to collide with another swimmer in the lane.
When I changed coaches and adapted a more intense training schedule I focused on the same task, especially since I was now sharing a lane with more than one person, and not wearing prescription goggles. But I also had to learn what a “real” workout involved.
Like, a good workout leaves you sore but able to function the next morning.
Some days it works out better than others, and there have been a few injuries along the way, both swimming and non-swimming related.
Chronic pain, still have the ability to leave me unable to function, but those days have been getting fewer and further between, thank goodness.
I’ve had people ask me if I was possibly worried that I would push myself too hard because I have chronic pain. To be honest I’m not sure what they think when they ask that question, but my answer has always been no.
I know what pain is, I can pretty much tell when I’ve had enough, and when I can’t my body tells me soon enough, a bruised scapula retaught me that lesson, and I won’t forget it anytime soon.
The truth is I take things too easily, at least at times, because the pain that I feel in the moment feels like it may be permanent, and I don’t want it to become permanent. It’s not until the discomfort subsides that I realize I could’ve done better, that I should’ve done better.
Sometimes I beat myself up about it, but most of the time I resolve to do better, or at least try to do better next time.
I may seem like an expert in dealing with chronic pain, but the truth is I’m still learning that not all pain is the same, even when most of it is chronic.