Pain in the Neck!

by adustyframe ~ July 25th, 2010


(this is not my shoulder or my hair but this IS the side of me that hurts–and aren’t those cables pretty on that sweater?….)

I know that in the past I’ve mentioned my neck and it’s crazy problems, but I don’t think I’ve ever really explained them.

15 years ago, my life  changed in a split second.

You can’t see my neck injury. I don’t limp. I don’t hobble. I don’t have trouble breathing. I don’t have to use any special equipment.

I worked in a day care at the time. One of my students spilled their milk and I cleaned it up. Since I was the only teacher, I was a bit nervous about them returning to the classroom alone while I cleaned it up but I could hear them. I wiped it up quickly and returned the cloth to the cleaning area.

I heard the kids getting louder so I hurried back to the classroom. Apparently, I hadn’t completely dried the floor and it was just wet enough for me to slip.

I fell with my hand behind my back. My head snapped to the right and then to the  back. I felt completely numb but got up and went into the class. I worked all day that day, but the pain was getting worse and worse. A co-worker said I should file a report and then go to the doctor.

By the next morning, I could barely turn my head. I went to a chiropractor for the first time in my life. They xrayed and I had only tissue damage. Unfortunately, I think that may be the worst type of damage but it’s not the “right” kind of damage for a workman’s comp claim.

I began receiving treatment and physical therapy. I called it my “Chinese torture”. I sat in a chair attached to a weight machine and moved weights with my neck up an incline. Then I had to use my neck to stop the weights from slamming my head back to the other side.

I only let it slam one time–which means I didn’t use my neck muscles to move it but allowed the machine to swing back on it’s own. That was a horrible experience! I decided that no matter how much it hurt, I would engage my neck muscles and move the weights slowly.

My treatment usually included heat and some sort of light massage too.  I lived on icy hot for my rock hard shoulder muscles

I remember riding in the back of our family’s van and crying every time it hit a bump. At the beginning, I was in horrible pain all the time. Pain relievers didn’t do anything for me. I could barely feel it when someone massaged my shoulder. The doctor suggested that people use their elbow to push their bone into my shoulder to help relieve the tightness. To this day, that’s what I have to have people do or I simply cannot feel it.

Workman’s comp paid for some initial visits and therapy and then began their campaign that I was lying and that I had fallen on purpose to collect money. Man! I wish they could see me 15 years later. I definitely didn’t do this to myself.

The day care center took the side of the workman’s comp doctor and my job got very bad. Due to my physical pain, I couldn’t stand the mess at work and I did quit.

I don’t remember when it was, but one day I asked the doctor when I would be better. He said, “You will never be better. You will always deal with this.” I went back to my new job and my boss asked how the appointment went. When I voiced the doctor’s horrible words, I started crying! Up until then, I really thought that I would get better and be back to normal. I didn’t realize it was a permanent problem.

At this point, I’m not constantly in pain, but I’d definitely say I’m often in pain. I avoid things that cause my neck to flare up because I don’t want to cause extra pain.

I can’t look up for more than a few seconds.

I haven’t cross stitched once since that day–my hands fall asleep and the looking down at the pattern starts causing pain.

I rarely play the piano for fun anymore. I used to sit at the piano for hours just to play. I’m not physically capable of doing that anymore–mostly due to my hands falling asleep. This is from the area that the soft tissue damage is in. If it’s flaring up, it causes the nerves in my hands to fall asleep.

I don’t ride bumper cars or amusement park rides. I tried once and decided that the pain wasn’t worth the couple minutes of fun.

I don’t carry or lift heavy things unless I absolutely have to.

I have trouble lifting things over my head–this includes my hands unless very briefly.

My current chiropractor is a fabulous blessing. She cured my frequent migraines. I went through a period of years where I suffered from them constantly. Until recently, I’ve had headaches and neck pain often, but the migraines were gone. (The exercise program I was doing is the culprit of my recent migraines in my opinion.)

She has fixed a lot of my issues and when I see her regularly, I am able to manage everything quite well.

When I first started seeing her, she took new xrays. She came back into the room and showed me the xrays. I’d never seen them before. She said, “This was a very bad accident.”

I cried again just to have someone validate my pain. She explained what happened to me.

When I fell, I threw my hand behind my back. This is a common reaction but it’s  a bad one. She said I probably would have healed more quickly if I had hit my head on the floor rather than stopping myself like I did. When my hand hit the floor, and I fell, my shoulder bones shoved up to my spine and rotated when they moved back.

When my head snapped, it caused my neck to curve in the opposite direction it’s supposed to curve. I have a big “c” in my neck rather than a gentle curve.

My upper back is curved in a slight “c” as well.

When I first got hurt, I prayed and prayed that God would heal me.  As time went on and I realized I would never be back to normal, I had difficulty accepting that. I still get frustrated at my limitations.  I think of Paul and his infirmity and how diligently he asked God to remove it from his life. I’ve definitely asked more than three times to have this removed.

In many ways, I think this prepared me for the trial we are living in now. I came to know that God gives  strength when I don’t have any of my own. I learned that God carries me through when I think I can’t go on. I learned that God doesn’t always answer my prayers how I want him to. I learned to have more compassion for others who hurt. I learned that I can keep moving and living even though I hurt.

I really didn’t compare my neck problem to our life’s trial until I was typing this out tonight. So many things God taught me years before I really had to live them out.

Why doesn’t God always heal? It’s hard to know and I can’t really answer that. Some people and religions say that I’m not healed because I didn’t have enough faith. That’s not true and frankly it’s a bit insulting!

Paul had more faith than many of us ever will. God didn’t heal him.

Sometimes it is God’s will and for his glory to heal. Sometimes it’s God’s will and for his glory to allow us to live with pain or trials. It’s times like these that I have to rest in the sovereignty of God. His way is best and he knows what each of us need.

Psalm 119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.


6 Thoughts Shared to Pain in the Neck!

  1. A Quiet, Gracious Life

    I just ‘happened’ upon your blog and this post was such a blessing to me, thank you. For almost 6 months I have been dealing with severe back and neck pain. I have asked God to heal me and although I am some better I still have *quite a bit of pain* and am so limited in what I can do. Our injuries sound very similar.

    Thank you, God used your post to bless my heart.


  2. TransitionGirl

    i’m so sorry abt your accident. thanks for sharing. will pray that it’ll be manageable. my dad also hurt his back very badly when in the army when young and he’s been living with them ever since. recently, it got so bad he FINALLY went to a chiropractor and now its a bit better. thank God for good chiropractors 🙂

  3. Alesha

    I know that I would be a very intolerant and unmerciful person if it were not for the constant physical pain that I experience. It’s not that I’m heartless. I’m just a Type A, choleric person in the flesh.

    That part of me has been dying as it is crucified daily, and in its place is left a very compassionate, merciful, understanding person. At least, that’s what I hope people find when they get to know me.

    If I had been healed, I would have judged every other person who had not been healed as being somehow “unspiritual” or perhaps as you mentioned, lacking in faith.

    There are days I’d rather be without the pain, but I am so thankful for the work God has done in my life through the pain. I am delighted to show mercy to those who are hurting. It brings me great joy, in fact!

    I pray that the Lord eases your pain, and if it be His will, that He heal you even now. But if He doesn’t, I promise that He will continue to use you – just as He does through this blog – to minister to other in pain.

    Blessings and thank you for this excellent post,

  4. Pam

    I’m anxious to hear…..have there been anymore phone calls
    For Lee and James???

  5. Marie

    Oh my goodness Lizzie! I knew you had this chronic condition, but not how bad it was or what caused it. I think your perspective is absolutely the correct one. Still, it must be extremely difficult knowing God still allows that “thorn”. I’m glad you now have a good chiropractor, and I do hope it continues to improve.

  6. Barbara H.

    My middle son has been having migraines almost daily for the past several months — he never had them before in his life. He has been to a chiropractor and is seeing a neurologist and is having tests run and trying different medications, but no relief yet and is missing a lot of work. I’d appreciate your prayers for him.

    I learned many similar lesson with TM, especially dealing with the disappointment and frustration that it was not going to be completely healed, though the Lord did allow a great deal of recuperation.

    I get so frustrated with people who say that chronic ailments are due to a lack of faith. I have always wondered what they do with Paul’s situation as well.

    I hope the Lord grants you as much relief as possible, and though I am sorry you have to deal with this and wish it would just go away, it’s good to see how the Lord is using it in your life.

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