Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Pain Gangs Up On Me

For a disease where pain is not supposed to be a problem, this disease sure has its fair share of aches and pains, and not just mild inconvenience pain, but the kind that wakes you up at night and makes you groan and cry. Last night was a good example of that for me. I didn't sleep well thanks to the pain in my back and my right knee.

The back pain started a couple of days ago. It's like the muscles in my lower back were seizing up from over use or rebelling from being overtaxed, like when I picked up a tree a couple of years back, before ALS. I was showing off in hunting camp and picked up this monster log. In the process I hurt my lower back. In those days, the halcyon times of health and strength, I could just go to bed and by morning it was better. That's what happened; that's what I did. I was fine the next morning.

These days are not quite so kind to my body. I am fairly sure this back pain is from loss of muscle strength and difficulty maintaining verticality. I've noticed of late that I wobble when I sit unsupported, a result of weakening muscles in my lower back and in my butt. These muscles still work, but they are leaving me, slowly and steadily. This increasing weakness means that when I do use them, for example to sit in the shower or when transferring to my bed, they get strained and stressed. Then they seize up at night, causing me this wonderful back pain. Technically it's not the ALS causing the pain; it's the use and overuse of muscles that can no longer do the job.

The other issue is that this pain is not evident immediately. The cramping and crying of muscle takes place while I sleep, while the muscles experience the release of rest yet at the same time are stretched linearly as I lay down, as opposed to being positioned for seating. So it gets painful as I sleep.

My knee pain is opposite side of the same coin. My knees are in one position almost all day. I move them about periodically just to unlock them, but they sit bent in one place all day long. At night I get into bed and stretch out my legs, using my arms and hands to move and position them. Then, as I sleep, my knees lock into the vertical, the ligaments and joint seizing up from the change in position. The swelling and collection of fluid thanks to edema doesn't help either.

To move them once locked is to jab a giant needle into my knee. Fortunately, once moved the pain dissipates quickly. The pain is not a direct result of ALS; it is a side benefit.

So last night both parts ganged up on me. Pain in my back and pain in my right knee; lots of it. It was an uncomfortable sleep.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear you had a painfilled night. I wish for you is a good restful sleep for you tonight.