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Spring Brings Relief from Chronic Pain

This is a follow-up to my autumn rant—it’s our turn, spring and summer lovers!  https://blogs.psychcentral.com/hidden-disabilities/2018/09/to-everything-there-is-a-season/

For many of us, the fall doesn’t mean bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, it means the Down Season is coming, when our pain is worse, attacks of our conditions more frequent, and our participation in the world greatly curtailed. Spring means just the opposite. With the warmth and light come energy, better strength and health, and our return to participating in the world.

I spent my winter moving house. Literally the whole winter, and part of the fall. I downsized from a 2-bedroom condo to a tiny house on wheels. I spent every weekend hauling stuff to donation points and trying to decamp from a place I’d lived in for 12 years. This labor began in late autumn, when my pain was at its worst. The only exercise I had available was swimming, as I gave up my gym membership when they gave me a hard time about suspending my membership when my knee injury was too severe. I barely saw my bike over the winter; we had a lot of snow and ice this year.

The weekend I was supposed to move, it was 50 degrees and sunny. My house was delayed by a month, and it arrived in deep snow to an RV pad on frozen ground. I moved in with a bitter wind whipping at all my exposed body parts and groping under my shirt. The gorgeous vinyl flooring in my new home was invisible under a layer of mud tracked in by my more practically-shod helpers. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how fast a heat pump can warm a space that small, though.

For the first 2 weeks in the new house, I wondered if I’d made a terrible mistake. My right knee joined my left in protesting the steep steps to the sleeping loft and the ladder to the storage loft. Still, my unstable rib head stayed in place despite all my twisting around in the lofts. When I went to the chiropractor, I told him my pain was through the roof, but he said my spine was more mobile than he’d seen it since we met, and he had only one minor adjustment to make. He told me he thought the move would prove to be good for my health.

My knees continued to hurt, but when I went to a movie with a friend and we sat in the back of the theater, I went up and down the steps one foot to a step, at a normal pace, without thinking about it. I realized how long it’s been since I haven’t needed to place both feet on each step, leaning heavily on the rail, while a line of exasperated young people forms behind me.

I’m riding my bike almost every day, getting used to my new routes to my usual destinations. My knees feel good on the bike. I can stand longer without needing a sit break, and there is a power in my legs that reminds me of how it felt to walk before I fell and bashed my knee 18 months ago. You know how, when you’re recovering from a flu, there’s that moment when your body remembers what it feels like to be well, and you know you’re on the mend? That’s what this feels like.

Yesterday my unstable rib head finally slid out of place—not, as I expected, while making the bed in the loft, but while reaching for a pill bottle in the medicine chest. It hurts a lot, but it doesn’t take my breath away like it usually does. It hurts to move my spine at all, but it has almost its full range of motion, while I used to be stuck in a position that made me look like I was wearing a body cast. I see the chiropractor today and I hope to recover from this episode faster than I have in the past.

With the coming of spring, my body remembers how I felt 3 years ago and knows it’s on the mend. I’ll shed the knee injury weight now that there is lots of opportunity to exercise outdoors, and I dearly hope to leave the car at home for my Vancouver Island bike trips this summer.

The sun is pouring through my 18 windows, beckoning me to come out. I’m going to put on my bike duds and go play.

Does spring give you a bit of a break from chronic conditions too? Tell us about it.

Spring Brings Relief from Chronic Pain


Kristin Noreen

Kristin Noreen lives in Bellingham, Washington with two cats and her vintage touring bicycle, Silver. Her triple passions are animal rescue, long-distance bike touring, and writing. Her book, On Silver Wings: A Life Reconstructed, is about reinventing her life following a catastrophic injury.


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APA Reference
, . (2019). Spring Brings Relief from Chronic Pain. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 24, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/hidden-disabilities/2019/03/spring-brings-relief-from-chronic-pain/

 

Last updated: 27 Mar 2019
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