Sorry it's all coming at once instead of building up daily, which was the original plan. There's an internet cafedown the road from St Thomas' hospital but it's been closed all week. So the info that I can remember will be in two big lumps.
I'll try and keep it to the point and as accurate as possible. Please bear in mind that I'm not trained in medicine and there may be some slight innaccuracies in some of the technical bits. I'm sure I'll be corrected if some of the finer points need clarifying, but I'm happy for anyone to put me straight. Especially if any of the INPUT team are reading this.
Actually finding the place is a breeze. All you've got to do is get to Waterloo Station in London. Go left out of the station and its a few minutes walk away, beside the Thames, straight accross from the Houses of Parliament.
When I got there, I got given keys and a swipe card to get me in and out of the unit and my room on the second floor, by Veronica, who works there as a therapy assistant.
Specialist nurse Fiona Cameron (no relation ) recorded what
medication I was on, and then everyone got together for introductions. Once that was done (there are 11 of us in the
current group, most peeps suffering with back pains, I'm the only amputee/ BPI there but there is a lady with nerve damage, she got her hand caught in a safe door in a bank(and yes she's heard all the jokes much like the rest of us )) and we totalled a period of 84 years of suffering pain between us.
Then we got a basic introduction to pain. (bear with me if this drags on a bit, I'll be breaking it up)
The basic premise is that pain does not necessarily equate to
damage after it has changed from being ACUTE to CHRONIC
pain. Acute being the pain you get from the original injury which heals after a period of time, and put simply, Chronic pain, is pain that keeps on occurring a long time after the original injury has healed (from the greek chronos = time)
So this kind of pain does not mean damage, the hurt does not mean harm. They describe pain as a "functional" disorder rather than a "structural" one (ie caused by an injury)
Secondary problems caused by this pain are largely caused by us cringeing and tensing up against or shying away from the pain. Posture deteriorates, joints stiffen up, and muscles get weak through lack of use, and your general fitness suffers.
You're in pain, sometimes you won't go out because of it, your social life suffers, you start feeling down, you get cranky, those around you suffer too, relationships sometimes break down, perhaps the hobbies and activities you used to enjoy, get put aside, depression can rear its ugly head, fed by anger, anxiety and frustration, that your life will never be the same again....
This rings more than a few bells for me....to be continued...