My pain is by no means the worst in the world, but it is the worst in my world and it nearly ruined my life. If you know anyone who suffers with chronic pain, please don’t ignore them. Please try to be patient. Try to imagine what it’s like for them in their world of constant pain and discomfort.
If you suffer from chronic pain, then know this. I understand what you are going through. Please don’t give up. Please don’t stop asking and seeking help. Somehow, somewhere, someone can help you. Hopefully, some relief can be found. I sincerely hope you find it, or it finds you.
Stay safe and good luck!
40+ years of hard work
My chronic pain isn’t a result of trauma or an underlying medical condition. My pain comes from 40 years of hard work. Throughout my career, I’ve been a steel fixer, concrete layer and cladding installer.
My name is Greg and I’m a 55-year-old male from WA. I’m a husband, a father and I’ve lived with pain for the past 20 years which, over time became worse and worse. I started hard, physical labour at the age of 16 and had to give it up in about 2017 due to the pain I was experiencing
Manual labour has been a major part of my life. I’ve spent a lot of my time in the heat, behind a welding mask, in the mines, and generally putting my body through the wringer. I enjoyed waking up each day, knowing that I’d be challenging my body and mind. My energy was endless. I’d spend long hours each day grinding at work and would still find time for family and the gym. At the end of a long week, I was able to relax by getting on my motorbike and riding for hours.
Eventually, my body didn’t want to go as far as my mind wanted to take me.
The beginning of the end
By 2010 my entire upper body had started to give up on me. I suffered from carpal tunnel in my wrists and was struggling with pain throughout my trunk and limbs. Both shoulders have bursitis and I have lateral epicondylitis in both elbows. Everything was aching constantly. I was taking over the counter pain medication which helped me get through the days. The pain, however, was increasing on a daily basis. It wasn’t an option to stop working. I had to support my family and I wanted to continue enjoying the life I’d made for myself.
It got to the point where I’d come home from work and cry because of how much pain I was in. I struggled through for years doing what I could and taking all kinds of medications. By 2017 I was at my wits end and felt defeated by the pain.
I couldn’t ride my motorbike, hang laundry, or work in the garden. After just a few minutes of working with my hands it would feel like I had 4 or 5 pairs of gloves on. It felt like someone was banging the funny bones in my elbows constantly and at night, I’d wake up with no feeling in my arms only to find that when the feeling came back it was excruciating pain. I started working in a scrap yard a few days a week. I’d do occasional minor manual labour but my main job was and to this day is forklift operator because it’s not so labour intensive.
I lacked motivation and drive. My time was dedicated to doing whatever I could to minimise and work around my pain. By 2018 I was a regular visitor of the local pharmacy. I was taking about 115mg (up to 8 tablets) of codeine a day as well as 200mg of Tramadol two times a day. I could barely do anything. I was so affected by these drugs that I felt like there was no point.
Why go for a walk with my wife or get off the couch when I’d be walking around with my shoulders hunched and arms just hanging there because of the pain. I pretty much became a vegetable all day and then didn’t sleep at night due to the pain.
The other thing that’s almost as bad as the pain is the way you’re treated when you’re suffering from chronic pain. So many people don’t believe you. They think you’re making it up or that you’re just a chronic whinger. People stop listening to you. They don’t want to be around you. And, you understand why. You don’t want to be around them either because not only do you feel like crap, but they often can make you feel worse.
I tried physio and cortisone injections but nothing was providing relief. Doctors said that I could have surgery but it was about a two year recovery and wasn’t guaranteed to solve any of the problems.
After almost 8 months of constant misery, I decided to go back to the doctor to cut down on the tablets and see what else could be done. My wife works as a residential care worker and mentioned that cannabis might help. I went to my clinic and asked about cannabis.
The response was an overwhelming no. They’d spent the last two years prescribing medication and advising me that prolonged use of those medications could kill me but they didn’t want to hear about cannabis. There are 8 doctors in the clinic I go to and none of them wanted to help.
I’d looked online so I knew medical cannabis was available in Australia. I went to local pharmacists to ask if they could help and they looked at me like I was nuts. There wasn’t anyone willing to help me.
A new hero
I eventually found CA Clinics and medical cannabis.
I started taking medical cannabis in late December 2019. Medical cannabis has not only changed my life but it’s changed my family’s lives too. I’m not saying that cannabis has cured me or stopped all the pain. But, it has given me a new perspective on life and the ability to do things again. It knocked my pain from a nine out of ten to three or four out of ten.
I take a CBD only oil because I still need to travel to and from work on the days I do work. It took about two weeks for me to start feeling better and it was about two months before I stopped all other medications. Pretty much everything has improved. I am sleeping much better. I get five to six hours of sleep a night as opposed to the two or three I was getting.
I can ride my motorbike to work. I still can’t go on long rides but something is better than nothing. I’m comfortable going out with my wife and spending time eating out with my family and friends. I don’t worry so much about not being able to handle my pain because I know that with the support of CBD it’s now manageable.
My mood has changed. I used to be so irritable, locked in my own world. When you’d tell people to leave you alone, you’d feel alone and you become depressed. I couldn’t see a way out of it. Now, I’m happier. I can do more. Not as much as I’d like to but more. Cannabis has shown me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s getting bigger and brighter.
There’s something wrong with the way cannabis is perceived and talked about (or not talked about) in Australia.
Doctors dope people up on painkillers. We have a massive opioid problem. People drink pint after pint of beer. And, we allow people to go out and spend and lose their money on gambling but cannabis is the problem?
Cannabis isn’t a magical cure. It’s also not this awful drug that people have made it out to be for decades. Cannabis won’t work for everyone but it worked for me and it might work for you. I don’t understand why people don’t want to talk about it. Talk about it, learn about it and share that knowledge.
The government needs to make it a viable option for people. We need to stop making it so cloak and dagger, so expensive and so difficult to access. The reality is that you go to your GP to get a wide range of options. They tell you to take a tablet and then they also tell you that the same tablets are not good for you. How is cannabis any different other than the fact that CBD for example, doesn’t have any really bad side effects?
Medical cannabis is expensive but if nothing else is working for you, then give it a shot. There are over 100 products out there – different types and different price ranges. You might be amazed at what cannabis can do for you.