Through blogs and comments, patients and experts explore what it takes to find good health care and make the most of it.

1st Person: Pain: a Constant Companion


Teresa Shaffer has suffered from chronic pain from degenerative joint disease since she underwent six months of bedrest during her third pregnancy.

I kept asking, 'Why can't I pick up my baby without my back feeling like it was exploding into a trillion pieces?' I was told, 'You're a busy mom, you've probably just strained it' and given over-the-counter medications.

After Shaffer received a diagnosis, her next step was to find the right medication and dosage.

It took me about four years to actually get a diagnosis. I started slowly with low doses and over the years I progressed to stronger opioids, which is where I am now. My life changed overnight. It was just awesome. I was back to picking kids up, playing in the yard, back to cooking, cleaning, back to being Mom.

She still has pain but she no longer rates it as a 10 on the pain scale, which is the worst pain imaginable.

It's been almost 17 years. I'm still at an 8 out of 10, but, oh honey, I am ecstatic at 8. I exercise; I'm a firm believer in if you don't use it, you lose it. I think you definitely should have a multidisciplinary program. I have done water therapy. I love it because I can do things in the pool with my legs and arms that I can't do out of it.

I think pain encompasses the entire person, it's not just in your leg or back, it encompasses your entire being, who you are what you do and don't do, so physically, mentally, psychologically, you have to take care of all of those things.


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1st Person posts spotlight a patient’s or caregiver’s health care experience.

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Pain   Participate in your Treatment   First Person  

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