What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?
I have seen about 24 doctors – general practitioners, orthopedic surgeons, physiatrists, pain management specialists, and neurologists. I have had five MRIs on my spine, four x-rays, three rounds of prolotherapy injections, and four different types of blood work done. The consensus is that I have facet-joint arthritis in my spine.
What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?My condition, let’s call it facet-joint arthritis, leaves me unable to stand or walk longer than about 20 minutes without being in immense pain, but I am (relatively) comfortable when sitting down. I have been unable to play sports for about four years now, and exercising is difficult.
Who has been there for you? How?My wonderful wife, Aisha, who takes care of a lot of the chores around the house that I can't take care of by myself. And my family, who has helped take care of a lot of my medical expenses.
Focus more on what you can do physically, rather than on what you can't do.
Try to stay as positive as possible.
What accomplishment are you proud of?I am proud of being able to pursue a graduate degree despite my physical limitations. I am currently a third year MD/MBA student at the University of Toledo. I am also proud of being part of numerous charities to try to help others despite my physical limitations. One of my past charity ideas involved auctioning off the right to shave ‘Movember’ participants’ beards at the end of the month.
What's your advice to someone else living with Chronic Pain?
Try to stay as positive as possible. Understand that there are people out there who are experiencing something similar or even worse than what you are going through. Also, focus more on what you can do physically, rather than on what you can't do.
Is there anything else we should know?
I have created an inspirational blog about my dealing with chronic pain, while being part of the healthcare field. My hope is to bring a unique and informative perspective to chronic pain and how to manage it.
About Ali Esfahani
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As a chronic pain sufferer, I can honestly say that my alternative health care providers are my “life savers”!
With some forethought and preparation, you can enjoy Thanksgiving with chronic pain. Don't shy away from festivities – consider these tips instead.