As cyclists we all deal with pain and that pain can be just because we are working hard during a session or we are sore from a previous session. But we deal with it and we push through it because we want to get better at what we are doing. Most elite cyclists will give more than 100% during a tough session as that’s what is required to make it to that elite status.
I do exactly that, push through the pain of training because I want to stay at the top of my game but I also deal with another type of pain and that is Neuro pain. Neuro pain is different for everyone who deals with it. It can be a stabbing unexplained pain, pins and needles or a burning feeling. A lot of Paraplegic’s have neuro pain and it can be debilitating. My neuro pain is like when you sit on your foot and it goes to sleep…that ‘pins and needles burning’ type of pain except mine never goes away. I have dealt with neuro pain 24/7 in my feet for about the last 9 years.
It is something that unfortunately I have learned to live with and when I get tired or my core body temperature goes up then the pain gets worse. Even when I am sitting down it is like my feet are on hot coals. I have tried most neuro pain drugs, unfortunately without success.
More recently I have had neuro pain in my right hand but that is because my body temperature had gone up. With my hand at least when I cool down it goes away. Or when I am at swim squad and the water is too hot, my hands will loose feeling and the pins and needles start, but again as soon as I cool down it rights itself.
I think the worst neuro pain I have ever had was when we were in Spain in 2014 for a World Cup and I was out on a training ride by myself. It was extremely warm with a hot wind and I had headed out of Segovia for what I hoped would be a 2+ hour easy ride. Within an hour my feet were so sore that each peddle stroke I took, the pain in my feet would jab up my legs. It got to the point where I had to stop, take my shoes off and try and find some shade so I could cool down. I just couldn’t think of going any farther the pain was so bad. Eventually it settled down slightly and I was able to make it back to the hotel.
I really wish it was as easy as putting your feet in a bucket of cold water to cool them off but not even that helps!
So I am sure a few people would ask “Well then why do you do it?”. My answer to that would be, ‘because I love sport and I refuse to let MS dictate my life.’ Yes I would love to find something that stops the pain, but until then I will continue doing what I love. I have learned to live with it and after all life is way too short to stop doing what you love!