by Darlene Lipp

Due to an on-the-job injury which jammed a main vein behind the C-2 area in an up and down whiplash motion, I now suffer severe posttraumatic headaches around the base of my skull from ear to ear. I have a continuous burning between my shoulder blades. It has been 2 years since the accident and now I have been diagnosed with RSD ( reflex sympathetic dystrophy ). My neck stays stiff and it doesn't like to turn. It sends sharp pains down my spine between my shoulder blades to the spot that continually burns. Then the sharp pain shoots across my left shoulder rotator cuff and down my left arm. This keeps my left arm swollen and my left hand has no grip. The hand wakes me up a lot burning but feels cold and clammy to the touch. The burning comes from the bone, inside to out. The swelling keeps the skin tight and painful. I have been put on shots of DHE for the swelling of the blood vessel in the neck. It helps some, but is only for that one purpose. It does nothing for the rest of the pain.

I had a friend with glaucoma who had a script for marihuana joints (till the Louisiana government took it away), and she told me marihuana might help. Due to the severe pain, I can't sleep a lot, and when the pain gets really severe, I get nauseated. So I tried marihuana and it really does help. It helps me rest, it helps my nausea, it helps my pain in my arm and shoulders. It brings my skull throbbing down to a throb that I can handle better than that DHE ever did. My husband also says it helps him. He was in a car wreck about a year and a half ago and he had back surgery to remove 2 discs. His doctor cut him off his pain medicine after 3 months. They still have to go back in and remove 2 more discs and put in a ray cage. Even though he is still in severe pain. They are so scared of the FDA in Louisiana that they will not give him anything else until after the next surgery.

When the doctors are threatened if they write a script even when they know you are in pain, but don't want the hassle from FDA, what are your choices? Either live in pain or find something that will help. He did. He now smokes also. It helps his back pain not shoot down his leg. He can get up and down with less pain. Don't get me wrong, it does not get rid of pain completely for either of us, but we can definitely see a difference. And to both of us, to be able to smoke a joint and feel our pain ease is a lot cheaper than all the chemicals the doctors have tried on us. I feel that for me it is better ingested than smoked. It relaxes me better. My husband would rather smoke it though. Thanks for your time and for listening.