Eyecatcher For adolescents

18-year-old girl


I turned 18 years old this year and was in the pain clinic in Datteln when I was 16. My main problem with pain was headaches.

I tried out many things beforehand, before I came to Datteln. For one thing, there were many visits to my family doctor, who I later changed for this reason, as he just put me off. At first, low iron and hypothyroidism were diagnosed and treated. After that I saw an ear, nose and throat specialist and had x-rays of my sinuses. As the headaches didn’t diminish, I took it upon myself to consult an energy consultant and saw her several times. Numerous visits to a non-medical practitioner, an osteopath and a physiotherapist as well as an orthopedist also didn’t help the situation. A neurologist arranged for an EEG and x-rays of my cerebral vertebrae column. He diagnosed a slight misalignment and tension in the spinal column. After repeated visits the neurologist arranged for infrared therapy and physiotherapy. An MRT was also arranged. The headaches kept getting worse and more frequent, and for this reason my new family doctor sent me to another neurologist. Here also an EEG was ordered and I was given an antidepressant pain medication. This neurologist spoke for the first time about a stay at a pain clinic. The headache attacks became increasingly severe and more frequent. Then I was transferred to a hospital, which rejected me for the reason that it was a hospital for patients with tumors. Then I was transferred to another hospital and admitted there. Tests were carried out and blood work done again. I was given pain medication to alleviate the headaches temporarily. Then the psychologist told us about the pain clinic in Datteln.

The people around me reacted in various ways to my headaches. I mostly didn’t tell my friends when I wasn’t well. However, when I did, I felt that they thought it wasn’t cool to do that. For this reason I mostly avoided speaking about it and tried to participate in all activities in order to be able to partly distract myself. My family also reacted in various ways. Sometimes they were concerned that I said every day that I had a headache and on other days they didn’t really believe that I really had bad headaches because I still often met with friends in spite of them and tried to do everything normally. My feeling is that on such days they also had the feeling that I shouldn’t always “go on” like that and that my headaches couldn’t be that bad if I was taking part in many things. The various doctors I saw mostly didn’t take me seriously because none of them could look inside my head and see or feel how bad the headaches in fact were.

If you have a broken leg everyone can see your problem, but not with headaches. It really frustrated me that no results came of the tests that were undertaken, such as MRT, or from the doctors, because you tend to think lots of thoughts about what it could be, and then it hit me that they must be thinking I was just imagining the pain. Their reaction to it was either helplessness or they prescribed me various pills thinking they would have to help me. Finally the pills didn’t work anymore because my body had already gotten used to them. I never told my teachers at school that I constantly had headaches because they just think it’s just a lazy excuse. When I was in hospital the first time for my headaches, many people changed their mind about my headaches and noticed that I wasn’t making them up or malingering. But I also didn’t tell my friends because then the reaction would often be that it’s not necessary to go into hospital because of headaches.

When a year and a half to two years later I was instructed to go to the pain clinic I had some doubts because we don’t exactly live close to Datteln and I would be away from school/work for three weeks at a time and was afraid of not making friends. When I first saw the ward I was surprised because it doesn’t look like a normal hospital. The rooms haven’t got hospital beds, the children and adolescents on the ward eat together and many programs are offered so that nobody can get bored. When I arrived there I quickly made friends with the other kids. You can arrange your room and your bed as you wish so that you don’t get the feeling of being in a hospital.

In Datteln I was shown many possible ways to help myself with my pain. At first it was unusual for me and also hard to use all the possible therapy methods because it also takes a certain amount of time until the exercises are learned and then help. A bit of patience and determination was necessary. Especially during pain attacks it was at first very hard for me to distract myself with other things and not think of my pain. Practicing the exercises often during the three weeks enabled me to learn them well. The pain attacks that I had several times a week before the pain therapy occurred only once during the three weeks. When I went home again I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to manage without the support of those in the hospital, but in the end these exercises were my only hope of getting control of my pain because I had already tried everything else. So at home and with the support of my parents I continued independently with the exercises that I had learned in the hospital. And it worked well at home. For sure, the headaches weren’t yet completely gone, but in any case it was much better than it had been before. I only had my pain attacks occasionally and in general the pain had moved into the background. I soon knew the exercise that I had been taught there by heart and could practice it on my own often during the day without writing anything down.

Thanks to a lot of practice, I’ve got my pain very well under control. I hardly ever have the pain attacks anymore, and also the pain has in general become very weak. On some days I notice it more, for sure, but thanks to all the practice it has sorted itself out automatically with me, so that I don’t think of the headaches anymore and distract myself automatically. This has made it possible for me to avoid taking a pill immediately when I have pain. For this reason I would recommend this therapy to anyone who suffers from chronic pain.

At first the exercises weren’t too productive because I wasn’t used to them. The frequent practice has made the distraction function automatically. The exercises helped me the most. Besides, doing sports regularly is very important because you are the most distracted then. Leisure activities, such as doing something with friends, also helped me to forget about my pain and to be free of pain at least a certain amount of time.

Since the therapy and after work at home I can now concentrate much better on my Abitur studies without constant headaches; I’m no longer so distracted and tired. The therapy improved my mood in general a lot, since the constant headaches and stress in school and work had made me very moody.