I was diagnosed with OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, 13 years ago. My most prevalent OCD symptoms center around fear of contamination. Throughout the past 13 years, as I fight OCD on a daily basis, I have to come up with solutions for every day problems that comply with my OCD. What is simple for a “healthy” person, isn’t so simple for me.
Lately I have been having terrible low back pain. It is so bad that when I go to the supermarket, it is extremely painful for me to bend down to take items off of low shelves. Having OCD, it is easy for me to take over-the-counter pain relievers, but they don’t help completely and any other solution is more difficult for me.
A “healthy” person would use a heating pad for the pain and discomfort, but because of my OCD, I can’t. I can’t because I fear having something plugged into an electric socket and stay on as I lay down and especially while I am sleeping. I can’t because I don’t know how clean the heating pad is. I can’t because the fact is that someone else used it before me and since it can’t be washed it is not an option.
The low back pain is unbearable and I have to strain my brain to come up with a solution. It’s not an easy task and it is exhausting. An OCD brain’s first reaction to a thought is to make that thought into a fear. An OCD brain doesn’t accept a solution easily. Finding a solution is a step-by-step process which can take any length of time, even days. Sometimes a solution is found and sometimes not. In this instance with such terrible low back pain, I feel finding a solution is very important, so I think and think and think, until I come up with an acceptable one. One that won’t cause a fear for me and my OCD brain.
Instead of using a heating pad, I can use one-time use pads, such as Thermacare Heat Wraps and Icy Hot Patches. They are very easy to use and they are disposable. Thermacare Heat Wraps come in several sizes including a large-extra large size for the lower back and hips. Each of these wraps provides 8 hours of heat. Icy Hot Patches are much smaller and have a little amount of pain reliever ointment on each one. I use each of them at different times for this bad low pack pain and they help, but not completely. I know what I really could use is some extra strength pain ointment such as Ben-Gay, or something similar. My OCD brain is telling me that there is no way I can use such greasy ointment and let it touch my shirt, the sheets, or anything else, which it will stain and ruin.
Again, I keep thinking for a solution. I remember the Thermacare Heat Wraps and the Icy Hot Patches I used. I decide to try putting the Ben-Gay ointment on the side of the Heat Wraps and Patches that touch my back and then use them as recommended. Because I have OCD I also must wear latex gloves to touch the heat wraps, patches and ointment. My solution worked! I didn’t stain my shirt, or the sheets, or anything else and the low back pain started to feel much better. Eventually it disappeared.
To a healthy mind, my solution may sound “crazy” and too time consuming to come up with, but to satisfy my OCD brain and make life as simple, stress-free and fear-free for myself, this is what I have to do. Having OCD isn’t easy and it is something I struggle with every day. If you have similar OCD struggles as I do and you experience body pain, try my solution. It worked for me!
My sources are a box of Thermacare Heat Wraps for lower back and hip and a box of Extra Strength Icy Hot Patches.