All Summaries for Major Pain

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Major Pain launched in 2021, creating a library of stories and experiences from people living with chronic illness, chronic pain, disability, invisible illness and undiagnosed disease. Our goal is to foster community around something that is often experienced in solitude, to share ideas that may be helpful for individuals in need, and spread awareness about living with chronic health challenges. You can share your thoughts, your story, or inquire about appearing on the show at Major Pain is hosted and produced by Jesse Mercury, a content creator with a long history of chronic undiagnosed illness. Learn more at

Living with Adhesive Arachnoiditis
Hollie has been living with spinal adhesive arachnoiditis for about 16 years. Many people have never heard of this disease, including many of Hollie’s doctors. The arachnoid is a membrane that surrounds and protects the nerves in the spinal cord. Arachnoiditis refers to inflammation of this membrane, which can progress […]
Wed, October 11, 2023
Navigating the Healthcare System Can Feel Impossible, Patients Rising is Here to Help
Are you struggling to find your way through the American healthcare system? Managing a chronic illness or disability is hard enough, but convoluted healthcare plans, access issues and affordability can put brick walls in the way of necessary care. Many patients are unaware that organizations like Patients Rising exist with […]
Wed, October 4, 2023
Treating Restless Leg Syndrome: Elaine’s Odyssey to Control RLS
Elaine’s odyssey to understand and treat restless leg syndrome (RLS) has spanned decades. Symptoms began in her 30s, pulling and jerking sensations mostly in her legs that made it difficult to relax. She had no idea how to describe what was happening, deciding it was impossible to tell a doctor […]
Wed, September 27, 2023
From Antichrist to Advocate: Daniel’s Journey with Schizophrenia
When Daniel was 17 years old he began to believe that he was a potential vessel for the Antichrist. Believing he was one of millions of potential vessels, he thought it was his responsibility to chose whether or not he should accept this role and allow his body to be […]
Wed, September 20, 2023
After Surgery to Remove a Baseball Sized Brain Tumor, Brad Developed Hypertrophic Olivary Degeneration and Ataxia
In 2017 Brad started experiencing multiple falls that became concerning. He went to get checked out and discovered there was a baseball sized tumor growing on his brainstem. This tumor was a meningioma that had been growing for decades, possibly upwards of 30 years. As Brad was rushed to surgery, […]
Wed, September 13, 2023
Kaitlyn Tells Us About Living with 14 Chronic Illnesses
Kaitlyn is a 23 year old recent college graduate who has been diagnosed with a whopping 14 chronic illnesses. They include Crohn’s disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), prediabetes, psoriasis, hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), dermatographism, chronic hives, dysautonomia, hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS), postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), vasovagal syncope, cyclic vomiting syndrome […]
Wed, September 6, 2023
Jesse Has a Diagnosis!
Jesse finally has a name for his mystery illness, as he was recently diagnosed with mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS). Andi joins him for a discussion on how this diagnosis came to be. They also discuss the progress on Jesse’s small fiber neuropathy examination, disability hearing and first experience having […]
Wed, August 30, 2023
MS Advocate Sam Salvaggio Discusses Her Health Journey and Shifting Diagnosis
At 19 years old, Sam Salvaggio had a strange day where her body suddenly felt off. She was woozy, and everything slowed down as if she were moving through molasses. Even though it was a cold day she sweat through all her clothes, then went home and slept for 20 […]
Wed, August 23, 2023
An Experimental Cocktail Helped Rohan Recover From Long COVID
Rohan contracted COVID-19 right at the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020. A few weeks later he suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA) also called a ministroke as a result of his infection. Although he recovered from the TIA, COVID was another story. His situation deteriorated into long […]
Wed, August 9, 2023
Christine’s Mysterious Chronic Pain: Searching for the Underlying Cause
Christine has been experiencing mysterious chronic pain since she was a teenager. It feels like her joints are grinding across each other, occasionally locking up so she cannot move. A few years ago her hip locked up in the middle of the night so she went to the emergency room. […]
Wed, August 2, 2023
Surviving Multiple Chronic Illnesses, Surgeries, a Coma and Being Pronounced Dead, Angela B. Brown Feels Blessed to Be Alive
Angela B. Brown has lived through a remarkable amount of health challenges. She says she has been a patient since day one, since she was born with three holes in her heart that have required multiple open-heart surgeries. Her chronic illnesses include a kidney disease called IGA nephropathy, a lung […]
Wed, July 26, 2023
Living With Myasthenia Gravis and Endometriosis
Dana experienced medical gaslighting for the first time when they were just 10 years old. A doctor accused them of making up their symptoms for attention, telling Dana’s mother they needed to be disciplined more. Dana promised themself they wouldn’t go back to the doctor unless they absolutely had to, […]
Wed, July 19, 2023
Beth Ruffin on Balancing Work Life With Health Challenges
Beth Ruffin owns a consulting business that teaches diversity, equity and inclusion in professional spaces. She focuses on self-empowerment, helping people learn to include themselves. Although Beth is extremely passionate about her work, finding the right work-life balance has been challenging since she lives with three chronic health conditions: fibromyalgia, […]
Wed, July 12, 2023
Karra Eloff on Maintaining Joyful Relationships in Spite of Chronic Illness or Chronic Pain
Karra Eloff wants to help individuals living with chronic pain or chronic illness maintain joyful relationships. She is the author of The Chronic Pain Couple: How To Be a Joyful Partner & Have a Remarkable Relationship in Spite of Chronic Pain. Her book is the result of years of research, […]
Wed, July 5, 2023
Severe Diverticulitis Almost Claimed Erik’s Life
18 years ago Erik was told he had the beginnings of diverticulitis, a condition characterized by inflammation of small pouches in the digestive tract. From then on he avoided foods like popcorn or seeds that could get caught in these pouches and cause infection. Besides these dietary restrictions, diverticulitis didn’t […]
Wed, June 28, 2023
Living with Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
Raven’s journey to be diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) was deeply traumatic, not only due to their debilitating disease but from the way doctors treated them along the way. CVS is characterized by episodes of intense vomiting that can be severe enough to warrant emergency care. Raven says it’s […]
Wed, June 21, 2023
TheIncrediblePaco on Long COVID Impacting His Gaming Career
TheIncrediblePaco is a well-known content creator in the Mario Maker community, who was making his full-time living playing video games leading up to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tens of thousands of fans subscribe to his Twitch channel for live streams, and YouTube for edited videos. He became ill […]
Wed, June 14, 2023
How Rick Olderman’s Chronic Pain Journey Informed His Physical Therapy Career
Rick Olderman is a sports and orthopedic physical therapist with over 25 years experience. He is the author of Solving the Pain Puzzle: Cases from 25 Years as a Physical Therapist as well as the Fixing You® series of books to help people with chronic pain or recurring injuries. He […]
Wed, June 7, 2023
Overcoming a Parasite and C. Diff Infection: Kimberly Shares Her Story
Kimberly’s harrowing experiences with gastrointestinal issues go back about 10 years. At first she would have random bouts of diarrhea, but be fine for months in between. She didn’t seek medical care until about 7 years later when these issues had become so severe they were interfering in daily life. […]
Wed, May 31, 2023
Help Us Solve Jeff’s Medical Mystery
Jeff lives with a medical mystery that has stumped doctors in multiple specialties. He experiences episodes that strike about once a week, and leave him almost catatonic. He will become hypersensitive to his environment, unable to communicate, and struggle to perform basic functions. Strangely, the only consistent way to end […]
Wed, May 24, 2023
Living with Parkinson’s Disease
In 2015 Karen noticed that her right arm was not swinging as normal when she walked. She was sent to a neurologist who quickly diagnosed her with Parkinson’s disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the body in a wide variety of ways. Symptoms can include tremors, slowed movement, muscle […]
Tue, May 16, 2023
Tyler Roope on Living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
Tyler Roope is a 25 year old TikTok star, who blends comedy and education while advocating on behalf of the disability community. He lives with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 2, which severely limits his voluntary muscle movement. Tyler is considered a strong type 2 since he is able to […]
Wed, May 10, 2023
LGBTQ Healthcare: What Are the Unique Medical Needs of This Community?
Troy is a nurse practitioner at a LGBTQ healthcare clinic in Seattle, Washington. He refers to it as gay providers taking care of the gay community, allowing a rare opportunity for himself and his colleagues to make meaningful differences in the lives of their patients. Many individuals across the spectrum […]
Wed, May 3, 2023
Living with Myotonia Congenita
Myotonia congenita is a genetic disorder that Amelia recently discovered she has been living with her whole life. The disease is characterized by an inability to quickly relax muscles after contraction, which can cause muscle imbalance, rapid fatigue, chronic pain, and difficulty with daily movement like climbing stairs or standing […]
Wed, April 26, 2023
The Infuriating Contradictions of Undiagnosed Illness
Courtney refers to herself as a hot potato patient, being passed from specialist to specialist in search of a diagnosis to her mystery illness, but none of these providers have been willing to keep digging until an answer is found. She used to be an avid globe trotter while working […]
Wed, April 19, 2023
Season 3 Premiere! Catching Up With Previous Guests
This week we kick off the third season of Major Pain by catching up with previous guests! First we’ll check in with Andrew, who originally appeared in December 2021 to discuss mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). He has been slowly improving since then, feeling as if a new self is […]
Wed, April 12, 2023
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