My Journey Through Chronic Pain: A Personal Battle with Herniated Discs, Arthritis, and Lyme Disease

In 1980, 44 years ago, I experienced a herniated disc at L4/5 while working as a professional driver. It was my mistake due to inattentiveness and extremely heavy lifting during the loading of gear parts. Since then, I have repeatedly suffered from the same symptoms, which have worsened over the years, especially in the cold and wet season in Ulm. The herniated disc was treated conventionally with stretching, medications, and other actions like muscle building.

Three independent orthopedists predicted that if I didn’t change my lifestyle, I would be in a wheelchair by age 30. This prognosis was too bleak for me, so I quit my well-paid job and retrained. After successfully completing retraining as a Medical Documentation Assistant, I had a desk job with a lot of overtime and endless stress.

In 1999, an X-ray of my lumbar spine was taken, and the terminal diagnosis was: Spondylosis or spondyloarthritis of the lumbar spine. How nice.

Since then, I’ve been fighting against the “yes/no” surgery dilemma with physiotherapy, a vegetarian/vegan diet, and muscle building. I’ve heard nothing good from many others who have undergone surgery. So, it was better not to go under the knife back then.

I’ve tried various conventional medical, drug therapies and am utterly fed up with cortisone, NSAIDs, etc., as they have not helped and, in fact, made the pain worse with devilish side effects.

Doctors always told me things like, “An Indian knows no pain!” and other nonsense like, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Well, I never wished the pain on anyone, but with such stupid sayings, it might just come to that.

Compounding Problems

In May 2007, after being bitten by a horsefly (Tabanus) in my left calf while working in the garden, I developed erythema migrans at the bite site, followed by horrific pain (radiculoneuritis aka Bannwarth syndrome), walking problems (claudication), and paresthesia, which were worsened by a Spanish doctor’s medication therapy (cortisone and NSAIDs).

Additionally, I have a lot of other joint issues:

– Right TMJ arthritis after an accident at age 6 (roller-skating, chin injury, 5cm laceration).

– Knee arthritis after an accident at age 14 (pea-sized patella fracture, delayed treatment).

– Pelvic tilt identified at age 32 (pre-existing hip arthritis symptoms).

At 34, I had surgery for an Achilles tendon rupture that resulted in arthritis in my big toe joint due to improper casting.

– Left thumb arthritis after multiple sports injuries.

– Right wrist arthritis after a motorcycle accident.

– Right shoulder arthritis after a fall from a roof in 2004.

– Cervical spine arthritis after a motorcycle accident in 2000.

I also suffer from hay fever every spring, likely due to childhood vaccinations (SV40).

Living with Lyme Disease

I have since developed Lyme disease, which has exacerbated my problems. A few horseflies bit me in May 2007, leading to an unnoticed infection that spread throughout my body. The misdiagnosis and treatment with corticosteroids worsened my condition, leading to neuroborreliosis, chronic pain, and suicidal thoughts. Cannabis has been my only relief from the pain and mental anguish.

The antibiotics (six months) forced me to stay indoors, avoiding the sun as I burned easily, which made me feel like a vampire. This was disheartening since I love the sun. I believe the energy from the sun helps me heal.

Late-stage Lyme disease has brought extreme nighttime limb pain, muscle cramps, and occasional hip pain. Cannabis helps me manage the pain and sleep through the night.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease


– Motorcycling Rarely: Only when I feel very well.

– Reforestation: Planting drought-resistant trees and flowering ground covers.

Current Therapy

Medical cannabis (Cannabis sativa L. var. indica) helps with all my symptoms, especially relieving pain, pollen allergies, and asthma. This means I no longer need other medications, sparing my body from their side effects, much to the dismay of doctors and the pharmaceutical industry.

On particularly painful days, I combine medical cannabis with a mild opioid, keeping doses low and minimizing opioid side effects.


From truth to reality is a long and often painful journey.

Juergen Meixner

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