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(Moonee Valley Leader, Wednesday, September 6, 2017 Story by Carmel Green)

“We’re such a pill-popping nation – we’re taught to reach for the tablet and soldier on”

CONSCIOUS of her posture and sitting down for too long, artist Soula Mantalvanos would perch on a fit ball while working at her desk.

One day the ball burst and she fell on to the concrete floor, sparking more than a decade of pudendal nerve pain.

Prescribed opioid Tramadol and antidepressant Lovan, Ms Mantalvanos said at one point she was taking a cocktail of medications and, when the pain didn’t subside, her doctor doubled her dosages.

“I began to lose myself – I would have hallucinations at night that odd creatures were coming at me,” she said.

Through the support of her husband, Theo, and her self-awareness of what the drugs were doing to her, Ms Mantalvanos sought other methods of pain relief.

“We’re such a pill-popping nation – we’re taught to reach for the tablet and soldier on,” she said. “But we’ve made a lot of advancements in pain relief.”

One she sought out was a peripheral stimulation implant to help with the pain.

During her recovery she commissioned artist Colleen Burke to create a puppet in her likeness. “I could focus on her and remember who I was,” she said.

Ms Mantalvanos has also created a website to help people with chronic pain, founded online health record Pain Train and self-published a book called Art & Chronic Pain to help explain what it is like to have her condition.


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Definitions of pain

What is Pudendal Neuralgia (PN)?
Most simply put PN is Carpal Tunnel in the pelvis/buttocks. Compression of the Pudendal Nerve occurs after trauma to the pelvis and is aggravated with pressure. The pain is often described as a toothache like pain, with spasms, sensations of tingling, numbness, or burning. It can be very debilitating.

What is Neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is the result of an injury or malfunction in the peripheral or central nervous system. The pain is often triggered by an injury, but this injury may or may not involve actual damage to the nervous system. More…

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