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Is there a language of aches and pains, that the elderly might better exploit?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Duke of York, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    At the moment. it's my back that gives me grief, but my hips and knees are fine. I suspect my hips and knees have fared better than those of others my age, because I avoided the idiocy of sport, but managed to suffer two back injuries thanks to owning dogs. I've had a further two back injuries from my back muscles not being up to what they could when I was more limber, but I'm told by old wives that when "You get a "back", you'll always have it."

    I'm not complaining. I can dose myself up with paracetamol and if I do that regularly, and am careful about how I move, the pain reduces, the injury will eventually heal and until the next time, I'll be relatively fine.

    It's a misery though, until the muscles heal and it seems so easy to damage them again.

    Hips and knees can be replaced and by all accounts, once you got new hips and knees, it's like you met Jesus and he performed a miracle to take the pain away forever, or at least until the replacement hips and knees wore out again.

    I know how a bad back makes it difficult to get out of bed or in and out of a car, when the painkiller is on its last legs, but I have no experience of the misery associated with other painful ailments and I'd love to get an insight into the sort of things you need to do to cope.

    Where I'm coming from in this, is that enable my residents to get the benefits they are entitled to, I get called on from time to time to help them complete claims forms and it's always in that bit of the form where the claimant is trying to describe why they need assistance, that their claims either get accepted or rejected.

    To put it in simple terms, whoever gets the claim form land on their desk, doesn't know the claimant from Adam and has to mark it much as an examiner marks an exam paper.

    If you have been through the misery of pain in old age and had to describe it to a worker trained by IDS in terms that made that worker think twice before rejecting the claim, how succinctly would you describe it, such that it made a DWP worker outraged enough that his or her former was to receive a knighthood and sign the petition that shows your disgust?

    Please note this is merely a test of your vocabulary skills and nothing about whatever prompted you to vote for more of this sort of misery. Maybe if you're still young enough to be unaware of what being old feels like, you could express what you think your mum or dad has to go through, using words that would make even IDS take stock?
    emerald52 likes this.
  2. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    The key thing when filling in this forms is to answer each question based on the claimant's worst day with mobility issues, toilet issues etc. You mention how many times you might have to get up for the wc in the night during a diverticulitis attack, for instance. Mention how mobility issues might make getting to the bathroom in time difficult. Mention the extra laundry needs. Mention how you are more and more housebound because of pain or incontinence.
    Things like Attendance Allowance could be used to pay for help or pay for household aids (washing machine, dryer, downstairs WC, stairlift)
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
    knitone, Jamvic, caress and 2 others like this.
  3. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    Having just abandoned all attempts at sleep I literally laughed aloud when I saw the title of this thread. I doubt if even my robust sense of humour would survive a catalogue of personal pains so I'll merely mention that I'm mildly asthmatic and ideally need the spinal operation which cost my cousin's insurers $30,000 five years ago.

    Whilst appreciating that it's tangential to the posts above, I'm reminded of completing a Byzantine travel insurance proposal for a gang of crooks calling themselves Staysure.
    Their shoddy and exorbitant 'service' made me look elsewhere so the next time I travelled. I spoke to the rep of the firm who handle our property and car insurance. She said:

    'I need to ask you some questions: How many asthma inhalers do you use?


    'Can you walk twenty-five metres on a level surface without getting out of breath?' (

    'Of course, I live halfway up a mountain and walk dogs every day. What's next?'

    'Nothing. I'll email your quote to you today.'
    emerald52 likes this.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It has nothing to do with the vocabulary of pain and everything to do with the effect it has on your life.

    You can't go to the shop because you'd make it there but then you have to get back! You aren't sleeping more than 2 hours at a time because of the break-through pain and having to get up and mobilise the joint. You are therefore too tired to do your own shopping. It hurts too much to get in the bath and then you get stuck and can't get out so you aren't keeping as clean as you'd like.

    And so on and so forth.
    SeanbheanMac, Jamvic, caress and 2 others like this.
  5. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I would also add to that excellent advice that it is usually necessary to "try and try again". The apparatchiks civil servants who deal with claims are terrified of appearing soft to their team leaders and so will always turn down a percentage of claims. Try again and you may well strike lucky.

    I remember when mobility issues caused me to apply for a Blue Badge some years ago, I was turned down. I re-applied a year later with exactly the same statements (and even the same letters from my GP and consultant) and was accepted. You just have to keep pushing.
    Jamvic, caress and emerald52 like this.
  6. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    I’ve had a bad back for 30 years. The only thing that helps is swimming- mostly front crawl as breaststroke can affect it. While swimming I try to reach as far as possible with each arm as this helps mobilise my spine. Stretching exercises are similar but not as effective since in water your weight is supported.
    Jamvic likes this.
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I just had the PIP interview the other week. Don't know the result as yet. But subjective descriptions of pain won't help. Not as I understand it. And I had the help of some very eminent TESsers.

    • The pain can strike suddenly so I'm too frightened to go out. So I have had to give up my social life at the miners' club. I don't see anyone.
    • I haven't had a hot meal for weeks as almost every action from unscrewing a lid to bending to get stuff out of the fridge is agonising.
    • I rarely sleep upstairs as my knees just won't let me get up there. The sofa is a nightmare though so I don't sleep much.
    • I sometimes wet myself as it takes me a while to make my way to the toilet.
  8. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    *makes mental note to stop beefing about bursitis and dodgy knees*
  9. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    The medical profession seems to grade pain severity, if I remember correctly from my surgery over a decade ago, on a scale of one to ten, as rated by the patient. Seems awfully subjective as it depends on each person's present tolerance - and past experience - of pain.
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Which is why one describes the effect the pain has on one.

    It doesn't even have to be pain itself. It can be the apprehension of pain.

    With my ileostomy I fear bending and lifting. I could so easily get a hernia. So I won't use the oven as it's too low. It doesn't have to happen. Just the thought that it might. Even the exertion of pressure of pushing down on the pedal on a pedal bin can be too much sometimes. Such small things but you have to adapt. And it's inconvenient. Highly.
    emerald52 and Dodros like this.
  11. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Yes. When I went for a steroid injection, the GP asked me fill in a form ("professional development") in which several questions involved grading the existing pain and the jab on a scale of 1 to 10. I ended up writing him an essay. The jab was maybe 8 painful. Made me squawk. But it lasted 5 seconds. The bursitis might be only be 4 but it's always bloody there.
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter


    My ileostomy isn't painful but the fear of a leak means I have no intention of going out for a meal/going on holiday/spending a night anywhere other than here.
  13. caress

    caress Occasional commenter

    Like I've posted ad nauseam in these forums so I apologise in advance, but I suffer from hypothyroidism. I was a reasonably active 45 year old a year ago, in my youth I trained 4-5 days a week at Thai boxing for around two to three hours at a time, but now at age 46 I'm struggling to walk, I'm crying out with pain and I'm getting a three-wheeled walker to help with my mobility.
    The golden phrase to use is that the pain keeps you from sleeping at night or disturbs your rest. Doctors use that as a benchmark for serious pain. With me, I think its the fact that I'm only 46, slightly underweight and have massive issues with mobility right now, I can't walk for pleasure or any distance, and I use a stick to get about. I struggle to get out of a chair or to stand up. My life is tailored around being given lifts everywhere as I don't drive or allowing much longer to complete tasks that involve getting anywhere, and I can't do stairs.
    Unfortunately as we have an opioid issue in this country the same as in the US, doctors are quite leery of the random patient complaing of an undetectable ache or pain in case they are seeking to acquire strong painkillers for recreational purposes, as well as GPs not wanting patients to become dependant on what are highly addictive pain-relieving drugs. :( I'm actually the unfortunate opposite as I find even 30/500 codeine/paracetamol prescription painkillers provide slight relief but don't actually alleviate the pain.
    HelenREMfan likes this.
  14. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Same here.

    I don't like that grading business. My whole body seems to be in pain nowadays but it's not as if I could not move,so is it a 1 or a 10?
    caress likes this.
  15. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Caress, how has hypothyroidism caused mobility issues?
    caress likes this.
  16. caress

    caress Occasional commenter

    Huge hugs. Can I just say that you are an absolute inspiration to me, your whole attitude, wit and outlook on life is wonderful. I'm so sorry for all that you're going through as it is obviously hell on earth but you conduct yourself like an absolute boss. I'm in awe of your strength. Slay on, Queen Grumpy!
    knitone, HelenREMfan and emerald52 like this.
  17. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Luckily I have fentanyl on prescription so I have good pain-control. But it required a lot of persuasion on our part! :);)
    bonxie, emerald52 and caress like this.
  18. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    No! I got advice from other posters on what to say!

    My wife has hypothyroidism and it's an endless battle to get up and get to work. Exhausting.
    caress likes this.
  19. caress

    caress Occasional commenter

    It causes problems in joints, particularly hip joints for some reason. Its the only reason it could be because I've read in all the hypo forums and iinfo pages that sore joints are a major sign. In addition they've run X-rays, CT scans and MRI scans on my hips and there is no visible reason. Originally they were concerned that the thyroid cancer had spread and caused bone lesions but this isn't the case so I can only conclude that's the reason and the GP has agreed. :(
  20. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    Commiserations to all in pain. It is a really awful situation to be in and dominates your life. I know pills don’t work for many long term.
    caress, HelenREMfan and bonxie like this.

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