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The Sore Back Brigade

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by jonowen, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    I have been suffering with chronic back pain for almost 18 months now and from what I read on this board, I am far from alone. There are many of us suffering (in silence at times) and I am grateful to all words of comfort and advice which I have had.

    I think it maybe a good idea to share stories of medical help, or lack of it; we may be able to offer suggestions of help to each other, even sharing some funny stories could help.

    Does anyone else want to start such a thread? I know it's the holidays but I had my consultant's appointment last week and I imagine other back-pain sufferers will have similar appointments during our holidays!

    Joni x
  2. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Hi Joni. I have a herniated disk, and it can be a real sodd at times.
  3. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter


    I can empathise. Fell at work and herniated discs ... Some years later I am pleased to report a huge improvement - but can remember all too well being terrified I would never walk again let alone work. I was stupid enough to spend a small fortune at a chiropractor, then sensible enough to see an osteopath instead!! I've also been to weekly Pilates classes taught by the oesteopath and it's a non-negotiable thing for me now. I have to attend as I don't ever want to go back to that scary place again.

    So, if you are suffering, there is hope.
  4. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    That's what I need to hear Cornflake, thanks. I had an appointment with an orthopedic consultant 10 days ago and saw the X-ray (done in November). Looking at my spine, the bottom 1/4 curves quite steeply to the left side (where I've had all the pain fro the last 18 months). Consultant was lovely, did the routine checks, pressing my spine, I'd to lean over to each side etc....and said my back will never be as good as new. He suggested Pilates (or Yoga as a poor 2nd choice but better than nothing) and said I should not allow my back pain to stop me doing anything within reason (no zumba!) but not to complain about the extra pain I might suffer as a result!! He said take pain relief before/after - that should help.

    I'm on co-codamol 30/500 and celebrex (anti inflame.) I have NOT taken them for a day occasionally (now that I'm on holiday), and really, really feel the pain. But they don't put the pain away more than 50%. I've just done the hoovering and feeling very sore and sorry for myself. I feel at my wits end. We are going away later today to visit family for a week, and have lovely things planned but even that doesn't cheer me up.

    Rosie, are you getting treatment for your herniated disc? An osteopath I saw last April diagnosed a herniated disc (after 45 minutes); my GP disagreed and referred me to NHS physio - sadly,useless; I went to a recommended private physio - sadly useless again and expensive; then went to see a new GP at our practice who organised X-ray+consultant appointment.

    So I have degenerative disc disease, recently turned 56 and feel a bit hopeless! I'm sure the week away will help.

    Sorry this is so long and thanks for reading - happy weekend to us all! [​IMG] Maybe even have some sunshine!

    Joni x

  5. dominant_tonic

    dominant_tonic Established commenter

    Good plan Joni. Have just logged back on. Whilst my back isn't particularly bad, (My mobility problems caused by balance rather than back issues), I can empathize after having nursed my sister through 3 herniated disc ops, and know the agony this can be. Sympathies to you all - and yes, a good idea for a thread :) Hope you feel more positive soon - feeling useless uses up any humour I have pretty quickly I hate it. cc
  6. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter


    You might be like me - really didn't want to take drugs - but osteo made me realise that a lot of the pain was actually muscle spasm and that was the point of the anti-inflammatory tablets... To get the muscles to relax. I know in some cases an epidural is considered for this reason too.

    Seriously, find a GOOD Pilates class and stick at it. I can't believe what a difference it has made to managing the pain and then to building up core stability. I'd be lying if I said I'm now perfect, but I can spend all day gardening and not panic when my back hurts... It's given me a bit more confidence to move
    emerald52 likes this.
  7. pinot

    pinot New commenter

    I fractured my back which was then missed by experts for over five years. Degenerative disc disease means a lot of things and does not mean it's downhill from here on. I wanted my cord cut and seriously discussed this with my doctor, I would collapse in the street when presumably my nerve was blocked somehow, screaming in agony all night. I did the following before I decided I would end it if that was how I had to live:

    1. Only ate full fat butter and cream, drank only full fat milk. This kick started my recovery

    2. Stopped drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. I did this after being a diagnosed alcoholic, my back pain contributed to the development of this horrid disease.

    3. Used a sports therapist who separated the muscles and tissue from being bound together and gave me exercises that I had to do regardless of the pain.

    4. Embraced a positive can do attitude.

    I am now in a different world than I was, you can and will get better, I was told that was it, it would never improve. I went out and researched it myself, as well as the above I researched any problems I ever had to back pain and found endometriosis was also linked so I got a coil fitted. I had been an athlete in my former years and I now coach the sport alongside being an slt member thanks to my new lease of life. It's difficult but it can be done, best of luck and pm me if you need anything.
  8. sopsychedout

    sopsychedout New commenter

    I do, as I have an injury to my back which causes horrendous nerve pain down the left side of my back and through my leg (which rendered most movement difficult at its worst, including simple things like holding a pen). I have recently found out that I also have a long term back problem (don't want to say what publicly because of who reads these fora) which will trigger this pain or the rest of my life, unless I manage this condition very carefully through certain types of exercise. E.g. Walking or yoga. Thankfully, I've been given some painkillers specifically designed for nerve pain and a programme of physiotherapy that now actually works, so now manage very well, unless I do something stupid when moving! I also recently attended some alexander technique classes which were also very helpful, so intend to attend some more asap. I'm in the process of coming off these painkillers. Wish me luck that the pain does not return, so that I can carry on exercising!

    The best thing I ever did was to pay to see an orthopaedic surgeon privately, as he has literally given me my life back!
    emerald52 likes this.
  9. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the positive comments, the consultant was writing to my GP to refer me to the local pain clinic, but did say that could take a while. I now have lots of pain standing (doing the ironing e.g.) and bending back upwards after bending down (e.g. after tying boot laces) At least it's not affecting my sleep, this time last year I could not find a comfortable sleeping position at all. Sopsy, what are the painkillers you are on for the nerve pain? My GP gave me diazepam for spasm to take as needed, but I'm going through them very quickly as the spasms are almost continuous. What did the ortho. surgeon do to help?

    (Can I share something else? This deg. disc problem is the result of a bad car accident 40 years ago when I was trapped in the passenger front seat after head-on collision with a lorry. I had to be cut out of the car, was in a coma for 5 days and had a brain injury following a brain haemorrhage (I don't remember any of this thankfully). My left leg was numb for 2 or 3 years after and I often have pins and needles sensation from head to toe down my left side. My parents were very strict, very pushy (my mother especially) and I feel I had a horrible childhood. My sister was the golden child, could do no wrong and "kept the family together" while I was in hospital on a life support machine. (sorry this makes me sound self-centred and sorry for myself, but I dreamt about her last night so thinking about it a lot today)

    I feel my parents should have done more to help my recovery, all I was told was it was no miracle I hadn't died and I should be grateful I was alive. If it had been my sister in that crash my parents would have moved heaven and hell to get her treatment)

    Two more questions - I feel some relief with the Deep heat stick-on pads - does anyone else feel this or am I imagining it all? Does anyone use a Pilates DVD? I would prefer a class but there are none in my area (even Yoga has a waiting list!)

    Thank you for reading this saga, hope all is well with everyone and the holidays are fab despite the rubbish weather!

    Joni x
    emerald52 likes this.
  10. dominant_tonic

    dominant_tonic Established commenter

    Nerve pain tablets Joni are usually Gabapentin/Lyrica (The latter an updated version of the former), and these are often usually used in conjunction with amitryptaline (an old -fashioned tri-cylcic anti-depressant used off-label for nerve pain, as it calms the nervous system).

    Sorry about the feelings you still have about this, and your treatment or lack thereof...I don't have anything useful to say really, but wanted to at least acknowledge it as it was a such a heartfelt post. Are you still in touch with your family? Hope you feel better soon - physically and emotionally xx
  11. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Thanks for info - we are away for a week (moving house) so I'll see how my back feels next week!

    Dominant T, thanks for your post. I was really down yesterday, hence my toxic family stress. I don't keep in touch with any of them as they were making me so unhappy. I have one brother who moved as far away from home as he could as soon as he was old enough - we keep in touch from time to time. Why are some families so toxic? I do appreciate my wonderful husband and sons who put up with me and my moans!

    Pinot, you are so right about a positive attitude - but it's not always easy.

    Happy weekend everyone!

    Joni x
  12. sopsychedout

    sopsychedout New commenter

    Hi Joni

    I've replied to your PM as the type of pain that you describe sounds similar to mine when at its worst (do you also find twisting movement difficult?).

    Yes, I also used heat a lot! My long-suffering and kind mother used to have a fresh hot water bottle ready for me when I came home from work and I did indeed find that heat patches helped (deep heat not other brands as I could put those patches straight onto my skin and were warmer than other brands, so I found them to be more effective). I only stopped using them because they wouldn't stay on! Hehe! That's when I switched to a TIME machine (combined tens and interferential machine) as it helped with the nerve pain and the spasms. Until I got to the point when I went private, it gave me about 3-4 days relief! As I said, I then only got a day's relief in the end when I was lucky.

    PS. I'm also so sorry to hear about your negative experiences with your family!

    PPS. I believe that Lynne Robinson is one of the most well-known Pilates teachers and has made lots of DVDs. A link to her website is as follows:

  13. sopsychedout

    sopsychedout New commenter

    Big sympathy to those with herniated discs! The condition sounds awful!

    Pinot, your experience is inspirational!
  14. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Hello - thought I would "up" this thread, see how we've all been :) and an update. My GP wants me to go for ill-health early retirement (not sure if I really want that ) and I have seen an occupational health clinician who referred me to a counsellor after I burst into tears when she asked me how I was feeling. I had arrived for the appointment 10 mins early and while looking for a loo, the receptionist said it was up 2 flights of stairs. I had a wee groan at the thought of the effort and pain involved, and the lady then said to use the disabled toilet if I wanted. I did this and suddenly it hit me that I wasn't as mobile or able as I used to be. This was what upset me and that was why I burst into tears. The OH clinician said I was grieving for the life I had had before the back pain - I had never thought of it like that but she is right.
    Anyway, in December I saw a surgeon who assessed me for facet joint injections and was positive that these would help (he also said I seemed a bit anxious - I'm in excrutiating pain, menopausal and the drive to school is dark going and dark coming back, hence the anxiety!)
    Well, I had the injections 4 weeks ago and while the pain is still there, it is not nearly so bad. I have to keep a pain diary for 6 months so they can come up with a treatment plan. We are moving soon (more anxiety!) and there is a choice of pilates classes in our new place. So all in all I'm doing better - how is everyone else?

    Joni x
  15. janemk

    janemk New commenter

    Hi @jonowen,
    Glad to see you're feeling better (physically at least) from where you were when you first posted. I just wanted to say as a trauma therapist that I was interested when I got to your story re the crash etc. I now work in a field where clearing the original trauma (with gentle, non-invasive techniques) very often clears the persistent physical pain you got from it no matter what the injury (and yours was some trauma!), even decades later, as the two become associated and 'frozen' in the body. Send me a message if you want more info. x
  16. sopsychedout

    sopsychedout New commenter

    Hi Joni

    Sorry to hear about the doctor's verdict but with the way things are going in teaching these days, you're probably better off anyway. A quick update in my case is that I'm still doing the Alexander technique classes but unfortunately, I had to go back onto my painkillers because my back kept flaring up badly at work (in fact, the pain is still unpredictable). However, the Alexander technique is still really helpful. In fact, it's sometimes a life saver because I now find that I feel the back pain in my left rib and at the top of my diaphragm as well when my back goes into spasm (so it affects my breathing and ability to speak). However, my teacher told me yesterday that I'm now quite good at the breathing technique that I need to use and now have a lot of movement in my spine and neck despite the pain, so I will continue to practice the technique everyday. I can recommend this to you as well if there is a certified teacher/class in your area.
  17. anon8701

    anon8701 Star commenter

    Hi Joni

    How are things with you? You might not know me under new new name btw (we PM'd each other on here a while ago now where discussed our diagnostic consultation and medication).

    Since we last 'spoke' on here, I've been practising the Alexander Technique which has really helped my back and on Tuesday, I joined a water e excise class for people with disabilities and physical impairments. I really enjoyed it and this has helped me too. I can't wait to go back next week!
  18. Twinkle_toes

    Twinkle_toes New commenter

    I suffer with my back too...can be very isolating at times :(
    Mine is due to Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis. Generally i manage this well with injections every other week, but these lower my immune system and make the risk of infection much greater and heading into the start of the new year this always gets me worried.
    Ive joined a gym near work which does lots of stretching classes - good practice for carrying the books throughout the school!

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