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Be Honest with Your Self

ToYoungforThisTToYoungforThis Posts: 150
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Chronic Pain
Be honest with your self are you giving it your best to recover?

I woke up this morning and had terrible guilt. I can't stop thinking about what my Sergeon said to me. He asked if I felt that i have been taking a active role and really trying hard with my recovery and physical therapy. The more I think about it i'm not so sure that I am, do we let the pain get to us so bad that we give up and don't try. I do go to PT 2xs a week for 1hr. 1hr is a long time, I do PT for my neck, low back, SI joints, and arthritis in knees. Also have 3 very active kids, and only 30 yrs old.

I do home exercises and use the elastic band when I am sitting alot, but I do not do them every day. He thinks I should get my heart rate up to 140-150 for 30 min. I tried it and could not get up the next day. I want to be more active but I do hurt I can feel my hardware every screw and its always tender around it. I do get extremely bad muscle spasamas and know its making me very tight and effects my pain. I know at this point my hardware is giving me pain. The more active I am the more I hurt, How am I gonna get past this.

We had this conversation because I realy need to get in better shape, no weight issue. I have ony been able to do pt for 6months out of almost 3 years of 7 surgeries. I am aware that I need a refusion on my neck the hardware is loose and the bone did not fuse. Its pain full but not severe little nerve issues, also a disc is giving me trouble avove my lumbar fusion, it hurts but not bad enough to want surgery wanna wait till better shape and get hardware removed at same time.

I am just feeling so guilty like I am not trying enough. I honestly don't feel like I do enough therapy, but then on the on other hand I do hurt and don't wana cause more pain. I'm so confused and just wana know if you feel the same. I feel like just giving up as if i'm just going to have chronic pain forever and thats life. Am I being a baby about what has happened with surgeries? I just don't know where to go from here. I honestley feel like I have had so many surgeries why bother I still need more.



  • Tooyoung for this...

    You sound like you are "too hard on yourself!"

    Only you really know if you are not doing enough/exercise balance pain thing.

    But if you think you are, short of running a marathon or swimming 2 miles a day (joke) then is your doctor for real?

    what has your heart rate got to do with anything? :))(

    I am very very unfit. I walk worse tahn an eldery woman =)) and have flubber, no muscles. they have gone following my severe debilated state. I now have at least 2 years of rehab ahead of me. I doubt I will ever be a muscle machine but you have to balance pain with exercise and REAL LIFE!
    You have kids taht need a mom, and so what use are you if you do too much and get laid up for a week.

    Sorry, I can't be more helpful. Makes me mad when doctors cop out like this.

    I wish you well. Trust in your own instincts and never doubt yourself. You know the true answer here. xxx
  • My Dr. say to get your heart rate up to get more blood flowing threw and that muscle spasams restrict the blood flow in low back and around spine and slows the healing process.

    Oh and says I shouldn't be so upset bout my spine disease cause they are all treatable. Its not like I am gona die from it. :))( lol its already taken everything from me, and changed my life forever lol.
  • Hi there Paula: I was so moved by what you wrote. Last week I was doing PT, and I was so excited at what I could do. The PT had me lifting light weights and doing various exercises on machines, balls, and whatnot. Well, at the time I was doing it all was well, and I left with a smile. A few hours later, I almost ended up in the OR with severe pain that wouldn't respond to pain meds. In my opinion, your doc did you a great disservice by laying a guilt trip on you. Exercise is really important, but we cannot overdo it, or we get discouraged and or injured! He can't feel what you feel (emotionally or physically). Take your exercise a step at a time. Pay close attention to how you feel. My PCP told me to err toward taking it easy, and increase as tolerated. Nope, not a doc here, I can only tell you what has helped or harmed me...."I tried it and could not get up the next day," you said. Not good! So many people give up on exercise because they overdo it. Please don't feel guilty...just keep on tryin as your body allows. You are not in competition with anyone else. The goal is wellness, health, strength, healing, quality of life, is it not? (As I tell you this I am listening to my own advice because I get discouraged and want to give up too sometimes.) It is frustrating not being able to do all of the things I want to do...sigh...I give you a high ^5 for continuing to try! Hang in there, and I hope to see you in chat!!

  • I don't exercise as I should because I can't (due to after effects). And, I can't exercise because I don't (too out of shape maybe?) :?

    I'm with everyone else - your doctor is out of line, and you do what you can, and maybe, increase a bit each month. MONTH. Not DAY, or session. That's just plain nuts to invite pain just for the sake of being in shape.

    Laura: I can't tell you how many times I felt GREAT doing a certain activity (maybe not PT, but other stuff), so pushed myself a little farther - not realizing the harm until hours later or the next day. YIKES! You'd think I'd have learned by now. I'm an educated person, for Heaven's sake! But, somehow I keep making the same mistake.

    BOTTOM LINE: Listen to your body. Actually, learn to see into the future. Ask yourself often "am I going to pay for this later?"

    Take care, my friends.

  • I think one of the hardest parts is that we hurt several days later, so the warnings are hard to spot at the time of injury / over doing it.

    Took me years to suss that one.

    Be so very careful. I have a hunch that an over enthusiatic doctor who told me to work through my pain actually tipped me over the edge and made my spine pain unbearable.

    exercise / no excercise...I do very little (like you) becuase it exacerbates my pain, yet I try in the hope that baby steps I will get there.
    Should I go, all gung ho (sp) I would be on the floor in a ER somewhere, not dead perhaps but in agony, troffing the painkillers trying to get some respite!
  • Dear Friends, how I can relate so well to what all of you are saying. Yesterday was a really bad day for me, pain in new parts of body, was very discouraged. I have been on disability for 8 months now. I stopped by work to use the fax machine and our PT was present. I was working as a nurse's aide for ten years. Anyway she has 0 sympathy for me and says "I told you to do 3 months of heavy physio". She is quite brass, luckily my other colleauges have been more supportive. I probably do not do as much physio as I should, but like all of you I sometimes feel worse after. We have to remember we are all human and should really give ourselves a break. Today is a much better day, hardly any pain. It is just mind boggling to me and I am sure to others how our health can change from one day to the next. Hang in there, we certainly need each other.
  • Paula
    That was a very honest and frank assessment of what you are doing and took courage and worthy of support, we are trying to do all that we can when the opportunity arises and at times this is the best that we can hope for. It should be a continual evaluation and even then we some guilt and recall that inner voice decrying our attempts for whatever reason, part of this is mastering and cajoleling that.

    We are not the same person as before and should feel no guilt because of it we are in pain and doing a fantastic job, at the end of the day the reality is that whoever ask of us what we are doing is doing that in our best interest, them are not being mean and although we are driven every day to survive that bit extra is needed when we could be at our most vulnerable. It takes a long hard look in the mirror to question yourself when others are not mandated to do this and it is unfair.

    We are all looking for that illusive cure and being honest in that this may not be the most apt solution is difficult, you should not feel guilty at doing your best and resist the temptation to do more when it is not feasible, just as you are getting your heart rate to its optimum function so we have to gets our overall strategies to a more favourable and somewhat happier place.

    The PT thing is a continual balance and you are learning that doing what is possible for you places you with an improved chance of some regression while continuing to endure your pain as you go. This is mental game, you against yourself, people are not being dishonest with themselves that are using a known strategy until a better one through trial and error occurs and we continue ahead.

    My PM residential covered just those issues that you mention and did and does question my validity of effort, that is a hard thing to ask of anyone in pain just to try that bit harder and some are rightly aggrieved by this request and become forlorn, that option of what Sternbach called somewhat insensitively but rather directly“making it a career” is intended to question what and how we are doing and could we do better. It is meant with good intention however it is received by us, living in the pain is a sad and more debilitating place than is necessary and I have been helped as we all have to see an alternative option and have many others, it is said with understanding care and concern from what can be a most debilitating condition and daily tests of character and rigour.

    At the end of the day acknowledge you success and learn from you failure, do you very best every day and be kind to yourself, at time it can be a long and dark journey of self discovery.

    For some this pain may never go away, and keeping up that emphasis and pretence for along time is one of the hardest things, knowing your future and still to carry on with a smile and understanding, well done us.

    Take care John
  • Being and active participant in my own recovery is a daily challenge for me. Some days are easier than others, both mentally and physically. How do I know what too much exercise or activity is? No one can tell me exactly how much to do and at what intensity level. I am the only one who is capable of "defining my limits". Of course initially that ends in a painful day or two after doing too much. So next time I back off a bit. Problem is stagnating. I have to be willing to pay attention to my body and push it just a little more when it is ready.

    My neurologist showed me and gave me info on how the blood vessels of the spine can influence pain. (we were studying foods that fight pain) When I exercise I always do a cardio session. I alternate between the bike and treadmill. I work on getting my heart rate up around the 140 range for the majority of the time. I tell you what, it makes a difference in how I feel! Better yet, it really makes a difference in my emotional state of being!

    If I didn't work on my physical conditioning, I would easily get sucked into the frustration and futility of the surgical merri go round. Being able to workout again, has saved my sanity.

    Hang in there,

  • Don't buy into the Doctor's guilt routine. As it is a way of taking away from something he may have done wrong. Sounds like you are really trying. Try not to get your heart rate up that high, aim for lower, then gradually work up. You are doing PT for an hour, have kids to take care of. Try to get some of your home exercises in, maybe 1/2 of them early in the day and 1/2 of them later. Maybe that is too much, maybe 1/2 one day, 1/2 the best. It is easy for a doctor that is ot in excruciating pain to berate us for not giving it our 110%. Do the best you can for each day. Do not accept others' goals as your own. Listen to your body, like when you could not get up the next day.
    And most importantly give yourself a break for not doing it "perfect".
    Hang in there.
  • Boy, can I empathize with what you're saying. How many times a week do I beat myself up for not getting more exercise. One PM doc I saw had the philosophy that exercise doesn't impact pain. That seems unreasonable. And you are all right-- with most of us (certainly those with nerve pain) we don't know we've overdone it until after the fact. Then, the pain is so bad I don't sleep all night and I go to work and am unproductive and feel guilty about that. Maybe women tend to take the blame for their pain more than men. Any thoughts?
  • Paula,

    With pain guilt is a constant part of life for me. Did I come home from work too early, could I have sat in that chair for another hour. I walked on the the tread mill at only 2.5 miles an hour, I bet I could have gone 3, etc.

    This is constant in my life and I have found the less guilt and stress I put on myself, the more in tuned I am with my body. I know for a fact that if I over do it, I pay for it for days afterwards. How is over doing it with anything to do with your back worth it. I understand that cardio is good for blood flow and your overall health, but if that cardio means you cant move or work for a couple of days and have to increase your pain meds, how is this a benifit?

    It's a hard one for me, but if I remove guilt and anxiety from my thinking, I feel more in tuned with how my body is really doing. This allows me a more objective assesment of should I call it a day or do a little more. Its funny but this mentality actually alows me to do more, not less.

    Bottom line is guilt leads to feeling bad about yourself and can lead to depression. Do what you can and stop if you need to and listen to your body. Feel and do as good as you can with the contidion you have.

    Take care, Mitch.
  • Hi Paula,
    I was moved by your comment. I think your being to hard on yourself. You know how you feel not your doctor. For instance I'm in my lower twenties and I have had 4 back surgeries and soon to have my 5th surgery on my neck. My doctor already told me that I have to understand that I will be in pain the rest of my life. I do understand that, yeah sometimes it's hard to cope with but you only have 1 body. You can make the best with it. I tried PT and Gym exercise because I wanted to get back fit, well that cause me alot more pain. Your body is telling you to slow down it's not ready for that yet. Soon it will be though. Don't be so hard on yourself. Yes it's hard to cope with sometimes, but in the end everything will work out.
  • Thank all of you guys for your responces I appericate your thoughts. John made a comment that is so true for all of us. We will never be the person we were before, How true bc I am not who I was before the suregeries. That many surgeries who could be. But I gues there is a point that I need to accept who I am now and that I do have limitations.

    I will keep trying on my own pace and try to do my best to help keep my pain down and and build my muscles back.

    Thanks so much for your imput.


  • Hi hun,
    I do not have much more to add as I am a bowl full of jello right now and have been for over a year. Hopefully that will start changing within time over the next year.

    One question I want to ask, I forgot sorry about that. How far out are you from surgery???

    We have 2 kids here that won't do a thing. So you haveing to take care of 3 kids well that is exercise and a job of itself. I serioulsly think all States should pay Moms/Dads a income for staying home and taking care of the WORLD.

    Let me know hunny. Sit back relax enjoy your kids and well the muscle tone etc will all come back in time. Don't rush ;) ;) ;) Your kids ages will not come back in time ;) ;) Get where I am going with that???

    A good friend of mine has had 5 back surgeries. She is now fully fused from her surgery last year. Is allowed to go back to the gym. Working out, going to get a tat and loving every minute with her family and girls. So it does happen at some point or another :) Yes she has her bad days, but the good ones outweigh the bad :)

    Lots of love
    Terri >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • This is a wonderful thread. It really makes us think if we are truly doing all we can.
    I know that I am guilty of beating myself up a lot. I felt shame and despair after being released from PT due to zero improvement and took it very personally.
    You do what you can, when you can. And if you can, please pat yourself for a good effort put in. We may have similar conditions, but we can not compare ourselves to one another as far as recuperation. Your doctor should not do that either. Back problems are not always solved. We don't all fit into cookie cutter molds.
    just continue to be positive, and that will keep you in a better frame of mind. Also, we must recognize and accept our limitations, be it temporary or permanent.
  • Paula, after the number of surgeries you've had, in the timespan that you've had them, it's probably inevitable that some of your pain is chronic. And your surgeon should have the decency to tell you that.

    Sadly, I've seen too many surgeons, with massive God complexes, bully and lay guilt trips on their patients, just because they refuse to admit that the surgery they performed, might not have fixed the problem. And, just try to get some surgeons to admit that the procedure might have made the injury or condition worse. But it does happen.

    Please don't beat yourself up over something that you have little control over. And don't let this doc make you feel guilty. When you've followed the basic protocols and you still aren't improving, it just might mean that this is the best that can be achieved. And there is nothing to be ashamed of, if it is.

    Hang in there, and if this continues to be an issue, try to get yourself into a good PM doc. If you are in pain, you deserve to be helped. As hard as it may be to accept that you may have pain from now on, you shouldn't have to suffer in the process. I wish you the best in your journey, and I hope you can find a good and compassionate doctor to help. There are some truly amazing doctors out there.

    Take care, Mitzi
  • Hi,
    I would only say accept your condition with a small a, not sufficient to stop you in what you want to do, but sufficiently accurate of your restriction that would otherwise set unrealistic targets based on our healthy persona.

    Living with what has happened is never easy and impacts on our current capability that is without looking too far into the future, that flux of who we are, at any given time is a complex amalgam of situations and although many would say this may be part of life itself that constant pain can sometimes make an honest evaluation too hard to bare, and we avoid doing so, being honest acknowledges those restrictions to ourselves and only continues to highlight our daily angst.

    Deal with it we must and deferring that disclose is only forestalling the inevitable of having to approach it later when it may have become more part of who we are and have become, that change has been made more problematic by waiting. Our PM support assisted us to deal with these issue, and the question may have been why were we left to our own devices, earlier intervention would have reduced the overall impact and if this help was available sooner, where was it.

    As Mitzi said, have control of what you can, a wish is created out of our hope and desires and may well not be achievable, plan for what you can do, we all know that is frustrating, but the best option to maximise opportunity, some fulfilment and sanity.

    Acknowledge and praise your effort, some days standing up is all that we can attain and through the tears we embrace that, for an improved tomorrow.

    Take care and be kind to yourself.

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