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When do you consider yourself in chronic pain?

Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Chronic Pain
I have never considered myself in chronic pain since my cervical spine issues started last May. Of course, I've had the pre-surgical pain that led to surgery last October and the residual surgical pain since, but I've only started having what I would consider sporatic but severe sciatic pain in the last few months or so. I know there are those of you who know this pain - it kills my lower back, left hip and shooting pains down usually only my left leg, but now my right as well. It's very hard to sit on something that's not really soft, too. My tailbone hurts.

I guess I'm just having a pity party tonight because this is the first time since everything started that I've actually cried because of the pain I have tonight and of course it's snowballed thinking about the pain I've had over the last year. I can't really do anything about my sciatic pain because I'm limited by my lack of health insurance.

Because I'm so upset tonight, I guess my question is when do we consider ourselves in chronic pain? There are so many of you that have had this for so many years and I know mine seems like a blink of an eye, but when do we resolve ourselves to it? When do we consider ourselves in chronic pain?

Thanks for listening. It'll be better tomorrow.

I feel so lost right now...do you understand?



  • you are feeling down. I don't know the answer to your question but I believe chronic pain is something that has to be managed and you have had it for quite some time. It can also make you feel helpless and that there is not hope. Some times I have to have a good cry to help me through the tough times. I am praying for you. You have always been such a bright spot in the day when you post. I hate to see you down. Hang in there.
  • Hi Cath,

    Wish I was there to give you a gentle hug, as I know exactly how you are feeling. I am so sorry.

    Here is a definition I found online:

    "Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts longer than 3 months. Some experts define it as lasting longer than 6 months. Chronic pain is different than acute pain in that it is not easy to find the cause. Diagnosis can reveal no injury in the body at all, and yet the patient can be experiencing very debilitating pain. One way that chronic pain begins is from an injury. Scientists have found that repeated pain from an acute injury changes the way the brain lets you know you have pain. Even after the injury has healed, pain messages replay over and over again."

    Like you, I'm having a really painful time over here tonight. I wish I could sit longer and type to you, but my back won't let me. Makes me so frustrated, especially during times like this. It would be so helpful to just type and vent.

    Please know I'll be thinking about you and yes, tomorrow will be different.

    Give your cute little Willy some special rubs from me, k?

    Much love,

  • by definition .is pain every day .i have been like this for the last 10 years at least.you also tend to feel pain more and more as you get older and loose your fitness .chronic pain is very debilitating .i feel that it has robbed me of a lot .i do things now that i thought that i would be doing when i got to my late 60/70s like napping in the afternoon .and needing to rest after short bursts of exercise IE if i manage a swim ..that's me done for the rest of the day .of if i go shopping again i need to go home and take a nap!!.ain't life grand!!
    ye olde STRAKER !!
  • I do understand.

    You say that you will be better tomorrow,and you probably will be better emotionally..but that's just it see,with this CP-we know that the pain will still be there tomorrow.Maybe not quite as bad,but it'll be there,and I feel that is why we have days like you are having today.I feel that we have these days because they help us somehow to 'deal' with the everyday pain.

    I'm trying my best to explain how it is that 'I' feel ..the reason we have these days..when we feel overwhelmed and maybe we cry,or some people get mad..emotions come out very strong--and that helps somehow.It makes our normal CP,bad pain days seem..at least not as bad as when we broke down,got upset,and overwhelmed.

    Maybe I'm not explaining it right,but this is only what 'I' think is happening on those terrifically bad days.You sound to me like a CP patient trying in your own way to come to terms with your situation.

    Of course this is only the way I feel,and perhaps nobody else feels the same way...
    Acute pain is bad,but short lived-say you drop something heavy on your toe maybe.I dislocated my shoulder three times and it hurt terribly bad,but it was acute and most of the pain was gone as soon as the shoulder was put back into it's socket.The residual pain was nothing motrin didn't help.It wasn't 'on my mind' like CP is,and I didn't need to learn tools for distraction in order to concentrate on other things like I do with this other stuff.

    I talked to my Dr about my 'mini meltdowns',and told him why I thought I was having them..now he might have agreed with me only to pacify me,but I like to think that I was a little bit right about this..lol.

    I hope that you are having a better day,or in a better place with this now.(I had a couple days like that in the past couple weeks alone)
  • Hiya kath gentle gentle hugs >:D< >:D< >:D< We are here for you and know and understand the way you feel >:D< . I do believe when you have chronic pain like we all do :''( and have been in receipt of it for so long :S Our bodies are more subceptable to pain than NOT :? I dont think we will ever know how bad our pain actually is because we are ready for what evr pain comes along and can usually handle it :? I hope you understand what i am trying to say x

    Angie x :H
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I hope that you're having a better day today. We would have been good company for each other yesterday. If it wasn't for the good people here on this forum I don't know what I'd do sometimes. I have a lot of days that I feel sorry for myself, discouraged, and well just lost. I know that I'm not alone and I know too that I don't have it nearly as bad as some. I tell myself that there are people a lot worse off than me but it doesn't make my pain any less it just makes me feel like I can't handle it as well as I should or that I'm wimpy. I'm sorry that you are still in pain everyday and I hope that it gets easier. You always have good words for all the rest of us. I really hope today is better. How's the new puppy today?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    I do hope that today brings you a little more joy and brightness.
    When do we know we are in chronic pain?

    There are several textbook answers to this as was pointed out by Tammy. To that you can add

    -Pain that is distinctly differnt and more complex than acute pain.
    -Ongoing or recurring pain.
    -Pain that lasts beyond the timeframe of natural healing
    -Pain that continues to persist and is not relieved by standard medical management
    -Pain lasting a long time and having psychological and emotional affects on a person's ability to fully function.

    All very true, but one way I have looked at chronic pain for the past 33+ years....

    Ongoing pain, that stays with you during your better times when you dont feel that bad and hits you with full force during your bad times. Pain that takes away so many of your choices, Pain that impacts not only you but your entire family. And one last one, Pain that you know will be there the next day and the next day and the next day.

    Sounds depressing doesnt it? It can easily be, if we allow it. Once you realize that you do have chronic pain, you then have to figure out how to deal with it. There will be so many times when you have a good gripe around it and know what you can and cant do. And there will be days when everything looks so gloomy and dark, like why me?

    Personally, I believe that having to live with chronic pain by yourself has to be one of the more difficult situations to be in. What has gotten me past so many obstacles was family and friends who love and care for me. Besides their caring, it has always given me an extra incentive to push on, continue and not fall down. And when I do fall and we all will from time to time, they are there to help pick you up.

    Cathie, I know you know all of what I have been saying here. Still, there are those days when all reasoning is out the window. Thats fine, lets just make sure that those negative days dont add up.. And if they do start to do that, we all have one outlet here in Spine-Health. We can all come to if we are down or if we are up and we know that there will be people here that care.

    I've been enjoying getting to know you and when you hurt, I can feel some of that hurt. I never want to see people that mean something in pain.

    Today will be a much better day!
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi Cath....
    I do hope you are feeling better today and your pain is a bit less. To me chronic pain is pain rhat does not go away....ever. I suffer from constant pain in my feet and legs below my knees. It never goes away and keeps getting worse. Walking is like walking on sharp stones and my balance is way off. I must use a cain or crutches all the time and at times I am in a wheel chair. I can see the day I will always be in a wheel chair. I have nerve damage caused by scar tissue at L4 & L5 level.
    I have been going through a rough patch the past few days after they pulled the wires for my SCS trial. The trial was a huge success!! Instead of feeling pain I buzzed and tingled and my balance was good again. But now i am waiting for my permanent implant and in very bad pain again!! Yesterday I had to ask my Dr to increse the dosage of my break through pain meds. That has helped.
    Good luck dear. We are in pain and yes we are going to have bad days.
    Sending you a hug... >:D<
    Patsy W
  • Wow, I sure had a moment there, didn't I? I won't apologize for it, though, because I know we all have our days and we have to be able to vent somewhere. It is so, so wonderful to be able to post on here and have friends that can "hold my hand" on a night that's difficult dealing with CP. After I posted, my hubby came home and he held me on the couch while I cried it all out. He doesn't know what it's like, but he's so very supportive. Sometimes that makes me cry. LOL

    Donna, thank you for the prayers. You're such a sweet person and you're right, sometimes we just need a good cry.

    Tammy, I'm sorry you're having pain and appreciate your taking the time to post, as painful as it is for you. You've been through so much and I really admire your strength. Wally says "thanks for the tummy rub." He sends licks your way.

    Ye Olde STRAKER - You're one of the people that makes me feel embarrased about crying because of my pain. You've been in so much pain over a very long period of time and I'm glad that you're such a strong person to get through it all. Hugs to you, my friend.

    Robin, you've explained it quite well and you're so right. The bad days make the good days seem better even when we're in pain. I hadn't thought about it before, but you're probably right - like you, maybe I'm just trying to come to terms with CP. How are you feeling today?

    Angie, thanks for the gentle hugs. Managing CP is such a strange and tangled journey, isn't it? I know you understand how I feel and more. A crumbling spine has to be extremely painful. Take care of yourself.

    Sunny, I'm having a better day today. I feel just like you - posting here on SH helps so much. It's awesome to have people that understand what you're going through because very few of us have anyone else in our lives that know what it's like to live in chronic pain. Are you feeling better? Wally is doing really well, thanks for asking. :-)

    My friend PapaRon, as always you have wonderful words of wisdom. That can only come from someone who has lived it and you're an inspiration to many people, myself included. Thanks for helping to pick me up on a night when I've fallen. I truly enjoy your friendship. Hugs to you.

    Pat, thanks for the hug. I'm sorry that you're going through such a tough time. How awful it must be to feel like you're walking on sharp stones. But I'm happy that your SCS trial was successful. I've seen a lot of people on here that consider it a Godsend. When do you get your permanent implant?

    I wanted to address each of you because you've really helped me feel better. You guys are the best - big hugs to each of you.

    Your friend in pain,
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    I am sorry to hear you are having such a bad time with your chronic pain at the moment, I hope you wil get some improvement soon.
    I can't give you any advice, but I can tell you I understand and send a hug
    TC Liz

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • The thing w/ my chronic pain is its unpredictability at times. There are of course, activities I tend to limit due to this, knowing it's gonna hurt if I keep it up! Sometimes, though, it seems to come from out of nowhere, taking me by surprise. Then I think, "What did I do this time?" Sometimes, it seems to have no rhyme or reason; I'm learning how to be grateful when I'm not in pain.
  • Cath~I have come to terms with my CP,but I still have 'those' days.

    I'll compare it to losing a loved one-I've been through all the stages of grief,but sometimes,out of nowhere,comes that overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss.

    Thankfully they don't last too long,and I'm ok.

    How is your pain today..I hope it's calmed down...and stayed there!
  • I'm glad you've come to terms with your CP - I think I'm getting there myself.

    Your comparison to grief is very true and I've never thought of it that way. I'm glad you said that - I think it could be a comfort when one of those days come along.

    My pain is controllable at the moment, but it's interesting that you can't really say "it's ok today" because your CP might come to visit in a few minutes or hours.

    There's also the "panic" pain (don't know of a better way to put it) - like today my right elbow hurts pretty bad and it's just like the pain I had in my left elbow before surgery. That tends to cause a bit of panic because I wonder if it's neck related or not.

    Anyway, thanks Robin. How are you feeling today?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    Chronic Pain folks have to deal with. If it is not enough to deal with the spinal issues that you pretty much know about... but its those other pains:
    - Toothache
    - Stomach virus
    - Chills/Flu/etc
    - Acute pain

    So many of us deal with our day in and day out chronic pain and learn to accept it and really never burden others with our problems.
    But take these same people (me included) and give them one of the above, and we are like crying children!
    Its not about the pain, cause we all know we have handled it, but its more because it is something different, it isnt our spines! So we may burst out in tears or burst out in laughter at one of those problems. So much depends on where we are at at the time
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hiya spineys >:D< Gentle hugz for you all >:D< apparently chronic pain is when you have pain for 6 months or more :''( , then you are classed as a chronic pain sufferer :?

    Angie :H
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