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Living in chronic pain after an active life

coyotewildwomanccoyotewildwoman Posts: 130
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi, I had a failed lamin/ disc. and am pretty much in constant lower back pain and sciatica.

I have been considering my various options, which include living with it coupled with drugs, disc replacement, or biologics . It has been 2.5 years of almost constant pain which limits my ability to work and enjoy an active lifestyle. Need to do something!

It is very challenging to work when I can't sit for more than 30 minutes at a time and from what I have read from other members of the forum, I am not alone. My family also feels like they have to wait on me because I can't carry any amount of weight, can't pick up things easily, and need help hauling just about anything. Feeling often dependent on others is perhaps one of the hardest things for me.

Wanted to start participating in the forum more actively. I have been reading the forum for about a year, but want to become more active on it at this point since it appears my back issues are here to stay for awhile.

Just wanted to introduce myself formally to the group-



  • I am happy that you have decided to participate more in the forums. We all share a common bond for sure. It is wonderful to have the support of others and also to pay it forward.

    Again, welcome!

  • Hi Wendy am loving that I need to do something and you are correct, set small objectives that are part of bigger ones, make it difficult. Once you begin to look forward you will see the things that you can do and not measure yourself against what you did previously and how you were measured then, for me it was academic text, to research all that was possible about CP, from Sternbach or Malzack and Wall.

    As you, I live most of my life now at waist height with no bending or lifting at best living your life at 30 min opportunities is very difficult and many here are doing just that and pacing is the key, find our for you what does not make it worse and do that, I have achieved tremendous things in short bursts and my bigger goals are progressive and continual, do not forget the sight of you and let the pain dictate a disproportionate aspect to your needs and wants. All of this take time patience and practice and kindness to yourself and others, nobody likes to be reliant on others and especially pain patients who were active, when all that has gone.

    Do what you can when you can and express your frustration with others here or where ever, just get it out, non of that is easy but it will help in the future. I have had my pain two decades and researched pain at the local university and continue to do so.

    Within this site is the blueprint of how to maintain a progressive strategy.

    Take care and keep posting, welcome

  • It is unfortunate to welcome anyone to this group but I am sure you will find people in very similar circumstances and definitely experienced in pain.

    I was also relatively active up until a few years ago (in fact competed in triathlon many years ago). As you have been visiting the site for a long time I take it you have read most of the articles and seen the videos. What has changed recently to join and post 3 questions in less than 15 minutes? One of your comments indicates you may have changed your perspective on your condition recently ("back issues here to stay for a while")? What are you experiencing now? What are the doctors saying?

    I hope you are getting the medical support you need and if you need someone to communicate or offload on then I am here along with many other members.

    Best wishes and kindest regards >:D<
  • i could have written your post! i know how you feel .all i can say is just do what you can when you can ..i am sick of fighting it ,
  • i could have written your post! i know how you feel .all i can say is just do what you can when you can ..i am sick of fighting it ,
  • I too have said something like "I am tired of fighting it" and when I do, I notice that I am trying to avoid at all cost, the pain. I find that I have to change me, to accept it and open to it. I fidn it hard not to focus on it as a catatrophic issue, but I know that I need to re-focus on not fighting it and just release it.
  • :H Welcome - Thanks for posting your story and joining us in conversation. You will find a lot of support and community here where you are safe to voice and vent anything that's on your mind.

    There are so many changes we must face when dealing with chronic pain, as you noted in your post. One thing I've learned through the years is to be flexible and adaptable in the business world (as it relates to your job) and I think that has served me well in dealing with the change to my life due to sciatic pain. I use my problem solving skills learned on the job to apply to my life to try and open new avenues of experience.

    We all tend to mourn the life we had before chronic pain but I think the key to getting through this is to use where we are now as a launch pad (so to speak) to anothe phase of our life. Just as we "redecorate" our homes, we have to change our lives to support where we are now.

    Take care Wendy and look forward to more posts from you.

  • I think I have finally accepted the need to communicate with people who really "get it".

    I have found a need and desire to connect with a community of people who also are similarly challenged -to see how they make it through the day.

    I also believe I may have something to offer to this community- and feel that it is something I should share.

    I find that my friends are supportive, and my family tries the best they can, but with them, I have created the persona of being super competent, capable and forever strong and enduring. So it is what they see and what they expect.

    I am not saying that I am not some of that any longer, but am finally accepting my own "differently ableness" now is not going away- at least any time soon.

    I have to ask for help, and it is hard for friends and family and me to accept. Particularly for me.

    However, it is one of the big reasons, I believe, that I have some of the problems I have now, because I pushed too hard, did not set boundaries and limits and did not ask for help.

    So with my back struggles come more awareness and learning. I am viewing this chronic pain and back issues from the point of view of opportunity rather than loss.

    I am not sure what that looks like- but I felt like I needed a shift in attitude and perspective to something more positive.

    So that is why now, and why here on this forum.

    Thanks for the welcome- and I look forward to participating fully.


  • Wendy , the hardest part about my condition has been accepting that "its never going away".
    Its a very bitter pill to swallow.
    Second to that has been asking for help. Ive always been militantly self confident and never asked for help , I knew I could "get er done" on my own.
    The pain I deal with is there ,its always gonna be there in some form.....my character and force of will , will be the deciding factor on who wins.
    Besides....i'm starting to dig the pain......Not :o)

  • I want you all to know that I really appreciate this forum. I have looked at others and the this rocks =D>.I don't write often but I do read almost daily. It is hard to keep up with our spouse,family and friends and not because we don't want to but the pain #o and discomforts we get is out of our hands. My doctor has me on Savella now and start to wean me of the others. I'm sure my body is addicted to Percocet and will be a tuffy to get off of after five years. I have tried randomly not take it and I pay dearly for it the next day. Some days my mind is so numb I go to scratch my face and I was going to say something and forgot what it was 8} . I am so tired of constipation :W and tired of being told to eat morn fiber which makes it worse. I drink more water and working retail it is difficult to go.
    At the end of the day I can hardly walk, doesn't matter if it's from standing at work all day, going to the movies, or resting all day. I HURT!!!
    Thanks for listening (|:
  • Coming to grips with the fact that our active lives have to take a sudden change is perhaps the hardest part in this journey through a life of chronic pain. I was incredibly active before my accident, hunting, showing and occasionaly breeding Jack Russells and within 3 months of my surgery I had to give up the dogs I love so dearly. I can no longer shoot guns, ride horses, 4 wheel....the list goes on and on. Even simple tasks like house cleaning have taken on a new form for me and take days to complete instead of hours.

    We have to go through the stages of grief, the mourning of a kind of death of our old selves, before we can truely accept a new way of life. I'm perpetualy stuck on anger- probably because I was in a motor vehilce accident and this was sudden- and find that many people who are accident victims are in the same boat. Anyone who has chronic pain has trouble accepting it, don't ever feel alone in that!

    I'm glad that you've begun to post. This is an awesome form of therapy, self-realization and support. There is almost no topic that is off limits when it comes to CP so don't be afraid to bring up anything that it causes in your life. We're all one big happy, hurting but happy, group.

  • Griff,

    I'm in a state of grief right now. My chronic pain was caused by complications to an ESI. It has gotten better but after a year I still have sciatic pain.

    It is very hard for me to accept that a doctor dramatically increased my pain.

    I realize now a spinal injection has risks, but wasn't informed beforehand. My pain was a level 1 before with no medication. Now it is a level 2-4 with 2 medications and watching my activity.

    I'm so angry.


  • Welcome aboard! I saw your post in one of my threads. Yeah, it is hard when suddenly your active lifestyle comes to a screeching halt or disability slowly creeps up on you, too.

    One thing I noticed is that you take both Cymbalta and Ultram. Please make sure that the doc who prescribes those is the same doc as there can be very serious complications from serotonin response syndrome. One member reported her seizure from the combo of an anti-depressant and Ultram in another thread, maybe pain meds??? Just wanted to make you aware in case you didn't know.

    I'm looking forward to hearing more about you. Come check out the chat room some evening if you want a usually lively bunch! We make fun of ourselves, joke around, but also lend support if that's what is needed that evening. Sometimes at first it's hard to follow if the room is busy as everyone talks at once, but it really can lift your spirits to talk in real time to folks.

  • For some of us it takes longer to realize that we're CPers than others. It's taken me a while, but I've only been going through this for 14 months.

    There are good days and bad days, but at least we have days. One of the biggest probems most of us face are on the days when either the meds work or we just naturally are feeling better. Those are the days when we tend to overdo it and take a few steps backwards. I'm finding that when I have a good day and do laundry, clean the kitchen, make a big dinner, etc., it takes me more days to recover than it did before. But it's nice while it lasts, I guess.

    I'm glad you stopped peeking over the fence and joined us in the yard. We know what you're going through and the peeps here are the best, very knowledgable and friendly.

  • you mentioned you can see your situation as an oportunity.....that understanding means you are well on the road to recovery....glad youre aboard....pete
  • Welcome to SH. It truly is great to be with a community that understands what you are going through. It's very tough to accept that fact that you may never be the person you once were. I'm not sure if you've reached the grieving the passing on of your old self yet but it sucks.

    I hit the grieving stage around April of this year. I am suffering from failed back surgery that I had July 1, 2008 ALIF L5/S1.

    I finally came to the realization that no matter what, I really not have much control over what is going on with me pain wise, however I do have control over how I am going to respond to this. Trust me, I am not always positive and do have my share of pitty parties for myself too.

    I also hunted, ride 4wheelers, exercised, played horse shoes, shot pool, played volleyball, loved to camp in a tent, loved going on nature hikes. I was working full time, raising 2 kids and hubby (lol) and going to school part time and still finding time to do other activities.

    Now I feel like this slug who lays on the couch all day or in my bed surrounded by pillows. If I do any activities, I pay for it dearly. I do suffer through the pain if there is an activity that we want to do as a family and for our kids cuz the smiles on their faces are worth the pain.

    The last 2 days I've been going back to feeling sorry for myself and getting upset with what I can't do. Especially when I had to drive 1hr15min one way to go to an orthodontist for my daughter cuz they are the only ones that take my insurance for braces then sit there for 2 hrs, drive back home, pick up some things in the yard, pull the weeds next to my steps while sitting down and then I swept and mopped the floor. It's now 2:38am and the pain is keeping me up tonight.

    What brings me comfort and a feeling of belonging is when I log on here and find others who understand exactly what I'm feeling. My family knows I hurt but they don't have a true understanding as we do.

    Sorry for being so long winded. It is very nice to meet you.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    First, welcome to spine-health.
    I was kind of like your Jack Russells. That kind of personality. Ive had them also.
    Everything about me was physical. My work my play and everything in between. Never asking for help, cause by the time It took me to explain it, I could already have it done. Even if it was killing me. and as it turned out, it was. Slow but sure. So now all of the things I enjoyed are gone, and have been for many years.
    The funny thing is, I was talking to my wife yesterday about the way things turned out for me.(us) and all the things that I was going to do. And how different I have had to be. And how I've had to let go of the way I intended to live my life. And I said to her, you know I never, not for on moment thought that I could not be fixed. But when I finally decided, or my body decided to get fixed. It didn't work. And it hasn't worked. And now I realise it never will.
    So now I live day to day and try to accept. And that, I think, is the key to Living with chronic pain. And the people on this forum have helped me to find that key.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Spoke with a new doctor today about a disc replacement- one of the few who does it in Colorado. From what he tells me, the only option I have is a fusion to eliminate the back pain, which may or may not work, and or another discetomy, which may or not hold.

    Finally have gotten the doctors to admit they really are not sure what is going to "fix" my back- there is so much going on, DDD, bulging discs, and stenosis, and now more arthritis from the surgery and scar tissue. It seems like a total crap shoot with the possibility of them just having to hack out more of my back every surgery to figure out what is going on.

    I think I am going to hold out some hope for future stem cell therapy. In the meantime, I guess I will the anti inflams, tramadol, pilates, dealing with my stress level, and acupuncture as my other medical choices seem pretty limited.

    Thats the update for me.

  • Hi,

    I am back in the US after having a double spinal fusion with Dr. ABC, who was wonderful, by the way in May. But I still have leg and knee pain, from L5- S1 issues, which he warned me about, but I did not want to do a triple spinal fusion based on his suggestion and my pain management doc.

    Just tried a nerve block, but no long term success. Now I am going to try a spinal cord stimulator as I won't accept a life in constant pain, and on constant meds. It is not acceptable to me to let pain rule my life. I am work hard at keeping a positive attitude and use this as a learning experience. But it does suck! And most people don't appreciate it, because chronic pain does show up like missing leg or being in a wheel chair. So it is easy for people to forget
    what it is like to deal with on a daily basis. And I am in no way mean to minimize the pain so many other people suffer with daily that is visible... just that back pain seems to be so prevalent and so unpredictable as far as what works and what does not.

    I send support to everyone on the forum who is still struggling to find answers! Don't give and don't accept- don't give up on your life.


    Name of medical professional removed by Moderator haglandc
  • Best wishes with your SCS trial and hope you heal from your spinal surgery. Thanks for your encouragement about not giving up and keeping a positive attitude Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • i hope all goes well Wendy
    tony x
  • You may find something else to help take your mind off it. I've been in constant, severe pain for over a year. I had a fusion with hardware from L3 down in Sept.09. Since then (in the last year) I've gotten into some parrot rescue. It's amazing what they can come through even after severe abuse and neglect from other humans. They've helped me to see past my own frustration with my limited ability to do things. They keep me thinking about going forward, even though things are very different than what they used to be. They can be happy even when they've been through horrible things. I try to think about their ability to move forward and enjoy now instead of lingering 24/7 on what has happened to them. Of course, I have more than just back problems... but still. Maybe you'll find something that can help you cope.
  • Welcome to the little spiney village on the web! Know your not alone in your struggle! Keep swinging and fighting for your "life"

    This game isnt about who can stand still and trade blows with the beast, we cant always stand firm and make the epic last stand we want, this has turned into a new kind of battle, one of wits and wiles, we dont have to stand at the fore and hammer away like Spartans,
    We are a new kind of pain warrior, smarter and faster than the enemy.

    Now its ok not to keep taking it on the chin, Its ok not to have to bend...
    You can bend so you wont break!
    You can fall back to regroup and come back fiercely at life like you can and want to, just in a new and different manner...

    Thats the Spiney-Fu, The way of the Spiney, we bend, we dont break, we fall back, but never retreat,
    And we give from the heart coz that is the biggest part of us!
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

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