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Pain escalation poll

Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Chronic Pain
Something that I've experienced and I've noticed a few other have also - does your pain/symtoms escalate once you've scheduled surgery?

When I saw my surgeon for the first time, I had some left arm weakness, not much pain, but my right arm was tingling and I had some numbness. Once I had the surgery scheduled, during the month from scheduling it until the actually surgery, my left arm weakness and pain escalated almost daily. That seems like such a coincidence.

The only reason I can think of that this might happen is that our brain supresses some part of our symptoms so we can function and once it knows that help is on the way, it relaxes a bit. Kind of like how they say that you'll get a cold or the flu when you go on vacation because you're relaxed enough for the germs to do their thing.

I'm wondering how many spineys have had the same thing happen - that you find that your symptoms start escalating faster once you've scheduled surgery or your first surgical appointment?



  • because the big thingy that makes that doo-dad work is making a "rrrrchangrrr" sound? The minute the mechanic checks it out, it stops doing it.

    Same thing kind of happened to me once - surgery is scheduled, yet symptoms abate. It was all "female" related, and we went ahead with the surgery anyhoo. And no - I won't go into detail, and yes, the surgery was necessary. Nuf said. :$
  • dont tell me you aren't tense. the doc says cut and your body tenses up. i know that tension causes my nerve pain to double which in turn causes me to double up.
    i hope your lumbar surgery can help your upper body. it's not fair to have problems top and bottom. i know from experience.

  • I'm amazed that anyone understood what I said!

    Good Luck Cath! I am sure your procedure will be textbook and you will be so much better once you recouperate. That's MY Christmas wish for you.
  • ...I wasn't talking about me. My lumbar issues continue to fluctuate and aren't getting worse or better knowing I'm having surgery.

    My post was really just a general poll because I saw someone on the boards that's experiencing what I explained and it reminded me of how I felt before my ACDF, which was mostly hindsight, by the way.

    I just find the different things we go through and why we suppose that is during the time leading up to surgery interesting.
  • yucky mri-surgery-but now he has to take pain meds everyday-I've been avoiding surgery-'cause I could-now not sure. Surgery + meds again or just meds-if I can ever get them again? bad doc/clinic experience after 4+ years)In constant pain now + withdrawl after years on meds. L4+L5 +scoliosis+athletic injuries (ex-gymnast). What do you do?
  • Cath,
    It would only be natural for anyone to be tentative about changing circumstance and as mention although the pain may seem to be worse is it in reality. When our mood is lifted and we have more positive thoughts we feel the pain is less, when in reality it may well be the same. We can use this to our advantage in knowing the pain will seem less if we try to be more positive, those moments of apprehension when our radar is heightened may increase the perception of how the pain feels to us individually rather than reality.

    My pain has never declined other than the normal cycles of fluctuation in the pain cycle; I can hardly remember now what not being in any pain feels like. Many aspects contribute to the ingredients of our chronic pain and none more so that our thoughts, feeling and emotions. We all have some element of the white coat syndrome and the symptoms you describe were familiar in all moments of my impending treatments also.

    Take care John
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    My comment would be yes. As you know, I have an upcoming surgery on 1/19. And I swore to myself and others that I would not have anymore surgeries. And here I am having another. The way it was presented to me, it seemed to be a no brain er. But I did agonize over it.
    So maybe the increase in pain is happening to make me realise that I made the right decision. To ease my worried mind, so to speak.
    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!
  • I did experience the escalation of pain from the time of scheduling until the actual surgery but I think it was because I had to quit taking the anti-inflammatory med I'd been on and so my symptoms were actually worse.

    Of course, it could also happen because the condition is actually getting worse.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
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