Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

How do you know if your pain is that bad?

Kris-NYKKris-NY Posts: 2,207
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
For the past few weeks, as my symptoms return, I find myself wondering how bad the pain really is. I've read tons of posts where people discribe the types of pain they feel. And how they feel mentally or physically. And then I sit here wondering how my pain compares.

I don't mean to make it sound like a competition - my pain is worse than yours. But some days I feel pretty good and wonder if I'm getting better or maybe this is just something to live with. And other days I sit here thinking "I feel like that too" and wonder if I should be out on disability.

I have been doing everything I can to preserve my job. So I rarely take days off even though some days I wake up feeling awful. I've rushed back to work after surgery so I don't give them too much time to think about replacing me. But I wonder if this is right for me.

So today, like many days, I am wondering how do you know if your pain is that bad? Any one have a good answer?


  • Howdy Kris! :)

    My title says it all I think. I don't think anyone who has read your postings on here will or would think you are competing. Okay, my thoughts on your question.

    I guess a better question might be "How much is my symptoms and pain" - is that bad? Remember, as chronic patients, we deal with the pain, the varied energy levels, appetites, sleep etc. For me, I found that when these items combined start taking down your quality of life, then it is getting 'that bad.' We all change as we age right? I mean I know even if my spine issues weren't the case, I still will never again run the 6 minute mile - those are changes we are use to accepting. Now flip the coin. You can't go out clubbing with your buds due to pain; walking on the beach with the hubby due to pain; relations with the hubby; can't stay awake or sit to watch a movie with friends at the theater, etc.

    The only person that can decide when its that bad is ourselves for ourselves. My hubby I know has a very low threshold for pain, so I know what I deal with day to day would put him pretty much out of action! We are all different. The key is when *you* decide it is that bad. I hope today isn't one of those days Kris!! *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Boy do I know that feeling. "Get back to work before they fire you". I've had 9 surgeries and I think I got a high threshold for pain. But it really depends on the person and how long it has gone on. I've had nerve damage in my lower back for 12 years now. I don't think you ever get "used" to it, you just tolerate it because you have too. But still there are days where I think "this is too much I can't take it anymore"

    But i'm like you, I try to work everyday and usually come in on Saturdays to "look good".
  • Good question. I'm on the flip side of it. I'm on disability due to Fibromyalgia that started being complicated with cervical, thoracic and lumbar issues during my first year of SSDI. There are so many days that I feel "well and able" that I feel guilty as sin when I read about you guys who have such bad spines that you've undergone surgery and you're still clinging to your jobs. I haven't had surgery yet but I clung to my job for 4 years before I had no choice but to quit.

    A friend of mine told me to keep a log of the days that I felt well enough to work and the "not" days. It helped me gain a healthy perspective and relieve myself of the guilt when I felt better because there's not a company in the country that would put up with the number of sporadic days that I can't work. (Like...all winter) The term "gainfully employed" means having the ability not only to GET a job (due to drug testing and meds that I'm on) but to KEEP it as well. We all know there's at least 400 people waiting in line for the jobs we hold.

    I agree with Brenda, it's a personal decision and an extremely difficult one. I have to keep reminding myself that "quality of life" is a huge factor in being able to be on SSDI. I always thought death would be better than feeling like a bum...letting other people feed me. (My dad told me that he paid enough taxes over his lifetime to cover my entire SSDI payments, bless him) The pain relief I get from being able to stay in bed for a week allows me to be "able" to spare myself enough to visit with my kids, have more days that aren't agony. When I got on disability, my life was Panting, Gasping or Agony every day. SSDI gave me some reprieve...time to breathe without thinking of offing myself every day.

    You know that SSDI isn't a picnic. I live in America and was used to living the lifestyle. The cut in money is brutal and depressing. The guilt and feelings of worthlessness are many. That log helped me a lot. Maybe you should keep one.

    Very Best Regards,
  • That's exactly what I was thinking about. I would go out today except for a few things.
    - I know I would wonder every day if it was the right decision because I don't feel awful everyday or all day
    - My husband is unemployed and while we still have his benefits (thank god for unions) the next year or so doesn't look good for work.
    - I hate to have my kids see me not working because it sets a poor example - especially since the pain isn't visible
    - Most of my pay would be covered initially between accident insurance and STD and LDI but I worry about them cutting that off and having to fight for it. Would be easier if hubby was working....
    - Although I know it is not that important I love what I do and hate to lose this job. And for lots of reasons it would be good to be out of there but there is so much that I want to do.

    I found out yesterday that surgery is my only option. Today I have to make some calls to setup another opinion and will hopefully have some more answers soon. With the way the PM doc wants me to increase the neurontin I don't think I will be working much longer. I need to make sure I get out on the STD before they fire me like Ranchhand was.

    I started this post because I knew there had to be others out there who are doubting just how bad they feel. Jasro you are so right about keeping a pain log. When you look back it's easy to see just how bad you really feel. I know that being active lets me forget about the pain but at the end of the day I feel it.
  • Reading these forums has given me some backbone for my good days. Most of us have them. We just have to self manage them so we don't over do it and pay too much for it in pain. Doctors even question our good days...so why wouldn't we question ourselves?

    Perhaps the fact that your husband is unemployed is the only reason that you're able to keep working. Most people don't look at the fact that there's still a household, laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. on top of your 8 hour work day to consider into that employment factor. It's two full time jobs. Kids too?!

    It doesn't set a poor example for your kids if you teach them "how to make the best out of a bad situation", does it? Teach them how to hold their heads up even when it feels like the world's against them? That's the hardest thing in life to learn...

    Anyone who's on disability of any kind has been through the financial thoughts and struggles that you're going through right now. Fear of losing a benefit, fear of wiping out a 401(k), fear of losing their house... Take it one day at a time. When I was working, I couldn't see any way that I could quit but I *knew* the day was coming. I tried to set myself up financially as best I could. Had the cable tv shut off, got rid of the cell phone, paid off my car - sold it for $8k, bought another one for $2k & paid off $6k in debt. Anything I could think of to save money for the inevitable day that I couldn't work.

    Can you work part time? Apply for federal/state aid to supplement your income? Freelance? Can your husband sling hamburgers for a living?

    Everything always works out...one way or another. It's friggin' hard but it works out. Think about the other tough times in your life when you didn't think you'd manage...and you did. Easier said than done, I've posted my struggles too - sometimes we just need other people to help us *think* it thru. It helps.

    Feel better. Be strong and don't doubt yourself.. you're all you've got.

  • If you have surgery, I hope it works really well for you.

    My doc upped my neurontin to 2400mgs last week. I hope it's ok to post mgs. Ugh..makes me feel really sick and queer.

  • I really am. My husband is a union electrician. So even though we have bad periods where he may only work a few weeks in the year his benefits continue. And then the good years help to get ahead. It's a very different life than most people live. When people ask what my budget is I laugh because my budget depends on how contruction is.

    I'm lucky in that I have a lovely home and recently purchased a vacation home which may become our next home. And between my lawsuit and one my husband had years ago we could pay everything off, sell one house and live pretty well. Of course we always want more and I feel a little guilty interfearing with our plans. My husband is using this time off to do some major improvements to the vacation house. I keep telling him that increasing the value of that property is his work this year.

    I think my big fear is of the unknown. I do have two teenagers. One will be a senior next year so I need to stay where I am for another year. Which is OK since it looks like I will be dealing with this surgery for the next year. After that we'll see what happens.....
  • Hi Kris!

    My hubby too is a Union Electrician (Journeyman)! The funny? I too was trained as an electrician and avionics tech, and we have worked power plant shut downs together! I was assigned more of the control room wire and transformer work due to having more 'electronics' experience than my hubby. He is state licensed, and mine is federal. Saves us some bucks on home improvements and repair!

    I offered to help him train for his Master Electricians license, but he has no interest in contractor type work, nor wants the hassles! Twins!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • that is so scarey!!! How's the work in Florida? NY is dead. He's only worked about 3 weeks since last November. ANd it doesn't look good for the rest of this year.

    That's part of what scares me about going out on disability. We still have our benefits but income will be very limited. Think I need to trust that there is a greater plan.
  • What's good about it Kris, is he can come home, b!tch about this and that, and it isn't "Greek" to me! It helps the homefront a bit there. :)

    Wow! I didn't know it was so bad up there woman! It was like that down here around 2003. The hubby was out of work for like 8 months! He became a hermit on that bloody computer with his internet games! (G) We've had a lot of "big job" contracts down here, ...new hospital, airport improvements etc., so he's been in the right places and right times as they say. Even travelers are getting employed down here!

    My hubby and I have separate benefits. His coverage won't cover me because I have my own, and visa versa, so before I retired, I set all my stuff to "single/individual" to cut things down. The balance of the other bills we split. As to credit cards and bank accounts and such, he has his, I have mine, so no fights there. If one of us needs a 'loan' we borrow from each other. I know it sounds odd, but after seeing what my 'ex father' did the my mother (he took everything when he left), I vowed *never* to combine my financial security with anyone. Protects us both that way. We've never had a money fight - cool huh? We also are secure in that neither of us can financially wipe the other. :)

    Come on down to Florida woman!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I tell my kids to do that with finances. We've had our ups and downs over the years. All the usual issues. These crazy work patterns don't help. Seems like every 10 years there is a huge slump in construction and then a boom. It's not too bad since the medical benefits continue. My husband is 51 and would love to retire as early as possible. I tell him to think of this as a year of retirement just a few years before.

    Although my education is accountant and computers I am pretty good at construction and design. And I absorb info like a sponge. The architech that we are using on this vacation house looked at me at the last meeting and said he was surprised at the questions and suggestions I had. I've often thought I should go back to school for this. Not sure I have the patience for architecture since it is many years. But maybe design with a specialty in converting to green and energy efficient. I think that is our future once the economy turns.

    I'm starting to accept the idea of investing more time in me. I'll be 45 next week which is too young to give up. I need to get these back problems identified and treated. Then I need to decide what I want to do with the next 40 years.
  • Yeah, unfortunately, some think especially women have to combine their assets even in this day and time! When my sister in law found out about our financial set up, she blurted "Oh, and you didn't take his name did you?" I looked at her, showed her my drivers license, and that was the last 'negative' reaction from his side of the family! hehehehe

    As to going back to school, yes, that is always an option - toying with law school myself. Some skills are what I call "naturally" earned, in as such, maybe you can try getting involved in design / consulting of same in a small scale to start, and see if that skill can come to fruition on its own? A friend of mine did that with jewelry she made. Word of mouth now has her with a tidy little business. Just some thoughts there.

    Hubby retirement... Mine says he can't retire until he is like 67. Yuck! Apparently Local 3 up there in NY is more set for retirement and unemployment, where as the Local down here, stinks bigtime! His so called retirement pension isn't anything great, so he will live under mine most likely. We're a team, so that is fine. :)


    Ps... Glad to see you are teaching your kids to be in control and independent in their finances. Most excellent!!
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
Sign In or Register to comment.