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Flare ups

Lili_InuLLili_Inu Posts: 633
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:00 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi everyone! I am trying to adjust to the body I have now after my ACDF a year ago. I guess I have to accept that the pain I have is now most likely not going away.

How does everyone deal with the flare ups? I currently only take muscle relaxants occasionally for sleep and do not like the idea of taking them during the day. I'm still trying to figure out what causes the flares. It just seems like there's no logical explanation sometimes. :S
2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches


  • Most of my flare ups are weather related. Sometimes when I over do things it will cause a flare. I take oral pain meds to help me deal with my flares.

    Next time you ave a flsre check and see if the weather is changing. Also note if you have did anything you may have did brought it on.

    Hope this helps.

    Patsy W
  • Thanks Patsy! When you say "weather", what exactly do you mean? Rain, cold front, barometric changes? I think it's possibly the weather, but sometimes when I anticipate pain from the weather changes, it doesn't happen and sometimes it does! Chronic pain is literally a "pain"!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • can be caused by a variety of things. Picking something up the wrong way, twisting around a little too far, sleeping wrong . . . you name it. Depending on the severity, I've done ice or heat packs, tens unit and/or a pain pill and some rest, to a combination of all of those with a medrol pack (steroids) and Lyrica thrown in. I can't take NSAIDs, so my drug of choice (when needed only) is oxycodone.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    You're right, sometimes there is a reason that you can figure out.
    But sometimes there just isn't any rhyme or reason!
    I take hydrocodone for break thru pain.
    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!
  • Thank you for your replies. Sometimes the pain hits you like a ton of bricks and it literally makes me want to throw up!

    How long do your flares usually last?
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • When I have a nasty flare-up, I still try to stay active (i.e. take a shorter walk than usual), but I spend a lot of time on heat and/or ice, and I have a shiatsu massager (it fits on a chair) to try and ease off the spasms. I have a wonderful physiotherapist who does manual work to ease some of the muscle spasms, and I see another physiotherapist who does IMS work, which is similar to acupuncture, but into the muscles. There aren't too many things that work for me when it comes to breakthrough pain, so when things are over the top, the only medication that works for me is a meperidine injection. It is NOT the drug of choice these days, but I have allergies or side effects to many of the other pain meds.

    Flare-ups are not easy to deal with because everyone has different pain and responds differently to each treatment. I hope you find something that works well for you.

  • Now that I have a pain pump implant my flare ups are not as painfull as they use to be and of a shorter duration.

    It's a lovely day here in the WV mountains BUT snow is headed this way for Sunday so am having a flare today!! By morning it will be gone.....thank goodness.

    Patsy W
  • Flare-ups are part of the pain cycle, they sometimes happen because they can, and at other times influenced in what we do. The first step we normally do is stop all activity either voluntarily or because we are unable to keep going.

    Nobody can tell you how long it may last, we all do try to reduce the frequency of these with varying success. As the pain increases our function is reduced, it is important to have a flare-up strategy and this is specific to you, finding what works when is difficult, the range of capability here is wide, for the most part flare-ups will pass over time as the normality of chronic pain returns. Stay positive do all things that make the pain less and nothing the increases the chance of it being worse, mobilise to the best of your ability if you can, every day hopefully the pain will be less and less, and you will get through this.

    With every flare-up my list of options grows, I cannot predict when they may happen but am more prepared when they arrive. Once the pain does happen we can only react to it, not knowing where that illusive threshold is, makes pacing under it difficult.

    They are as you say illogical and if you stick to that premise then at least you are not looking at something you could or should have done besides your best. Many here are either having a flare-up, getting over one or awaiting the next one, in between daily pain, sad but realistic.

    Flare-ups take mental strength and practical ideas, understanding and time itself; they are not what we deserve.

    Take care and be kind to yourself. John
  • Thank you for your very informative post! I guess I have been very "stubborn" with my attitude and thinking that I am not a "chronic pain" sufferer. In reality, I've been fooling myself!

    I'm getting an MRI done next week to find out the reason for the new symptoms that I recently experienced. My toes have been tingling and I had cord compression prior to surgery. The physiatrist thinks it could be scar tissue putting pressure on the cord.

    I still try my best to manage daily activities with my children and definitely stay positive! I have found that over time it has been harder to control. Sometimes it's hard to accept this pain. Thank you again for making sense out of something that makes absolutely no sense! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Lili,
    Living in the past is not dealing with the now and some people don’t want to feel that they are changed forever it is not an easy thing to accept, I say accept with a small “a” as we should never stop fighting and that in itself requires motivation and a vision of improvement.

    We need to work up to our capability and not down to the restrictions we set ourselves or others perceive of us. That balance of trying to act normally while in constant pain is unnatural, you can do no more than your best, good luck with the MRI and hope you get some answers.


  • Lili, have you tried any relaxation at all? I gather you have young children, so that isn't the easiest thing to do, but it might be worth your while during really bad flare-ups. If you can put a relaxation CD in or find a guided meditation video on YouTube and find a quiet place to lay down for a half hour or so doing nothing but listening and deep breathing, you might at least get some temporary relief. It tends to loosen up some muscles and help relax the body.

    Just another thought!


    P.S. John - you are so kind and thoughtful in your responses.
  • Tracy, I used to do more meditation and relaxation techniques but have stopped recently. Thank you for bringing this up! Before surgery, I was meditating because of the horrible pain and dizziness I was experiencing everyday. My girls are home for winter break, so that probably adds to the stress. I will try to meditate tonight to see if that will help.

    John, I truly appreciate your responses. You are absolutely right about not giving up the fight for improvement. If I didn't have that hope, I don't think I could keep going. It's always that little hope for less pain even for a few hours of the day that keeps us in the right mind set.
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • I always have a list of treatment options that I haven't tried, and that is what keeps me going. I've had doctors assume that I 'think I can become pain-free', but that is not the case; I think there are options out there that will REDUCE my pain, so why would I not pursue them?

    Keep your chin up!

  • after the elation of being told everything was ok .i now find myself in an awful flare up too .not fair its knocked me off my feet
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • My flare is still there and I have no idea when it's going away. I'm getting a new MRI in an hour or so to see if anything new has happened in my neck since surgery. I'm really tired of this pain...
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
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