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New member seeking advice

Like everyone here I have a long story to tell, leading to current situation of variable chronic pain that drastically reduces quality of life. Here are main details:
59 yr old male.
Acute pain episodes every year or two requiring immobilisation (once ending up in hospital) for 20 years. In between leading normal life. Pretty fit and loved running.
For the last year the pattern has changed - I have had constant background pain in lower back, hips and bottom. Flares up regularly, set off by slightest movement (as now) and makes walking, sitting, etc. almost impossible.
MRI scan 9 mths ago revealed DDD in 3 discs and slight bulge L4 / L5. 4 specialists have said I am not currently candidate for operation. My regular specialist says that it will come to that. Currently taking tramadol 50 twice a day - helps somewhat.
So my question is - how do you cope with the idea that a miserable half life has to be accepted for the foreseeable future until it gets worse?
When I am at all mobile I do all the things we're supposed to - gentle exercise in gym, walking, swimming.
Any comments would be very much appreciated.
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