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Severe pain flares! Why do they happen?

PinkellaPPinkella Posts: 211
edited 07/14/2014 - 1:23 AM in Chronic Pain
Do you ever ask yourself the question why your chronic back pain flares to severe levels,only to calm back down to pre pain flare levels a few weeks later?

I ask my myself these questions,every time I go through a severe pain flare...

Did I cause the flare?
Was it something I did..? Was it the way I bent down?
Did I over do it with my activities ?
Is it to do with the emotional state of my mind?
Is it because I rested to much, or didn't rest enough Inbetween activities of daily living?
Has my back took a turn for the worst?
Has something changed ? Do I need another MRI ?
Will my back keep flaring matter what I do?
Do I need to change my meds?or wait it out?
Do I see my spinal surgeon every time I have a severe flare ?
Will there ever be a time when the pain doesn't flare to severe levels?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this matter ...
Facet joint Arthritis L3,L4,L5,DDD.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I have suffered regular flare ups for more than 40 year and sometimes it has been obvious, the wrong chair, climbing a stepladder (something I have stopped doing for 20 yrs) when I realised, it could be stretching to reach something maybe while stressed and muscles are tense.
    Sometimes there is no reason I can see as I can't do that much anyway. There is no way I can stop it, flare up's happen so I have spent my time working out the best way to treat them.
    Only this morning I moved a 6 bottles pack of water and as soon as I did it I knew I shouldn't have I felt that pain. I rubbed tea tree oil into the area I felt was going to give me problem and I seem to have got away with it...this time.

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Thanks for your feedback Liz...
    May I ask how tea tree oil helps your back??
    Facet joint Arthritis L3,L4,L5,DDD.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 07/14/2014 - 3:06 AM
    Tea tree is an anti-inflammatory as well as having other properties and works well. Recently my husband hurt his back moving furniture he was having problems walking, he wasn't convinced it would help but he let me use it on him and he had to admit it worked and he was soon able to walk with no pain.
    I used it first on my arthritic knees out of desperation and found if I use it as soon as I feel my knees swelling it will stop the flare ups I had experienced in the past that would last for weeks.

    It obviously isn't a miracle cure and has it's limitations but it helps me.

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    edited 07/14/2014 - 1:51 PM
    When I read your thread, I had to think back so many times to come up with those answers.
    About 85% of the time, I have no idea as to why I started into a flare up period.

    Its generally easy to understand a flare up when you over did something, slight trauma, medication changes and yes emotional states. I think we can all related to all of them but sometimes the emotional states can have a little gray area.

    When our emotions are out of whack, for what ever reason, many times our muscles get tight as the result of the tension. As our muscle get tighter, they start to pull our bodies in ways that we dont want them to be pulled. The results, we get out of whack (a new medical term) and that can start to lead us down a path of flare ups. One of the major problems with flareups is finding ways to stop them and prevent them from becoming big problems.

    To me, a flareup is something that can last from 3 to 14 days. When it starts to go over the 2 week period, it may be time to call in the medical troops.

    One of the knee jerk reactions to flare ups is to take additional medications. I know that is a quick fix, I've done that before in the past, but I can tell you it does not work. You may find quicker relief, but you will also find yourself in bigger trouble down the line.

    So, how do you deal with flareups without additional medications?

    Liz hit on one. Everyone has their own techniques. Mine, is to use more aroma and music therapy to get my body more relaxed. Plus I use both a 1/4 and full form roller to slowly stretch out parts of my body that needs it. The use of ice and heat therapy can work, hot tubs are great... We all need to find our own way out.

    One thing is for sure, Flareups are going to be part of our lives. I dont there is a spinal patient who has never experienced them. The key is to not allow a flareup to turn into a bigger problem.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • PinkellaPPinkella Posts: 211
    edited 07/15/2014 - 1:34 AM
    Liz - I've used tea tree oil for an antiseptic ..I've always wondered about topical lotions and potions whether they can actually penetrate deep enough if at all?to reach the problem area...?? I will have to try some when a flare next arises...

    Ron -I don't think we will ever definitely know what causes our severe pain flares..even medical professionals don't have the answers always as to why back pain flares to intense levels...

    I have found heat therapy better than any tablet if I'm honest..I have a Physio heated thermal pad that u plug in and it automatically turns off after three hrs...I've never found ice any help..but for some I know it' works great...
    I think it's trial and error for everyone..

    Knowing our limitations ?some weeks I do a lot mobility wise?and my back pain doesn't get any worse..yet other weeks I do the same activities and I have a flare?!
    My recent flare lasted three weeks ...? And the only thing I can relate it to is the steroids I had in my higher joint as my doc was checking to see if it was a pain generator as well as the joint below ....clearly it was not!! The flare started two weeks post injections so I doubt it was related...
    Leaving a relationship I was unhappy in, two weeks befor the flare?still doesn't seem likely...sometimes I guess there really is no answer to why the flares happen.....
    Facet joint Arthritis L3,L4,L5,DDD.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I was given some Frankincense it was sent to me from a friend in Oman, she was also a member here on the forum and chat, she wanted me to try it for pain as she was selling it online and wanted to test it out on friends. I tried it and found it helpful, because of that it then made me try Tea tree which I had like you only used it for a antiseptic, on reading it's properties I thought I would see if it worked the same, which it did.

    It is no miracle cure it needs applying every few hours, I also make sure the area back or knee is kept warm. I can only speak from experience, I know what used to happen and I know what happens now.

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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