I'm still trying to find my way around here but thought I should reintroduce myself as many of you have!
I have had chronic pain issues stemming back about 25 years; it started with back pain during my first pregnancy, neck and back pain after being rear-ended in 1984, and after I tore my rhomboid muscle in 1989, everything started rapidly downhill. I also had several bladder issues that had to be addressed, and with each of my four surgeries, it took longer and longer to recover, as my tissue would "stretch" and take forever to heal. I have ALWAYS stumped the practitioner I am working with, be it a physiotherapist, a massage therapist or acupuncturist. I also have a dislocated disc in my TMJ, which has caused me a lot of grief and pain over the years, and it changes with every change in my neck and upper back.
My pain varies in intensity and location each day, and I can do something very simple and end up in absolute agony. There have been several days when I attended an appointment, and my pain would spiral out of control . I am currently in the middle of a long and VERY miserable setback; usually when summer comes, I feel better, but the weird weather systems have really messed me up. I considered trying a return to work last fall, so was sent for a Functional Capacity Evaluation to see what I was capable of. Unfortunately, many of the hoops I had to jump through that day caused a GIANT setback for me, and I started over with trying to at least get my pain to the point where it was manageable. The FCE also severely irritated the tendinitis in my right arm, which has made it miserable to try and get back to some crafting, etc., and my computer time is very limited.
Over the years, I have been tested for lupus, sacroiliitis, ankylosing spondylitis and several other things, but those diagnoses have been discounted.
A couple of years ago I was also diagnosed with chronic myofascial pain syndrome as well, and MRIs showed degenerative disc disease, facet joint arthropathy and some spondylosis, as well as a few other minor issues. I have struggled the most with SI joint, low back and neck pain, and have found few things that can make the pain bearable. I have always been very proactive with my health, so have seen approximately 40 doctors, therapists, counsellors, etc., many of whom I've had to travel quite a distance to see.
I have had many types of treatments over the years; endless physiotherapy to at least TRY and keep things in alignment, Bowen therapy, chiropractic treatments, counselling (both group and private), mind/body work, biofeedback, Hellerwork (tissue lengthening massage....awesome!!), acupuncture, Stress Management program through hospital day programs
Fibromyalgia program through hospital day programs, ESIs, trigger point injections, Reiki, orthobionomy (an interesting type of bodywork), hospital pain clinics, prolotherapy treatments, two 10-day residential programs (Victoria Pain Clinic) in 2007, two nerve blocks, reflexology, private yoga classes, aquafit classes, lidocaine infusions and, finally, three facet rhizotomies; three in lumbar area and one that also included segments of my C, T and L spine (September 2007). The last surgery eased off the lumbar and cervical pain, but agitated the thoracic pain to extremes. I am currently backing away from treatments just to give my body a bit of healing time, but last week things were completely out of control and I was in and out of the ER and clinic for trigger point injections when my back spasms were out of control and waking me out of a deep sleep due to the intensity.
I have been off work now for 2 1/2 years due to the unpredictable and "multifactorial" back/neck/shoulder/arm issues, and am currently waiting for a decision from Great West Life as to whether or not my claim will be accepted (I'm going from "disabled own occupation" to "disabled ANY occupation"....always a harder one to prov)e. Everything is extremely limited for me right now, whether it is sitting, standing, exercising, walking, you name it - which is REALLY annoying to me.
Currently, my pain levels run between 6 and 9 even with my meds; I take Cesamet (aka Nabilone), a synthetic form of THC, Clonazepam (known as Klonopin in the U.S.) and Baclofen every day. When I have a really bad flare-up of my low back/SI joint or muscle spasms, I have (straight) codeine for breakthrough pain as well as Toradol and Demerol, oral and injectible.
I gave up most of what I loved to do; skiing, biking, hiking, swimming, Pilates, group yoga classes, crafting, gardening, etc. I'm one of those people who "looks good", so have had to deal with a lot of skeptics over the years. Thankfully, my friends and family can read my face and know exactly how I'm feeling on any given day!
I am not a candidate for any type of "invasive" back surgery, so am currently seeing a couple of rheumatologists, one of whom specializes in spinal disorders. I'm hoping that my appointment with her will go well - it's a four hour assessment, and she's already ready my file, health history, etc., which is great. I do intend to check into spinal cord stimulators, as I would like to know if I am a candidate or not.
I am 48, married to an amazing husband who is my biggest support, and we have three grown boys who are 20, 23 and 25.
I will close for now, and hope to get checking in a little more often!