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37 y/o new member, seeking support for long-term pain management

nikoladnnikolad Posts: 3
edited 09/18/2015 - 10:57 PM in New Member Introductions
hello, I really am glad to have found this community. I have already read so many helpful and kind posts.

I have been dealing with chronic neck/back/arm pain for about fifteen years. It started with carpal tunnel like symptoms that were painful but manageable. Then I was in an accident, where I was thrown over the hood of a minivan and landed on my right shoulder, and from there things got exponentially worse. I had to change careers because I could no longer physically handle the work I used to do.

I won't bore you with all the tests and doctors but I've had all the x-rays and MRIs and CT scans. I had ACDF surgery in 2013, c4-c5. Unfortunately that did not help me at all. I am currently on a lot of naproxen, gabapentin, and norco.

The new post guidelines ask what is the recommendation or action plan from my doctors. It's very frustrating because I feel they've just shrugged their shoulders and said they can't do anything else. Of all the treatments, medical massage was the most helpful for me. Unfortunately I had to move and leave my awesome massage therapist. While I was seeing her the pain was manageable but now it is unbearable again.

I guess what I am looking for here is just some advice on how to deal with the knowledge that I'm going to be in pain for the rest of my life. I worry there's no way I'll ever be able to have children, do physical activities like ride my bike with my husband, etc. It's also difficult because people often don't believe me when I say things like I can't stand on the bus, I need to sit -- I look "normal" and healthy. Which I am very thankful for, but in some ways it makes things difficult because I have a hard time getting anyone, doctors and otherwise, to believe me.

Is there anyone else here that has had a similar experience? My family tends to be very long-lived and the idea that I might be dealing with ~60 years of ever-worsening pain is terrifying. I'm having a lot of trouble finding hope, and most of my peers don't understand and get frustrated that I can't keep up.

To end on a bright note I will say that I think dealing with this has made me a better and more compassionate person, and I am grateful for that.

thank you if you read this far, it means a lot to me.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and growing.
    Here are just some of the highlights that are available as tabs on the main Spine-Health menu bar

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    As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here you can meet thousands of people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family[/u] who provide comfort and the advantages of a support system. You are now part of this family that is approximately 27,00 international members and growing daily.


    - It is very important to understand the Forum Rules to make sure all of your posts[u] do not violate any of the rules.[/u]

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    I am positive any member, new or old will find this Chroinc Pain - Step by Step thread very valuable.

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Hi Nikolad
    Sorry to hear your in so much pain, I do know how frustrating doctor's are,
    The only advice i can offer is to try using a tens machine, mine has been great

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    You mentioned that your friends don't understand and may become frustrated because you can't keep up....

    On this site, using search on upper right on page, you might want to check out post " Spoon Theory".
    That has helped, well me, and some of my friends better understand.
    There's also a post called, "Letter to Normals".

    I was able to use that, I changed it a little for my circumstances and my personality, and I found it helpful.
    Even if I do not actually show it to anyone else, it helps me with my conversations with those who care about me and at least want to try to understand as best they can.

    Transitioning to a more chronic pain lifestyle isn't easy. I've often said if I didn't live it, I'm not sure I'd believe it.
    There are still times it's difficult to wrap my head around it.
    For me it was a process. Almost, like a grieving process, whereas I would feel different emotions, sometimes at the same time.

    For myself, I used some talk therapy in learning how to cope better. Toward the end of this therapy, I found therapist specialized with chronic pain, and in my case, depression.
    She was huge help to me, and said things I don't remember hearing from others before. It was most effective for me in short time.

    I'm not saying I have my act all together, but my perspective and attitude did a 180.

    There is also a thread on this site called, " The Blend". It can help with thinking about substitute activities that you may be able to enjoy. It also focuses on how our pain medication is not the only thing to rely on for our pain management.
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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