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Chronic Pain and Weight Gain

gcapoorggcapoor Posts: 5
edited 10/18/2015 - 12:33 PM in Chronic Pain
Hey guys.

First of all let me say that all of you who share your story here and your attitude towards it has always helped me cope with my pain.

Back (pun not intended) story : I had a L4-L5 disc herniation when I was 22. I was operated on twice and have been in physiotherapy ever since trying to bring the pain down to a level where I can do my own work. Then when I was 25, my L3-L4 also herniated. It prolapsed and compressed a nerve, giving rise to neurogenic claudication. I was able to complete my college education but since then have been unable to study further or work or even go to the gym as I always end up having an episode of severe pain. Now last week, at 27, I went in for a root block and removal of adhesions but since then I've been in so much pain I can't seem to breathe. The worst is at night; I can't sleep because of the pain and I end up eating everything.

I am an overweight person ( about 40lb) but have been trying to lose weight, despite the limitations. I have lost around 35 lbs since the start of the year and was well on my way to try to lose more but now I get tired just taking a shower. I eat too much because of the medications and while I try to eat healthy, I always end up eating junk to make myself feel better.

Can someone tell me how they managed to over come this and ways to lose weight/get fit while on bed rest ? My entire twenties has been me just on meds and in pain trying to get fit . Now, I'm just losing my mind.

Thankyou so much.


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

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
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  • Betty65BBetty65 FloridaPosts: 83
    ....wow that's got to be rough to be young and in pain. I understand how hard it is to lose pounds and keep them off when we have painful back issues. It seems like when we do exercise, it puts us "out" for a few days, which leads to not wanting to exercise, etc... Food comforts me also, so I can relate to that!

    The one thing that works for me is to write down what I eat, when I eat it. That way I'm at least AWARE of what I'm doing. This keeps me from gaining....but losing is another battle. As for your fatigue, have you talked to your doctor about it? It may be something other than your back issues that is causing this.

    Take care and keep us posted on how you are doing!

  • Oh yay. Thankyou! Writing down what I eat was suggested but I never followed it. I think Im going to make a better effort about it. :)

    I did ask my doctor. The fatigue is due to the nerve compression and they said it'll take time to settle down. Meanwhile they upped my meds ( I take pregabalin and sustained released tramadol 3 times a day) so that keeps me sleepy and a little disoriented. I'm supposed to be on the bed for only a month, of which I have 15 days left. I just don't want to gain weight as the first thing a doctor says to me is that my weight is the problem. I end up feeling very frustrated.

    I've gone to therapy to make sure the pain isn't psychosomatic but so far it seems to be because of nerve compression. I'm not allowed physiotherapy, yoga or even walking for the next month which is why Im worried. But the food journal is a great idea. Thanks a ton and I appreciate the kind words. It really helps to have someone understand. :)
  • Betty65BBetty65 FloridaPosts: 83
    I really felt compelled to comment on your post because I totally understand! Back pain, weight gain....docs say to lose weight...but they tell me that walking is the worst exercise I can do for my facet joint problems! Ugh! Swim, they say. Not as easy as it may sound!

    Be kind to yourself and take things one hour at a time. Read that "spoon theory" article on this website also. It is VERY helpful!

    Have a great day!

  • PlumbTuckeredOutPlumbTuckeredOut Philadelphia, PAPosts: 325
    Like you, I also struggle with weight gain BUT, I have much more to lose! I'm trying to get off the gabapentin now since that has caused horrible weight creep!

    What I wanted to mention though is about going to a therapist to find out if the pain is psychosomatic. Heck, I worked in mental health for years and I thought that was why everyone went to a therapist at the beginning of their pain journey. I've been watching loads of professional pain lectures and the reason is different. It has to do with the neurotransmitters released while a person is in pain. They can cause depression. If a person is depressed pain is much more difficult to treat!

    There is also a cognitive behavioral approach to pain and how not to allow Pain to control your life. I've been through 2 surgeries, injections, medications... I think what helps me most is being positive but I am definitely not always good at that! I awoke with a killer migraine today- I would have jumped off the highest building to "cure" that migraine!

    I hope you find this site as helpful as I have!

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...... (Robert Frost)
    I still don't know if I should have taken the one that said, "Caution! Dead End" (Me)
  • Hey Sheila

    Thank you for writing back.Hearing your experience definitely resonated with me, especially hearing that gabapentin increased your weight as that is one of the drugs I am currently on.

    I did go to a psychiatrist to rule out somatic pain. I also thought that maybe because it's been so long. there is a possibility it's in my head. But I got an all clear from him and they pinpointed the exact nerve ( It's at L3-L4) that is causing my trouble. They seem to think I might eventually need a rod to stabilise whatever is going back there.

    yes, you're right. Being positive is the only way to move forward. I try to be as positive ( Ive got the best family support) but sometimes It's just exhausting, looking forward to a future that's a little uncertain.

    This site, a recent find, has given me so much peace because I read people and their stories and feel yes, exactly.

    Thanks again for writing. I appreciate your words


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