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Looking for support and understanding

Winch526WWinch526 Ottawa, Ontario, CanadaPosts: 13
edited 01/05/2016 - 5:57 AM in Chronic Pain

I'm 34 years old and suffer from chronic lower back pain. I've been in the Royal Canadian Navy for 16 years, and the constant requirements to run, dive, carry heavy things, stand watches on the bridge (literally STAND for 4 hours at a time on a crooked bridge with rough sea states in crappy boots), and sleep in uncomfortable positions has taken its toll on my back. I can't say I had a particular injury, but I've been dealing with lower back on and off for about 12 years.

Starting around 2011, things got much worse. I had my first real flare up where I couldn't get off the couch. I started physio, medications, stretching regimens, etc. These things all work for a period of time, but then it seemed to only take a fairly rigorous activity to have me waking up completely tense. The military doctors do their best to manage my pain and see about fixing me. I get prescribed percocet whenever there's a flare up, and I'm now on a physical training program to strengthen my core. I am also giving up running completely which pains me a lot. I love to run, but everytime I do it, I pay for it no matter how much stretching I do.

I have been keeping up with the program for a few months and things actually felt much better. I thought "maybe there's something to this core strengthening thing!" What prompted me to join this forum is that on Christmas night, I bent over to pick something up and actually felt a tweak in my back that knocked me to the ground. That has never happened before. Usually I do something rigorous, then the next day the flare up strikes. This is the first time that it struck me right away.

I went to the ER and got a small supply of percocet, a shot of antiinflammatory (first time for that!), and was told to see my regular military doctor soon. I saw her yesterday and she gave me more percocet (oh yeah, forgot to mention that I threw my back again shovelling snow. Stupid to do it, but somebody had to and I still have to pull my weight around the house - maybe some of you understand how that feels). So I got more pain meds and she is trying me on Lyrica, because I asked to try something non-narcotic related. We'll see how that goes.

So now I sit here writing this post and feeling very depressed. I have two small kids that I can't really play with, chores around the house that I can't help with, and exercise that I want so badly to do that I can't. Like I said, I'm 34 years old but I feel like 80 sometimes.

What I'm looking for here is some support from people that have the same feeling of uselessness. I can tell my wife is very annoyed with me. In fact, I got two days off work to rest and she is stomping around the house with laundry and the kids and I can tell that she is pissed that I'm not helping. So what do I do, I grab the vacuum and do the whole house. I am not lying down with a heat pad and grunting in pain.

I'm scared I'll never get back to normal again, and even if I feel like I am, my back has no stamina whatsoever and seems to give out too regularly. My last options are the Epidural which might actually cause more damage because it only masks the pain. Or surgery, but I'm not sure there is anything specific to operate on.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I promise I will read every response carefully and respond as much as I can.

Take care of yourselves!



  • Firstly, an MRI would be useful....I can never understand how Drs treat what they don't know is going on!!
    It's hard when you have chronic pain because unless you have it, you can't possibly understand.
    You need to know what's going on in your spine so your wife can understand too.
    My husband came with me to see my neurosurgeon last week, first dr appointment in nearly 4 years he's been to (my choice). When he saw my MRI images he was blown away and has been very sweet since :)
    Keep communicating, be kind to your wife in ways you can.
    Read to your kiddies.
    Get answers and keep us posted.
    Kirsti x
  • I completely understand. I'm in the same boat. I use to be able to ease this. Had no idea it wad seeps until the mri. This last time I bent over to get the remote of the floor and I saw stars. I can identify with feeling 80 as well (I'm 38) I have a toddler and have not picked him up nor played with him since 9/7/15.

    Just understand, you are not alone. I hope you are able to find relief soon. And hopefully your wife comes into a new understanding about this. Back pain is one of the most misunderstood ailments by those who haven't had it. Good luck to you.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Welcome to Spine-Health
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    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Winch526WWinch526 Ottawa, Ontario, CanadaPosts: 13
    edited 01/06/2016 - 2:37 AM
    Thank you for the welcome. It's nice to have somewhere to chat.

    Reading some of these posts makes me thankful that I'm not as bad off as others.
  • PuppetsPPuppets Posts: 3
    edited 01/06/2016 - 11:12 AM
    I am sorry to hear about your condition. I have had back issues since 2001. The pain in my back would come and go. Along with weakness in my left leg, but with rest it would get better. But now I have been unable to walk without the assistance of a walker. Now I cannot work I have applied for disability. I just feel so useless... I want to do so much but am unable to. My pain is terrible, I get pain from my back that goes down my left leg. It feels like I am being electrocuted. In Dec. I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis with bone spurs. The neurologist said I probably have had the stenosis since birth. I had a MRI and that is how they were able to get the diagnosis. I think it is in your best interest to ask for a MRI to see what is going on. I had multiple CT scans before getting the MRI. As for pain management (non-narcotic) I use a heating pad, very hot showers or baths, icy hot works well for me also for the back pain.
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