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Back pain unbearable - please help

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Chronic Pain
I started suffering with back pain 4 years and 1 month ago, about 1 month into my pregnancy. I had various physio exercises that i did later on in the pregnancy after the pain was steadily getting worse, but all the experts told me that after i had given birth, it would settle down. It didn't, just got worse, what started in my lower back now was over a larger area (up to below my shoulder blades) so i sought various treatments - chiropractors, sports massage, physio, even acupuncture - none of which worked. I have been using a tens machine which gives me limited relief. Went to my GP, and he just turned to me and said 'Its not that bad'.!! Went to another GP, who listened to me, and was prescribed Tramadol, which for the first time gave me relief, and i was able to move around and do all the normal things i wanted to do in no pain. My tolerence to the drug soon wore off, and he put me on buprenorphine while i was waiting to see the back specialist. By the time i finally saw the specialist i was taking morphine every day, and he did an MRI scan and took some blood tests and simply said that not much showed up on the scan so they could only give me a caudal epidural. Had this in November last year, which eased some of the pain for about 6-7 weeks, and straight after i completely stopped taking the morphine. Was referred to the pain management 'doctor' in the hospital who basically said theres nothing wrong with you physically, here take some anti depressants. My normal GP who had been very understanding moved county so i was given another GP who did not appreciate the pain i was in and was focused on me stopping all painkillers (which i was doing of my own accord anyway!) even when i was in pain. Had another epidural some months later which was even more effective and for a longer period. I was only getting pain if i overdid it- walking for long periods, ironing, gardening. And by this time i had been swimming for an hour a day for a year. Had another caudal epidural which had hardly any effect at all, this was last Wednesday. I don't know what to do. My doctors seem reluctant to bother exploring any other reasons for the pain except saying that its all 'emotional', and leaving it at that. My friends and family are sick of hearing about it. I feel desperate. I have a good life, normally happy, enjoy my job, have a great family, nice house, hobbies (crafting) and am contented with what i have, but the pain gets in the way of it all. Yes i do think about suicide which when i have tried to speak to people they just then say, 'see you are depressed so it is emotional!' instead of hypothetically speaking saying someone if being tortured everyday, 24 hours a day over a period of 4 years, would anyone sane not think about it?! I am a perfectly rational young woman (31) and have my whole life ahead of me but i need someone to help me find a cure or at least define what it is. Is there anyone out there that would take the time to seriously look at my case? Fact - muscle problems such as cramps etc cause pain - its not an imaginary thing so why is it so hard to believe that maybe that could be looked into further? I woul;d be willing to take any experimental surgeries or treatments because i have a lot to live for, but i feel like there is no other way out but to end it all to end the pain – and honestly, I am a very reasonable well adjusted individual – not nuts (although maybe nuts people say that!), but I have run out of hope.


  • And don't give up!! I've been dealing with similar issues for almost 26 years now; the last 10 have been the worst, the past three have been unbearable. BUT....I never, never give up. Keep looking for that ONE doc who will listen and show respect, consideration and compassion. Document, document, document...I have binders full of information (every MRI, CT scan, x-ray and other test) that I continually update and keep a diary of every medication I've taken, what works, what doesn't, etc. It is a long, long haul, and the more they tell you it's in your head, I think the more we start to believe it!!

    I just recently spoke to a class of 2nd year nursing students and gave them a total overview of just HOW much chronic pain affects a person; they were absolutely floored at the treatment I've had from various "specialists", and gained a whole new respect for what we go through on this journey to try and get some relief.

    I have done every available treatment (prolotherapy, physio, massage, acupuncture, Hellerwork, Bowen treatment, nerve blocks, rhizotomies...on and on!!) and have just finally found a rheumatologist who KNOWS there is a problem and is willing to work with me until we resolve it. With one medication change, she was able to relief some of the major morning stiffness which, in itself, has made a BIG change to my flexibility.

    As for the emotional thing, here are some quotes for you to take with you next time. They are from PAIN: A Clinical Manual for Nursing Practice (McCaffrey 1989):-

    “The person with pain is the only authority about the existence and nature of that pain, since the sensation of pain can be felt only by the person who has it.”

    “Having an emotional reaction to pain does not mean that pain is caused by an emotional problem.”

    “Respect for the patient’s pain tolerance is crucial for adequate pain control.”

    "The health team's reaction to a patient with chronic nonmalignant pain may present an impossible dilemma for the patient.  If the patient expresses his depression, the health team may believe the pain is psychogenic or is largely an emotional problem.  If the patient tries to hide the depression by being cheerful, the health team may not believe that pain is a significant problem." 

    "Research shows that, unfortunately, as pain continues through the years, the patient's own internal narcotics, the endorphins, decrease and the patient perceives even greater pain from the same stimuli."

    I'm sure you can relate to some of these, as I can, and I hope you can find someone who WILL listen. Take care of yourself, and don't give up!!


  • I think I need to print out your post and and show it to the Physician assistant that I am seeing. He feels there is nothing really wrong with me and that if I could come out of this depression I would be fine. I blew up at him today and told him I have been dealing with this for a year and yeh, I am depressed... I wasn't depressed before this pain started, so which came first? Duh!


    I understand exactly how you feel, I just got back from seeing the physician asst. that is taking care of my workmans comp. case and I swear everytime I leave there I feel absoutley hopeless. He thinks there is nothing there and that it is up to me to make myself better. Good grief, as if I am not trying already and have been for almost a year. So please don't feel alone, I'm right there with you and I know there has got to be somebody who will help us.

    Take care

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  • Hi,
    Dont run out of hope ok!! Pain is real it is a hideous thing that takes over our lives. Like so many here it is the constancy of it and the lack of true relief that makes things almost unbearable.
    But don't give up take each day at a time talk to friends loved ones us who ever you can. Take heart from our responses and fight for what you desrve and that is for someone to take you and your pain issues seriously. I know it has been a long time but try and find the enrergy you need to do this and come here for support and to vent if necessary.

    Take care and don't give up remember pain and depression or depressive feelings run hand in hand so give yourself the time and space you need.

    Dawniee x
  • I think that it has all been said, I just wanted to offer my support. You will find lots of friendly understanding folks here. Good luck and do keep us posted.
  • I have been dealing with pain for the last 4 years as well. I can say I suffer constantly but especially at night. For some reason, it is worse when I try to lie down at night...there is no relief and I only sleep for about 4 hours at the most. I wish there were an answer, but I do not see it so far. It has been a nightmare for me as well and I often think about taking a way out of this life for the same reason...living like this is not my idea of any kind of normal that's for sure...I forgot what normal was like...I've tried all kinds of drugs, they just seem to numb it but it comes back in full force once the drug wears off...now am trying to use pain patches, but I may try getting the nerves blocked next...help...
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  • You outlook speeks volumes for your resilience put those hands up and fight fight fight!ndont give in to the dark thats after you so hugrily ok, dont give in to fear and of the fear of the unknown.
    You have all the tools you need to fight this evil despair!
    sometimes its the very best of us that suffer the worst, you live a good and clean life, you try to do the right thing, and then this. If your angry , explor it, it can be a valuable tool to give you the fighting spirit people need sometimes to survive.
    this is not all there is for the rest of your life, ok?
    This stage is refining you to get the gold form the dross, you will be stronger andf better on the other sid of this!

    always believe in your strength and that what you have inside is up to the task ahead,
    chin down
    hands up
    start swinging
    that spiney kung foo!

    I understand the neverending pain, but its not your essential you, the essence of "You" your much more than the sum of your pain, much more!
    dont let the dark find you,
    if it does, you reach out and someone will be there to reach back! always, sometimes you may have to wait a little, but it will happen.
    find the wonderfull light inside that you carry in your heart, fight to keep it lit and when in doubt of you ability to keep the flame going, get set to stand your ground.
    your a fully realized and wonderful creature, fully worthy of the best in life, so dont give up the fight for your life K?
    when there is doubt, call out, reach out, make your self heard, come hear to Spine health and put your hands out, someone will reach back,
    some of us have been there, some of will be there, someday you will be the helpin hand of healing to someone coz you have been through the fire and are a stronger gentler person, coz life has given you the wisdom and strength do do this.
    I hope you find some comfort in these humble words.
    I hope you get some needed relief!
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • but I'm relieved that I all my back problems have been diagnosed. I can deal with the known, and am driven mad with the unknown. Keep on listening to your gut feeling. It will be an uphill battle to get to the right doctor. I have been thru what you have years ago, and it just pisses me off that women tend to get dismissed like that. It's either mental or the certain time of the month. We still have a long way to go, in my opinion. I had pelvic pain, and the gyn doc asked me about my marriage instead:O I wound up at the ER later in horrible pain and it was a 10mm ovarian cyst. 1 week later it ruptured and I had emergency surgery. Yeah, that was all in my head.
    I wish this ill treatment on no one. Be persistent and don't take the all in your head cop out for an answer.
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