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Life Expectancy w/ Chronic Pain

clarencediggscclarencediggs Posts: 23
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:27 AM in Chronic Pain
Just wondering...
I've had a 'bad back' as long as i can remember, but have only been in constant pain for a couple of years (I say 'only' because I know many of you have suffered much longer). Mine really became constant after an injury in March of '07 and my L4-S1 fusion in Nov.'07. Surely all the meds we take are taking their toll on our bodies. Has anyone read anything credible that relates life expectancy to narcotic pain meds? I'm on the Fentanly patch, Lyrica, and Cymbalta daily with Lortab, Flexeril, and/or Tramadol as needed. I may very well be retired now, involuntarily, but retired nonetheless. I'm wondering how quickly I should try to get my 'retirement' projects finished.



  • If I knew I was gonna make it to 48 I would have taken better care of myself.

  • I see you're quite new to S-H. Welcome. I don't know the answer to your question. I think, though, the specific matters that may reduce our life expectancy have to do with the fact that most of us do ot get enought cardio-vascular exercise. I don't know what part suicide plays but I believe most of us have given it some thought on those really, really bad days, weeks, months. Let me ask you, what kind of life expectancy would you want? (If it were entirely up to you?)
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  • I still do my elliptical machine two or three times a week, and have maintained the same weight for 10 years. I like to think I'm in decent shape, it just takes me all day to do what I used to do all day. As far as your really soul searching question: I'd like to live longer than I hurt.

    "experience is what you get when you don't get what you want."
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,630
    This topic has been discussed many times in detail on the old Spine-Health site.

    There have been studies and documents on this. In fact one of our members had posted some statistics, but honestly, I do not remember them.

    But, overall the impact and factor that could alter the
    Life Expectancy of someone with chronic pain is the potential lack of exercise and other life prolonging actions.

    There are so many other critical factors is life span (ie diet for one) that are probably more important.

    I am not saying that exercise is going to make you live longer no matter what medical situation you are in. But the benefits of exercise is clearly known.

    For chronic pain sufferers, the lack of exercise can speed up the decline of physical functions of the body. That in turn can lead to other problems that may shorten life span.

    Just as I have always stated there is a 'blend' of medications and treatments that chronic pain folks need to do in order to manage pain, the same is true for ways to ensure a longer life span.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I agree totally with that statement,and to be honest it is where I am most lacking in my life.I've tried so hard at everything to be a better,more openminded,eat healthier,and just a good and honest person.I quit drinking totally last year-Aug 2nd,08 was the last time even a small glass of wine crossed my lips,but I have NOT started the excercising yet.I've changed in ways that I thought were going to be impossible for me,so I know that I have only myself to blame for this..and as I search my soul for a reason,there is only laziness.I plan on doing something about this,but until I do I probably won't talk about it again..it makes me feel terrible to talk about it if I'm not doing it.lol.

    Thank You though for the reminder *thumbs up*

    PS~Where have all the smilies gone?
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  • I'm in the same boat, as I guess are many others who just have to constantly medicate to sleep and get through the day.
    What other option is there?
    Exercise is very beneficial if you can do it. I aim to take a 40 minute walk every day as my main exercise. Can't use neck and shoulders much.
    I think you have to consider your liver, as it has to deal with all of the meds. You may be able to do some research on what effects your meds have on the liver.
    I've just cut out alcohol entirely as I thought it is only adding to the liver's workload. I need the meds more than I do alcohol.
    Must be getting old to say that!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,630
    Robin, to correct the smiley alignment problem, the smileys are now are a clickable. When you post, look for the right arrow/carrot next to the word Smileys. Click on that and they will all be there =D>
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Yes-I hear that Paul and Peter.....too bad no Mary posted..lol.Peter -Paul and Ron will have to do :D ,and I did see the smilies Ron,right AFTER I posted the question.

    Well,my feet are bad,so I can't walk much,but I CAN walk some.If I walk too much they will turn a nasty black & blue,and then I'm inable to walk any distance at all for several days..so I won't be pushing that.My PCP wants me to see another specailist.The surgeon who took care of my feet before was an OS and is located in Pittsburgh(way too far now).There is no way I would see a podiatrist,and they simply are not qualitied to treat my problems,and I dread the search for a new OP in this area.A good one.I used to travel back to PA,but I just can't afford that anymore.

    Between my neck & feet I do have pain,but certainly I could/should just do more.I use my bed to do sit ups (not often) because I can't lay on the floor-it's too hard on my body-lol.

    Congratulations Peter for giving up the alcohol =D>
  • Hey buddy,
    What about exercising in a jacuzzi?? Yes I know very pricey. Only asking because I saw the commercial on T.V. If I win the lotto I will buy one for ya!!!! :D :D :D
    Does the gym have a pool??? I know how much pain it has to cause on your knees dude I really do, I don't even want to imaigine it.
    I don't know guess I am throwing things out there as I am not one to talk or give advice because when I hurt I lay down and stay there. :B :D

    Ok back to orginal question.
    If we are able to get into a exercise routine and good eating habits. Well I say go for it.
    Us with bad backs most likely a "professional trainer" at a gym will know what exercises you can do at the gym or at home with your own equipment. Plus you don't have to buy those pricey things. There are so many things around the house that can be used.
    There is no right or wrong or even correct answer on life expectancy. Not one person will have the correct answer not even a Dr.
    If you do have to be on pain medication and other meds your whole life makesure to get bloodwork done every 3 months. Makesure you always check in with your dr when there is new symptoms.

    Example: My mom does not have chronic pain but did have high bp and diabetes. Well she in no way wanted to be on medication. So she changed her whole lifestyle around. Was it easy? NO it took alot of dedication and work. It still does to this day. She is 61 and walks around better then me!! Plus she keeps her health issues under control by diet and exercise. My father in law in his late 70's is the same way. He has osteoporisis, arthritis, DDD, fused from L1-S1, has had fractured hips, fractured ankles, now a fractured wrist. Also diabetes. He keeps on truckin!!! He does not give up the things he likes to do. Yes he rests during the day, but is always on the move!! He is on no pain medications. Mabye its the generation with that one, not sure....
    So it can be done, its whether you want to do it or you don't. I know I sound like I'm rambling which I probably am this early in the morning. But I wanted to throw in some things Ron mentioned about health..

    As for myself I suffer everyday 24/7. But I am going out to by a used treadmill and making myself get on it everyday or even mabye 2x's a day as I have lost so much muscle tone in the last few years. I can feel it when I walk in a mall, my shoulders tighten up, shoulder blades and I want to curl up on a bench.
    So I know I will feel much better when some of the TONE comes back. Will I be perfect ?? NO probably not, but I also don't know. It could happen. Will I have to be on pain meds for years?? I do not know that either.
    It all comes down to what life is going to throw at me and what I am going to do about it when it does.

    I mean I'v worked in a nursing home and seen this first hand.
    There have been people Iv known that could barley drag their feet with a walker and alot of times would not eat their food (which i don't blame them some of it was nasty) and outlived the others that had nothing wrong with them at all.

    I was once told by a dr 2yrs ago that pain medications were much safer then taking say 4000mg of tyelnol everyday.
    Thats why when I am RX'd meds I ask for the lowest dose of tylenol or motrin in them. Or ask for something without anything in it/
    As like your on fentynl patches. I will be going back on those FINGERS CROSSED Wednesday at my PM appt. But that will be the only thing I am on as my PM will not give out breakthrough pain medications.
    I basically only want to stay on them till I get my body strength back up and go from there..
    Will I always have back pain?? MABYE I don't know, I cannot predict that far into the future. I will worry about that when I get there.
    So I see this topic as a catch 22. Its what you put into it, and make out of it that will get you through..

    HANG IN THERE!!! Your certainly not alone in this world for sure..

    Terri O:)

  • i believe i posted this in the old site
    my pain dr stated that there is no evidence that meds or chronic pain in itself shortens life. there has been a lot of research. gaining weight due to lack of exercise is one problem, however i also take blood pressure and cholesterol meds with my pain meds. both are under control. the only problem i have is not being able to exercise due to pain and not being able to walk effectively.
    i plan to live a long life even if i am in pain.
    cholesterol is 166 and blood pressure is 120/60
    so -live long and prosper
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
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