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Young and in Pain - Its not easy

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,348
edited 03/15/2013 - 1:32 PM in Chronic Pain
This is a thread that I am sure that so many younger members will be able to relate to.

Tonight, at the store, I was talking with a beautiful young lady. I had met her a couple of years ago at my physiatrists office. She was in an auto accident which damaged her shoulder and created lower back problems. I was asking how she was feeling and it was pretty easy to see by looking into her eyes, she was not doing well.

Being young, they tell her she is too young to have surgery, and yet being young they do not want to give her narcotic pain medications. Sound familiar? They don't want to do what could help her in the long run, but wont do anything in the short term to help her. Instead, they are beginning to prep her to understand that she will live with her problems and pain for the rest of her life!

Now, if someone tells you that when you are 45, 55, or 65, you might be able to swallow it all. But when you are in your 20's what kind of sentence is this?

Several things:

1 - There are always options for people to help them in the long run. Being young does not rule out solutions.
2 - Because you are young, some doctors feel that prescribing narcotics is not a good thing, they feel a) you are a drug seeker or b) you will get addicted.
3.- How can anyone tell a person so young that they have to deal with this for the rest of their lives.

I am old (not mentally but in the number of years) I will never understand why young people have to deal with more things then they have to. I am not blind to realize that there are many young patients that are looking only for those narcotics. But so are older members .

We all know that chronic pain can impact our lives so much more than just physical pain. The emotional pain can be so much more, that at times make the physical pain seem less. And when you are young and alone, there may be no one to help you with the problem, many of your friends are healthy and can not relate to what you are going through. So , when they want to go out and party and you decline, they view as being weak and lame. At work, people do not understand, they just see you as a young person and should be able to do this and that...So when you dont, or I should say can not, they label you as being a bad worker. This goes on and on

Those of you who have known me for a while, know that when I say the eyes dont lie, they understand what I mean.
I still remembering looking into this young women's eyes. It was so clear that she was hurting, but not only physically, but inside, emotionally. I might have said a few words to her tonight so that she understands that there are so many others out there that will and do understand.

I gave her the URL for Spine-Health. I really hope she takes the time to register and login. Kristen, I will be looking for you!

To all the young folks out there, you will always find those that can and will help you.
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


  • Even though I'm now 33, I've had chronic back pain to various degrees since I was under the age of 10. I've always tried very hard to hide this from friends and family, sometimes accomplishing this, sometimes not. A coworker I love and adore is also my age with 2 small children. I feel so many people compare us... and I'm always the "looser". I try not to let it bother me, but it always eventually does. I try not to constantly point out that she has 4 adults (her parents and her husband's parents) who cook supper, pick kids up from daycare, give her time at home alone to clean, weekly etc. etc.) and how I never had that... ever... I focus on this "lack of help" mentally in my head as a "jusitification" of why her house and car are always cleaner, and her children always have the most elaborate "treats" for daycare parties, etc. I tell myself that if I had that kind of family help my life would be much more similar... but the fact is.... its our health that separates us, not our amount of support. She has told me on many occasions that my hair looks better flat ironed and I should wake up earlier everyday to do that like she does... (implying that I'm just too lazy). How do I explain to her that I wake up much earlier than her, but instead of spending my time with a flat iron, I spend my time standing in hot water for an hour simply trying to overcome the "morning pain". It's too personal and something she can't begin to understand. I'm sure if I told her about my "real mornings" she'd never bring up the flat iron again, but it would be out of pitty, not understanding. So instead I just say, "yeah, I like my sleep too much." Anyways, I wish I had known about this forum in my 20s and teens. It would have been so nice to have had people to talk to instead of feeling so alone. It probably would have also given me more confidence to seek out medical health instead of just spending years "accepting" it and doing more damage.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • I was 24 when I was a very unlucky passanger in 2 car accidents over a three day span. I was addicted to cross country running and had a huge passion for yoga, spinning, anything outdoors and physically exhilarating. I was extremely healthy because I enjoyed every aspect of that lifestyle. I was defined by my running, it was everything to me.

    Looooong story short my spine was compressed, months of agony and fighting with doctors. I knew something was wrong. It has been 11 months and 11 days since my failed L5-S1 Discectomy and 9 months and 4 days since my L5-S1 PLIF w/ decompression. My doctors were hesitant because my age but one look at my MRIs and there was no question it needed to happen. I hope that my age may actually be a good thing, my body has time to adjust and adapt.

    I had fused at just under 6 months! However, because of the stress the military put on my case (trying to kick me out on my ass with nothing, that was not gonna stand with me) obviously added stress to me. Instead of being able to focus fully on recovery I was focusing on if I was going to win the fight or end up with an ended career and no help at all. My final diagnosis was that Clinically the PLIF was a failure. I was diagnosed with "Failed Back Syndrome". I was pissed I tried to do everything right I was determined to heal but the stress and having a shitty physical therapist (had never dealt with a fusion and didnt care to) took over. Also because of the delay in my diagnosis (took 3 months to get a damn MRI) my Sciatic, on the left side, is completely damaged. It was apparently compressed completely after the accidents and stayed that way for almost 6 months until my first surgery. I am fighting pain daily... INSANE pain. I hate to show it, Im stubborn and have developed in impressively high pain tolerence.

    I am 26 years old, undergoing a medical review (odds are I will lose my military career) On top of the consistant back pain I have a leg that does what it wants when it wants. It burns and stings and goes numb, it doesnt like to always respond to what I tell it to do and enjoys just giving out on occasion. I have lost my identity, I dont get to hang out with my friends very often. I have to limit my traveling, I cant rememebr the last time I got to go out and enjoy a night on the town. I am not suppose to drive over 5 Kilometers at a time, so I have to depend on other people. I feel as though my independance has been stripped from me. Some days are the worst you could imagine but luckily I dont have the attention span to stay bummed or upset about my situation. Its boring to be miserable, but I do have days. Its not easy and I never expected my life to be this way. I am hopeful that when I return to the states I will be able to have more resources to help in really healing. I also have a tremendous amount of hope that I WILL PREVAIL! I will overcome all these unfair obstacles that have been lined up for me. Being in my 20's is crappy because I want to live and I have barely been able to function fully in over a year, Its gone. I am starting to be defined at work by my injury and it pisses me off more than words, I am a jet engine mechanic and obviously now I work mainly admin stuff. I worked my ass off to get to the status I was at and it is fading. Ok I am sorry for the rant. The keyboard got away from me for awhile. I didnt proof read this either as I have to go somewhere and my ride is waiting. ::Sigh::
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,348
    edited 03/15/2013 - 1:34 PM
    I have read so many situations similar to yours, maybe not medically, but the way the military handles it. I always shake my head when I read things like this. Excuse me next statement if it seems political. But I would only hope that more attention and compassion is being given while handling our military. Those that served our country, or any other country, risking their lives, we owe them a lot.

    Now for you, I dont even have to comment on your medical problems, what your posted is all I ever need to hear for people who are dealing with spinal problems and chronic pain.
    Baby Steps said:

    I also have a tremendous amount of hope that I WILL PREVAIL! I will overcome all these unfair obstacles that have been lined up for me.
    That says it all and so much more....... You will be on top when all is said and done
    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
  • for understanding, dilauro. I can only imagine how much Kristen appreciated your understanding, empathy, and caring when she spoke to you. It IS so hard for young people to handle this chronic pain situation. My son went through the exact same thing - no help, no suggestion of help, no where to turn, no surgery, no medication, etc., etc, etc. because of his age.When we first began this journey he was under 18, so completely at the mercy of the adults who weren't helping at all. I watched my son slowly fade away. I saw the pain and frustration move into anger and then on to deep sadness and despair. It was heartbreaking. Fortunately we found this forum which helped with support, information, and suggestions. Everyone here has been wonderful. All of you members let us know that there were those out there who really truly understood. Wow - the power of finally feeling understood! Then we found a pain management doctor who was willing to help. He keeps really close tabs on everything, but has never, ever once made my son feel like he was a drug seeker. Can't say the same for all doctors or nurses, but that's a WHOLE other story - ugh! But, I so hope Kristen finds her way to this forum and knows how much we all understand - and care.
  • My best friend and I both found ourselves landed in the world of young chronic pain sufferers last year, she's 26 and I'm 24. We both had it come on suddenly with no accidents and no explanations. We both have young children, new families, and are trying to figure out how to deal with all these new limitations, the possible loss of careers, and all the other things that come along with this life. All the while hoping that a miracle might happen helping us to get at least some of our lives back. She's in a more positive place than I am right now, having had surgery, and she's feeling good about her plans to build her body back up, but it's still very helpful to have someone who I've known since I was two who is going through a lot of the same things. It's incredibly valuable to have support.
    Microlaminectomy and discectomy at C7-T1 on April 26th.
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,348
    chronic pain. I've read so many posts here about how abandoned a person feels and how lost they are because they really have no one to help them, support them with their spinal problem. Then on the flip side, I've read so many positive threads about people dealing with pain every day, but because of their support system, it helps them get by.

    I've dealt with pain for more than half of my 60+ years, but I've also had the unbelievable amount of support from my wife and my children. Without their support, I can not even imagine where I would be today and even if....

    We are never too young nor too old to appreciate what support can do for us.
    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
  • anelsen15- Yes, both were overseas. My first was on the local economy here in Italy (it looked like a WWII type hospital, I was the youngest person in the Ward the second being 39) and my second was up in Germany at Landstuhl (A Military hospital). I have never really had any serious Medical Issues so I was shocked at how the whole situation was handled. However, after coming to this forum and seeing how often individuals have issues with Insurance even paying for needed surgeries I was happy that the Mil. had no choice but to cover the surgeries I required. The resources aren't always the best sure but what can you do. I did have excellent surgeons.

    Thank you very much Ron DiLauro. As you all know it is at times a struggle to stay positive. I do feel for individuals, like many of you that have been struggling with chronic pain for years. Your continued strength is amazing to me. I too hope that your young friend finds her way here. I unfortunately do not get to use this resource as much as I would like (No internet out where I live at the moment and am usually pretty swamped at work) but I think it is an amazing one. I agree it is wonderful to have someone understand you! Especially because it is so hard to have your peers even begin to have any idea what you are going through. They will try and at first may a bit then they grow tired of it and just kind of fall off, sometimes they even take a turn for the worst and can be rather mean, when in all actuality they can't even begin to see the amount of strength we are actually showing on a daily basis!

    Thank you for this thread Mr. DiLauro and everyone that took time to share their stories as well. It has been a positive start to my week.
  • davrunnerddavrunner Posts: 479
    edited 03/18/2013 - 6:40 AM
    medical records. If they decide to retire you (either permanent or temporary medical) make a copy of your medical records. Your records will be sent to the VA and it may be very difficult to get a copy later on. Those records will help if you seek treatment from a VA hospital and the fact that you can show the injury occurred while you were in the service it will give you a higher priority in being seen.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • I am so thankful for my pain doctor! She is truly nice, understanding and does whatever she can to help me out. Yes I take hydrocodone and have for a few years. I don't ask for higher and higher dosages and I am willing to try all other things like injections, tens, other meds, pt and whatever else she recommends. It took me a while to get to this point and I feel horrible for others that have rude doctors.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • Well said!!! I think that big guy up above sent you to this girl-----
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