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Young dad struggling to keep going with chronic pain
Old 05-09-2016, 12:50 PM   #1
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Young dad struggling to keep going with chronic pain

Iím a 34 year old guy and Iíve been suffering from back pain between my shoulder blades for the last 4 years. Iíve seen dozens of doctors in various specialties, I even went to the Mayo Clinic in 2012, but I still have no diagnosis and no effective way to manage the pain. Tried an assortment of prescriptions, injections, physical therapy, massage, foam/ma rollers, chiropractors, TENS, and others, but nothing has measurably reduced my pain. Scans and tests are all clean. Generally I like exercising, it is not painful, but I havenít found that it gives me any lasting relief. Sometimes the pain is sharp on one side of the spine or the other, other times itís just a general sense of discomfort across the whole region. Sometimes the muscles are tender back there, other times not. Often it is 3-5 level pain for hours a day, almost most every day.

There was no accident or event that caused this Ė the problem developed over time after I had developed some really bad sciatica. The sciatic went away by itself after 3 years but the upper back pain continued. I originally thought the pain was associated with working on the computer and maybe it was originally, but now itís expanded to the point where sitting at a keyboard doesnít seem to matter. I find my open-floor plan work area uncomfortable (though my job itself is not stressful) and if I was sure that my work was the problem, Iíd quit tomorrow, but that seems like a high-risk gamble. Iíve cut out extra computer/tablet

In 2015 I had mostly given up on getting medical help and was just bearing it on my own. Then DW got pregnant. It was planned and something we wanted Ė I could not put living our life on hold forever, and at the time the pain seemed tolerable at least. We had a beautiful son in the summer of 2015.

I ended up with daycare duty because the only one we could get into was at my office, and its 30 miles from where DW works so she canít help with that. Within a week of starting daycare my pain was worse. I was paying attention to posture and lifting and itís not the act of lifting him that hurts Ė it just started hurting worse throughout the day at the same time he started daycare. It also expanded more into interfering with my sleep. Often I will wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to get comfortable. Or I will wake up first thing in the morning in pain.

I have times where the pain is low/none, sometimes an afternoon, sometimes a whole day, so I know what it feels like to not have pain. But I canít find the pattern of the times when I feel better. I get maybe one of these days a week. Itís often a weekend day but not always. I estimate I spend ~75% of my waking hours in some sort of pain. It is just too damn much pain.

I donít have the energy or patience to give my wife and son the love they deserve and I just donít know what to do about it.
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:17 PM   #2
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I've suffered from chronic pain for years, but the reasons are apparent in an MRI and EMG. My pain came on suddenly and was pretty intense. It took me two years to find an effective treatment regime of physical therapy, facet joint injections, cervical epidurals, exercises, and muscle relaxers and occasional Vicodin.
All I can suggest is be persistent with your doctors and try new ones until they find the problem. Make them listen. Keep a log of your pain and what you were doing when it appeared to see if any pattern shows up. I've heard some people have success with acupuncture for certain kinds of pain. I also have a friend where they couldn't pinpoint a cause and treated him for fibromyalgia and did get some relief. Just don't give up.


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Old 05-09-2016, 01:18 PM   #3
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I don't have any answers, I hope you continue to do the best you can and can find some comfort.
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:28 PM   #4
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soup, that sounds awful. I am so sorry to hear that this has really colored your life and made what should be a happy time for your family one that is marked by terrible pain.

I am starting week 3 of a similar upper-back pain of undetermined origin, though I suspect it is actually migraine/tension headaches that have migrated down to my back. It sucks royally, and really affects my mood and temperament. Your years of unsatisfactory tests and treatments did not do much to improve my outlook, I confess.

I wish I had some suggestions for you, but mostly I offer sympathy and a small bit of understanding of what it feels like. I hope you will keep pursuing alternative treatments and that you are able to find something that gives you relief.
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:32 PM   #5
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I had sciatica for about 6 months, 31 years ago, and then it disappeared.....it returned, with the proverbial vengeance, while we were in Spain last month.

Since our doctor has relocated, and we can't find another, ("All Hail, the wonderful Ontario Medical System"), the day after our return I spent 8 hours, (waiting), in Emergency at our local hospital....had a couple x-rays, ("a little hip/lower back arthritis...take some ibuprofen and, with luck, it might (eventually) go away").

Right now I'm doing some cobbled together (half-assed) yoga/pilates......feels good while I'm exercising, but comes back afterward.

Figure I'll try this approach for a couple weeks, and if it doesn't work I'll try an osteopath/chiropractor.

Good luck, and I hope you (and I) find relief.
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:32 PM   #6
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Medical marijuana?

Pain management specialist?

Exploratory surgery?
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:40 PM   #7
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Very sorry to hear what you are going through. I have never had chronic pain, but I thought you might find this episode interesting.
BBC One - Doctor in the House, Episode 2
You most likely need some kind of web proxy to be able to watch this show from the US. This show is about a man who suffered from chronic pain (he was on heavy pain killers) and during the episode, at the urge of his house doctor, he went to a renowned specialist (who I think practiced in London, but my memory is vague on this) who examined the spine alignment, etc and gave him some simple exercises to perform at home, and he miraculously recovered from the decade long pain. Maybe you could try looking into something like that? You mentioned physical therapy, but this looked totally different from anything I've seen. Maybe he was just one special doctor, I don't know.
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Old 05-09-2016, 02:45 PM   #8
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Sorry to hear about your struggle with pain. I know two others living with chronic nerve pain. My mom suffers from post herpetic neuralgia from the shingles she had over a year ago. A friend has an entrapped nerve in her shin from an injury, and no surgeries or other treatments have helped.

Mom recently started using Lidocaine patches on her back. She says they help some, but make her sleepy so she doesn't want to use them much during the day. She's 86, so the sedative effect might be stronger on her than on a younger person.
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Old 05-09-2016, 03:07 PM   #9
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It is amazing how few answers our medical system has and not all the answers are good ones. My Mother suffered from a variety of unanswered pains much of her life.

Some suggestions if you haven't tried:
- Anti Inflammatory diet. If that doesn't help, keep going and get rid of nightshades for awhile (look up what is considered a night shade). Tomatoes can inflame my body.

- Check out Roll Model or Miracle Balls on Amazon. I have had relief with Miracle Balls and recently got the Book on Roll Model and am trying some of the therapies. Home - The Roll Model
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Old 05-09-2016, 03:20 PM   #10
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A good friend has had chronic pain most of her life. She went for quite a few years in severe 24/7 misery, seeing a number of rheumatologists until she found one who could actually help her. It completely changed her life around, and has been able to deal successfully with it for a couple of decades now.

Don't give up.
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Old 05-09-2016, 03:23 PM   #11
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I've experienced similar and gotten partial relief from changing bed pillows, specifically stacking two pillows helped. If you already use two pillows, reduce it to one. It takes experimentation. Observe if changing the height changes the pain severity.
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Old 05-09-2016, 03:31 PM   #12
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My ex had/has awful back pain. There were only two things that helped him:

1) muscle relaxers, which knocked him out and meant he slept his life away - - not satisfactory! or,

2) a very, very excellent chiropractor. He went to the chiropractor used by a high dollar football team locally, and apparently they chose the best.

Back surgery and other treatments did not help him. I wish he had improved his diet, to include less beer and more vitamins from fresh fruits and vegetables, but that's a hard thing to impose on some men.

I am so sorry to read of your continual pain. I don't have a bad back, but I have thrown my back out two or three times and the pain is so intense. Hoping that you find some way to alleviate it.
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Old 05-09-2016, 03:38 PM   #13
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How I feel for you!

Don't laugh, but has any Dr. measured your legs to be sure they are the same length? A discrepancy of a centimeter or more can be invisible to you and others, yet cause your whole "frame" to go out of whack - like a car whose frame isn't true. Some muscles get over-used, while others are under-used. The over-used muscles complain.

A modest discrepancy can be treated with shoe orthopedics and targeted exercises.

Anyway, just a thought.
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Old 05-09-2016, 03:46 PM   #14
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Keep going dude! This is temporary, medical science will improve, and time will allow you to better understand and therefore better treat your pain. I would smoke a joint in the meantime and then seek out experts and others with this issue.

I had bad back pain for a while but nothing like this.

Your wife and kid are counting on you brotha!
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Old 05-09-2016, 03:49 PM   #15
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It's hard to believe that you've gone thru so many doctors and procedures without help. Houston is one of the top medical communities too.

My wife has suffered with skeletal problems since age 28. We have to go to the next state over to find a really high quality Pain Management Clinic. She sees an anasthesiologist M.D. with a fellowship in pain management. Not all pain specialists are created equal. THERE IS SOMEONE OUT THERE THAT CAN HELP YOU.

Remember that back injections do work, but they've got to be given via flouroscope and in series of 3--a month apart. My wife takes Morphine Sulfate 3x per day, and she'd be an invalid without it and a # of other meds. Such meds stop her pain, but she still has to fill in with over the counter pain killers between taking he morphine. Serious pain meds make those not in pain goofy, but they don't act that way on those that are in serious pain. It sure beats a nursing home.

You have so much to look forward to in life than having to put up with a debilitating back problem. Keep trying to find that physician that will help you. He's out there.
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Old 05-09-2016, 04:05 PM   #16
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Google Dr. John Sarno and read his books. Not everybody is open to his ideas on psychosomatic pain, but give it a try.
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Old 05-09-2016, 04:10 PM   #17
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Perhaps consider acupuncture?

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Old 05-09-2016, 04:37 PM   #18
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Another suggestion is the Egoscue method. He specializes in physiotherapy for chronic pain and has written a couple of books. I have "Pain Free" and find it really works for me (I have different pain, but still chronic pain.)

He even has a clinic in Houston. Houston, TX

I also find that eating an anti-inflammatory diet helps too. Basically minimize sugar and wheat intake, and eat lots of fruits/veg.
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Old 05-09-2016, 04:57 PM   #19
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Another vote for Egoscue. He looks at the body the way a mechanical engineer would.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spudd View Post
Another suggestion is the Egoscue method. He specializes in physiotherapy for chronic pain and has written a couple of books. I have "Pain Free" and find it really works for me (I have different pain, but still chronic pain.)

He even has a clinic in Houston. Houston, TX

I also find that eating an anti-inflammatory diet helps too. Basically minimize sugar and wheat intake, and eat lots of fruits/veg.
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Old 05-09-2016, 05:02 PM   #20
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You said you tried chiropractic but read up on Upper Cervical adjustments using the Blair Procedure: Blair Chiropractic Society - Home
The adjustment is unlike other chiropractic adjustments. It has helped tremendously with my vertigo and lower back pain and could possibly help with your problems.
The only problem is there aren't many chiropractors that use the Blair procedure. Fortunately for you there are several in Texas.
Good luck and don't give up.
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