Has ra affected your back? And if so how do you cope with the pain?

Hi I have what my rheumatologist called degenerated discs due to the ra these are in my lower back. Two years ago pain was bad to the point I was given a wheelchair as too much walking increased the pain. I didn't want the wheelchair but without it a short walk left me crying in pain and in bed for days. I get loads of times when I can't sleep with the pain like now! Sometimes the pain can stop me sleeping at all for days even up to a week at its worst. The only way I finally sleep is through being completely worn down to the point it makes me shake throw up and just not really be with it. I am already taking tramadol morphine amytriptiline and gabapentin. I think some of the pain is also from the fibro. At the moment my pain is at It's worst no amount of pain relief is helping nor are the heat pads etc and as I type this I am taking deep breaths to calm me and tears are rolling down my face so any tips on how you cope would be great thanks for listening x x Julie x

9 Replies

Oh bless you, that sounds awful for you Julie. I have back pain but I think it's muscular rather than due to the RA specifically. I think if you have exhausted all pain relief possibilities it may help to try psychological methods. When I was experiencing severe pain (for something else) I was taught to take myself 'away' from it with breathing and some kind of meditation. Sounds wierd I know and believe me I am not into that kind of stuff at all but I was so desperate I gave it a whirl. It has helped since then although I must admit I grab the drugs first!! Have you been referred to a pain clinic already? They may have other suggestions too. How supportive is your GP?

I hope this resolves Julie and you have support from all of us lot here!

Take care xxx


GP is great really supportive, but says there is not much more he can do, he has reffered me for pain managment I have to be on the gabapentin and amytriplenine for 4 months before they can look at other methods, I am having physio treatment to help ease stiffness caused by pain but I have another 7 weeks to go before reviewing my meds again. Doc did mention they could do a longer term epidural or something like that.

So just have to wait and see, the meditation is defo worth a try it has eased a lot today just sleep deprived now so early night in order.

Thanks Lulu I will see if I can get one of the tapes tomorrow from the libary Ive seen them in the past, thanks for the idea.

Julie xxxxx


Hi Julie, I'm so sorry your suffering at the moment it's physically and mentally exhausting is pain. I've only recently started to have a problem with my lower back and that suddenly starts after standing too long or walking too far, considering I can't walk that far anyway it's not good.

Anyway what Lulu said above about psychological methods that can be helpful, my niece went through the whole of her labour using that method so it may be worth a try.

The only other option would be an epidural and the extreme is a spine fusion I say that because someone I know had those options.

Really wish I could help you more, take care.

mand xx


Hi Julie,

I have degeneration in some of the disks in my neck and lower back - this causes pain, also loss of sensation (extreme pins and needles) and sciatica. I use tramadol and amytriptyline at night for my RA pain and these symptoms. Have found mindfulness meditation really helpful - look at the Breathworks website (the woman who started the organisation had intractable back pain) I have bought and use their guided meditation cd's and find them really helpful. As you're aware if you're tense, frightened and miserable the pain is much worse:-(

Keep blogging to get the support that you need,


Cece x


tens machine and lots of pills too.. do exercises to strenghten muscles round spine


hope you feel better soon julie.. take care i meant i when more well do exercises.. you are too poorly at moment.. ask your gp to look at your pain relief..


how bout asking gp.. for short course of sleeping tabs.. at my worse when diagnosed i couldnt lie flat... slept in padded deck chair .sun lounger... and yes i was shaking with pain,, it is so bad!, unless you have been there people dont know how bad it is,, i am speaking from experience julie,, those were v dark days,, i dont wont to go there again..


Thanks everyone! Alison yes I vertually live with the tens machine one lol really does help me.

I am feeling much better today its amazing how much your pain eases after some sleep.

Had a great meeting today with my social worker regards my care etc so even though I felt very tired afterwards (over an hour off questions and form filling) I feel really happy with the way things are moving, all should be sorted within 2 weeks.

I way looking at care in a negative way at first but after today feeling really positive that it will help my family too and support them too.

I just need to balance my energy now and not keep overdoing it thats what makes the pain worse.

I am going to get to the libary this week and look for a meditation tape xx

Thanks everyone again for all your messages xx Julie xx


hello julie i have not long been diagnosed with ra but before that diagnosed with degenerative disc and osteoarthritis of the spine i have been in the same situation as you and have not known where to get for the pain in november i had back operation to release nerves that a degenerated disc were squashing causing unbearable pain in my left leg touch wood since then the pain is now bearable it was my second operation for the same thing but i would advise you to get your self checked out just incase this may be your pain problem the only trouble now is i am wondering if this back trouble of mine is ra and not osteo

i hope that this may help you chin up xxxx


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