What to try next

Anyone out there with suggestions of what I can bring up with my pain clinic doctor is much appreciated. I've had chronic pain from 2 lower back prolapsed discs for 14 years. I maintained quite well for several years with swimming and exercise up until a flare up just over 5 years ago that just won't settle down enough to manage. I've been going through the pain clinic for around 4 years or so. They tried facet joint injections but they stopped having any effect after the first lot. Tried biomechanic, TENS, massage, chiropractor, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, magnetic treatments, heat, cold, plates, yoga, relaxation breathing, and many more. The doctor isn't sure what to try next, so has opted for aromatherapy massage.

Tramadol makes me I'll, so does ibuprofen based meds. Taking dihydrocodiene, diazepam, dicloflenac, nefopam and nortryptiline. The pain is just getting steadily worse though and is really impacting my life and mental state. I'm still working full time and my boss is great if I need to work from home when the pain is bad, this is getting more frequent just now. Spent the weekend mainly in tears with the amount of pain. Can anyone suggest anything I can discuss with the doctor please?


16 Replies

  • I've got nothing practical to suggest but you do need to let your pain clinic know exactly what's going on. There are stronger meds that you can be offered. I'm on long acting morphine whcih takes the edge off but I'm having to keen increasing it. Its not a pleasant drug to take.

    I fully empathises with your condition as your story is similar. Managed condition for years then flare up 6 years ago.

    Is your job such that you can work more from home ? Then you can work when the pain is manageable. And try to keep up some sort of exercise . I've got worse and worse the less I can exercise.

    Sazntef I do feel for you. I hope you can get the pain at least bearable soon.


  • Thanks Dee, I've am appointment next week to see the doc and we can hopefully discuss other med options. I do work and my company allow me to work from home when I need, which is fantastic. I'm a bit worried about moving to opiate based meds for the drowsiness I've been told they cause. All my current meds have no side effects like this anymore.

    Exercise isn't the easiest, seems that every little thing I try to do knocks me back for the following few days. Still push myself though as I'm stubborn and just don't learn.

    Hope you're finding something that helps too


  • Try Alexander Technique. This deals with posture and the influence posture and muscle behaviour has on reducing pain and discomfort.

    Try McTimony chiropractor for general maintenance to deal with muscle spasms which cause pain and discomfort due to referred pain. This is a very gentle technique.

    I use both McTimony chiropractor and Alexander Technique. I also use Meditation and mindfulness to help to more aware of how mental states affect muscle behaviour and how muscle behaviour affects mental states. The interaction between muscles and mental state can develop into positive feedback loops which is not broken can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort.

    I have found no one therapeutic input is enough as each therapy does slightly different things.

    The thing to watch out for is the inflammation of tissue caused by muscle behaviour. You can do a task with no immediate ill effect. A few hours later as bruised tissue swell and reduce the amount of room available in a body structure pain and discomfort can arise arise.

    It is no good asking a doctor about what works or does not they do not know. You have to do your own investigation into what causes pain and discomfort and what does not. You also need to investigate what may not have immediate effects but can cause pain and discomfort at a later time.

    McTimony chiropractor, Alexander Technique. Meditation and mindfulness are all useful for the investigation of your own body's behaviour.

    Hope this helps

  • Thanks for this advice. The Alexander Technique looks to have a lot in common with biomechanic principles. Looking to see if there's anyone in the area that does this though. There looks to be one McTimothy chiropractor in Edinburgh, but prices are a little high for me just now. Will try to put something aside and work towards that.

    The pain clinic provided a relaxation guide. Really good cd that takes you through various breathing and relaxation exercises to control the pain. I still practice this and it's taught me to use controlled breaths rather than the instinctive breath hold when moving and getting waves of pain.

  • Hi John, finally found an Alexander Technique teacher in the area and had my first session today.  What he was saying made a lot of sense and the immediate corrections he pointed out should help as I retrain my posture. I have weekly sessions booked in for a little while and really hoping that it's going to help me work towards some relief from this horrible pain.  I know the pain meds are only masking the pain itself and won't fix the underlying issue.  Tried so many things,  hopefully I can get a few to work together to get me back into maintenance. 



  • Thanks for the reply letting me know.  It will good to know how this progresses.   How much different was it from what you imagined it to be.  Still remember my first lesson when I believed it to be one thing before the lesson and had experienced something different what I could ever have considered.

  • It certainly wasn't quite what I expected.  He narrowed down very quickly the main areas of problem in my back and is concerned by how afraid I am off it. We made a start on standing and sitting with even the first few things he suggested taking some of the searing pain from my leg.  I have a few more sessions booked in,  so fingers crossed we can work towards some improvement. Thanks again for the suggestion 



  • get a tens machine

  • how did u get on with tens machine

  • The Tens is not bad, it used to provide good relief, but unfortunately is another thing that's having less effect

  • Oh dear what a shame. What sort of pain are you trying to cope with?

  • The pain is worst across my back at the belt line, radiating up to my left shoulder, badly through my hip and through my left leg into my foot. On a really good day the pain stops around knee level

  • Do you use anything to help with the pain? Have yo tried anythnig that did or did not help?

  • Among the list of things tried are:. the pain clinic about 4 years or so ago. Tried facet joint injections but they stopped having any effect after the first lot Then heated needles in the facet joint injections (burn the nerve ending to block the feedback cycle) but only worked once, no relief on attempts 2 and 3. Tried biomechanic, TENS, massage, chiropractor, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, magnetic treatments, heat, cold, pilates, yoga, relaxation breathing, aromatherapy massage, baths,

  • You seem to have tried everything. Which worked best for you?

  • Is there no surgical option available to you?

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