Brick wall !

My low back pain rules every aspect of my life, in fact, when I think about it, I don't have a life, so maybe I'm denying my low back pain the opportunity to rule my life.

I recently had facet medial block injections, which didn't work for me, and I was discharged from the pain clinic. I also had a CBT assessment, whereby the psychotherapist nurse said I was probably the most pro-active patient he had ever seen in an assessment in his whole career, which resulted in me being deemed a non suitable candidate for their programme.

I try to sort things out myself. Self help for me has become an obsession, I really am obsessed with this chronic pain thing, but I hit BRICK WALLS every where I go. I do yoga, I visit a chiropractor, I do physio, I have an ultrasound machine, I have a TENS machine, I've had acupuncture, I've been hypnotised, I've had counselling therapy, I go to the hydro-pool, I meditate, I practice mindfulness . . . . . .BRICK WALLS everywhere!

Pain wins every time. I constantly fail and succumb to being crippled, not being able to stand tall, not being able to sleep, and not being able to control my emotions in the workplace.

I work in a macho environment, and it's slightly awkward when a grown man is reduced to tears due to pain spasms. It's horrendous. Then I watch TV, and a vet operates on a dogs spine and gives the dog a new lease of life, and in another programme a GP reduces patients medication and sends her to kung-fu, and she seems to get better.

So my point is, things are happening for other people, and even animals, yet I am stuck with what I've got. I've accepted that it is what it is, but surely there must be an avenue for me to go down. Have I really hit a BRICK WALL? Is this it?

15 Replies

  • Are you married? Have a partner or any close family? Good friends?


  • That's a very scary situation to find yourself in- like being left behind at the start of the sack race, knowing there's some knack but not knowing how to get into it.

    I understand the pain clinic has given up on you?? Also I'm not sure what exactly is causing your pain- old rugby injury or general wear and tear?

    Does back surgery play a part in the future plans?

    As you say yourself- you are very proactive- maybe so much so that the pain has taken over your whole psyche?

    I wonder whether hypnosis might be an option?

    Does anything give you relief - even for short periods?

    Don't give up- there will be a solution somehow/ somewhere for you.

    All the best- you are certainly not alone.

    Relics of sports induced injuries are only beginning to be fully appreciated and will become ever more present as rugby gets more collision oriented evry season.


  • Ffudon

    Expectations too high, objectives should be achievable, remove the brick wall and you avoid the crashes.

    A little bit of self criticism/pity is fine, too much a distraction. You need all your concentration for the fight against pain. Take it on when you are feeling good, give it it's head when you're having a bad one.

    Expressing your pain in social situations is difficult, but there is plenty of compassion out there, even amongst the machos.

    Best Wishes


  • You didn't mention pain medication? And where are you located?

  • An excellent post FFUDON! I totally, totally understand & empathise; I often 'ask' is this it for me? It just doesn't make sense in such an advanced technology & medical world that no one has found a solution to stop this pain. Day after day after day...........can a brain actually withstand such an assault on such a regular basis?? Surely the nerves will eventually 'run out of energy' and cease to send the PAIN signal??

    Like you I've tried all sorts of treatment & therapies; some have/are definitely helping but others either only work short term or not at all. I've also been told I'm very proactive, body-aware & 'engaged' with pain management techniques and strategies BUT I still can't get my head around the fact that there isn't a 'cure' for this.

    My days are interspersed with okay to horrendous both physically & psychologically; I have some expectancy of flares from 'extra' activities but my pain also surprises me on regular occasions by 'acting out of character'. It can hit me without being provoked in any way or it can be as quiet as a butterfly despite being aggravated aggressively; how do I even begin to manage that?

    Generally I don't commit to anything other than hospital/clinic appointments at the moment; I can't as I've only partly an idea of what my pain and other health problems will do. I set small but 'challenging' goals to try to gain some sense of accomplishment. I suppose I've had to accept that THIS IS MY LIFE NOW; I'm very slowly beginning to let go of what I used to be able to do - I'm not very good at it though! Again, whether it's a good or bad day determines the level of achievement for that!

    I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions of what else you could try as you've explored all the main treatments. I would ask to be put back onto the Pain Clinic list though. They should realise that because you're now entering a possible 'breaking point' stage that you need to be monitored psychologically; I find my appointments with the Pain Management Psychologist the most important. It gives me chance to 'vent' my frustrations, fears & ideas about mycurrent situation; she doesn't necessarily have the answers I'm after but I do feel I'm being believed & understood.

    Maybe ask your GP for a referral to your local psychiatric team? I see a psychiatrist regularly as my depression is, in part, caused by my medical conditions & pain. It could be an outlet for you? Maybe a psychotherapist? Counsellor? Talking therapy might be the way forward for you now?


  • RJC, thankyou for your response, it is really helpful and I am engaging with a therapy counsellor. 1 hour a week, and it does help, it gets me out of the house!

    I also go to a slimming world group too. It's quite cheesy to stay and applaud every loss, but it's helped mentally, I've also lost 6 stone this year, through sensible eating alone, and can fit into my international rugby shirts. 23 years ago I ran out of a tunnel in a stadium in Tokyo to play rugby in front of 26,000 spectators, and somedays now I struggle to put a pair of socks on. The contrast from being super fit, to where I am now is hard to accept!

    I think we are in the same boat, and it helps to know I'm not alone. Thanks again, wishing you a pain free week!

  • No it is not. You have to start investigating yourself. This is difficult because you do not know where to start and have to ask stupid questions in order to learn the right questions to ask.

    Meditation and mindfulness is a way forward. This provides some tools with which to look at yourself. "Meditation_A_Way_of_Awakening_-_Ajahn_Sucitto.pdf" is a good book on this subject. Free download from:

    Alexander Technique is another tool to use. This cannot be learnt from books. You need to find an Alexander Teacher to learn from.

    One of the things that is happening now is that there is a realisation in a number of places that much that was taught about muscles and bones before 2007 is wrong.

    google "muscle trains" and google "tensegrity".

    You also need to find out how muscles are designed to work.

    Hope this helps.

  • But harsh that response johnsmith! The OP has said that he/she already practices meditation & mindfulness; I was just suggesting something else or a new angle. For you to say "No it is not......" is quite hurtful to me. Do you know the OP personally?

    I don't think it's anybody's place to dictate what a person should do on here; if you disagree with a comment or if it is categorically incorrect, by all means respond & correct them but surely you should do it tactfully and politely??

    I'm actually confused by your post; what does FFUDON or the rest of us need to investigate by asking "stupid questions"? I'm not wishing to draw you into an argument but the OP was just having a 'vital' vent & is, by reading between the lines, asking for help & support that's all.


  • I was answering the question: "Have I really hit a BRICK WALL? Is this it?".

    Meditation & mindfulness can mean anything. Who you learnt from modifies the meaning considerably.

    I provide information based on my experience. Each person is different with different causes for their particular health difficulty. There is a great deal of information that calls into question what the medical profession does for long term chronic conditions particularly if there is no cure. Often the treatment prescribed is based on a population trial with no attempt to find out where the patient is on the population curve.

    To deal with a chronic health disability we need to investigate ourselves. How we do this is still an unknown. I spent several years not knowing how to handle my health disability before I began to find the right approach.

    You say: "I'm actually confused by your post; what does FFUDON or the rest of us need to investigate by asking "stupid questions"?" In doing any research you need to ask stupid questions so as to learn what the right questions are to ask. Sometimes you have to risk embarrassment by asking stupid questions so that you can get a better grasp of what is happening. When I am learning something new and have no idea of the technical language or the engineering system surrounding a subject I ask many stupid questions. This is a research skill that many trained researchers are comfortable with. It is not a putdown it is having the courage to ask the questions that you need to ask in order for you to gain your understanding of what is going on. It is your investigation and your understanding and no one elses.

    I prefer to be direct. Someone can investigate to see if I have a point to explore or to ignore me. It is their choice.

    Hope I have managed to clarify myself.

  • John,

    I'm grateful for you taking time out to send your messages, and any advice or words of wisdom are appreciated. I actually prefer direct talk.

    I am probably obsessed with finding the impossible, but it's an interesting journey of learning, I'd sooner not be on this journey, but I do think it's fascinating that that in this age the medical professionals accept that they are unable to cure a chronic pain condition. Treatment doesn't always help, and I think finance drives the treatments I am given by the professionals, and those I voluntarily choose to experience. I have personally spent around £5k in the last 2 years on treatments, equipment, medicines and courses. I have learnt more about pain and learnt that no professional individual can prescribe a cure. Self help is vital, but I feel for those who aren't able to afford the routes I've been down, and have to rely entirely on the NHS and the 10 minute slot with the overworked GP.

    I'm also very grateful to RJC for his wise words and would like to thank you both for showing an interest, it really is appreciated.

    Wishing you a pain free week.

  • Thanks for the reply. I to, would not like to have learnt what I have had to learn.

    I agree with you about no one treatment works. I engage in a multitude of treatments for want of a better word all which do not involve taking medication for pain.

    There is no cure for my condition and as I get older it gets more difficult to control. I have found that there are approaches that can be adopted in order to reduce the risk of increased pain and discomfort. This is to develop a metaphor of how you body works so that you can make predictions of what will happen when certain events occur. The metaphor of how the body works may not meet the scientific accuracy of the expert but it works.

    A cure for my condition does not exist and to ask for one is to ask the impossible. However, I do ask what is the best way to manage my condition to keep my pain and discomfort as low as possible? What is the best way to manage my condition so that I can still contribute to society? I have had to learn that my reduced ability to handle stress requires the development of management skills to avoid certain types of stress or to prepare well for certain types of stress when they occur.

    All the best.

  • Check your vitamin D blood levels FFUDON as low or deficient vitamin D blood levels can often cause lower back pain, once I was on a safe high dose of 5000iu of vitamin D3 my lower back pain and other pains surprisingly went over night.

    (not saying your lower back is down to vitamin D levels, but an idea to check it out maybe ?)

  • Hi Ffudon

    I'm really sorry to hear you're in so much pain and feel as though there's no help out there for you

    I also suffer from lower back pain and sciatica. I have arthritis in my spine, as well as three crushed discs. I had surgery a year ago on my spine for spinal stenosis, which has helped the sciatica, but there's nothing they can do for my spine. Unfortunately I also fell badly recently, so the sciatica is back and my back pain has increased.

    I take Tramadol, Naproxen and Pregabalin, and I hate to think of what my pain level would be without them, cos it's bad enough with them. What medication are you taking?


  • Thankyou for your message.

    I am taking naproxen, (500mg, 1 twice a day), methocarbamol, (750mg, 2 four times a day), pregabalin, (75mg, 1 twice a day) and buprenorphine, (25mcg, a 7 day patch - to be gradually increased to 40mcg).

    I am like you, things are bad with this cocktail, but I would hate to be without it!

    Wishing you a pain free week

  • You too 🙂