Chronic Pain!

Hi everyone,

I'm quite new to this and I'm seeking some advice.

I'm 26 years old and about 3 years ago I started to get a pain in my lower back, this then became a severe pain over time. Over the last three years the pain has spread all up my spine, in between my shoulders and in my neck. The pain has also spread down into my hip, knee and leg. The pain is so severe in my lower back, hip, neck and knee and is getting worse and worse. Has anyone had any similar experiences and any advice?

My doctors have prescribed me Tramadol (400mg daily) and I have been on them for about 2 years. They don't let me sleep when I take them, they keep me awake all night. Has anyone else have this effect?

Also, my GP has referred me to a specialist pain clinic and wondered if anyone had any experience with pain clinics and what Ii should expect?

Sorry for al the questions! I'm at a point of desperation.

Thanks in advance :-)

28 Replies

  • Hi Fraser

    Welcome to the board.

    Sorry to hear you're in such bad pain. Have you been given an MRI scan? I'm on Tramadol and it doesn't seem to interfere with my sleep, but I've read a lot of posts from people who say that it does. I'm also on Pregabalin and Naproxen. I had an operation a year ago September for spinal stenosis, but still have three crushed vertebrae at the base of my spine and arthritis in my spine, plus in a few other places. Need a body transplant really!

    There are times when the pain in my lower back is very bad, and when that's not hurting the pain is down my right leg, ie sciatica.

    I've never been referred to a pain clinic so can't help you there. I hope you find them of help. I've been referred for further physiotherapy for my back. Have you had physio?

    Back pain is a tricky thing as you can get referred pain, so it can be difficult to work out where the problem is without an MRI.

    Hope you get something sorted.

  • Hi ,,I don't know were you're living I.e Uk or other but over here UK I find that the docs are reluctant to do m.r.i's unless you're diein !!! It took me well over 6 months to get that all important m.r.i wen they finally did they phoned me at home the next day to say get straight to hospital had my first op that night and another within a month and another 6 months later Feb,march,Sept !!! Won't let them near me again ,still have the sciatica,left foot feels encased in ice !!! I'm sure they wouldn't treat their nearest n dearest like that !!!

    so sorry for the rant I'm just mad at them test is all they had t do n the rest of my life will never b the same ,,Now have cauda equina syndrome!!!

    I hope your new year is a better one,thankyou for this post xxx

  • Hello fraser700 and welcome aboard. Wealth of experience here from fellow chronic painers but no diagnosis. We can offer you support and advice using what we have been through and hope it helps.

    I too take Tramadol but a fairly low dose. Never had any difficulty sleepinng but have heard ohers say same as you.

    No mobiles in bedroom or TV - that will take away lots of stress and calm you for sleep!

    People who have been to pain clinics report mixed emotions and amounts of help.

    Few pointers. Go with a completely open mind. They can't work miracles and the majority of those who attend never get a diagnosis. Yes everyone wants to know why they hurt like they do but if you do get a diagnosis well done.

    Take someone with you.

    You will be asked lots of questions about your meds, what has or hasn't worked and levels of pain. When your apt comes through start a pain diary about a week before you go. Be honest and if walking scores 10 then write it down. If standing =0 then note that too.

    They have assorted cocktail of drugs and it can take months and longer to find something which suits you.

    Alternative therapies may be offered...acupuncture helps as does physio.

    You may be told about groups where an expert will talk to you about one aspect of pain. Or thos in the group talk. Some people find this helps. Others it depresses too much.

    You should be told about managing your pain. Pacing yourself. Coping and alternative life style to the one you are used to.

    Don't shout at the pain team!!! Don't be disappointed if you don't get the answers you hoped. Stick with it and never give up.

    David has a lifelong membership and now 30 years into their gentle guiding ways.


  • You won't get a diagnosis if you don't insist. I was told by a pain specialist that it was something I would have to live with but like I said if I had cardiovascular decease is that something I would be told I'd have to live with????? NO. Please read my reply to Fraser. Like I said to MumofSam Trust me. And like I said to Fraser come off the Tramadol it is an "opiate".

  • Chronic pain is often where the original injury has healed many years previously. It could result from a long forgotten childhood injury too.

    Yes I understand your post but there are still more people without a diagnosis than there are who have one.


  • You are so right and I am one who hasn't had an MRI just needles and cotton wool believe it or not from a pain specialist and because I didn't feel what he was doing at the time on a particular spot Voila must be neuropathic pain. At the time my back was burnt with the hot water bottle I strapped to my back as the burning wasn't as bad as the pain. I started off on a tens machine which did work for a while until the feeling started to come back.


  • "Like I said to MumofSam Trust me."

    Did you reply to me Hidden? I've not seen anything?

    Tramadol is a synthetic opiate and is not believed to be addictive which is why it is widely used. I have another condition, Restless Legs Syndrome, which is almost completely cured by taking Tramadol but goes haywire if I stop to the point of total torture. Tramadol is used by many people, with great success, who have RLS. I'm not sure how good it is for pain relief, but dread to think what state I'd be in if I wasn't taking it, along with Pregabalin and Naproxen. I don't think I'd be able to function.

    If people find something that works for them, don't try to persuade them to switch to something else! You're not a medical professional.

  • Sorry for your pain and totally understand where you are coming from, I have recently seen a pain specialist at the river's private hospital where my orphapedic surgeon suggested my GP should refer me to as I suffer with crps . The specialist was very nice and I'm having treatment in Jan / Feb I will be having a lot of injections starting in my lower back down my hip and leg to block my main nerve . I don't know if it will work as everyone is different I'm on a lot of medication and nothing is working .

  • Littlemole43, I hope your treatment works for you. Be very careful of the meds you are on as a lot of painkillers belong to the "opiate" family. Please read my reply to Fraser.


  • Thank you and I did read your reply to Fraser . I know I should try to come off my Meds but I can't help reaching for them when I'm in cronic pain. It gets so bad I'm screaming in pain . I'm so low at the moment I've lost all pride in myself and make no effort. I've put on weight and spend my days in frumpy clothes and hair tied back .in can't see anything positive in my life . I can't go out on my own and now I don't want to go out . I don't see a light in my dark tunnel.

  • Littlemole43, I felt and still do feel the same way. I don't have many friends now as stopped going out. I spent my days in night ware, honestly, never mind changing into anything lol. But I do understand you turning to your painkillers I did same for 4 years but not anymore.I still don't make an effort as the "Opiates" take sometime to get right out the system. Getting clean was no easy fete either, Littlemole43. I so wanted to take more of the tablets but I didn't as I so wanted rid of them. I didn't see anything positive in my life either just pain and ache that brought me so down. Some days I just cried and cried then I thought there has to be more to my existence than this. So I went on You tube and I swear to heavens it changed me. Please do same for you and get out of that dark tunnel. There only for trains anyway.

    Alison x

  • I had years of pain in my back and it wasn't until my GP retired and I got a new one that I was sent for an MRI. He couldn't believe that I had not been sent before! Outcome was that I had crushed discs in my lower back and bulging facets. He referred me to a specialist who injected my spine. The result was fantastic but only lasted six weeks. He then advised surgery to fuse my spine and put in artificial spacers between my discs. Had this done in May if this year with a three month recovery. I can honestly say it's the best thing I've done. . I know there are risks and it doesn't work for everyone but it was a chance I was prepared to take. I'm not a great believer in pain management course but it does work for some.

    Insist on an MRI - they can't know what is wrong without it. If your GP won't refer you, change GP's. Good luck and fingers crossed for you!

  • Hi Julierone, I just loved your word INSIST. There was a time if a doctor told me to stand on my head I would have. But not now. The pain management course did nothing for me. I haven't had an MRI- but will be insisting when I see this back specialist. I did ask the pain specialist for one and an Operation as the pain in my back was debilitating. My Medication was put up and prescribed Lidocaine patches. I learned the meds I was on was actually an "OPIATE" and I was never informed of this. I came off same and went through a week of sheer hell near climbing the walls. I have replied to Fraser which I hope you will read. So happy for you the operation worked.

    Alison xx

  • Good for you. Prior to the op I was passing blood due to long term use of various pain killers and anti inflammatories. Not using any now and my life is so much better! Let me know how it goes!!!

  • And well done to you too.

  • Fraser, Tramadol is from the "opiate" family and can be habit forming, were you told this? I was prescribed dehydrocodiene and was on them for 4 years - another "opiate" and I came off them because I found this out. I now self help and the first thing to do is get the inflammation down by swallowing turmeric (I take the capsules which are organic) and I rub turmeric essential oil onto my back's sore point. Sounds like you have nerve damage. Since I came off the painkillers my pain came back ten fold as painkillers only mask the problem and I have since asked my doctor to refer me to a back specialist as I want to know - and you should too what EXACTLY is the problem so that you can get the right treatment.You tube will tell you all about back pain, nerves etc with a wealth of knowledge. I have very little if no pain self medicating without any meds being taken - only herbal which have no side effects and are great for the body. Please Fraser wean off the Tramadol they are from the "opiate" family. And address all your issues by getting a specialist to have a look at you and learn to listen to your body and what helps and what doesn't. instead of Tramadol get a topical gel Lidocaine 5% from your doctor- that does the same job as the Patches which are 5% as well. Only a pain Specialist can prescribe the Patches. There are many recipes on You Tube on how to make your own pain relieving lotions or creams. I have been told I have neuropathic pain (nerve) which sounds like what you have too. Please wean off the Tramadol which shan't be pleasant as I found stopping the dehydrocodiene another "opiate" but I am clean now as you should be and feel proud. All the very best Fraser and try your own topical numbing creams or lotions which you can use when ever you feel the need but firstly get the inflammation down. That's a massive bonus.


  • Just what is it you have against Opiates? Yes they CAN become habit forming but they're also a 'lifeline' for a lot of people!

    I've got a diagnosis and use various low, medium & high strength opioids. I'm in no way 'addicted' nor do I self medicate.

    Are you actually aware of the current NICE guidelines on medication for Chronic Pain? - diagnosed or not?

    I'm in no way prompting an argument here but your posts warning people about totally legal, prescribed medication could cause a frenzy of panic! Your organic, natural approach to pain relief is commendable and using it as an example is fine but let's not go scaring people into cold turkey hey!!


  • Thank-you. I responsibly use my narcotic painkiller, never take extra even when crazed from the pain. Have used them in different forms for the better part of twenty years. Now however, everyone's an addict, period. Very aggravating. Yes, I will be sick if I stop cold turkey, but people, unless I tell them, don't realise I use the evil opiates. Misuse of anything is a problem, just saying.

  • I have had chronic pain for 3years and all my doctor has done is put me on amytripeline, naptoxen, dicloflex, and codeine. They referred me to maxilo facial but cant find what is causing my pain. All they do is up my dosage of everything. Most days in that doped up I cant even hold or play with my one year old son 😔

  • Did your doctor tell you codiene is from the "opiate" family and addictive? Insist on a specialist and get to the bottom of your pain. Go on You tube where there is a wealth of knowledge about pain. Please read my reply to Fraser. All the best.


  • Have you had any epidural injections into your back for pain ?

  • Hi my pain in my lower back started in 2008 I worked in a warehouse manual handling heavy stock being told to load my trolley up and rushing to put 21 lines away per hour one day in 2008 I had just finished putting 3 pallets 96 boxes away bending up and down continuously as I walked of I started to get intense shooting pains in my lower back shooting up every 2 mins I worked 5 hrs of my 6 he shift until I broke down crying as the pain was unbearable I was put on amitripiline to relax my muscles and to help me sleep the shooting pain went straight away I was off work for 2 years I had injections been on all sotts of medication until I was stable I went back to work under the impression of doing light duties I found out this was only temporary it lasted 2 weeks then I was put on heavy stock again my boss said I'm working your back back into the job I told my husband and he said how can your boss work your back back into the job you've got a back problem and they should realise this which they never as even though I was back at work it was still there the pain and now it's back but worse I've been off work since December 2013 and I had another Mir scan saying I have a bulging disc touching the nerves I can walk up to 30 mins before throbbing pain becomes more intense I have to stop and rest also standing affects it and if I sit down for 15 to 20 mins I have to move as I get shooting pain in my bum top of my legs and travelling down my legs into my feet I'm not going back to work as I can't do my job and they can't find any other job that does not involve lifting and bending I've had a medical through work in Aug this year and they haven't contacted me since I also have a copy I'm with us daw Union and they done nothing I've worked there for 14 yrs and I believe they are waiting for me to give my notice which I'm not I'm thinking of going to citizens advice centre this is a big essay hope this helps

  • I think you should be threatening your employer with legal action! You should have had a back to work interview after your first two year break, and at that time it should have been sorted that you could not do any manual handling, ever. They have been negligent towards you. Have you spoken to your personnel department? Definitely go to Citizen's Advice. Good luck!

  • Thanks for the info they have just ignored that I have a back problem had me in the office for not getting my 20 lines an hour I was really stressed all the time my employer just kept pushing me putting me back on heavy stock after 4 wks as they said it's only temporary and done the same again the second time Aldi I was getting bullied by 2 employers that I reported I've been on sick since 3 Dec 2013 I think they are waiting for me to give my notice I went for a medical through work on 9 Aug this year and I've not heard from them thanks for your advice what should I do I had a Mir scan on 25 October and I have a bulging disc touching nerve

  • Lower back, hip, leg and knee pain can be down to low or deficient vitamin D blood levels.

  • i have spinal stenosis and sciatica,,Screamed with pain till I found my miracle.. OUTBACK Pain Relief. Google it and use it. When I do I am pain free and it is all natural, made of three oils.Hope it works for you like it works for all my friends and thousands of others. the roll on is 19 dollars. I just order 4 because I am so afraid They will run out. Amazon ran out days ago, don'y know if they restocked yet but you can go directly to their website and order. Truly, I was on oxy and hyro and I threw them away, Yhis stuff is miraculous. Good luck to you.

  • I couldn't take Tramadol, but found the Pain Clinic very good. I now get 2 injections every 6 months or so. One is Cortison the other a nerve blocker. I take when I need them Dihydocodein/paracetamol, 30mg/500 .You just become a regular to the clinic, The injections are done with a local and are not really painfull. All the best .


  • Hi there fraser 700.

    The pain clinic is not good for everyone.

    When I attended there was about a group of about 13 of us. But before I joined the meeting I was asked a lot about what meds I take, how my pain was on a daily basis. What made the pain worse and what helped to ease the pain. How my pain restricted my day to day life. This meeting was with a physio and phycologist and they decided if I reached the cryteria to attend the course.

    At the meetings we all had different pain levels and affecting different parts of our body.

    It was nice to meet other people worth chronic pain, made me feel that ìm the only person who feels like this (as I'm sure there has been times that you have felt isolated and alone, so the meeting helped in that way.

    They showed how to use different technics to help the pain.

    When Doing daily tasks they told us to do little and often, and if we didn't get things done straight there is no problem in not finishing the task we set out to do.

    The course lasted 12 weeks and each one lasted for 3 hours and in my opinion only ,I thought the course could have been halfed as a lot of what they were telling us was common sense. As if I'm in pain I don't push myself to far, but if having a good day you do more jobs. So I felt the course didn't learn me anything but that's just me others felt it helped them. So just go in with an open mind.

    Debbs ☺

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