Yet another pain

Hi, I have had chronic pain for 20 odd years - mostly related to degenerative spinal disease and fibromyalgia. I have had 2 spinal ops & related metal work. I also have a spinal scoliosis.

A few years back I fractured a vertebra in a fall and it took over a year before I could persuade any dr to believe it was a new & different pain & MRI. Now I have another new pain below my right shoulder which is making it almost impossible to straighten my spine I.e. not to bend forwards, and the pain on movement is excruciating. It is nearly impossible to get a GP appointment and past experience makes me believe that I'll be told 'well it's just chronic pain.' I wonder if I have simply pulled a muscle reaching for something high up - I'm not very tall.

I am usually pretty stoic. After all this time I have to be. But this is making me want to sit and cry. I don't think there's much I can realistically do about this but sometimes it's good to share with people who know how it feels.

16 Replies

  • Sorry to hear about all your years of pain. Sometimes, I think we need a good cry.



  • It's nearly impossible to get a GP appointment . . . .

    Is this because you want to see a particular GP? As far as I'm aware, you can request an emergency appoinment and should be seen by the doctor covering emergencies that day. You would have to see the GP who was 'on call' and not the one of your choice. Otherwise we can make same day appoinments over phone or in person with reception at 8.30am Mon-Fri at our practice. Appointments for the following week are given out from 4pm Weds.


  • The only way to do that realistically at my surgery is to physically go to surgery and queue, hoping that there is an appointment available. Getting through by phone in time to actually get an appointment ? Never yet managed it! Nor can you normally make appointments ahead.

  • Yes that's what we do here. Reception opens 8.30am and the practice at 8. So people go and queue as it's the only way to guarantee you get an appointment. I got there at 8.25 on Friday and got a 9.40am appointment with the GP I wanted to see. You can't guarantee getting through on the phone. If you get through at 9.30 or 10 all the appointments could be gone and you can only be seen if emergency such as severe throat infection or chest infection that needs antibiotic or in severe new pain.

    Another thing we can do is phone and ask to speak to the doctor and they arrange a phone call back. If you don't want to do that then all that's left to consider I think would be a brief letter describing the new pain and when it came and ask advice.

    I had a new severe pain in my right shoulder and was sent for an xray. I'd been sleeping on my right side because my left hip arthritis is worse than my right and had been playing up. Can't sleep on my back due to throat and breathing problems (and LOUD snoring! ). Xray revealed arthritis. Was given Amytryptiline which I was terrified to take in case I didn't wake up when I had breathing problem. Finally took some as I had sleep depravation with the pain. Only short term tough. GP said don't sleep on the right side, sleep on the left.

    Hope you find out what's happened to your shoulder soon. It's not just the pain is it. Your spine has been affected too, so needs checking out by doc don't you think? Even if muscular. Don't let past experience put you off. I'd never get there if I did. I used to , so stuff I suffered which should be on my records isn't. All the best.


  • They say you should always sleep on your left side anyway. Try raising your mattress by about 6inches, you can get wedges. Amytryptiline is very good for pain and sleep and start on a low dose of 10mg. Also try Magnesium which is good for sleep.

  • I was going to mention that but thought my reply was getting a bit long !!


  • Hi jennies, Most of us on this forum have chronic pain so we know what you are going through. The problem is that you have to wait so long to see your GP and get one that probably doesn't know anything about you so you spend all of your allotted 10 minutes explaining that you have Fibromyalgia and its related problems. By this time they are ready to chuck you out. I have found it is far easier to manage pain yourself although it is not easy. If you have a scoliosis you only have to twist or move out of place and you will have problems. It takes a few weeks for this particular inflammation to settle down. The pain isn't always in the same place either, I have found. I get this stabbing pain right where my bra strap would fasten, in my spine, due to a scoliosis. Sometimes this localised so I know what it is and sometimes it comes round under my ribs and sometimes it goes up and into my neck. A nice warm heat pad at night helps. But it takes time for inflammation to calm down. Hope this helps a bitX

  • Thanks everyone. I can't sleep on my left side as pain is too severe, and this pain is on my right. Usually I sleep on my back which isn't exactly pain free either. In fact sleeping isn't easy at all. However I have had much worse problems in the past so guess I shouldn't be fussing so much about this. It's, as I'm sure all of you with long term pain know, that I know my own body. And this is a different pain. It's sharper than most of my ongoing pain too. And like a lot of others (I imagine) I just get so tired of it all; staying 'cheerful ' and doing as much as I can - often more than is sensible. I will try to get an application but as suzie2shoes says even if I actually get an appointment being heard is another matter. The GPS here don't know me and have their own ideas and (wrong) assumptions.

    Thanks again everyone.

  • I know how you feel Jenles. I have been suffering back pain and drop foot in my left leg for over 20 years. That was after a spinal decompression. I recently had a serious relapse and ended up with acute pain in my back and down my right leg. I went to see a specialist surgeon privately after being rejected by the NHS, in the hope of getting a spinal fusion, but was told that I was beyond help because my lumbar spine was in such a bad condition. I was told I could come out just as bad as I went in. So it seems I am condemned to acute pain for the rest of my life. Most mornings the pain is so bad that I sit and cry until the pain starts to ease a little. I am on 300mg Gabapentin and Zapain but the pain goes on just the same. I must confess that if things don't improve and no help is forthcoming, suicide is becoming an option. I can't cope with this acute pain for the rest of my life. Being a pensioner I feel I have been thrown on the scrap heap, you have done your bit in life (never out of work) now you can be disposed of.

  • Algae, I really feel for you as well. It is so horrible to feel so much overwhelmed by pain. Do you have any family with or near you, because even if you do pain is isolating. I imagine that it you are living alone and/or at a distance from family and friends It could be even worse.

    You sound as though you are, unsurprisingly, very depressed as well as in pain and I really think you should speak to someone - whether it's a GP, counsellor or friend. Do you have help in your house - a cleaner, or whatever?

    It also sounds as though you could be taking more pain meds. I am - not that they seem to do much for me, but I imagine it would be worse without them.

    I too am a pensioner, but despite the pain and incapacity, I hope that I am still able to be of some use to others. I am confident that almost all of us can.

    I hope and pray that we both get some relief soon!

  • Algea, Keep your mind busy. While you'r thinking of something else you aren't thinking about your pain. Have you got a dog? Mine was a godsend to me. Mornings were awful with stiffness and pain, but she needed to be taken out. A good lungful of oxygen and all was right with the world. I have so many hobbies I sometimes feel that bedtime is robbing me of my 'me' time. I still have terrible pain, but I swap my bad thoughts for good ones by keeping busy. I have recently started to be a carer for hedgehogs and they 'need' me. Makes me feel good to be needed. Whatever happens and no matter how you feel, please don't think bad thoughts. Think god gave you life. A lot of people have not got that choice. If you feel depressed contact me on here and I will try to help you. Don't feel alone because lots of people careXX

  • Thank you for your reply Jenles. I have no family that would lift a finger to help me, apart from making out my will, and my GP is like all the others, almost unavailable. I made 84 calls one morning and couldn't get through to the surgery, it's like a madhouse trying to get to see a doctor, the surgery is in meltdown. On the very rare occasions I get an appointment I can't park in the surgery car park as it's always full up. And not always with patients, people use it to go shopping I have seen them park there and leave with their shopping bags. Fortunately I have recently got a man to cut my lawns and do a few odd jobs outside. I also have a lady friend who on occasions will give me a hand in the house, but she also is partly disabled with arthritis in her hands. A few days ago I was in hospital three days being treated for acute pain. on the third day they just sent me home still in acute pain. What I was supposed to do then I don't know. I do have medication but it does not get rid of the awfull pain I get every morning. Fortunately the pain does ease somewhat during the afternoon and evening, but the next morning it returns with a vengance the moment I put weight on my spine and legs. I would add that I am not over weight just average for my height.

  • It sounds depressingly familiar,although I so have a husband who is pretty helpful - although he doesn't do things the way I would of course.

    Do you have any other friends nearby? Loneliness is a very common problem - especially for those of us with chronic pain which interferes with 'normal' life. I expect that, like me, you struggle to remember what 'normal life' was like.

    If you don't have many local friends maybe you could try to find something happening locally that would interest you - and enable you to meet people? In a lot of areas Age Concern hold regular social meetings. Or the W.I or the local churches etc. Just a thought but it might help.

    Thinking of you.

  • Algea. I understand your frustration with feeling you have no one to really care as far as family goes. I know the feeling. I have RA and Fibro. I have had a bad year with a knee replacement. My mother would visit in the hospital and question my dr about what I was taking for pain. I have been in chronic pain for 4 years and pain management. She wouldn't ask how I was feeling when she visited only complain about the Meds I was taking and drug addiction She doesn't understand when your in chronic pain and you take your meds as prescribed that it's not intended to make you high or overdose you She acts like a martyr and seems to want me to suffer This is my mother, I should be able to talk with her and know she is a support system for me. My husband of 17 years is so consumed with being the breadwinner That he could care less

  • Jenies my friend your an inspiration, I hear everything you say and concur, Doctors and the NHS seem to kick you into the long grass once they have decided that your wasting their time because your condition is permanent and Chronic Pain can't really be treated apart pain meds and mumbo jumbo is all that is left, so we are told to stop wasting their time (not in so many word's but in attitude) they don't mean it, but that's how they come across and you see the look and expression that ' I'm sure you will have seen on many a NHS face.

    But thanks' for reminding me about Stoicism and our daily grind is something so many others go through in stoical fashion, best Alex

  • Thanks coolpolitealex - not sure your comments are justified, but, hey, it's good to have something good said!

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