New member - Back Pain - please help

Hi there I am hoping that this post will perhaps allow someone to give me their experiences on whether recovery from this back pain is possible. I'm so desperate and I'm sorry for the number of previous posts but I'm at my wits end.

The doctor has said that I am going through an acute phase which he is confident that I will get better from, we'll get the pain back down to a manageable level so that I can return to work.

I had a MRI 6 or 7 years ago showing multi level disc degeneration which is too severe for surgery which the consultant felt was caused by segmental instability. They have suggested physiotherapy, but there is a 10-12 week waiting list ( although I have started some exercises which I was shown the last time I was at physio). It is only after the physio that they will consider another MRI. I appreciate that the NHS is under budget constraints but I feel that I should be getting another scan done as things may have changed in my back since the first one.

When I first had the MRI, the pain was not nearly as bad as it is now,but I was referred onto the pain clinic. At the time he suggested that I went onto gabapentin, baclofen and Amitryptiline. When I went back to the doctor, I stupidly said that I did not feel that I needed all this medication as I felt I was managing taking the cocodamol as needed ( as I say I was not nearly as bad back then and being in my twenties I thought I knew better). I think the reason they felt it was nerve pain was due to a "pin prick" test where he tested my back with a pin prick and it was barely noticeable in my upper back but it felt like he was stabbing me in the lower back.

Since this 3 month nightmare started, the GP started me on tramadol and diazepam for breakthrough pain, but I was only allowed to take the tramadol for a short time as I am already on cocodamol. My last visit to the GP, I told him what the pain clinic had suggested all those years ago and he felt that it was worth trying me on the gabapentin and baclofen (so I started them 10 days ago). I realise that gabapentin takes time to see if it will work, I'm not sure about baclofen.

On my visit to the orthopaedic department 11 days ago, the Dr I saw said that he was confident that I can and would get back to being able to work and do things again. He said that I had successfully managed my pain for 7 years but unfortunately this time the pain had got on top of me. I'm hoping that he was not just saying this to passing me ( as I totally broke down thinking that I was going to be like this forever).

9 Replies

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  • baclofen is a muscle relaxant it would be instead of diazepam not as well as !! I find a tens machine useful x

  • Well, perseverance is key! Small lifestyle changes and pain management.. employ lots of different methods to ease the pain such as hot and cold packs, hot (and cold!) showers. Early moring warm wakeup bath. gentle swims (not breast-stroke), or spend some time in a warm jacuzzi. yes Tens machine is a good idea (you can hire them from some pharmacies). alternate rest and light physio exercises like gentle cycling or a short walk in the fresh air. Pay attention to your posture and seating position, think about where you need support cushions. support cushions in your bed may help you sleep for example under your knees, in small of your back, you need to experiment. maybe wearing a corset but not continually as you do not want your muscles to weaken....good nutrition etc good luck and best wishes from Daisy.

  • Hi ,I have tried amatryptelene,tramadol, and didnt get on with them ,I tried gabapentin and didnt get on with that ,so managed with co codomal and tens and a pain gone pen which stimulates like acupunture..anyway it ahd got so bad I had a chat with a different gp and said i really didnt want opiods so agreed to retry gabepentin..i had bilateral leg pain and back pain upper and lower,i was walking worse than my 80 year old neighbour !! Anyway the gabapentin has relieved a lot of my leg pain,not massive on back pain but then i knew that would be the case..but it is great to be walking a bit better and actually looking at going back to work if i can get a job lol. .So now i take gabapentn and 1-2 cocodomal when needed as well as tens ,heat,and physio . What ever you do dont give up ,it is pain,but it does not mean are getting worse,it normally means our brains are just over sensitive to the pain signals...we can get on top of it :)) good luck

  • Thank you so much for replying. Can I ask how long it took for the gabapentin to start working. I'm now on day 12 and I'm not seeing any dramatic reduction in pain.

  • Hey, back pain is such a complex thing, people with same symptoms experience different pain, and different results from medication. Your doc is being honest. From his point of view he does not know which meds will work for you. All he can do is work his way through combinations other people found helpful.

    I have damage to my lower spine and pelvis and I work, lead a normal life as long as I avoid the things on the eefinirely don't do list of activities.

    I chose the alternative path of treatment and attended 13 different practitioners over 10 years. The best thing for me was a sports physio. They use a variety of techniques to relax the muscles. A high % of back pain is muscle pain - they take over the job of holding your spine up at the damaged area. Understanding what your body is doing is also part of pain management and knowing what it will do in extreme situations as well.

    The sports physio treats you for an hour using a combination of treatments and they usually finish with a short back massage. You may find as the muscles loosen other treatments are introduced as well. You are given specific exercises to do and many of these will be for the rest of your life. These exercises build your muscles up in a positive way to help support your spine at its weak point.

    When I started out my pain levels were 9+ constant. Now They rumble along in the background reaching a max of 4 which is bearable for me. But I know if I do certain things my pain will shoot up to 7, but I have a way with the exercises, neditation, hot/cold therapy to gringbit back to 4 fairly quickly.

    I just have to remember to prepare myself if I have to do something out of my usual routine. Pain loves routine.

    You will have your back pain for the rest of your life but if you make careful choices now as to how to treat it, you could potentially reduce the pain level and maintain it at that level quite easily. You do have youth on your side, science, surgey and medication are all developing, and it may be that later on in your life other options will be avaiable.

    Go explore what others can offer you, docs don't have the answers all the time. Even if you find having an aromatherapy massage once a month gives you an couple of hours feeling great, then go for it. Part of pain management is finding ways to escape the pain mentally too. Then somnething else gives you an hour of feeling good, build on it and chip those negative hours away by replacing them with sonething pleasant. You've been given an opportunity for self exploration, go and explore.

    At my worst, I taught myself to make traditional teddy bears. I needed something that I could focus on (distraction) was fairly portable and could be completed in small stages. I still make them as therapy for me, and I sell them. From this I developed my sewing service business and am going into my 6th year.

  • Hello

    What we all have to remember that medications take time too work, if you have been to a pain clinic you should have been given the tools to suppress and calm your pain, although not to cure it, it is generally mainly suppression.

    If the doctor says you have let the pain get to you that happens to us all.The one thing thats good is the pain is acute and will possibly you will return to some form of reality.

    You say that you are still quite young, remember the young can have problems with posture and other things, and may grow out of that, I do not know about that, just listen to what your GP says and take on his advisement.. There can be may forms of stability that the pain clinic can suggest, possibly they may look at them when you get older.

    Good luck, remember the doctor and you are a partnership for your health .

    All the best

    BOB

  • Hey, back pain is such a complex thing, people with same symptoms experience different pain, and different results from medication. Your doc is being honest. From his point of view he does not know which meds will work for you. All he can do is work his way through combinations other people found helpful.

    I have damage to my lower spine and pelvis and I work, lead a normal life as long as I avoid the things on the eefinirely don't do list of activities.

    I chose the alternative path of treatment and attended 13 different practitioners over 10 years. The best thing for me was a sports physio. They use a variety of techniques to relax the muscles. A high % of back pain is muscle pain - they take over the job of holding your spine up at the damaged area. Understanding what your body is doing is also part of pain management and knowing what it will do in extreme situations as well.

    The sports physio treats you for an hour using a combination of treatments and they usually finish with a short back massage. You may find as the muscles loosen other treatments are introduced as well. You are given specific exercises to do and many of these will be for the rest of your life. These exercises build your muscles up in a positive way to help support your spine at its weak point.

    When I started out my pain levels were 9+ constant. Now They rumble along in the background reaching a max of 4 which is bearable for me. But I know if I do certain things my pain will shoot up to 7, but I have a way with the exercises, neditation, hot/cold therapy to gringbit back to 4 fairly quickly.

    I just have to remember to prepare myself if I have to do something out of my usual routine. Pain loves routine.

    You will have your back pain for the rest of your life but if you make careful choices now as to how to treat it, you could potentially reduce the pain level and maintain it at that level quite easily. You do have youth on your side, science, surgey and medication are all developing, and it may be that later on in your life other options will be avaiable.

    Go explore what others can offer you, docs don't have the answers all the time. Even if you find having an aromatherapy massage once a month gives you an couple of hours feeling great, then go for it. Part of pain management is finding ways to escape the pain mentally too. Then somnething else gives you an hour of feeling good, build on it and chip those negative hours away by replacing them with sonething pleasant. You've been given an opportunity for self exploration, go and explore.

    At my worst, I taught myself to make traditional teddy bears. I needed something that I could focus on (distraction) was fairly portable and could be completed in small stages. I still make them as therapy for me, and I sell them. From this I developed my sewing service business and am going into my 6th year.

  • I take baclofen 20 mg during the day and 15 mg at night. It works. I also take diazepam when my muscle spasms are bad because that is more instant and you get quick relief from it. you can take them both. but because you can get addicted to diazepam I only take it when things are really bad. baclofen takes 6 weeks to reach max effect and I'm on pregablin which is a sister to gabapentin and that takes time to work to. Baclofen will help your movements and reduce muscle spasm it is not a pain killer but it helps .

  • Thank you guys for he really helpful and informative comments. I'm learning so much. Thanks, very much appreciated.

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