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Widespread pain

Started by Luciana on 09/14/2017 2:16pm

The pain started in 1997, twenty years ago. I'm rapidly approaching 72.

First it was an anterior spinal fusion to "fix" spondylolisthesis at L4-5. Then two total bowel blockages, 5 mos. apart, resulting from scar tissue from the anterior approach. A second back surgery and fusion at L3-4 in 2014. A third at L2-3 in 2015 because of a ruptured disk. Each surgery seemed to fix the immediate problem, but the pain just moved somewhere else. I'm now waiting for an SCS implant, having had the trial run, with reasonable relief.

Pain is located primarily on the left side, and hits my low back, my left hip and buttock, and my left thigh. It's the burning, shooting, stabbing kind of pain. I do yoga and stretching exercises, which help some, and I alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen. I have moderate, distracting neuropathy in both feet, and dislike shoes -- even socks! I'm never "pain-free," but the intensity varies quite a bit. If I lie down on my right side, the pain subsides quite a bit after a while, but transfers to my neck and shoulders. I have degenerative changes everywhere, including knees (although exercise keeps that pain under control.

If I could have my wish, I'd have a prescription for an opiod, but would take one only about once a week, because I build tolerance rapidly, and the side effects are too much. I would also have medical marijuana, but that's verboten in my state (NC.) Is anyone else in a similar situation, and do you have any advice for me?

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Hello, Luciana. Thank you for sharing your story with us. We are sorry to read about all the pain you've experienced over the years.

It sounds like you've gone about managing your pain the right way: You've engaged in yoga and stretching, used medication, as appropriate, and you seem open to finding sustainable approaches to pain management as opposed to quick fixes.

One of the most consistently effective measures against widespread chronic pain is physical activity, which can be incredibly hard to do when you're in pain. That's why gentle exercises are appealing to a lot of people. Hydrotherapy, in particular, has shown some excellent benefits for spine pain. Have you ever tried it? These articles can explain more about it:
( Spine Surgery Recovery - The Benefits of Hydrotherapy )
( Hydrotherapy and Aquatic Therapy )
( Back Pain and Spas: Hydrotherapy, Pilates, Yoga )

Of course, getting your doctor's approval is essential before starting any new exercise regimen. Hydrotherapy may not be the magic bullet to eliminating your pain, but it could be a soothing and enjoyable way to reduce your pain and keep you active. We hope this information helps, and we wish you the very best!

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