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Living with pain

Started by gladesman on 10/07/2017 11:24am

New to this site. I have been living with a certain amount of pain since my late 20s. My first job out of graduate school involved practically living outdoors. I traveled extensively in off road vehicles, airboats, halftracks. etc. I was out for days at a time. It was a very intensive strenuous physical lifestyle. By my late 20s I was beginning to realize I could not keep up that kind of lifestyle. By my early 30s I new I could no longer live like that. For that reason and others, also, I changed careers and took up a desk job.

Chronic pain became progressively worse as I got older. I slowly began dropping out of activities I enjoyed doing. I gave up my martial arts participation at age 50. By my late 50s I was in terrible pain. My internist began a quest to find the problem. After exhausting all test and finding nothing he sent me to a gastroenterologist. He found nothing, but said he suspected I had terrible problems in my lower back. MRIs proved him correct. The three lowest disk, starting with my tail bone, were gone and the vertebra were bone on bone. I had minor issues in the thoracic region and bulging disk in my neck. I had lost my ability to write and had been limited to printing capital letters in my late 20s. The neck damage was causing that. I had lost an inch and a half in height.

The neurosurgeon went in from the front, stretched the spinal column and put in false disk and a number of cages and screws to stabilize my lower back. A year later they went back in from the back and put in more rods and screws. I live with chronic pain and severe problems with inflammation. I have bad reactions to every anti-inflammatory I have tried. That was in 2009 and 2010. I am now a month out from age 71. I have been retired since age 62.

I tried therapy, but found my own weight lifting program is more effective. I get a couple of hours of activity, then am shut down from pain for an entire day, sometimes two or three days. I am on pain medication which helps, but the help is limited. According to my doctors I am taking about all of the pain medication i can take. There just is not much left I can have.

Needless to say, life becomes extremely frustrating. I continue to attempt an active lifestyle, but keep getting knocked down.
Two hours on the shooting bench has me on the couch for two days of misery. I quit fishing. I still attempt to deer hunt, but my time in the woods is very limited.

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Hello, gladesman--thank you for sharing your chronic pain story with us.

We are impressed with your dedication to physical activity--as challenging as it can be sometimes, it is one of the best things you can do for your total health: physically, mentally, emotionally.

Weight lifting is terrific, but have you tried a gentler exercise like hydrotherapy? We wonder if a gentler exercise will leave you feeling better after you complete it.

We've read a lot about how people with back pain are benefiting from this activity, and we've picked a few articles you may be interested in here:
( Spine Surgery Recovery - The Benefits of Hydrotherapy )
( Hydrotherapy and Aquatic Therapy )

Of course, you'll want to get your doctor's approval if you decide to move forward with this activity. We hope this information helps and wish you the best!

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Thank you for the reply. I have not tried hydrotherapy. Not even sure there is a place to do that where I live. I have tried other forms of therapy from physical therapist to Yoga. Nothing helped. In fact, most anything made things progressively worse and brought on the inflammation problems.

I use a very good weight machine for the bulk of my training which minimizes injury. A big plus is that I can do it at home. I live in a rural area and am not likely to travel any distance on a regular basis. Traveling, in itself, is a major source of pain for me.

For now, at least, I will stick with my weight training. My neurosurgeon and internist both believe it is working well for me. I was at the camp yesterday. We are getting ready for hunting season. It was very hot and humid. Hot and humid weather doe not work well for me. However, cold damp weather does not either, and the cold and damp weather is one its way.

A big problem I have is walking. I use a cane most of the time as my left leg has problems. This issue with walking is that, after a time, it kicks off the back pain. I tried working through the pain thinking it would get better the more I walked. Instead, the pain became progressively worse. I have tried walking several times since with the same result. I am limited to short distances and not very often.

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