I have had chronic back pain for 20 years, It is so severe now it hurts to take a deep breath. Is there anyone who has a similer problem?
Breathing trouble, is it in your throatic region? My issues lie in my cervical and lumbar region. What does your MRI show? Folks'll be able to give you better support knowing what is specifically going on.
I imagine keeping a cold at bay is imperative, those coughing fits hurt so bad! Have you been to your primary or a specialist recently?
I have low back pain and sometimes it hurts to breathe but not really literally. I think the others are wondering if you mean that it literally hurts to breathe because back pain shouldnt make it difficult to breathe unless there is involvement in the chest area. I have been through just about every injection, epidurals, nerve blocks, facet joint injections, radiofrequency ablations, etc and nothing has worked well or has lasted longer than a few days. I am just using meds now for the most part. I do occasionally get chiropractic adjustments/manipulations which can help keep the muscles looser. I try to stretch daily, I use a heat pack or heating pad quite often because it helps relax tight muscles, I use epsom salts in my bath-sometimes with lavender scents to help me sleep. I do have Soma as a muscle relaxant and my pain meds.
I have a wonderful Dr now who has worked very hard with me to find the proper combination of meds to help me be as pain free as I can be. I hate taking meds!! You become a slave to them and have to plan everything according to refills. I cannot even plan a vacation without thinking about when my refill will be and if there is a chance I would run out of meds during the vacation! It is really a messy kind of thing, so if you can stay away from hard meds, you are better off. You need to focus more on increasing function rather than pain relief, because for most of us back pain patients, relief, at least full relief, isnt going to happen no matter how much meds you use unless you are unconscious from them. I use just enough meds to make it tolerable. I am never "pain free" any longer but on a good day I can forget the pain for stretches at a time. The best thing to do is to stay as active as possible and on many days you have to push yourself mightily to be active but once you get going it gets easier. The more you sit or stay in bed, the worse the pain will be and your muscles will atrophy (weaken) and you will get stiffer and weaker by doing this. I try to take my dog on a walk every day or at least every other day. I usually take a breakthrough pain pill before I go. I stretch morning and evening. I work from home at the computer so I do a lot of sitting but I try to get up every hour or so and stretch a bit and walk around the house or go outside for a few minutes. I do my chores and housework a bit at a time as I can. My husband does help out a lot with laundry and cleaning the floors. I find cleaning the floors to be a very difficult thing with all the bending and twisting necessary. If you live alone and need housework assistance, check around your community. You would be surprised at the resources available when you look for them. Many churches and other organizations have volunteers who go around and do various housekeeping chores, cooking and shopping for people who cannot do it themselves anymore. It may not be everyday, and it may not be all the help you need, but every little bit helps, right? One of the main things for you to have is a good pain management physician who is compassionate and is willing to work with you and help you and this is probably one of the more difficult things to find. The days of having your PCP or family doctor manage your pain are pretty much over. In a way, this is a good thing. It is a bit more expensive for some people because their insurance plan my have a higher copay for "specialists" but in this case, it is usually worth it because most average Drs had very little training on how to manage pain, especially chronic pain or persistent pain. Most of the average Drs pain education was how to manage pain after an injury or after surgery, not how to manage on going, continuous pain. Pain management Drs have. They have been highly trained in the body/brain mechanisms of chronic or persistent pain which is very different from acute pain from an injury or surgery. Most people would think "pain is pain" but this is not true. Persistent or chronic pain is a very different process in the brain and spinal cord (or central nervous system, abbreviated CNS) You need a Dr who understands the differences and how to disrupt the mechanisms behind persistent pain. Basically our central nervous systems have malfunctioned or "short circuited" because in many cases our pain started with an injury and the injury has healed but the pain remains and has become amplified. Some of the pain is also due to degeneration of the spine bones, ligaments and joints etc. Pain specialist understand this kind of pain better than your average PCP or family Dr. Most chronic pain should be managed with a long acting drug taken around the clock, not as needed. You might also get a short acting drug for "breakthrough" pain to be used as needed. Chronic pain should rarely be managed with a short acting medicine only (and this is a major mistake that many PCP's employ and it can mess you up later for good pain control). I use my breakthrough meds for two main reasons. First I will take it before an activity that I know is going to aggravate my pain like going for a walk or cleaning the house but another reason is I sometimes need to use it is as a "bridge" between long acting meds. My long acting meds are supposed to last twelve hours. My body metabolizes them much quicker-always has-so I may take a short acting pain pill after 6-8 hours to bridge until it is time for my long acting dose. These are the two most common uses for "breakthrough meds". So your Dr should have you on a long acting drug and a short acting drug. Managing with a short acting drug only floods the brains receptors with the opioid and trains the brain to equate pain relief with this flood of drug that often causes a euphoric feeling when it kicks in, so when a person is put on a long acting drug they think it isnt working because they dont feel this euphoric rush their brain has been conditioned to feel and now equates with relief. Then there are a slew of other drugs out there that manage pain differently than opioids do and opioids alone are rarely an answer to chronic pain. Some people take antidepressants to help with depression, yes, most persistent pain leads to depression, but these drugs also help to manage persistent pain too by healing our "short circuiting" CNS. Anti-convulsant drugs like gabapentin or pregabalin also help greatly with nerve related pain. So your pain docs main job is to find the combination of drugs that helps you best. It is very different for everyone and there are a lot of drugs out there so this can take months of trial and error so you must be patient and work with your Dr. It may help the both of you to keep a pain diary. You can find and print examples on most of the pain advocate websites like the American Chronic Pain Society or Association-google and you can find them but unfortunately a lot of these websites are closing down because the government is not allowing pharmaceutical companies to fund them. I could go into a long rant about all the government is doing to make it hard for chronic pain patients but I wont do so in this conversation. I'm sure in the twenty years you've been in pain you have seen plenty of examples of the governments War on Pain which isnt stopping street drug traffic but is just making it very difficult for pain patients and their Drs to find good pain management for their patients. Hang in there! Learn all that you can about your condition!! This is an important one too! We cannot overcome that which we do not understand so learn all about your condition. There is so much available on the internet but be wary of sites that are selling something because the information may be biased and untrue. Stick to sites like this one that is for informational purposes only, and reputable sites for your information. Once you understand why you hurt, it makes it easier to find ways to prevent it. You are in good company here. There are many of us on here that come to each other for comfort because no one knows pain unless they have had that degree of pain themselves and lets face it, most of our families are tired of hearing it and have no idea how to deal with us or help us because they do not understand what this kind of pain is like!
You don't have info about what diagnoses were made about your back pain. I had severe back pain that prevented me from straightening up at times. When I saw a good physical therapist, she did crunches on me that reminded me of a chiropractor. But she gradually taught me exercises to relieve my back pain completely with the aid of a black wedge, a white styrofoam-like roll and an S shaped hook. It was amazing what those exercises did for me. Not that they would necessarily help you, but might be worth a try.
Yes. I have watched my poor husband (been married 32 yrs) so you will know that I know exactly what he has been going for over 5 years and only because then the back surgery he had helped for 10 years, and he says now that if he knew then what he knows now, he would never have had the surgery. He had several disc that actually were crushed so bad the surgeon literally had to pick the disc out around the nerves in his back. His doctor at that time did not realize just how bad it was until he opened my husbands back and seen where the disc (He said) looked like the disc had EXPLODED into the nerves. Tho they did certain test before doing actually surgery the ones that should have been done were not. Since our family doctor of 40 years has retired he went to a Novant health center to see a doctor that was recommended, but has no idea the pain he is in.
I watch him struggle every morning and when he comes home from work so bad, he can hardly work and said that he has no quality of life anymore. Thankfully he has been referred to a Pain Specialist and We are both so grateful. I go see one myself and it has been a life saver for me. I just know that now he will see a Specialist that will give him the help he needs so badly. If you are having that bad of pain in your back and for that long, you definitely should go to a Pain Clinic. I know from my own experience that seeing him was the the best decision I have ever made for my health and my own back pain. Just be honest with them and let them know how long you have been going through this pain, I am sure you can get the help you need. I wish you all the luck in the world and hope you get the help that really need.
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