Degenerative Back pain with a bulging disc and Fibromyalgia

LouiseR

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I am a 55 year old female with Fibromyalgia, RA, OA and Degenerative Back pain with a bulging disc... I feel like I am in pain all the time.
I struggle so much I feel so old and some days I think I don't want to go on like this.. this is not a life.
I walk through a thick fig all the time like I am in quick sand...grrrrr!
I have pain all over it is best to say where I don't hurt....perhaps my ears .😕
I don't have the confidence to go out for walks on my own, I am so low I don't know what to do with myself...
 

Affinity

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Hi LouiseR, I am sorry to hear you are going through it all. I can relate! When I fill out those pain charts showing where in the body it hurts I want to just color the entire thing in! My ears even hurt!

I am 47 and have dealt with this stuff for a long time but just in the past month I started going to a physical therapist and I can already feel a big difference. I have a lot of strength to build up but she has released a lot of trigger points and given me exercises to do which are the starting point for regaining my health. The exercises are REALLY basic, like breathing exercises or moving my leg incrementally, but I can already tell it is improving my health. Not only that but I have been in a flare for the past 6 weeks or so and I can tell the flare is finally going away and I think it's related to my work with her over the past 3 weeks. I am feeling very optimistic and some of my long term goals in working with her include being able to comfortably go for walks again.

I mention this because maybe it might help you, too. I don't know if it will but I feel like either I have to figure something out to better use my body or I am going to not be able to do anything at all for years and years to come. My PT is not treating me for fibro but I asked her to help with one of my hips which was really screwed up and very painful so I could hardly walk and within a few weeks my hip is functioning normally again, although it's still weak and needs strengthening. Maybe you could ask for help with your back pain? I feel like we have to keep trying or it's really just too sad to contemplate.
 

sunkacola

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Louise, we can relate to what you are saying.
There are things you can do that may help with some of this, and I have detailed them all in a post I wrote called "advice for managing fibromyalgia (especially for newcomers)"....meaning new to the forum, not necessarily to fibro or chronic pain. Please read it and consider implementing some of those thing into your life.

It is terrible to be not old and yet feel that way. I know, I have been there. some days I feel old still, but by eating a very healthy diet and making sure I keep my body moving, and doing other things that help, I am able to manage this from day to day to the extent that I can have a life, and that is a lot. You can too.

A lot of it, really, is to keep moving. If you are not confident taking a walk by yourself, can someone walk with you? If not, just walk around your yard or up and down the driveway or just even around your house or apartment. Just walk! No matter what. Some days less, some days more, and start small and build up gradually. Seriously, the only way to get any better, or at the least not to get worse, is to use that body. The more you do the more you will be able to do (up to a point, of course). Do something physical every day.

And do your best not to fall into despair. Your life isn't over and you can manage this. I can say this because I am doing it and I know it takes hard work and being very conscientious about how you care for yourself, but since the alternative is having no life, it is worth it!
 

LouiseR

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06/2019
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Thank you for your reply..I am glad you are experiencing some improvements with PT. I have had physical therapy a few times now but unfortunately I have not found any improvement ..I do move about the flat quite a bit and once the physical therapist has sort out the movement for the foot and ankle operations or hip replacement, they discharge me .
I do feel like crying all the time ,..
Hopefully I will find something that helps.
Please do take care and thank you again. 💐
 

Affinity

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Messages
122
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DX FIBRO
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TX
If you can move without pain then maybe the PT isn't the right choice for you . . . I thought you couldn't walk due to pain but maybe it's the brain fog that is causing you to lose confidence on taking walks by yourself? If you do still have pain walking then the PT hasn't sorted out the issues for you.
 

LouiseR

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I know .it is like hitting my head against a brick wall...I can't walk or even turn over in bed without extreme pain. But everybody is different and respond to exercise or medication differently what works for one person does not always work for another. Thank you for your response. Take care.
 

Affinity

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The PT I work with is one I found to help with issues like walking and not being able to turn over in bed comfortably and not post-surgical things. Maybe you haven't found the right one to help you? My goal is to get back into running with her and she is confident that I can even though a few weeks ago I could not take two steps without a ton of pain. I went to her because she specializes in dryneedling/IMS and also clinical pilates. I did a lot of research about what might help me with mobility issues and this is what I found and it has really been super helpful so far. She also gives me exercises to do at home but without the dryneedling I don't think doing them would help at all.
 

Warbucks

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Louise I am a 80 year old male. I think you may be missing one of the primary reasons we have such oain and sometimes for a long time, stress! You seem to be worrying a lot and that can cause a long flare. Think positive, think about all of the people that are far worse then we are. Diet and exercise starting slow t first and enjoy yourself doing it. Get a good cane if you have balance problems. I have one that I purchased on the internet that is fantastic. It is made in Switzerland and csn be used as a cane( it has a shock absorber built in so it is easy on your arm and shoulder) , and extends out to 6 ft and is wonderful for pulling things off shelves when you are shopping. It also has a built in point for use on ice nd as a protection device if you need it. It is in my car or I would give you the name now but when I log in tomorrow will give it to you. Now have to go its late.
 

LouiseR

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Hello,

Thank you very much for your kind reply. I am trying very hard to be positive but just can't get it to stick. I have tried mindfulness and positive thoughts for a number of years it just is not working now. Today I have got up and wish I didn't I hurt so much. I even told my husband yesterday that if E didn't have him I would not be here as I feel like I have not got anything else in my life...
But I will keep trying to be positive thank you. I do have a few walking sticks and use them when I am out. 💐
 

sunkacola

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Hello,

Thank you very much for your kind reply. I am trying very hard to be positive but just can't get it to stick. I have tried mindfulness and positive thoughts for a number of years it just is not working now. Today I have got up and wish I didn't I hurt so much. I even told my husband yesterday that if E didn't have him I would not be here as I feel like I have not got anything else in my life...
But I will keep trying to be positive thank you. I do have a few walking sticks and use them when I am out. 💐
Louise,

Just a thought.......My take on what you are saying here is that you may expect that doing "positive thinking" exercises and so on are going to make you feel good or happy all or most of the time, and so when they don't, you think they are not something that can help you.

Let me give you my experience with this, if I may.
I am a person who has lived with chronic clinical depression since I was 12 years old. You can, if interested, read my post about my experience, in my post titled "Depression". I know more than most people what it means to try everything and still be a depressed person. So why, do you ask, am I recommending trying to keep a positive attitude?

Here's the thing:
I maintain a positive attitude every day that I possibly can. It doesn't mean I don't get discouraged or depressed. I am sitting here writing this now on a day when I feel depressed and worthless and down. But at the same time, my practice in remembering to be grateful for all I have that hundreds of millions of other people don't have, and my ability to look at life from a practical angle and do practical things keep me from descending into a kind of depressed despair that would mean I spend the whole day on the couch just feeling terrible, and then feeling worse because I am not accomplishing anything, and then feeling even worse because.......and so on.

Instead, as soon as I got up and had coffee, I took my dogs for a walk, That got me outside. Then, I did a little bit of yard work, nothing too strenuous because I hurt too much this morning, but it gave me a sense of accomplishment first thing in the day, which doesn't make me not depressed but at least now I know I have done one good thing today. Then, I ate something healthy. Then, I came on this forum to see if there's anyone I can help and I try to help. Now, I have done two or maybe three good things today.

I remind myself that I have a place to live where I have a roof and a door, and enough food to eat, and all the clean water I want, and a car, and money for gas, and won't lose my home or starve. That is more than 95% of the rest of the whole world has. True. Look it up. And you can bet a lot of those people who don't even have a home or clean water are also depressed, and have physical pain and problems. That doesn't make it untrue that I have problems, but it sure puts it into perspective.

Now, I am still depressed. But I have taken my mind off my own relatively minor problems and I can approach my day and my life in a practical way. IE: Get things done as best I can. Be grateful for what I have. Maintain a level of tidiness and cleanliness in my home, which helps me feel better. Visit on the phone with someone and don't once mention that I am depressed, just visit about other things. Make something (these days it is masks to give to friends, but anything will do). Read a novel to distract myself, or a non-fiction book that is fascinating, or a memoir of someone who had it a lot worse than I ever had even though I haven't had an easy life.

In other words, things like little "affirmations" or meditation or stickies on your mirror may not be of any use (they never have been for me) but just looking at things realistically, keeping things in perspective, and doing whatever you can get done will make a big difference. And remember you never know what is around the next corner. When I am really down I remember I never know the future. I don't tell myself "everything's going to be fine", because I have no way to know that and my mind will rebel against statements like that. But I say, "hang in there, you never know what tomorrow might bring".
 

Dbg

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Apr 28, 2020
Messages
10
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DX FIBRO
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06/1995
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I second Affinity’s suggestions of physical therapy and trigger point therapy. How frustrating that you didn’t get relief from the PT you saw. Maybe try a different PT?

I get bulging discs at L4 & L5 and the PT is able to release them and she also gave me exercises and techniques for maintenance, plus tips on how to move, bend over, etc. to protect that area. I figured out the trigger point part myself. You can do much, if not all, of the trigger point therapy yourself. “The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook” by Davies & Davies is very helpful, but you can find some instruction online, too. It helps to have a TheraCane, or something like it, so you can reach out-of-the-way trigger points and easily apply the needed pressure to release them. When you find the trigger point it will be painful, but continue on for the 20 or so seconds despite that. It’s very convenient and cost effective, and the speed of pain relief is amazing! Trigger point release is essential for me, and I find it odd that it’s so rarely recommended. It improves range of motion, too.

Gentle daily movement helps, also. I like QiGong (a version of Tai Chi) because I don’t develop trigger points from it, and it doesn’t add to my fatigue. I first tried it via some YouTube channels (Qigong for Vitality is my favorite). If one style of QiGong or TaiChi doesn’t suit you, try another. So much of living with fibromyalgia involves trying new things to find what works for you.

If you are the least bit inclined artistically, you might find soothing distraction in some type of regular art activity. Lately I’ve been enjoying learning the “tangles” of Zentangle—it’s absorbing enough to distract me from pain and I feel productive doing it, too. I can do it at a table or sitting on the sofa. There’s a Zentangle website, but there’s loads of info online—YouTube to the rescue again. All you need is a pen and paper.

I’m 65 and have been living with these issues for decades and having a useful “toolkit” of techniques that I can help myself with helps to keep my spirits up.

I hope you feel much better very soon, LouiseR!
 

Warbucks

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Louise few men get fibro, yet a few years ago i started having problems. I went to many different Rheumatologists who prescribed cymbalta, and other drugs for fibro but I then found out the three recognized drugs only help about 14% of those with fibro. The pain in my lower back got so bad I tried epidural shots and they did not help either. My joints started aching terribly first my right knee and very quickly there was bone on bone and I had surgery and a new titanium knee. Then the left knee within a year and then a left titanium knee. I could not sleep in bed even though i tried 6-8 different mattresses with no help. I can only sleep 2-3 hours in a memory foam mattress and the pain gets so bad in my muscles and bones I have to get out of bed then and sleep an hour or two in my recliner chair. A year later my left shoulder was bone on bone and a new titaium left shoulder. A year later the right shoulder needed to be replaced. I now have a lumbar stenosis with increased pain in my lower back% lidocaine patches whic really helps the lower back pain. My rheumatologist also gives me 325/10 hydrocodone tablets and a year later a 75 Mcg fentanyl patch. I wish I had never started it. Constipation is the result for the hydrocodone and fentanyl slows down and stops peristalisis in my digestive tract causing constipation. Even with these problems i am very fortunate .I take care of our house, mow our 2 1/2 acres of lawn, and care for my wife who had a stroke in 2017. We have been married for 59 years now. I refuse to let fibro and the other problems get me down. If I am tired I take a nap for an hour. A few minutes ago I made some nectar for the hummingbirds that are on our back lawn and filled the four feeders hanging on our back porch. Louise stop and think seriously about our situations, will we give up and hurt everyone else in our families or tough it out. Start with the 5% lidocaine patches for your back they start to help in 10-15 minutes and last for 12 hours. I have an elastic sport belt around my body that presses the patch snuggly agaist my body and takes the strain off my lower back. Good luck Louise
 

LouiseR

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06/2019
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UK
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LE
Good Morning,

Thank you very much for your advice,..it sounds like you have a good Rhuematologist..they are not all so good believe me.
I do keep our home very clean and tidy, by doing jobs then sitting to ease the pain a little. I have had patches for pain too but I was sleepy all the time every time I sat down I fell asleep. With not sleeping at night still though . horrible. I had to stop them.
I don't sleep at night very well at all..I might sleep an hour solid if I am lucky, then up down, up down all night.
I do hope that I can get some things sorted after the covid19 restrictions are lifted or hospital and doctors don't close their doors. What is the use of having a telephone appointment with a Rhuematologist or foot surgeon...they can't see you or your joints Oh well I digress .
I wish you well and am happy that you are getting the help needed. Good wishes to you and your wife... Louise
 

JayCS

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I first tried it via some YouTube channels (Qigong for Vitality is my favorite). If one style of QiGong or TaiChi doesn’t suit you, try another.
Hi, Dbg, thanks for this idea and encouragment. I tried Qi Gong in the rheum. clinic, but because it was all waving arms around for longer than 2 minutes, I sucked at it, it just hurt, for a long time after too. On the other hand Qi Gong balls help my hands and underarms a bit. But altho it's logical, I never thought there might be different forms of Qi Gong. Any suggestions of exercises which don't overstress my seemlingly weak arms? (Which aren't weak, cos I can stem almost the same really heavy weights for the same 2 minutes as I used to be able to, just the length of the movements which have become the problem.)
 
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