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Chronic Pain

(17 Posts)
ExD Tue 08-Jun-21 09:27:50

It started 60 years ago with my First baby - the backache.
I was told to take paracetamol and assured it would go away again after the baby was born.
It didn't.
It got worse after the second baby.
That was in 1960s before the 'pill' was easily obtainable.
After an xray in 1975 (no scans available then) I had an operation and the pain got worse.
I was told to live with it. So I have, for 60+ years and I'm fed up with it.
Then last year I fell and broke my back and was told at my ago (80s) it wasn't uncommon and was probably due to osteoporosis - is that the right word - brittle bones. I asked for a scan but was told it was unnecessary at my age as it would only prove what 'we already know'.
I was given morphine which really helped but the pain never really goes.
As I've aged I have developed arthritis in my feet, knees, shoulders and neck and wake up at around 3am aching all over, getting out of bed in the morning is a painful business taking several minutes. I am in pain all day.
Finally I asked my GP (over the phone) for a referral to the Pain Management clinic.
Yesterday they phoned and said they'd arranged a lumbar nerve block(?) in a fortnight.
I cannot think this is right! I've seen no-one face to face, I've had no recent xray, never had any scans CT or MRI - and they're proposing to go in there with a needle!!! for a procedure which may or may not work.

I don't think I want to go ahead with this - am I being stupid?

nadateturbe Tue 08-Jun-21 09:36:33

I've just done a quick Google search and it seems that it helps the pain but with possible side effects. However I would most definitely
want a consultation beforehand for information and to ask questions. It's good enough to be told it's been arranged.

Yiayia4 Tue 08-Jun-21 09:42:49

Feel your pain ExD I have had 4 lumber spinal injections and they have helped me.Although it sounds daunting it really isn’t. They do the injections under scan so know exactly the area to inject.Good luck hope it helps,pain like that is so debilitating I have psoriatic arthritis so very similar.💐

BigBertha1 Tue 08-Jun-21 09:53:46

I know what you mean ExD but I'm sure they will take a full history from you first and won't proceed if you do not give consent which I hope you won't do until they have satisfied all your questions. Its a good idea to write these down to take with you. I hope you get some relief chronic pain is a miserable thing I know.

nadateturbe Tue 08-Jun-21 22:44:12

Of course I dod mean not good enough. Glad to see you've had some information from someone who has had them.

ExD Tue 15-Jun-21 15:30:17

I had a 20 minute(!) telephone appointment with a doctor from the Pain Management clinic this morning.
He said that the damaged vertebrae had healed now, and the pain will be from the nerve that was irritated still sending messages to the brain, even though the pain is not really there. At least I think that's what he said, he talked and talked without drawing breath and I had real trouble butting in and asking questions.
I asked about an MRI but he said it wouldn't show anything because there's nothing to show because its only remembered nerve pain from the damaged nerve.
I tried to ask about canabis oil but he said the only CBD oil allowed on this country didn't contain the active ingredient called TBH(?) and anyway my NHS area don't prescribe it.
He said the amount of morphine I'm on is minimal so I can stop taking it to see if the pain gets worse.

So in essence (I think) is that its 'all in my head'.
I did'nt think I was a confused old woman - but I am now!

Marydoll Tue 15-Jun-21 15:38:08

EXD, I have had facet joint block injections for pain from damaged nerves after surgery for fractured vertebrae due to osteoporosis. They don't just randomly inject you and the area is anaesthetised first. My procedure was done by a radiolgist, assisted by a radiographer.

After that that procedure, (which helped) I was referred to the pain mangement clinic, as my pain levels due to RA were unbearable. I have worn a Fentynal patch for years, which has helped, when bucket loads of pills didn't!

Good luck with your procedure, if you choose to go ahead.

Blossoming Tue 15-Jun-21 16:10:37

ExD I think I understand what he meant. I have a brain injury and it misinterprets signals from the nerves in the body, or sometimes doesn’t receive them at all. My left arm hurts a lot when it’s either too warm or too cold, the sole of my left foot believes I’m walking barefoot on knives a lot of the time. It’s all down to the brain, which is not at all the same thing as saying you’re imagining it. I hope you get some relief.

ExD Tue 15-Jun-21 16:51:31

Marydoll I haven't had an xray or scan of any kind since the 1980s - that's my problem with an injection.
Anyway, he suggested a different approach with the morphine I've been taking regularly, I'm only to take it "as needed" now, which makes sense to me.
smile I didn't like being told it was "all in the mind" though. smile

Marydoll Tue 15-Jun-21 17:01:18

EXD, they use scanning to guide the needle, so that they know where to inject. Because you are lying on your front, you neither see, nor feel anything.

I have had cement injected into my vertebraic fractures and injections in my foot using the same method. It was fascinating watching it. Not for the faint hearted, I guess! wink

cornishpatsy Tue 15-Jun-21 17:36:36

A friend of mine had the lumbar injections, they worked very well.

I hope they work as well for you.

Talullah Tue 15-Jun-21 17:41:24

I had these. I must admit I was surprised when I walked in and there was 5 or 6 members of staff, all gowned up. But all went well.

loopyloo Tue 15-Jun-21 17:44:28

Heave you ever tried acupuncture? I would try and find an osteo path that uses it. It was very helpful with my back pain.

ExD Tue 15-Jun-21 17:48:03

I already have them into my feet, guided by a kind of xray but they were thoroughly investigated first with xray and a ct scan. No-one went straight in there with a needle before they knew where the problem was. I wouldn't describe it as painless though!
What frightens me is the lack of knowledge as to what's wrong in there. The spine is a somewhat more delicate structure, and the outcome of anything going wrong much more serious.

Dibbydod Tue 15-Jun-21 18:14:43

I have suffered with chronic pain in my back for many years , along with neuropathic pain in my legs , hands and feet . I take Zoromorph twice day along with paracetamol 4 times day and ibuprofen in between for the chronic pain , also take Pregabalin 3 times day for the neuropathic pain . With all those painkillers, I’m still in lot pain on daily basis . I’ve been on a pain management course , have had Mri scans , X-rays the lot . What I’ve learnt over the years is to listen to your body, pace yourself and keep within your limits, on bad days chill out with Netflix or a good book , on good days still take things easy and not over do things , this is to prevent flare ups which can be unbearable. I try very hard not to let it get me down , but, in all honesty, that is not an easy thing to do .

Oh, forgot to say , my doctor has sent for me a referral to pain clinic for spine injections, but , only to talk over any options and to ask any questions, and if then happy to proceed then an appointment will be made at a later date . Hope this helps .

Daftbag1 Thu 17-Jun-21 12:26:49

I'm sorry OP that you feel that it's being suggested that your pain is all in the mind, it clearly hadn't been explained very well. I'm not a doctor or professional but I will try to make it a little clearer.

I have similar pain to you plus other chronic pain. I also have chronic digestive system problems, along with a pulse that runs too fast, POT's and all sorts of conditions. However these problems are not 'real' in my case they are caused by my brain sending wrong messages to the bits of me involved.
In youraddition case yoyou suffered an injury to your back. When this happened your injured part informed your brain that it was in trouble, this ensured that you didn't cause a further injury. Unfortunately when your back injury was healed, instead of accepting this your brain has decided to ignore the messages from your back to the effect that it is no longer damaged, and is still sending the message that your back is injured.

In so much as the problem lies in the messages being sent from the brain, arguably the problem is 'all in your head', but no one is suggesting you are not experiencing REAL pain, are mad or making it up. The pain is 100% real, and out of your control.

By injecting into the area which was injured, the brains messaging service will hopefully be fixed, and will pick up that you are no longer injured, so the pain messages can leave you too.

Contact the pain clinic again and explain how you are feeling, they will be able to explain it far better than me

HolySox Fri 18-Jun-21 19:16:59

So sorry ExD, to hear you have suffered so much pain in your life and hope you get sone relief.

I suffer(ed) from spinal stenosis and have now had two operations. Whilst these were 'successful' in that I haven't lost the use of my legs, I still have much back pain. I had steroid injections that reduce inflammation so were a temporary fix whilst my back was healing. Pain came back and so was referred to the pain clinic, similar to you.
They said they are looking at a new approach to pain management. The idea is that if you have had a serious injury the brain emphasizes any pain signals from here to protect you. However, this 'learnt' behaviour means the brain over responds to pain signals ftom this area after it has healed. The solution is to retrain the brain by learning to ignore the 'pain' - apparently there is nothing wrong with me. (Perhaps I struggle with this as I've seen the MRI scans showing my lumbar discs have collapsed and this has caused deterioration of the verterbrates).
The pain clinic also offered nerve blockers if I am unable to train my brain - which I am now contemplating as still get significant back pain.
Really posting here as I am in a similar position to you - in no rush to have needles stuck in my spine. I am keen to hear from any other gransnetters who have had nerve blocker injections, particularly for the spine.

Yiayia4 were your injections steroids or nerve blockers?

One other piece of information. I was told they would try a temporary nerve blocker, that should last a few months. If this was successful they would follow up with a permanent blocker. Did they offer this to you ExD? If not might be worth asking - I'm not keen on the idea of permanently switching off a nerve!