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Avatar universal

How many problems do most people suffer from

In reading different posts both here and elsewhere, it seems to me that a lot of chronic pain patients have more than one issue of chronic pain.

I consider myself to be a healthy person, in the sense I don't come down with a lot of colds, flu, etc. I don't count my chronic pain as being "sick."  Does anyone else view it that way?  My sister has said things to me in past something to the effect, "You're always sick; your quality of life *****."  But I don't see it like that.  And while I'm not living the life I used to, the majority of the time I'm content, though in pain.

These days my left hand is the primary focus of my chronic pain and it's what I'm primarily seen for at the pain management clinic.  

In reality, though, my chronic pain goes back many years and I always treated/managed the different things on an as needed basis.  I'm just wondering if others have just the one issue or if they have more than one?

Now, I would never in real life reveal all this because I would think people would think I was a hypochondriac.  But since people here are in the same (sometimes sinking) ship, I'll put it out there.  Some may or may not be considered chronic pain; I guess everyone looks at things differently.

When I was in my mid-to-late teens, my periods got very heavy and painful.  For that, I went on the pill, and then I had so many pregnancies, I wasn't getting it all that often.  They're still that way and at one time I looked into uterine ablation but now figure I'm probably heading into menopause so why bother.

In my early twenties, I was diagnosed with IBS.  I was under tremendous pressure at a job and it really flared up.  For a while I was on some medication but as I got older, I learned what set it off and now I do a pretty good job of keeping it under control, though I do have flare-ups once-in-a-while.

In my later twenties, I had a slip and fall accident and had terrible back pain.  Through x-rays, etc., they found a herniated disk in my lower back and degenerative disk disease.  I did PT for quite a while, which helped a bit.  Now that pain is present daily but the pain is at a low level.  Every couple of years I'll get a bad flare-up and end up seeing my PCP.   Usually a few days of ice, Percocet and staying off my feet will bring me out of the flare-up.

Ten years or so ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  That took a while, but I got that under control and now just have flare-ups here and there.

I have arthritis in loads of places, the wort being my hands, but also in the knees and hips and back and neck. I know this won't get any better as I get older.  Due to the surgery having a poor outcome and, in fact, making things worse, I'm going to apply for early disability retirement, which is something I'm very fortunate my company offers.  Hopefully it will be approved and the financial worry will be a lot less.

So, I guess I'm just being a little curious as to other people here.  I just get a sense that a lot of CP patients suffer from more than one thing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
13 Responses
Avatar universal
I think we do all seem to suffer from more than one thing, but then a lot of people have multiple conditions without CP.  (diabetes with heart disease for example)
My mother likes to tell me things like "You're not well" and "But you're ill", etc.  Then other times she acts like I could really take over the world if I wanted to.  

Lets see, on top of the herniated cervical discs, DDD and brain aneurysms I have arthritis, tendonitis, and bursitis.  Mostly in my upper left quadrant.  None of those things have been considered "bad enough" to operate on or with the bursaes, drain.
Before the pain became constant, I had always had shoulder pain that would flare up occasionally and didn't know what it was.  I actually had to leave a job because of it.  No one ever took it seriously, though, as I was young and it wasn't constant.  I wish they had because I would have taken it easy and maybe never herniated the discs and got the permanent injury while moving.  Although they aren't sure how the discs herniated.

With this pregnancy I've had some lower back, sciatic, and hip pain.  My left hip will hurt until I pop it.  I'm sure it's not very good to "pop" any joints but with some things it is just so hard not to, especially when it makes it stop aching for a while.  

As far as non-"structural", I have asthma and have always had heavy periods, a lot of heavy cramps, etc.  Birth control helped but with the aneurysms I can't take hormonal BC anymore.  They seem to have gotten a little better as I've gotten older, though.

I have had some temporary issues that I think were either caused by certain meds or other issues.  When I was on methadone for the pain, I was getting UTIs at least once a month and had pnuemonia 2 or 3 times.  Before that when I was on lortabs I had terrible stomach issues, but nothing diagnosed.  I think it was the acetomenophen.
When I was about 50lbs heavier I had high BP but that went away when I started taking narcotic pain meds and lost weight, I was able to get off the meds and now my BP is relatively low.

Other than that I can't really think of anything else, but chances are there is something I'm forgetting.  I had thought about asking about this, too, as it does seem like many of us have similar "other" conditions.
1301089 tn?1290666571
Hi Mellie!  You already know of course that my whole body is shot.  In addition to neck and now lumbar spinal problems, I have really bad abdominal adhesions.  My hands almost always hurt from bone spurs and my knees aren't that great.  I've had RSD in my left big toe joint.  And I've been diagnosed with fibro just to make life a little interesting.  I
am allergic to just about everything .  And did I mention my ulcers???

I started pain management 15 years ago but the first 6 years were off and on.  Lots of surgeries.  Now I won't do another surgery unless I'm faced with loss of life or loss of function.

This has been a fun week.  It homecoming this weekend and between getting 2 girls outfitted for the game and then the dance the next night, I've got my son and his girl friend.  Thank goodness I just had to buy her flowers and tickets!  Took the kitten to the vet for shots this morning and picked up corsages.  Now I've had it.  I hurt from my head to my toes.  I think I'll have to leave them to it this afternoon and evening.  As a side note, does anyone else think it's a little early for homecoming???

So your answer is absolutely yes for me.  I had one doctor describe me with a "reactive body".  I asked what that means.  He said basically, if it can go wrong, it will.  So I'd rather call it a Murphy's law body.
Avatar universal
I agree with everyone else that has posted so far.  I used to think that I'd just get over one illness, and something else would come up.  That started happening after I had radiation to my thyroid and after the hysterectomy.  I started researching a little bit about some of the illnesses that I have and most of them come up and say auto-immune, but I definitely know what your talking about.  I think my brother and sister brush off all my issues, they are so tired of seeing me in the hospital that when I'm there, they do not show up.  My sister is afraid to drive past a four mile radius and won't come out to where I am.  I'm about thirty minutes away.  But when she was in the psych hospital, of course I went to visit her because she kept calling me and wanting me to come down.  And since I know what it feels like to sit alone in a hospital I came down and visited.  I have a few very good friends who support my chronic pain issues, and then I have just acquaintances who I don't tell because I can tell they don't care.  But your question is I've always had to deal with more than one issue at a time.  I think it's pretty normal for chronic pain patients to have more than one issue.  
Avatar universal
I am a total disaster.  My back is broken (literally), I have stage II hypertension and although it is controlled by medication the meds themselves don't agree with me very well.  Right now my ankles hurt so badly most of the time I can barely make it down the stairs- I have yet to diagnose that.  I have chronic gastritis as well as delayed gastric emptying due to the pain medications.

Sometimes I have a pretty good outlook on life.  Sometimes I have pity parties.  My daughter told me last night that I needed to stop saying "hanging in there" when people ask how I am, because it makes her feel like I'm never going to get better- but right now I'm waiting for back surgery, and I thought "hanging in there" was pretty good!
1301089 tn?1290666571
Wow, Mellie, looks like you hit the nail on the head with this one.  All of us seem to have our bodies just falling apart.  Taking care of families while in terrible pain is a hard task.  What one mom can do with ease takes us a while to get done, if it doesn't throw us in bed for a couple of days.

And design112, I agree with the part where one part gets fixed and then something else comes up.  That seems to be the story of my life.  I hesitate to say anything here or anywhere because it seems like it couldn't be real.  Unfortunately, it is very real for me.  My PMP was laughing and said she can't keep up with my body's breakdowns!  Just want you to know how much I hope you've seen the last of the hospital stays for a long time!

Happy:  I like hanging in there.  To heck with what it sounds like to anyone else.  I'm sure you've seen that old poster with the kitten hanging on the screen door with a terrified look on his face.  Caption says "Hang in there, kid."  I feel like that kitten a lot.  I sure hope your upcoming surgery goes very well for you and then you can change it to "getting better".  

It's awful that we all find ourselves here.  No one understands until they get it.   This forum has been a godsend for me.  Even if I only read and don't feel up to posting, it helps.  Not to mention the support and friendships I've received.  If only we didn't have to be here.  One day, some bright young chemist will come up with the wonder pill.  I hope we all live to see that day.
954005 tn?1304626605
I was having a pity party earlier this week because it seems like things happen one after the other like I'm cursed!!! Then, even when I add everything up, and think about how hard my life is, it still does not compare to many other people's stories out there...meaning, it could be so much worse.  BUT...I do admit that it's hard to stay on the positive side 100% of the time... So, I'm limiting my pity parties to only when absolutely necessary!

Really quickly, I'll just do a simple list of my problems...
*Fell down stairs Christmas 2007 crushing coccyx bone and damaging SIJ
*Life-long uterus problems:  thicker than avg lining, bicornuate uterus, post-partum hemorrhage, 3x D&C + a hysteroscopy...all done because of bleeding issues--either the hemorrhage, or menstrual cycles lasting too long and being too heavy.  The last D&C was to stop bleeding from a period that occurred every day for almost 1 year.  Yes, cramps and bleeding every day consecutively for a year.  Currently am having period every other week or so.  Cannot do anything abt it because of other medical issues (to follow).
*May of 2009 had bottom 2 sections of my coccyx bone removed...was told that pain would be relieved significantly.
*A little over a week post-op, my incision opened from the inside out because of a staph infection probably given to me in the OR.  Finally after 2 different rounds of strong antibiotics, the infection is gone, but it takes 13 weeks for the incision to close itself from the inside out...changing dressings multiple times a day...
*About the same time of the infection, I notice "swelling" in my vaginal area.  I was sort of puffy in the area and around near my bum also.  I thought it was really just swelling b/c of the proximity of the surgery I had....but it was not subsiding...so I suspected a prolapse of some kind.  I went to my OBGYN, who confirmed that I had a cystocele, a rectocele, and a uterine prolapse.  I am currently still waiting for them to be fixed (reasons to follow), may now have a possible enterocele.
*Had an MRI about 1 yr post-op from my coccyx surgery, which showed permanent damage to the SIJ, which explains why, even after surgery to remove the smushed and broken bone, I am still in extreme pain.  
*June 30 I had my 4th of 4 unexplained fainting episodes, which brought me to hospital by ambulance...after many tests, the neuro suspected seizures in my head, but ordered MRI and EEG to have at a later date.  Driver's License "taken away" by doctor until results of tests.
*This past Monday Sept 13, was told by my Neuro that my brain MRI was fine!!! But my EEG was abnormal, and showed seizure-like activity.  Still no driving indefinitely, and we are repeating the EEG...will be Nov 5, and my appt for results Dec 13.
*OBGYN cannot do anything with my periods or prolapses until I have a definitive diagnosis for my brain...

Now...I hope I listed everything, I am so tired that I have no idea if any of it even makes sense hahaha... I guess I sort of feel like I have a target on my back for medical problems and complications....like, what is going to happen next???

Lastly, even when I see all of these problems...I do know that none of them (so far, or that I know of) are life threatening, so thank God for that.  I also know that I believe in the power of prayer and positive thoughts...and I will always continue to pray for all of us as we go through the ups and downs of this crazy ride!
547368 tn?1440541785
Hi Mellie,

Even my short answers is long and complicated.  So let me just say that I have major pain in two locations but actually have about ten reasons or contributing factors for the pain.

I have mild to moderate pain in about three additional locations related to some of the ten reason plus a few more.....just very complicated...so I'll leave it at that. :o)

Good question!

Avatar universal
Wow.  I'm so glad I posted about this.  Sometimes I think to myself how on earth did I end up with so many things falling apart?  And I know I have a high pain threshold.  Other than here, I would never let anyone know what's going on with me because I almost find it embarrassing. It's always one thing after another.  

I blame genetics!  My mom had many of the same things I do, though without the medical support I have.  I feel bad all of you have all these difficulties to deal with but I'm also relieved to know it's not just me.  Occasionally I have moments that I think I must be crazy, that no one can have all of these pain issues.  And I also know it could be sooo much worse, and I'm grateful for what I don't have!

After all the surgeries on my hand, I'm not inclined to have other joint replacement procedures even though I know I need them.  Lately I'm noticing how much slower I am with everything.  Getting in and out of the car and going up and down stairs is so painful, even with all the medication I take.  I can tell when I'm out with my sister that she gets annoyed.  Then I end up losing my patience with her and telling her, "too bad; this is the way it is."

Sara, you're so right about raising kids.  At times I feel like such a failure as a mom.  My oldest daughter definitely got the best of me ... I was Supermom.  The youngest just don't get me like that ... no chaperoning field trips or volunteering for lunch duty anymore.

I've found I'm basically good for one thing a day.  If I focus on laundry, then it's likely we're having takeout or grilled cheese for dinner.  If I make a huge dinner, then, that's it for the day.  I hate being so limited.  I feel betrayed by my body!  When I think of all the things I used to cram into a day and what I can do now, it's like I'm not even the same person.

I'm so thankful for this forum.  To be able to just vent and not worry about what anyone thinks is a huge relief.
Avatar universal
I can commiserate with the cursed feeling.  At the beginning of the summer, when I was finally getting things settled with a long series of hits from the blood pressure thing to being told I had the beginnings of macular degeneration (oh yay, I'm 44, not 64), I was walking- not falling, walking- down the stairs and broke my 5th metatarsal (the bone on the outside of the foot).  So I was limping my way through the first half of the summer.  

Luckily that has healed and I'm no longer limping- but seriously!  My friends were just looking at me with this sense of pity that I'd never seen before, like I must be on the road to the grave.

But yes, I alternate between being that kitten, hanging on by one weak little claw, or Bill the Cat, looking like my last nerve has been shredded.  As long as I'm hanging in there, things will be OK.  I did try to explain that to my daughter, who is 13 and really just needed to vent a bit about having a mom who is not OK (she mothers me a lot and doesn't get a lot of time to vent about it).

Danged surgery had better help.  In my mind surgery= less pain = fewer drugs = fewer side effects = better health = YAY!  I hope :)

1035252 tn?1427227833
It sure does seem like chronic pain comes in bundles...aside from my headaches (agonizing) I have nerve damage in my neck from an incident about a year and a half ago that causes painful spasms to run down into my shoulders and up into the base of my skull...and I also have degenrated tissue in my sacroiliac joint and it causes the joint to grind and crunch and it can be excruciating if I forget about it.

in a systemic sense I also have chronic pain because I have chronic kidney stones (a few each year) as well as NOW I have ovarian cysts that I hope were only a one-time, post-delivery incident.

I really don't need to add any more to my plate so I hope they don't come back, lol.

I only receive pain mgmt for the headaches but my SI joint and my neck are becoming increasingly worse and I'm hoping I don't need to be treated for them because the by-product of the pain meds for my headaches is that my other pains are slightly more tolerable as well. Besides...I just get this feeling that going in and saying "this hurts too!" would make me look like a drug-seeker...does anyone know how that works? my neurologist could feasibly treat me for the nerve damage pain but I don't want to push my relationship with him too far....

anyway, yeah, chronic pain comes in bunches. it just doesn't seem fair.
Avatar universal
I would agree most people with chronic pain have multiple areas of pain. I shattered my left tibia skiing when I was 23 and had 2 plates and a whole bunch of screws to put it back together. Back then pain management didn't really exist and it was not very pleasant to be in that much pain. I was given darvacet and it really didn't help that much My ortho doc just told me to basically to suck it up.

Now I have had 3 shoulder operations (still have a torn left shoulder labrum), 2 back rhizotomies, and I just found out today that I have a torn left hip larum and cysts and told I will need a hip replacement sometime in the future. All of this from years of sports and I just turned 40 last month. Pain management is a salvation. I really did not realize how much pain I was in until I started the meds and it was like a breath of fresh air.
Avatar universal
It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who feels like I'm falling apart at the seams sometimes.  I mean, I hate that others have to feel the way I do, but it's nice to know that I'm not just completely nuts.

I'm 47, but have been dealing with chronic pain for what seems like forever to me.  I had pain issues even as a child - bad headaches, "growing pains", knee and hip problems, along with many digestive issues.  Now at age 47, I quite often feel like my body is completely rebelling against me.  As a child, teenager and young adult, despite my pain and other health issues, I always stayed very active - sports, marching band, social activities, etc.  I'm sure some of those activities have added to the demise of my joints, however.  I now suffer from severe, bone on bone arthritis in pretty much every joint from fingertips to toes and everywhere in between.  I also have fibromyalgia, lupus, DDD, pinched nerves, asthma, GERD, IBS.  I had a shoulder replacement done a little over two years ago and have been told that I will also definitely need to have both hips and both knees done in teh next few years.

Right now (and for the past many several years) my PCP is the one treating all of my pain issues.  I was seeing a rheumatologist for the lupus and fibro, however, she no longer accepts Medicare and I simply cannot afford to pay out of pocket to see her - so my PCP has agreed to take over my care for those conditions also - at least until I can find another rheumatologist.  Unfortunately, I've struck out trying to find another one who a) accepts Medicare b) is accepting new patients and c) treats both fibro and lupus.

I'm so happy and feel so blessed to have found this site where we can share our experiences and frustrations with each other.
Avatar universal
When I think back to my mom and the pain she had and what she had available to her (not much,) it makes me feel so bad.  Sometimes I think "I'm going to get off all this medicine."  Then I have a day like today.  Overall not feeling great but I couldn't take my medicine every four hours because I had to take my dad on an errand and I knew shortly after that I was going to have to drive my son to football practice.  So i was a long time between doses and when I could finally take my medication, I was really in agony.

Basically what I'm taking now seems to be the best combination of things I've been on so far.  Though I do think that since I'm on 75 mcg of Fentanyl that I'm taking a lotof breakthrough medication. I basically take 45 mg of oxycodone every 4 hours and it usually is round the clock as I'm not sleeping much.

Taking this dosage gets me to about a 4 on a pain scale and I think, for me, that's as good as I'm going to get.  I can still function even though the pain is still at the forefront of my mind.  

And I do find the Duragesic patch can make me very tired.  It's either that or it's the combination of the Fentanyl with the BT meds. (I also take other things but these two are my regular ones.)  

But I am sort of stumped that with all the medication I'm on, how is it that other pain gets by it?
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