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Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help

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Old 04-28-2005, 07:17 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 333
jayboy557 HB User
Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help

my wifes family has pretty much told me to tough it out and that people are in pain everyday and still lead a normal life style. they compare my torn disc to there past injuries saying they didn't take pain meds and still worked and walked 20 miles to school. you know the old story. I have severe back pain all day long everyday. while i'm on disability, i take care of me beautiful daughters, two and six months of age. Sitting causes horrible radiating pain into my buttocks and upper leg. Lifting my babies is horrible. heck, even leaning over to shave or wash my face causes terrible pain in my back. i am absolutely miserable. i am scheduled to have an artificial disc replacement in a month. here is my question

for those of you who have severe back pain, am i just a wimp or what. i can't go on like this. thank god i am having the surgery. i tried everything in the book to fix my back. nothing worked. my family (wifes side) has made me feel like i have not taken care of my family and that i need to just tough it out and get off the meds and work physical labor. i was a cop for 8 years and have never been out of work. i just could not function as a police officer. much less forcibly arrest someone or wear that gun belt which ways almost 20 pounds. has anyone experienced family or friends who didn't understand your pain. do those of you with severe back pain feel the same as me where you are disabled and limited on pretty much EVERYTHING you do. i wouldn't be putting a plastic disc or whatever in my back if i was able to deal with the horrible pain. do you just tough it out. if so, i don't know how. tell me your secret. guys please give me some feedback. i feel like a loser who is not working just because and its totally not like that. thanks, jason

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Old 04-28-2005, 08:05 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Quietcook HB UserQuietcook HB User
Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help

No, you are not a wimp. People who have never had a slipped or herniated disc or other major back problems simply do not understand the depth of the pain nor how danagerous it can be as far as causing paralysis. Although I've not delivered a child, some say it is as bad as when they gave birth, others say it is worse. Guess it depends on how compressed your nerves are. I've been to the point that I had no control over bladder and bowels, I had no use of my legs, and the pain is simply indescribable.

The only response I can think of is to tell them that while it is evident they simply do not comprehend the amount of pain you endure, that you still hope they never have to experience it, because it is so bad that there are no words to do it justice. In the meanwhile do be careful about picking up your children, as more damage can be done. So glad you are going to be able to get the ADR and hope you have as great a success as others I've spoken with.

Best wishes and hope you let us know how you are doing. BTW, this is a good place to vent.

Old 04-28-2005, 08:12 PM   #3
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tammys HB User
Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help

Jason, first of all the people who are making you feel that way are way too insensitive, and apparently never experienced back pain. I also am not able to work and have worked since I was 15 years old up until I was 38. I never thought I would be out of work. Just figured I would retire and then continue working. I have sympathy for anyone that says "I have a backache". I had my first surgery(lami) in 2001 and my second (fusion) in 2002. I have experienced the ups and downs of depression and then getting my hopes up when doctor thinks he can help. NOBODY can tell you that you don't hurt. Unless they can feel your pain, then they can't say. I guess with me being outspoken with everyone I know, nobody has gotten brave enough to say to me that I am not in pain. Once, a friend of mine wanted me to go shopping. I told her I couldn't because I was having a bad day and the pain was bad. She made the mistake of telling me to "suck it up" and then she said I was being a baby. Needless to say, I was very upset and didn't hold back how I felt. She apologized to me. She watches what she says to me now. Another thing....the doctors would not be doing ADR on you if it were not necessary. Apparently the doctor see a reason to do it so the pain must be real. Tell those people that are making you feel like you do to go take a long walk on a short pier. I wish you all the luck in the world with your ADR. Keep us posted. Remember.......when no one else understands your can come here. Someone here will help lift your spirits up.

What Quietcook said reminds me of something I said not too long ago. I would rather be in labor and give birth everyday than to suffer with the kind of back pain I have. Your not a wimp. Your a man in pain and deserve to be able to express that pain without being made to feel less of a person for it.

Good Luck!!! Keep Smiling!!!

Last edited by tammys; 04-28-2005 at 08:15 PM.

Old 04-28-2005, 08:30 PM   #4
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Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help

I think all of us have experienced people giving advise and saying how they hurt there back and they got better. Someone at my work would say how one time she bent over when she was washing her car and the pain was so bad that she had to crawl into her house. The pain went away in a week and she has never had a problem since and she acts like I should be just like that because she says she must have had a herniated disc by her symptoms but she never went to a doctor even for it. Some people just cannot put themselves in another persons shoes. They think if they can get through it and be fine then someone else should be able to. I would sit in pain at work and try to smile which is so hard. Every once in a while I would bring it up maybe once a week and some of them acted like I was all better but I was not. Now it's worse just in this last week. It started going down my left leg and I cannot hardly walk on my left leg. I have pain in my calf and the muscle just does not have the strength to hold my weight which is only 120 lbs. My left foot is also numb and I lose my balance sometimes trying to walk. It also hurts to sit but that part is starting to get a little better for me. People just truely do not understand the pain. I thought I had experienced quite a bit of pain before but 3 months ago when I hurt my disc it has been the most horrific pain I have had in my entire life. Some of the days in the beginning I could not even get out of bed to go to the bathroom or even roll over. I layed there terrified and alone some of the time. I don't think anyone else can understand that kind of pain unless they go through it. I know I never could have. I did not know that pain like that existed until it happened to me. I hope your surgery goes well. I have heard positive things about the artificial disc replacement.

Old 04-28-2005, 09:21 PM   #5
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ezracer1 HB User
Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help

Hey JayBoy,

Sorry to hear about your family problems. I read your post and felt like it is a page out of my life. I am currently a police officer and in the process of trying to get disability pension. In my 12 1/2 year career I've had 3 knee surgeries (tore both left and right ACL's), and 2 back surgeries for L4-L5. The last surgery was 9-8-04 and a MRI from 12-3-04 shows I have scar tissue wrapped around my sciatic nerve. I'm still trying to work while I'm going through the red tape. Today I only worked a half shift until I couldn't feel the gas pedal any more as my leg and foot were going numb. You just gotta love gun belts and broken down cruiser seats!! I'm in the same boat as you. My wife's family doesn't come right out and say it but I get the feeling that they think I'm just giving up. I could tell you about the lack of support from my wife, but that would take several pages. Thank God for my family and this board. Have to vent sometimes! Keep your chin up were here for each other! Where are you from...I would love to talk to your ADR doc?

Old 04-28-2005, 09:37 PM   #6
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Haw'nCarl HB User
Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help

Aloha Jason,

Well, because I am the first man to respond to your post, I believe this gives me the credentials to say…..[I]Drum roll please [/I] “I know exactly how you feel” and really mean it.

Not taking anything away from the wonderful posts you received from the ladies, they’re support and words come from their hearts and experience, and I can echo every one of thier words. But lets face it, they [I]are[/I] ladies, us men are supposed to deal with pain and not complain about it right? Especially a Police Officer for Gosh sakes! Well, this is just [I][B]not[/B][/I] right!

I also agree with the others, unless your in-laws can step into your shoes and take a few painful steps, they have no business telling you to tough it out. They may have the best of intentions and may think that by telling you this, your torn disc will miraculously heal itself and the pain will go away. But I don’t think this miracle will happen.

People can be very cruel and uncompassionate when it comes to pain without visible injuries (back pain). A torn disc causes some serious pain; I had two, along with severe DDD in 3 levels and all three levels were herniated. I wish that I had the option for disc replacement, but with 3 levels involved, that option was nixed immediately.

Not getting to far off the track though, you are being way to hard on yourself my friend, you need to focus on healing your mental attitude and never call yourself a loser. You served your community for 8 good years! That has to make you and your family very proud, ([I]to be honest, I bet your wife is glad you are not an officer any longer, I know she doesn’t want to see you in pain with your back either, but at least she doesn’t have to stay up at night wondering if you are going to come back from your tour[/I]).

Sorry, getting off the track again, I have a nasty habit of doing that, anyway you need to have an extremely positive attitude going into surgery. You are not a wimp and you are not a loser, in my humble opinion, it takes more courage and fortitude to decide to have surgery than it does to say…oh I don’t know…[B]become a police officer![/B] But that’s just my opinion and I’m sticking with it.

Having the disc replacement is probably your best choice with only one disc involved, this will give you the best chance of a more flexible and mobile recovery and outcome. You will be in my prayer list, I wish you the best of luck and don’t be ashamed to take the meds either; they will make life more bearable.

This is only a bump in the road, you will be fine, besides, you have your two daughters that will need their daddy’s assistance in a few years when they start dating, oh, now that was a low blow, sorry. Good Luck Officer Jason.

3level laminectomy,discectomy&PLIF L3-S1 02/20/04
6cages 8screws 2rods (oh my!) w/local bone graft
Success! Yay!
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Old 04-29-2005, 12:22 AM   #7
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 333
jayboy557 HB User
Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help

hey y'all. i can't tell you how much your responses have helped me. they mean so much. you're comments were so kind. i agree with everything that was said. i really couldn't have gotten through this without Jesus. He has changed my life. You guys are in my prayers. let me know if i can help with anything.

EZ i live just north of Houston, Texas. I will be getting the ADR at the Texas Medical Center if my MRI is clear. Dr. Kushwaha. let me know if you need more info. i'll check the board tomorrow.

I really feel better about myself and my disability. they really made me question myself as a husband and father. i would never dream of treating someone like that. some people are so insensitive. You just have to go and tough it out. wow, if they only knew. Thanks again. please continue to post with any other stories or positive/negative feedback. lol. later, jason

Old 04-29-2005, 01:07 AM   #8
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Bionicwan HB User
Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help


Sorry to hear your in such pain and have little to no support from your family. Shame on them for making you ask yourself these questions and NO, your NOT a wimp.

What exactly is wrong with your back, do you have a diagnosis? I guess you do if your leaning towards surgery...what type surgery are you considering? the artificial disc replacement?

While I know how hard it can be....I strongly suggest you limiting "picking up" the kids right now. That will only worsen things
I know it must have been hard giving up your career in Law Enforcement and I'm sorry you had to do that.

Know that you'll have all the support we can offer you here!
please continue to let us know how your doing

Old 04-29-2005, 02:00 AM   #9
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 62
nean612 HB User
Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help


It is hard, unless someone has been thru it, they do not toes on my left leg goes numb and i have horrible sciatic pain (and i only have a bulge) my mother in law was wondering why i was going to the dr, so i told her. Her response was "oh, my legs have been doing that for years"..........I have also heard "now whats wrong with you???".....2 nights ago my husband asked me when i was going to start painting........I have come right out and told my husband that i hope this never happens to you, but if IT ever does I will NEVER treat you like this. Has your wife talked with your surgeon???
I have a hard time dealing with pain, and when the family dont get it, it hurts worse. I know that pain can become a horrible cycle, the more upset you get, the more those muscles tighten, more pain, more tightening...when i feel that "cycle" i try very hard to relax, take deep breathes. Venting here helps!! So any time you need to vent, VENT dont keep it locked up.
How soon is your surgery???? Hope all goes well, and keep us posted.
take care

Old 04-29-2005, 06:33 AM   #10
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BlessingsGalore HB User
Post Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help

Hey Jay. I have experienced unbearable pain with fibromyalgia for over 18 years. I do not LOOK like I have hurt a day in my life.

I also have facet joint syndrome, DDD, and Severe arthritis of the spine. Have been down since Nov.

I have experienced a lot of what you are going through......and yes, it does seem like FAMILY can be the most cruel. I have learned over the years that they SIMPLY CANNOT KNOW what I am going through. If one has not been in pain like this................they cannot imagine it. HOWEVER, they should NOT put someone else down when they are going through it. What goes around comes around. I find a lot of people don't learn until that happens, to have compassion and mercy on folks and things they do NOT UNDERSTAND.

As for dealing with them........I dunno. Each one has to find his own answers I guess.

It might be helpful to read the Fibromyalgia thread. There's one entitled "how many of you have lost friends/family over your illness" ? It might comfort you to some degree.

I'm sorry you are going through this.....may the PAIN and SHAME they put on you get better.


Old 04-29-2005, 07:02 AM   #11
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 54
justjustine HB User
Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help

Hi Jason

I started weeping when I read your post. I know how you feel. I am always thinking to myself, "If someone else were experiencing the pain I am having, would they feel as much as I do?" I am always second guessing myself. And yes, giving birth is much easier than this. I would rather go through the type of labour I had with my first child (18 hours of hard, hard contractions) than go through what I am dealing with right now. I don 't wish this kind of pain on anyone, but wouldn't it be nice just to transfer the pain to some of these non-believers for a few moments so that they can experience what we are going through?

I am terribly lucky to have a very supportive family. My mum has had two surgeries and my father one. They are well aware of what this is like, and they are helping care for my sons and I while I attempt to get back on my feet again. I thank god for them every day. Even though I have people who are understanding, I still have moments when I feel like I can't take this anymore, and I feel like such a chain around everyone's neck. This morning is particularly bad. I am having little crying sessions while nobody is around.

I hope everything works out well with your surgery. Just remember that although you may have some family members who are not understanding, you have children who love you no matter what.


Old 04-29-2005, 07:28 AM   #12
Kaleb's Mom 04
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Kaleb's Mom 04 HB User
Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help


I am sorry your wife's family treats you that way and says all those things. They obviously have never had a bad back. They don't understand the pain and how it can travel into other areas, and make everyday activites put you in such pain. I pray they do find something that will help you. Its wonderful that you are able to stay home with your children, but it would be so much more enjoyable if you weren't in such pain.

I injured my back in 96, and I will aggrevate it every now and then and be in such unbelievable pain, but thank the Lord mine isn't everyday. I have noticed more of a problem since I gave birth to my first child last June, and have had more frequent problems. This week has been about the worst, and I know just picking up my 10 month old, or bending to pick up something I dropped is unbearable, so I can only imaging this pain, but worse and that it never goes away. I feel for you! Hope you find some relief, and soon. I also hope the family will become a bit more understanding to the situation.
Kaleb 6/23/04 aftr TTC 4yrs
Miscarried 12/31/04 @ 6wk 5 days
It's a GIRL EDD Jan 12, 2006

Old 04-29-2005, 08:09 AM   #13
Join Date: Oct 2004
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jayboy557 HB User
Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help

i can't believe that with all my family, except for my sister, that i have to go online for support. but you know what, i am so greatful. thanks again

one of you asked my diagnosis. its degenerative disc disease. two bulging discs. one disc with a large tear which obviously hasn't healed. discogram results showed lots of leaking dye.

yes, i'm having the artificial disc surgery. so far i'm a candidate. he said that he had performed this surgery under my insurance before which has been a big problem. if my next mri (monday) shows no further damage to the other discs, we will be good to go.

Its been a tough time and again, i feel so blessed to have so much support. if this wasn't enough, my mom passed away just before i started having back problems so you can probably understand how alone i feel as far as supportive family. my wife has even said that her clients at work go to work everyday and have similar back problems or other ailments. i tried to tell her that just because you have back pain, doesn't mean that it is severe and disabling. never in my life have i experience so much struggle. time after time. back injury/ pain, lost my job, lost my mom, marriage problems, etc. my babies really keep my going and now you guys have givin me a positive outlook. sorry for going on and on. Thanks again. jason/jayboy

Old 04-29-2005, 11:02 AM   #14
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ladybird988 HB Userladybird988 HB User
Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help

You have to be careful with other people's back stories. I listened to them and thought mine wasn't serious, and did further damage as a result, trying to live up to everyone elses expectations, doing things I shouldn't have done, even though I was in horrible pain.

My brother had talked about pain so severe he crawled on the floor, but then he went back to lifting so I thought I could too. It wasn't until I lost th e use of my leg and foot that everyone saw my problem was for real and then I had to have surgery. that horrified them, actually seeing me unable to walk. Nothing hit home with them like that did. And yet, t hey do not understand. They t hink I can do more than I can.

Even limping around, in obvious pain, barely able to take a step, I have seen people frown at me like they think it isn't all that bad. And it makes me furious and then I have nothing to do with them. I am now isolated, I am so angry. This is mostly my husband's family who continue to say "it isn't that bad!" Those awful inlaws!

I suspect that they do know you are in pain, though cannot fathom how much, and that they are afraid of such a thing happening to them, so they act cold towards you, to hide their fear, but it's really them battling their own fear about that happening to them. People do that.

It's often physical people who rely on their bodies you'll notice who will make light of your pain and push you to do more, as if they are competing. Becaue to them the loss of their body is the worst thought they can think of, why? because they are the ones competing with their bodies against everyone else. The "I can lift more than you!" mentality. That's immature. Men do this most. So their behavior towards you too is immature.

I am working on my mind and spirit, not just my body, so come out ahead. They live only the physical, have always been able to rely on the physical, and therefore, guess what? They were never in a position where t hey HAD to reflect inward for spiritual strength, cause that's what it takes to endure this. Who will be ahead when we die? I will. Becaue I've honed my spirit, realizing I am more than my body. Most Americans think they are their bodies. I see it as their weakness. when I die and lose this body, I will be ready because I'm comfortable being spirit. They will be in for a rude awakening! I will take my spirit with me. THey won't take their body. So all the work I did here on earth will benefit my spirit and I will come out further ahead spiritually.

I also know how much strength it takes to endure this, and suspect that the very people who are hard on me are t he ones who probably could not endure this. and for that, I feel compassion for them, if I look at it that way.

So I tell them now that I won't talk to them about my back as they do not have the history with pain to understand it. I've had them say, "Yeah, but I can help by listening! I have a friend who's disabled!" and I tell them, no, I only talk about my pain with others who have experienced it because this is a level 10 pain. To have someone downplay your level 10 pain is very hurtful. It's abusive. If they were kind, sure, I'd talk to them, but they aren't being kind.

We have a right to protect ourselves from abuse. We have enough to deal with. We are on overload as it is.

Look for the positive in this, as something to help you develop your spirit. And try not to be bitter. The anger just makes the pain worse. I do not wish this on anyone, yet I know too, that most of the people who are downplaying our pain are the very ones who probably wouldn't survive it. Look closely and you'll see their fear.

Old 04-29-2005, 11:24 AM   #15
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galpster HB User
Re: Question for SEVERE BACK PAIN sufferers/please help

Hey there - I wanted to answer even though I am a lady.

When I first started having pain I took my pain medicine and went on as if everything was normal even though I was in incredible amounts of pain. My hubby isn't too sympathetic. His Mother in law would doubt my pain and injury (i have severe ddd and ruptured disc resting on sciatic). His mother couldn't understand why the medicine didn't take it away and why I took so much she thought I was addicted. Anyway when I had my surgery the doctor went out and told them how bad my back was he said it was one of the worse backs he had ever seen and I could eventually end up with rods and screws and maybe not walking (im scheduled for fusion in july). After this it helped her be a little more sympathetic but not much.

Well she had to get a reconstruction surgery (she had breast cancer) and the doctor messed up her nerves. She now lives in constant nerve pain (which is the worse) all the time and is on all kinds of medicine well let me tell you how sorry she is for ever doubting my pain. She appologizes all the time and tells me she doesn't know how I even get out of bed in the morning. She said my pain has to be worse then hers and she can't imagine having to live in the type of pain I do.

The nutshell of the story is people can't understand unless they go through something like it themselves. No one can imagine how bad chronic pain can be especially over long periods of time. There is nothing you can do to change their mind and don't worry about trying to justify your pain. You can't change their minds until they go through pain themselves.

I'm so sorry you have to go through this and don't have sympathtic people around you.

Your sister in Christ

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