I start physical therapy next week for my back pain and my doctor thinks that a lot of my leg pain is coming from my back. I always feel like I am fighting this neverending, losing battle with my body. I work so hard to get in shape and to try and change my lifestyle, including diet and exercise, so I can be stronger, and my body keeps rejecting my good intentions. I do feel a lot better in many ways but the pain in my back and legs is still so intense many days. My legs will hurt particularly bad in the evening and I feel it the most up around my thighs and down into my knees. I feel like I could just cry the pain is so intense.
My back pain is the worst at the base of my spine – at L4/L5 -where I have two herniated discs that I injured when I was 19 years old, unloading skids of dog food at the store I was assistant manager for at that time. Then I continued to do further damage to my lower back, upper back and neck because I wouldn’t listen at that young age and would lift heavy items and have been paying for it ever since.
The main problem I have with my back right now at work is that I have trouble doing the same thing for a long period of time or my back will hurt extremely bad. For example, standing at the register for 4 or 5 hours is extremely difficult and painful for me, so if we’re not busy, I will put away returned items, check prices, bag and do other tasks where I can move around. Movement is my friend at work and I try to do whatever I can to stay busy to avoid causing anymore pain than I’m already in. After standing at a register for a couple of hours, my back feels like it is ready to snap and I am desperately seeking my 15-minute break which used to be something that I would never even consider taking back in the “old days”. Back before I became ill, I would work 10 – 12 hour days without more than a 10 – 15 minute break all day long. I wouldn’t even stop to eat lunch or dinner. Now I can’t even get through a short 4 hour shift without a break and usually halfway through my shift my body is screaming to sit down. But that few minutes of a break seems to help for a short while. It does give me some relief.
I thought for sure with all of the weight loss my lower back pain and my leg pain would decrease but it only seems to get worse the more weight I lose. I wrote about this a while back on Fighting Fatigue (Increase In Low Back Pain with Weight Loss) and was amazed at the response from others who said they also experienced an increase in back pain with weight loss. The doctor and some of my readers have mentioned that the change in posture from the weight loss may be causing the increase in pain and it may lessen once the body has adjusted to the new weight.
One of my goals when I started working out almost a year ago was to strengthen my back. In order to strengthen your back, you have to strengthen your stomach muscles and spine. At the gym they call it ”focusing on the core”. I have been working really hard with doing strengthening exercises (like planks – yikes!) and I’m proud that I’ve been able to slowly and carefully build my body up some to do these things without causing flares. But I am still in all of this pain so I need additional help -and I’m tired of being on pain medication all of the time. I’m tired of always taking pain meds. I’m worried about what that is going to do to my body down the road. But for right now I still need them because I’m in too much pain without them.
As far as work goes – I like being able to get out there and I’m not willing to give up yet. Ever since I went back out to work 2 years ago, so much in my life has changed and I feel a lot better about myself and I feel like I have gotten out of the “I’m a disabled, sick, stay-at-home-mom/housewife rut” I was in. I never want to give up or quit until I know that I have exhausted every option that I’ve had. I will give physical therapy my all, just like I do everything else, and in the end, what happens will happen, I guess. I’ll deal with the outcome like I have had to deal with everything else.
I don’t think I can cure myself of ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia but I just want to have the best, most productive life that I can possibly have with these illnesses. I am so tired of living in all of this pain…day in…day out…all of the time. People see me smiling, happy and they have no idea what is going on with my body because I try not to let it show, so to many they wouldn’t even imagine that anything is wrong. I wake up in pain; I shower in pain; I fix my hair and makeup in pain; I dress in pain; I make my son his breakfast in pain – everything I do all day long I am doing while in this persistent, gnawing, stabbing, sometimes unbearable pain. But I have to live. Life isn’t going to stop because I hurt so I have to find a way to function because the world is not going to stop revolving because I’m in misery.
I will update once I’ve completed my first physical therapy session and write about what the therapist think and what their prognosis is on improving pain.