Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oh my aching back....

For about a week now, I have been  having a LOT of trouble with my lower back.  I almost always have that as a trouble spot- specifically the Sacroiliac Joint area.  Now, my Rheumatologist has said that this is actually part of my Fibromyalgia, that RA generally does not affect the back (she did take Xrays for Ankylosing Spondylitis which were negative) but I am not so sure.  When I was in PT, the student who was working with me was horrified by the constant "noise" that comes when, for example,  I am lying on my back and doing the knee to chest/ extend to straight/lower to the floor (bicycle perhaps?)exercise.

Anywho, apparently whatever it is, it is inflammed and I suspect it is also pinching a nerve as when I bend over- like when I put the pups on their leads to go in the yard or try to pick something up- when I stand back up, I am washed over with dizziness.  I would be okay with the pain, but that sudden dizzy feeling scares the daylights out of me.  I almost feel as if, just for a moment, I am going to pass out.  I don't like feeling like I am not in control of my body if even for a second.  Pain is different.  Pain is expected, but this other thing- not so much.

This is the first time, in a long time, that I have allowed my disease to affect my work.  First, because of the pain, I have been taking more of my medications.  I promise- I am not self medicating- my Rheumy has told me what my " upper limit" is as far as if the pain gets to be too much.   I am staying well within her guidelines.  I just don't like to take too much medication because it has two effects on me.  More Tramadol or more Flexeril makes me feel both numb and stupid.  Kind of like I am a bump on a log.  I don't trust myself to drive like that and I don't like to feel like that.  Extra Neurontin makes me sleepy- but not for long.

  Last night is a perfect example.  My normal RX is 300mg Neurontin 2x daily (doesn't matter what two times) and the max dosage is 2400mg.  My normal dosage of Flexeril is 30mg at bed time with a max dosage of 60mg a day.  My normal dosage of Tramadol is 50mg 3x a day with a max of 400mg a day. My normal dose of Naproxyn is 500mg 2x a day with a max of 1500mg.  The thought behind this is that the Tramadol and Naproxyn are for my RA pain and inflammation, the Neurontin for the Fibro and the Flexeril is to help me sleep.  I usually take one Tramadol, one Naproxyn and one Neurontin in the morning, one Tramadol at lunch and the rest an hour before bed.  With this back issue, yesterday I took the normal dosages plus an extra 300mg of Neurontin at lunch and bed time, an extra 10mg of flexeril at lunch.  I was pretty stupid all afternoon and then last night, I couldn't get to sleep at first- I ended up reading until almost midnight, and I have been up since 2:30 am.  I am not tired- yet- I expect that will hit around 6am, and I am moderately numb.  Thank goodness I already told my assistant mgr I would be out again today.

I have been applying heat- both by heating pad and by the hottest shower I can stand until the water runs cold and this morning I am going to attempt to do some yoga to see if I can stretch this area out.  I need my life back.  I can't sit (lay/sit/lay) at home forever and I can't let this control my life any more than it already does.  I am also going to back off all of the stuff that makes me feel "wrong" and add an additional Naproxyn .Hopefully that will take care of the inflammation before hubby and I are going to a concert on Saturday night.  Either way- I am going back to work tomorrow even if I have to use the dreaded cane and take my heating pad with me.  I truly feel that yoga has given me so much relief on the Tuesdays that I can go to class and I know that I can bring my DVD downstairs (Yoga for Dummies- I am not yet good enough to do the routine from my class from memory) and try to get through it.  I tend to do Cat/Cow throughout the day even from a sitting position in my chair as I feel my back tighten and Cobra/Child's pose when I get in my bed at night and in the morning to try to stretch enough to get comfortable.  It's the rest I need help on.  If it helps to open up my back- I will have to make this part of my morning routine.  I have been allowing my insomnia to rule my mornings (up between 2 and 3; exhausted by 6) for too long and it's time to reclaim that as well by either taking the pups for a walk or doing some other sort of exercise as soon as I start feeling tired.

I will conquer this-if by sheer will alone.  It's MY life, it doesn't belong to my illness and their "side effects".



deb aka murphthesurf said...

My heart goes out to you right now with your back. Dang disease! I wish I had a magic fix for your but I do not. Can you or have you tried one of those patches to put on your back that works for like 8 hours. The are available at places like CVS, Walgreens etc. I have no tried one but have heard success from others with back issues. In the meantime (((HUG))) and gently for sure! Feel better and soon.

Jules said...

Thanks Deb. For a long time I had a real love for Thermacare. Unfortunately I am not...in shape enough to comfortably wear the back one. I do plan on using Tiger Balm in the morning before work. It stinks but it helps a lot. I highly recommend it.

Jan said...


Susan said...

So sorry you are in pain.

My PT gave me a foam roller, it's about 6 inches in diameter and 36 inches long. If you google foam rollers, you'll find all kinds. Mine is soft foam, more like a very dense foam pillow.

Although the exercise folks use it perpendicular to your spine to "roll" your muscles, I use mine parallel to and directly under my spine, it is long enough to go from tail bone to top of head. I lay on it for about 10-15 minutes in the am and pm. I can even do a variation of my back exercises while laying on it, such as the cow/camel pose. It is a wonderful addition to my in-bed stretching and exercises.

Like you, I tend to do some of my am exercises before ever getting out of bed. Child's pose is particularly good for me, too!

I also seem to often sleep 4 hours, then am awake for 2 or 3 hours, and dead tired at 5 or 6. I try to adjust my schedule so I can go in to work late on those days. And I've learned to use the time I'm awake, instead of lying and wishing I was asleep.

Good luck!