Dealing with chronic pain
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Degenerative Discs

SodOffBackPainSodOffBackPain Member Posts: 6 Listener
edited December 2018 in Dealing with chronic pain
This has got progressively worse the last few years. This year I have had endless hospital tests and MRI's and it is degenerative discs. I find walking very painful, especially the first walk of the day, and climbing stairs and going uphill is excrutiating.

Pain killers do not work and it makes sleeping at night not easy at all as i gt numb arms in the night and have to turn over to get blood back into them.

Any suggestions as to how to combat this?

I know the pain will never go, but if I can reduce it or alleviate it that would be a great help.


  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @SodOffBackPain, and a warm welcome to the community!

    Thanks for sharing this with us, and I'm truly sorry to hear about your pain. I know how tough it is to live with it day in and day out. Have you been seen by a pain clinic before?
  • SodOffBackPainSodOffBackPain Member Posts: 6 Listener
    No....once the Hospitals and Doctors told me what I already knew they washed their hands off it...they said they wouldn't operate which is fine by me as I don't want one, but surely there is something they can do to alleviate the worst of it
  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @SodOffBackPain, in that case it might be worth speaking to your GP about a pain clinic referral.

    As you know there's no easy fix but hopefully it would give you a bit more support to help you cope. We also have lots of community members with chronic pain here on the community, so at the very least I hope you know that you're not alone and you're among others who understand.
  • SodOffBackPainSodOffBackPain Member Posts: 6 Listener
    I have lost faith in my local seems this is too hard work for them to deal with.

    I know there is no fix, I just want to be able to at least deal with the pain, not have to stop every 20 meters because the pain is unbearable
  • GalDriverGalDriver Member Posts: 50 Courageous
    SodOffBackPain you have my heartfelt commiserations. I have degenerative lumbar discs. In getting those it was also found I have secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. I say that not for sympathy but that the back clinic then wrote me off as everything being because of my MS. Grrrr. I lack confidence in them too.   thought I was heading towards possibly having a stabilising op.

    I did have cortisone in the spine which helped for a while but not been offered it again and not sure I'm keen anyway as too much cortisone isn't good. Painkillers are pretty useless.

    Cannabis (I make fudge, don't smoke) helps but is expensive and, of course, illegal in the UK and unavailable on prescription despite what the government say about medical cannabis.

    I find the best, cheaper, help is my TENS machine. I use it for a lot longer than recommended (used to keep it attached when I worked!) but find some relief from zapping for an hour or more. I am trying a new machine (APS) which attaches in a similar way but is very low frequency. Fingers crossed.

    I hope you find something to help.
  • SodOffBackPainSodOffBackPain Member Posts: 6 Listener
    I do have a tens machine, but until someone shows me where I should put ther pads I won't use it..I used it once and felt worse, as I don't know what I am doing.

    I do puff anyway and that makes no difference anyway, but better than drinking.

    I am now going to a massage specialist who understands the DD process, so hopefully that will improve things...I shall report back
  • GalDriverGalDriver Member Posts: 50 Courageous
    I put my TENS pads either side of my spine (sort of top of bum cheeks for me) and adjust the level of vibration (I put it on plain vibrate, can't get on with the thumping ones) you feel ok at the time. I often end up with it on the highest level for ages but other times I can barely have it higher than level 3. Whatever works for you.

    Where abouts are your degenerative discs? Mine are in my lumbar region.
  • SodOffBackPainSodOffBackPain Member Posts: 6 Listener
    also in lumbar but i am loathed to use the tens until i know for sure where to put the pads as I don't want to make it worse.

    The last few nights about 3am i have been in agony with my right knee...can't walk on it or move it as the pain is unbearable...had to slide on my backside to the kitchen to take pain killers which i rarely morning it has subsided, but i am sure it's nerve related to the DDs....but it is a new thing and extremely painful even to stand and let the leg hang...any movement is so painful
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,729 Disability Gamechanger
    Have you seen a physiotherapist @SodOffBackPain ?

    The NHS says

    If you're thinking about trying TENS, it's a good idea to speak to your GP about a referral to a physiotherapist or pain clinic.

    A physiotherapist or pain specialist may be able to loan you a TENS machine for a short period if they think it could help.

    You can choose to buy your own TENS machine without getting medical advice, but it's generally better to have a proper assessment first, so you can find out whether a TENS machine is appropriate for you and be taught how to use it properly.

    To get the most benefit from TENS, it's important that the settings are adjusted correctly for you and your individual condition.

    How to use TENS

    The information below is a general guide on how to use a TENS machine. You should always follow the manufacturer's specific instructions.

    TENS machines are small and lightweight, so you can use them while you're working or on the move. You can put it in your pocket, clip it to your belt or hold it in your hand.

    You can use TENS throughout the day for as long as you like, although it shouldn't be used while you're driving, operating machinery, or in the bath or shower. 

    Positioning the pads

    Make sure the machine is switched off before you attach the pads to your skin. Position the pads either side of the painful area, at least 2.5cm (1 inch) apart.

    Never place the pads over:

    • the front or sides of your neck
    • your temples
    • your mouth or eyes
    • your chest and upper back at the same time
    • irritated, infected or broken skin
    • varicose veins 
    • numb areas

    Turning it on and adjusting the strength

    Turn on the TENS machine when the pads are attached in the correct places. You'll feel a slight tingling sensation pass through your skin.

    The machine has a dial that allows you to control the strength of the electrical impulses.

    Start on a low setting and gradually increase it until the sensation feels strong but comfortable. If the tingling sensation starts to feel painful or uncomfortable, reduce it slightly.

    Switch the TENS machine off after you've finished using it and remove the electrodes from your skin.

    Senior online community officer
  • SodOffBackPainSodOffBackPain Member Posts: 6 Listener
    Physio has done nothing for me and like i said, i just want someone who knows what they're doing to tell me where to place the pads
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,729 Disability Gamechanger
    edited December 2018
    We can't give medical information here on the community @SodOffBackPain
    I can understand just how frustrating it is, but it would be worth you speaking to a medical professional about this.

    The only thing I can say is what is on the NHS website:

    "Position the pads either side of the painful area, at least 2.5cm (1 inch) apart."
    Senior online community officer
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,729 Disability Gamechanger
    You might like to look through youtube and search Degenerative Disc Disease.
    Senior online community officer
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