View Full Version : Describe Your Pain

05-15-2010, 01:55 PM
For a long time, I've been curious about the nature of everyone's pain. Often someone will just say, "I'm in so much pain", and I know that a lot of forum friends here are pretty much stuck at home with their pain. Others are buffalo-ing their way through their work and daily activities. Others are just uncomfortable. (I'm somewhere moving between the last two scenarios.) Less commonly, someone will say they have NO pain.

I found a Pain Scale that I thought was pretty good:

0- No pain
1- Some pain but OK
2- Mild pain worse
3- Annoying pain
4- Distracting pain
5- Pain too bad to ignore for long
6- Pain can't be ignored at all
7- Pain makes it hard to think and sleep
8- Pain limits activity: nausea with pain
9- I cry out in pain
10- Passed out

Seems like the doctors are looking for us to be in big-time pain, or they don't want to operate, unless there is rapid progression.

I'm inviting everyone to really deeply describe their woes here in great detail and what seems to bring it on....

I'll go first:

I'm one of the people that gets by pretty well most of the time. I would say that I have achiness and stiffness, most of the time in the 5-7 range. Less frequently, I will stay home with "discomfort", now in the 8 zone. Very occasionally, I cry out in pain, but it's more a poor-me whimper. Once several years ago, I sprained my back and that was a can't move, can't think-cry out in pain- should I go to the hospital- no that would hurt too much, a definite 9. That made all previous and subsequent pain go down a number or two. Right now I have been typing for awhile, it's raining, and my lumbar left hillside is an 8, but for only a few minutes. Once I get up and slowly move around, it will return to a 2-3. If I exercise, I would then go down to a 1-2. That particular pain area is a muscle cramp, and that area gets hard and pronounced. At work, I lean up against counters, door jambs, etc to massage it out- usually works to some degree. It does seem like there is a big difference between sharp pain, or muscle cramping, and dull pain-achiness and stiffness. I think if surgery was a guaranteed cure for achiness, I would do it tomorrow.

I also get a lot of left thoracic pain that I don't even count anymore because I have been told by a couple top docs that it stems from the neck and would not be healed with scoliosis surgery. That area involves the trapezoid muscle and just below- gives me left arm pain and numbness and shoulder 8-9's, that I sometimes want to make a loud noise, but don't out of politeness.

My entire right side of my back feels fine.:confused:

Ahhh, feels good to get it out on "paper"....Anyone else?

05-15-2010, 02:39 PM
Wow, Amy-- good post.

I'd say I'm somewhere between 3 & 5 most of the time - I can't ignore pain beginning - like the muscle cramps you describe - yes, exactly, and rain brings it out more! Sometimes it takes all I have to get out for a walk but then I feel better and no more pain.

Like you, I have that lumbar "hillside" (great description!) that cramps up when sitting or standing at length. For me it's on my right as my curve is that way. I find it VERY interesting, your Dr's take on the left thoracic pain - I have had stubborn pain there - in the left shoulder region- for the last ten years, during curve progression. I had some manual PT on it which helped. I can see how this is from the neck though my curve is not in the neck it appears. However, I have been pulling up straighter and my neck always readjusts so that's interesting. Lately also my shoulder has seemed more mobile and able to move out of it's usual contortions - which like you cause tingling and discomfort when I raise that arm. I really do think the alignment exercise I do from the Curves book addresses this-#4 Windmill. Simple but amazing.

Anyway, thanks again for this post. I am definitely off the couch and getting things done at home now, and not exhausted, on the weekend days. Some days I feel like my entire left side hurts, and the right is fine. I say that when I show up for a massage. So, where I used to be at 6 & 7 consistently, I'm more at 3 & 4 usually now, except on bad days- then about a 6.

05-15-2010, 06:09 PM
The last time I went to the ER I was a definite 10. I've never passed out from pain before, but this was the weirdest thing ever. Out I went, maybe not necessarily passed out, I don't know. But my hubby found me about a half hour after the incident that triggered it. When he roused me, I could barely move. He took me to the ER and I said about an 8. They had to bring me in by wheelchair. The guy at the receiving and vitals desk says he usually puts down about half what people say, but that I truly looked an 8. Midway through my ER visit I was truly a 10 again, it scared the attending doctor. I could barely breathe. That is my worst pain ever.

Then I have days where I'm pretty normal feeling like everyone else, I think. I have pain around a 1-2 on my best days. I havent' had any really good days since January. I'm in the middle of an "episode" I call them. They can last for months or years.

I have constant neck pain that rates from just gnawing and I can move my head around normally without aggrivating it to flat-out "I can't move my head in any direction at all." I get terrible muscle spasms under both scapula and pain in my thoracic bones that I can't describe. Maybe as a dull ache, but it gets very strong and painful. Sometimes when I sit up the weight of my frame causes it to get worse, mostly not though. My neck bones have a very sharp pain in them.

My ribs just cramp up and that's what makes it hard to breathe at times. I also get sharp pain in my sternum where the ribs attach. I can actually see a bump there sometimes when that hurts me. It's almost like, or maybe is, my rib gets dislocated at the sternum. Ouch!

As far as my lower back. I had some nerve compression that was taken care of by an epidural shot. Before the shot, I had pain that would go all the way down my left leg to my foot. It would start out in the buttock area and circle around to the front of the leg at the hip and travel down the front of the shin. Now when my lower back hurts, it's just muscle strain, nothing so horrible as it was (I couldn't even lift the lid on the toilet, had to lean against a wall to put my shoes on or pull my pants up).

So today, I have pretty much stayed in bed ALL day. I rarely do that, but my pain seems to be unmanageable today. The pain that I describe is despite being on a 50mcg fentanyl patch, percocet, klonopin, and soma. Pretty amazing that I could have any pain at all. Of course, they have to limit how much of this stuff I can take for my own safety. Today is just one of those days where my pain is exceeding the limits. So in bed I stay. :(

Oh, I am 41
upper thoracic "main" curve 46*
lower thoracic "compensatory" curve 28*
mild degenerative disc disease and bulging at L5-S1

05-15-2010, 06:24 PM
I feel for those with a 10. Twice I've been there, first in last half hour of childbirth unmedicated (twice) and secondly when I had a ruptured disc. I stayed at the 10 level for weeks. Not something I ever want to experience again. Come to think of it, being fused, I guess I won't experience that again.

Pre op: between a 2 and a 4

post op: 0

05-16-2010, 12:10 AM
I feel for those with a 10. Twice I've been there, first in last half hour of childbirth unmedicated (twice) and secondly when I had a ruptured disc. I stayed at the 10 level for weeks. Not something I ever want to experience again. Come to think of it, being fused, I guess I won't experience that again.

Pre op: between a 2 and a 4

post op: 0

I hear all these success stories of post-op pain being 0. Why don't the scoli docs ever believe ME? I would settle for a 3-4 on my bad days after surgery. At least maybe some NSAID (if I'm ever allowed to take them again) or tylenol would help. Even the occaisional percocet would be nice.
Why? Why? Why? :confused:

05-16-2010, 07:43 PM
Pre-op, i alternated between a 7-9. The last three weeks before surgery, i was either lying in bed or on the recliner. The pain at this stage had totally worn me out. Friends of mine said that i looked as if i had aged more than 10 years. I didn't want to socialize, be photographed or have anyone in my house. It seemed that everything was annoying me at the time. An episode i am recovering from at the moment was at about 8-9 now dwindling to about a 4 but i am optimistic of going back down to 0. Just need to rest a little more this week and things should be fine, I hope. Fingers XXXXXXXXXXXXX:)

05-16-2010, 09:52 PM
Surgery 10 years ago, t3-t12. The vast majority of the time, my pain is zero. At night, when my low back stiffens up and I can't roll over without using my hands to move my trunk, I'd say it's a 3-4, but then if I stretch for a moment (pelvic tilt, knees to chest) it goes back down to 1. Definitely worse at night, or if I've been sitting in one position for a long time. Maybe an occasional 1 in my upper back.

05-17-2010, 10:21 PM
I have to say that usually by the end of the day my pain is about a 3. If I have been sitting or standing too long that day, it's up to a 6. That's when the heating pad comes out and it's time for a Flexeril.

Great idea for a post. I, too, am curious about what kind of pain others are having.