Yes, we do learn to "live" with it. And definitely YES to coping mechanisms and doing things. It's also worse when you sit and think about it.

I look at pain as an exponential and not the linear picture they have with a smiley face (pain a 0) at one end and a sad face with tears (pain a 10) at the other. I don't know how crying rates a 10. Maybe that's why I've heard so many people overrate their pain. I think it's a sad shame that when an ER patient comes in that they aren't "allowed" to rate their own pain.

Yes, Ed, you have had a 10 more than once FOR SURE! That's why I mentioned you. Shock is a good thing when it's temporary. It's our body's way of protecting us from pain. I don't know that living with pain keeps me going. I'd sure like to try a day or two without it! I've had pain since I was a little kid. But it's like, "Oh, your back hurts, does it? Let me take this sledge hammer to your toe!" I'll tell you there are times I wouldn't have felt the hammer. But I'm at a steady 4 with my meds. I have a LOT of nerve and muscle pain. Over the last few years I've been getting the bone pain to go along with it.

It's funny (not in a humorous way) that you mention gallbladder attacks. I had one at night that woke me up and lasted several hours. I know deep down that I had a bad gallbladder. But honestly, that gallbladder attack was NOTHING compared to my back "episodes". Most of the time I just felt like I had a mild bruise there. It was nothing compared to the back pain so I didn't even mention it to my doctor. The attack felt more like a deeper bruise. It wasn't until I had a laparoscopic surgery that it was confirmed that I had a bad gallbladder. It was white and shriveled instead of green and smooth. I've heard it said that gallbladder attacks hurt so badly that they send people to the ER. I'm so used to severe pain that I ignored it. It was life threatening. I had the sandy kind of stones where little pieces can get lodged into the pancreatic ducts and kill you. So living with a high level of pain is also dangerous if other things are going wrong and you ignore them because they don't compare. I'm sorry to hear about the 8mm kidney stone. I've heard that those can bring a grown man to his knees! I had spleen pain and that brought me to my knees! I didn't even feel the broken rib that caused it (irritated the nerve that goes to the spleen).

And you are right calling them "episodes". That's exactly what I call them! I don't know how I would handle surgery. I'm losing my arms in strength and have frequent and very painful muscle spasms in my forearms. I have no clue if it's scoli related or the muscle disease. My dad never complained of pain. I honestly thought he had ALS by the way he went. Now I'm living it only with pain. My grandma's on both sides had chronic pain. My dad's mom had "fibromyalgia". Yes, I do know that there is such a thing and that pain didn't kill her, breast cancer did at the age of 82. She didn't develop the same neurologic symptoms as my me and my dad, or did she? She was riding a scooter around for the last decade of her life because she had difficulty walking...hmmm. She never had paralysis in her arms or legs, just weakness. We all attribute that to old age. She was relieved to get fentanyl when I mentioned it to her! I think older folks just suck it up more.

I find that when I do things I am not always limited by pain as much as weakness these days. But when I play, I pay. My hubby has been getting after me for years because I insist on doing "men's work", moving heavy objects and tending to every aspect of the yard. While I'm at it, I do notice pain but ignore it. The next day I can't ignore it, let alone get out of bed.

Melissa, I'm sorry you are at a constant 8 without meds. I hope you are able to take meds to bring you down from that level. An 8 is not functional. I don't know where I would be without my meds. I'm at a constant 4 with mine. That includes oxycodone, but there are two different muscle meds in there. Without them I don't know if I could get enough pain meds. The gabapentin really helped but I'm unable to take it. I had too many bad side effects. I don't know if surgery would help my pain or not. I imagine I'd be up there pretty high on the pain scale without the meds. But, if I can control it without surgery, all the better for me. And again, Ed, you are right about getting into the water. The water takes all the pressure off. For me it has to be WARM water or else my muscles stiffen up and pain goes up, at least until I get moving and used to the water temperature. The buoyancy is a real relief! That's the reason I take three hour baths! It hurts like the dickens to get out, though. I'm only a 120 pounder and I swear I feel like 300 pounds! For that reason alone I don't like water therapy. I don't want to get out! I should invest in a hot tub that I can actually float in. I'd live in there!

Sorry Linda. I hope this isn't derailing your post. But it is about pain.