A Bad Pain Cycle

I’m in a bad pain cycle right now. I have a chronic back pain issue and recently it’s been ferociously bad. I’m in a cycle right now where I take a flexeril and a vicodin to stop the pain at night so I can sleep. It works really well, but I wake up extremely groggy. I get the whole next day without pain and I don’t need to take drugs to sleep that night, but the day after – back to massive pain and I have to take a flexeril and vicodin in the evening to stop the pain (I would happily take it in the morning when the pains starts except for the whole “having to think straight to do my job” thing). So I spend almost every other day in a significant amount of back pain lately.

I’ve tried all of the following in the last two years to deal with it:

  • Physical therapy
  • Egoscue method
  • Heat
  • Cold
  • Massage
  • Stretching
  • Core Strengthening
  • Acupuncture
  • Exercising
  • Not exercising
  • Hot baths
  • Pain medication (see above)


So, I woke up this morning extremely groggy and hating my body. A different kind of hate from what a lot of women feel. I don’t hate the size or shape of my body. I hate that it is apparently never going to give me two pain-free days in a row again in my entire life. I am literally at my wits end. I have an acupuncture appointment schedule for Feb 28th (the earliest they could do) which is the only thing that gives me much relief from the constant pain. But that’s a month away.

When I woke up groggy today I thought, I need to get some exercise. I also thought, but that’s going to make me hurt again tomorrow. And then I realized – I’m going to hurt again tomorrow whether I exercise today or not. Swimming on Thursday likely caused Friday’s painfest. Running will most certainly exacerbate the situation. Elliptical is so boring. Walking isn’t vigorous enough for my needs. So fuck it, I’m going swimming again.

I figured I’d give my body a break and just do 50 laps because I noticed that certain muscles in my arms were a little sore from Thursday night’s workout, but then I found that my body didn’t even start feeling good in the water today until I got to about lap 48, so I pushed on and did 100. Today it only took me 60 minutes, so my form seems to be tightening up as I go. That was a surprise.

But the pain thing is so, so draining. I know I’m going to hurt either way no matter what kind of exercise I do. Might as well do the workout I’m enjoying, and give myself a reason to like my body today.


11 Responses to “A Bad Pain Cycle”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Getting old sucks now doesn’t it?!? Never used to have pain but the past couple years, it’s been going to hell. Yet we persevere on!

  2. Sara Says:

    Have you looked into myofascial release therapy? It’s supposed to be a “cure” for some conditions as opposed to a band aid that a lot of the modalities you listed are. Just a thought. Don’t give up and keep trying to find solutions. I hope something helps for you eventually — being in pain sucks! Congrats on all your successes — I enjoy reading your blog… Sara

    • Laina Says:

      No – in fact I’ve never heard of it before. I will be looking into it though (but not holding my breath – I’ve gotten my hopes up and been disappointed too many times). Thanks for the recommendation, I appreciate having another option to explore!

  3. Karen Williams Says:

    The pain thing is horribly draining. I’m so sorry. I’m impressed that you keep going so well. Thanks for your help today, too.

    • Laina Says:

      It was a pleasure. Plus – spending the afternoon talking with a roomful of strong, intelligent, interesting women was really lovely! Thank you for inviting me over.

  4. Caron Says:

    I remember an old Peanuts cartoon where Lucy proclaimed “Pain hurts.” So true and wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to erase it? I’ve had two or three back episodes caused by picking up a child or something else heavy from a bad angle. I know what the back pain feels like but I’ve never had to endure it for more than a few days. I’m glad that acupuncture works for you. Does your doctor recommend continuing your exercise? Just curious.

    • Laina Says:

      Well, I’ve had a consultation with the Kaiser Spine Clinic, and the doc there, after evaluating me and recommending a few options, told me that for the kind of back pain I have exercise won’t make it any worse, so I can continue on. Sadly, they only pay for 4 sessions of accupuncture, unless I beg for more (which I have). With my recent move, the new office I would go to for it is booked up WAY in advance (the old one I could sometimes get an appointment the same day). The initial injury that caused this happened over 10 years ago now – it’s just that when it flares up again it seems like nothing will stop it, and the current troubles have been going on for 2 years – so long I can’t even remember when I wasn’t in terrible pain several times a week. 😦

  5. Andie Says:

    I’m so sorry you’re in pain.

  6. keepingthepoundsoff Says:

    I admire you for working so hard to get through the pain and not let you use it as an excuse to pick up the food.

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