Sunday, June 17, 2012

In Chronic Pain


For the past several weeks I've been experiencing chronic pain in my left thigh and lower back. I'm not sure what the cause is, but I believe it has something to do with my sciatic nerve. To be blunt, it hurts a lot.

Compounding the difficulty is that I'm currently working about 60-65 hours per week. Most of that requires me to be on my feet on a concrete floor. I'm grateful for the job, but the combination of (sciatic?) pain and concrete is not a good one. I feel like I should invest in shares of ibuprofen companies.

There are various forms of physical therapy that help relieve this pain. However, they are all fairly expensive. We have medical insurance but have to meet a deductible before it kicks in. Therefore, for now at least I'm not going down that path.

I know God is in control of this situation. He is sovereign. I'm trying not to ask why this is happening, but it can be a struggle sometimes when I can barely do my job.

I'm writing this post to ask for your prayer. Please simply ask that God's will be done. I'd love it if God would take the pain away fully and immediately, but sometimes He has much better plans than that.

The pain has gotten to the point that when I get home I pretty much collapse on the couch. This is not good. I need to be more active at home in the few hours I have with my family.

Thank you for praying.

13 comments:

co_heir said...

I had pretty severe sciatic nerve pain about a year and a half ago. For the past year I've been going to a chiropractor and it has helped immensely. Fortunately my insurance covered a fair amount and my father-in-law kicked in some dollars.

Aussie John said...

Eric,

I certainly empathise with you. I'm a member of the same club:)

Am praying.

Eric said...

co-heir,

I've thought about a chiropractor. I'll probably go with that if it continues or gets worse. I'm happy that it has been a help to you. I appreciate your prayers since you know what I'm talking about. God bless.

Eric said...

John,

I know you know what I'm talking about. How long has it been for you?

Thanks for praying.

Dustin Segers said...

Eric,

Before working as a full-time pastor/evangelist, I worked as a physical therapist assistant/certified athletic trainer for 12 years. Since quitting ministry and doing organic church, I've returned to physical therapy work. I have 15 years of experience working with folks with your predicament. Your symptoms sound consistent with someone who has disc involvement of some kind or as your friends have already noted, like sciatica. Disc involvement usually also has weakened muscles on the affected side. If it is a disc, try laying on your belly on the floor with your toes pointing inward/heels out, and prop up on your elbows. If this is going to help, it should only hurt in the center of your back and alleviate the symptoms somewhat in your thigh. Try it for 2-3 minutes, use ice or heat, and see if this helps. If this makes it better, try doing this exercise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m-YSlyhPwA

If you can't push up all the way, just push up part of the way. You can also put your hands up higher on the bed/floor than this video shows and try partial press-ups.

If that makes it worse, you want to go the opposite direction; i.e., bring your knees up to your chest. Try single knee to chest to see if this gives any relief, then double knee to chest. If your pain worsens with these, stop, and then lay on your belly flat for 3 minutes. See an orthopaedist as soon as you can if your symptoms don't alleviate in 24-48 hours after ice/heat, exercise, ibuprofen, etc.

Eric said...

Dustin,

Thank you for the advice. I very much appreciate it. I tried some of the stretches you suggested. This is something I need to be more consistent with. Thanks again.

Aussie John said...

Eric,
About 25 years now.

Been wearing a 5 mcg/hr.
buprenorphine patch (called Norspan here) for four years. Gives relief, but more importantly, alleviating the pain helps with sleeping at night.

Eric said...

John,

25 years! Wow. I'm not sure what else to say.

Mac said...

Hello Brother,
Will be praying for comfort. The question I always ask myself is "What does God want to teach me in this?" Here is a site if the links work that explains how God intended to heal us. It is not a Christian site but God's hand is in the informatiom. My wife and I ground ourselves daily and we can't believe the difference.
http://www.waterfallnaturals.com/category_s/53.htm and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OclGGH0EKhc. It does work. Will keep you in prayer Brother.

Marshall said...

if this is sciatic nerve inflammation, it is unlikely that you will be able to continue long your current work schedule, Eric. OTC pain relievers would be of limited help, and recovery from this condition seems to average about 10 weeks of "off your feet" rest. Following this, roughly 18 months for the muscles, nerves & bones to fully recover. More daunting, this condition is likely to recur if you cannot permanently reduce lifestyle strain on your lower back. We're here praying that you may look for other employment options and be cautious about lifting & carrying things. Relieved to know that you have loved ones with you to help care!

Eric H said...

Eric,

I have had two types of injury in the past, both a bulged lumbar disc that gave more aching pain local to the disc (and with coughing) with some tingling and numbness down the glute and leg but not the sharp/shooting pain; and then a herniated L5/S1 disc that had almost no pain at the back but severe nerve pain down to the knee. The bulged disc I could continue to work and treat with chiropractic care, ice and NSAIDS for about 4 months. The herniation was another story, very painful nerve - couldn't walk or stand, but I elected not to have surgery and used prayer, chiropractic care and about 6 weeks of rest to heal and resorb the disc. The key is that I got on these injuries quickly with a chiropractor that I trusted. Don't neglect the nerve pain. If it's still stopping above the knee, it is largely recoverable. They can't "see" the discs (soft tissue) without an MRI ($$), but your symptoms and nerve reflex and a $60 X-ray can give a lot to go on for preliminary diagnosis. Not trying to scare you - these are kind of worst case scenarios, but if you have a disc herniation, you don't want to keep pounding the concrete at work and end up with a collapsed disc (surgery).


Here is a really good website by a former olympic weight lifter turned chiropractor that has experienced probably yours, mine and Aussie's put together in back injuries(and maybe more) where you can learn about the physiology and see the progression with disc degeneration. Technical by necessity, but not too over your head.

Michele Cline said...

I feel your pain. I have experienced the same pain on a regular basis. I have found that using an inversion table helps to stretch and elongate the spine which relieves the pain. Also, sometimes I lie on my back and bring my knees and head all the way to my chestand hold it for as long as I can. Another thing I do is to just lean over as far as I can to stretch my spine. These things do help, though temporarily. I've even hung upside down on monkey bars! I agree with Dustin about the exercises, and I have tried some of them. I have mild scoliosis, so some of the exercises are difficult for me to do, so I typically just rely on the spine stretching exercises. I'm praying!

Eric said...

Mac, Marshall, Eric, and Michele,

Thank you all so much for the counsel, advice, and suggestions. I greatly appreciate it. I'm going to try the less invasive remedies first, but if the pain continues I'll have to go to the doctor. I'm hoping that wisdom prevails. Please pray for God to be glorified in this somehow.

Thanks again!