Moving into College in a few days

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 8/17/2011 7:51 PM (GMT -6)   
It's been awhile since I posted, mainly because I have been trying just not to think about my back or pain in general. I was hoping whatever was wrong with my back would be fixed before I went off to school but unfortunately it hasn't ceased. I am moving in to UNC Chapel Hill this Friday and am quite excited still.

If you don't know my entire story, its a long one but I'll condense it. Basically close to 2 years ago, I started having some back pain after my swim season. It was very competitive and I was the strongest I have been in my life. Basically my back muscles were strong and tight and haven't released the tension for over 2 years. They appear to be inflamed however its just because those select muscles are contracted and won't release. Its kinda like being in complete tetanus in select muscles. Since it lasted for so long I now have trigger points, knots, and tender points located all over my back. We have gotten them to release the only thing is that is only temporary. If I get them to release, the smallest amount of emotional or physical stress will cause my back to lock up. When its locked up it takes about a day or 2 of heat, tenz unit, muscle relaxers, and pain killers to get them to release. My doctors theorized this was happened since my muscles were so used to being locked up it was almost muscle memory. Therefore they tried to keep them relaxed for as long as possible hopining it'd break the cycle. Well $15,000 and 15 months later, countless numbers of appointments and treatments, were seeing minimal improvement.

The pain used to be an 8 in that I was couch locked all day and only after a few days would it drop to a 7 or a 6. I have learned to function well with it and after these 15 months it doesn't bother me to extent that I can barely move anymore. Sleep was a big issue because I still cannot lay in a comfortable position so I developed severe insomnia. Luckily I found some methods to increase 1-2 hours of sleep to at least 6 so not what I was hoping for, but better.

Right now, I could live like this. Its nowhere close to how I imagine my life to be at 18 years old and feeling like I am 60, but its manageable. What I am scarred of is how worse it will get when I go to school. The reason I am scarred is because literally the smallest amount of stress triggers days of unbearable pain. I had my worse reactions during the easiest year of high school I ever had. Now I am going to a moderately difficult school studying Biomedical Engineering while working for Apple at the same time. Working for Apple alone has caused terrible trigger points to pop up and my back to tighten up.

On top of that, I have my wisdom teeth coming in. Of course, I have something rare happening to them. They aren't technically wisdom teeth but random calcium deposits located near my wisdom teeth. We had 4 different surgeons look at them and they said they won't even touch them till they come in. They said it was due to liability reasons and it could potentially cause more pain than I am feeling now. They have been coming in for about a month and daily my mouth bleeds as they come in. They are a bit further back than wisdom teeth hence why the surgeons said it may cause more pain then I feel now.

What scares my pain therapist, physical therapist, and neurologist is why this and my back hurt me so much but other things not as much. I have broken my ankle 3x and my wrist twice and didn't even know. In fact I found out they were broken through various X-rays and MRI's for my back. They don't know why I don't respond to breaking my wrist but if you touch my trigger point it feels like your breaking a bone.

The thing about this is I have been checked out and gone through treatments from neurologists, rheumatologists, psychiatrists, physical therapists, primary doctors, chiropractors, pain therapists, you name it. I have tried medicinal treatments including Cymbalta, Prozac, Hydrocodone 7.5, Vicoden, Zanaflex, Cortisone injections, Flexeril, Seroquel, Ambien, Lunesta, a multitude of others even OTC meds.

I could go on but I really don't know where else to go to. I plan on going to talk to our schools medical clinic and seeing what I can do from there. My pain therapist is helping me get into a trial for myofascial pain syndrome through Wake Med which will be nice but she was out of options. I try not to think about it and pretend the pain isn't there. It sometimes help but is kinda foolish method but hey, I have already tried too much.

I currently am not seeing any medical professionals and haunt been for close to 2 months. I come from a fairly wealthy family however we have already spent so much money trying to figure this out and I feel bad and will just wait to see if I can overcome this on my own. I currently take cyclobenazaprine (flexeril)3x daily for a total of 6mg and have been for 2 months. They worked for about 2 weeks and now I couldn't tell the difference between a sugar pill and flexeril. This goes along with my rapid tolerance development which is a different story. Besides that I have memorized and perfected all the methods taught to me by my pain therapist and physical therapist but like every treatment has been, they work for 2 weeks then slowly become worthless.

The neurologist who put me on these muscle relaxers was literally my last option and so after this..I dunno what to do. I agreed with my pain therapist on taking me off the pain meds because there is a high chance that people would steal them if I kept them in my dorm but after 5 months without them it starting to seem like a bad decision on my part.

I am just praying one day I will wake up with no pain but doesn't seem like its in my near future..I'm not depressed and keep my head up about it and have accomplished so much. I just know that this pain is the largest setback I have had and probably ever will have in my life. I know I could do 10x more without this, and I developed it before I was even considered an Adult. Guess ya gotta take what life gives you, but my rant here is done. I just had to let it out, I don't like people knowing much about the pain I feel. Ive gotten much better at hiding it.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 816
   Posted 8/17/2011 8:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Zabumafu, I am nini53/Kathy, I am sorry you are so distressed, believe me everyone on this forum has gone through, although not the same, but still the same.  In otherwords we are all cp patients and had to begin somewhere.
I am hopeful that your youth will allow you to heal and hopefully get at least most of your life you had before back. Nobodys knows.  I am 12 years into disability, and first injured my back July 17, 1989.  That I remember that day always is no surprise to me.  Although at the time in the er, it was called a pulled muscle.  I dont even think I was incorrectly diagnosed.  I had to work being a single parent to 2 elem school girls.  By December 1998, I could no longer work.  I applied for disability and with the help of a wonderful lawyer won.
What I can never win back, is the life I had prior to my injury.  After about 2 years under the covers, I decided to get up and rearrange my life as it is.  This has not been easy, but it can be done.
I do hate to sound like its so simple, but not unlike NA and AA, the word is one day at a time.  I would however rethink the no pain meds issue.  Try to make sure you are not punishing yourself for something that is not your fault, something you did not ask for.  Who would?
So good luck to you, and take care of yourself
degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, neuropathy, lumbar laminectomy july 1998 no help, rechargeable neurostimulator unit low right back w/lead wires to left side and right leg unit not working just sitting there.i am 57 years young in may will turn 58. i have 2 grown daughters, 25 and 29. i have 2 grandchildren, 9 year old grandaughter and 5 yr. old grandson

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 8/18/2011 12:07 PM (GMT -6)   
requiem_aeternam makes a good point about baclofen and tizanidine. You might want to try a few classes of muscle relaxants.

On your point about dorm mates stealing your meds, you can buy a lock-box or there is just a locking pill container on the market. Either can be stolen in total, but they serve as a deterrent. You can also have a discussion with your dorm administrator about your concern. They may have some ideas (perhaps there are lockers somewhere?)
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs), RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident. Also, pectus excavatum, supraventricular tacycardia and mitral valve prolapse syndrome.
Current meds: Ultram ER 300mg daily, breakthrough - hydrocodone 10mg, or oxycodone 5-7.5mg. .25-.5mg ativan as needed for sleep, Verapamil 240mg SR (for tachycardia). [/gray

Heather Lynn
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 283
   Posted 8/18/2011 3:11 PM (GMT -6)   
zabumafu, congratulations on your impending move to college! This is a very exciting time in your life. Yes, it will be different with chronic pain, but you have a good attitude.

Since your pain is most likely muscular, have you tried any of the posture/home exercise programs for back pain? Two books you can consider are "Pain Free" by Pete Egoscue and "8 Steps to a Pain Free Back" by Esther Gokhale. There is also a good book about trigger points - "The Trigger Book Therapy Workbook" by Clair Davies. At this point you don't have much to lose by trying out low-risk, low-cost self treatment. I have had some luck with both "Pain Free" and the trigger point book, especially the trigger point book when I had chronic muscular pain in my upper back.

I hope you can find some relief for your pain, but I also hope you enjoy the beginning of college.
Fibromyalgia, low back pain/SI joint dysfunction, anxiety, obstructive sleep apnea, endometriosis, asthma

Retired Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 8/18/2011 6:09 PM (GMT -6)   
I wish I had some words of wisdom to add, but I can only wish you an easy and pain free transition to the college lifestyle. I enjoyed my undergrad years very much. The masters program was years later and not so much fun, but relatively easy compaired to the undergrad time.

I hope things will work well for you. Congratulations on your decision to move ahead with your dreams despite your pain levels!
TLIF L5-S1/failed, Pituatary disorder w/HGH deficiency, Fibro, Failed Bladder Surgery & Nissen, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CFS, TMJ, Migraines, Pre-glaucomic, HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia w/Diabetic reaction to HGH, Bi-lateral CTS (surgery related trigger finger), Edema, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, Plantar Fascitis, Tibular Tendionitis, Adult Onset Flat Feet & much more.....
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