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    Jaylien5 posted:
    I am experiencing moderate to severe back pain. I have had degenerative disc disease fro about 8 years. The pain is now in my hips and going down my legs. It feels like I have a lot of pelvic pressure and have to urinate a lot. I have degenerative disc disease, spurs, bulging/protruding disc and no fluid in some so yes I live with pain daily. But this is different. This is unbearable. I have had MRI's. The Drs. say they won't do surgery on me because of my age and I smoke. Beyond that I just need some advice on how I can make it through the rest of the night with a little relief. I have already taken Vicodin and Tylenol. (I know bad mix but I had to try something). Anyone?
    ctbeth responded:
    Hi Jaylien,

    I'm so sorry and know that genre of pain well.

    Surgery is usually not the first therapy treatment option.

    Since your MD does not want you to have surgery, perhaps he/ she will be willing to refer you to a pain management MD.

    This is a medical specialty that does NOT give you a diagnosis, but works with your diagnosing physician.

    There are options to treat pain that a pain management MD can discuss with you.

    More people come to this site in the evening, so I trust that you'll get additional replies then.

    davedsel57 responded:
    Hello, Jaylien5.

    I am sorry to read of your pain but fully understand.

    Both Beth in this WebMD Pain Management Community and Joy in the WebMD Back Pain Community have given you good replies.

    Have you seen a spine specialist such as a spinal orthopedic surgeon or a spinal neurosurgeon? These are the best medical professional to see for accurate diagnosis regarding spine problems. They can then recommend an effective treatment plan.

    A pain management specialist would be excellent for you to see. Try to find one that is a physiatrist. They specialize in various pain management treatments and do not push surgery unless absolutely necessary.

    Keep doing your research. There are sites like and Spine that are filled with good information about spine problems and treatment. Keep moving as much as possible. Keep a positive attitude.

    I hope you can get good treatment and relief soon.
    Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.


    PetuniaPea responded:
    Hi Jaylien 5,

    I know you're not going to like hearing this...but I'll say it anyway because I want you to get better...quit smoking! Eeek! It had to be said, I'm sorry. You'll be better off without it.

    The severity of pain someone feels has to with inflammation. Smoking is highly inflammatory, so hopefully that can be your incentive to quit. What you can do now to lessen your pain is consume an anti-inflammatory diet. I'm sure you can find tons of stuff on the Internet, and there are a lot of good health books oout there that talk about inflammation and the importance of an anti-inflammatory diet.

    But here it is in a nutshell. Don't follow the Standard American Diet...its SAD

    The SAD is high in Omega 6 fatty acids (inflammatory) and low in Omega 3s (anti-inflammatory). The result is inflammation...more severe pain! Plus, more chance of heart disease and cancer.

    So, consume foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids (sometimes called "good fat" or "healthy fat") to get the balance right! Salmon, or high quality fish oil capsules. I don't eat fish, so I get my Omega 3s from chia seeds (can put them on or in anything), ground flaxseeds (make sure they are ground--that releases the "good" fat, flaxseed oil, olive oil, and more foods that are just a google search away...

    Fruits and veggies are anti-inflammatory foods too. So...get inspired by checking out a vegetarian/vegan cookbook at the library (I have a few myself...don't pay for them, check them out for free). Other anti-inflammatory foods and drinks include nuts and seeds, legumes, coconut oil, coconut water, and green or white tea.

    Inflammatory foods and other things: Smoking, fried foods, vegetable oils, processed foods, fast food, sugary treats, soda, too much coffee, too much alcohol...and prescription and over the counter medications!

    I KNOW this works because I was living with a 7 or 8 on a scale of 1-10...I was miserable...chronic muscle spasms, sometimes acute (a 20 on a scale of 1-10!)...then I started changing my diet...I'm not 100% cured, but I'm living with a managable 4 to 5 (and occasional 6) on a scale of 1-10. I also see a chiropractor once a month to keep my pain down.

    I hope you get better soon! Take care!
    annette030 replied to PetuniaPea's response:
    Not all pain is related to inflammation. I don't smoke, I have pain from an illness that is not considered inflammatory. No specific diet has been found to be useful for my condition, fibromyalgia.

    Everyone should quit smoking tobacco, fortunately I never got started. Watching both my parents die of lung cancer related to smoking made not starting an easy choice when I was younger.

    What will this person do if they quit smoking and their pain does not go away? They will probably go right back to smoking. People should quit smoking tobacco for many reasons, they all need to find their own pathway.

    Eating properly is also healthy. So is exercise. So is being a healthy weight for ones height.

    I am glad you have managed to lower your pain scores so well. I hope you continue to do well.

    Take care, Annette
    peskypain responded:
    All the Board Certified Neurosurgeons in the spine institute where I go for treatment all feel the same way about smoking. They will not do any surgery for disc issues if the person is not wanting to quit.

    They will do all they can to help someone quit....but as mentioned, it needs to be because YOU (collective you) want to for all the various reasons to live a more healthy life.

    As far as spine has now been proven that smoking can cause disc dehydration which then leads to collapse. Along with bone loss with dehydration. As well as they show that those who smoke have lower tolerance to pain levels and need more medication.

    The main issue is that a Dr. is going to be more hesistant to treat someone for chronic pain with pain meds in general if they see that you, the patient, are not willing to do all you can to be as healthy as you can be.

    It's the same for someone who is obese. If they are not wanting to at least try and ask for help from the Drs. to get to a healthy weight, a Dr. is going to think that this person just wants the Dr. to "fix" everything for them.

    No one is perfect...we all realize this...but it's about moving in the direction to be healthy.

    And as mentioned...part of chronic pain management is about eating well, daily exercise, and using every possible modality to help lower the pain levels to a manageable level.

    Other modailities are yoga/stretching, physical therapy, traction, acupuncture, TENS unit, massage, ice, heat, injections, steroids, counseling, etc..

    Many people with spine issues take an actual nerve pain medication. This is either Lyrica, Neurontin, or Cymbalta. An opiate does not help much with this type of pain.

    Same thing with an actual muscle relaxer. These are Flexeril or Amrix, Robaxin, Skelaxin, Baclofen, or Zanaflex.

    Please be careful with all the Acetaminophen you are taking...Some people will alternate with Ibuprophen if you have a prescription for the Vicoden. You can ask your Dr. what the appropriate schedule would be to take them.

    The good news is that 85% of those with spine/disc issues can be helped non surgically. But as I mentioned...this is with using as many modailities as possible every day/week/month...

    Good luck!
    PetuniaPea replied to annette030's response:
    Hi Annette!

    I'm not talking about inflammatory medical conditions.

    Inflammation, starting on a cellular level--which is due to what we put into our bodies, our stress levels, as well as the environment--affects the cells and everything on outward up to the skin (think cancer, heart disease, skin problems, etc), and can affect the way people feel pain!

    I didn't think this was true until I changed my diet! I'm no one special! Anyone who reduces inflammatory things from their life WILL feel their pain levels drop. I'm very passionate about this because I didn't believe foods and other things affected the way I feel pain until I started getting rid of those inflammatory things (sugar and caffiene were my two biggest culprits) and started incorporating an anti-inflammatory diet.

    Like I said, my chronic muscle spasms aren't cured. But my quality of life is SO much better. Instead of being miserable and depressed and not able to do much in my day to day living, I am now happy and able to do so much more, even though I live with tightness and tension and an occasional flare up. Again, I'm no one special! This isn't just a fluke! My two chiropractors will back me up in saying that DIET MAKES A DIFFERENCE when it comes to pain.

    At one point, I thought my pain (because I have it in a lot of different areas) was due to I researched it and realized I didn't quite fit all the things. Then my doctor said I had muscle spasms in my upper back/neck area (based on my xrays). I did, however, learn about different natural "remedies," magnesium being one of them. If you are taking, have you found it helpful for your symptoms? Another thing suggested for fibromyalgia was Omega 3 fats like flaxseed oil...have you tried? I hope you are doing well, Annette, take care!
    PetuniaPea replied to peskypain's response:

    Thanks for reiterating the importance of eating well, daily exercise, and other modalities when it comes to pain management.

    I didn't know that smoking can lead to disc dehydration! I'm just glad I never got started either, as mentioned by Annette. My grandfather died of lung cancer because he always played Ma-jong in smoke filled rooms, even though he had quit decades earlier! My mother also hated the smell of smoke, so I kind of inherited her way of thinking, thank God...because it is one of the hardest substances to quit...

    Also, this is what a massage therapist told me when I asked her what's with the emphasis on "drink lots of water?" She said pain can get worse with dehydration. She said caffiene can easily dehydrate you, so stay away as much as possible (I still drink green or white tea).

    I don't know what it is about caffiene with me! Last year, I had quit drinking my usual 3 cups a day for a few months...then my period came and I was bloated, so I reached for those caffiene pills...a half hour or so later, I felt an incredible pain and tightness over my trouble areas, plus a migrane headache, and I was absolutely miserable until it wore off. Never again! But, I realized, THAT level of pain is what I was living with for so long, day in and day out! That's when I knew that I have a sensitivity to caffiene.

    My motto now is (when it comes to changing diet/lifestyle), you don't know until you try, and what have you got to lose?
    peskypain replied to PetuniaPea's response:
    I'm lucky in that I have never smoked either...My mom did for close to 30 years and she quit using the patch and never looked back..It's been almost 20 years now!! So proud of her!!!

    So...I totally recognize that it's a totally addictive habit and hard to break...but it's doable for those who truly want to:)

    I also switched to eating all Organic a few years ago and I have to say for's made a really big difference. With both my muscle aches, energy level and digestion..I was diagnosed with IBS as well as tons of adhesions in my abdomen...

    I now don't really even think about those issues and don't take any medication for them.

    I am not a vegan or vegetarian...just everything in moderation. I only eat meat twice a week and lots of fish. I stay away from simple carbs...sugars...and salt. By getting rid of all the extra "junk" that is put in foods to make them survive a nuclear blast has been beneficial to me. I just "feel" so much better...

    There is this amazing, yet yucky to watch, video on youtube done by scientists who swallowed a camera pill while eating Ramen Noodles..It shows how all through the process from start to "finish"...these things do NOT digest..'s all about steps that we want to do for ourselves..I'm not some robot on this or perfect...I just decided to do this on my own after reading labels and all the stuff that is in some foods...

    And for those who say it's too expensive..I say it isn't. I am on Food Stamps and get $200 a month and get all the wonderful food I need. I clip and print on double coupon day...It is absolutely doable as most grocery stores now offer their own version of Organic/Natural foods.

    I actually spend LESS on what I used to because the food is more fresh so I eat what I buy and shop once a week. I's just about "moving" in a healthier direction.

    Do I love to exercise....nope! LOL...When it's bitter cold outside I would love to stay curled up...But I bundle up and put my ear buds in to listen to my book on my phone and grab my doggy and go for my 1.4 mile walk each night. I ALWAYS feel better afterwards..

    Hopefully Jaylien you will update us on what your next move is and how you are doing...
    annette030 replied to PetuniaPea's response:
    I am sorry, I misunderstood your premise.

    I tried a bunch of "natural" remedies, including magnesium, way back in the olden days when I was first diagnosed. None of it helped much at all.

    Diet has not been shown to matter much with FMS according to all the current research.

    I am doing well, thank you so much. I exercise an hour a day, curb some activities, and take my meds.

    Take care, Annette
    ctbeth replied to PetuniaPea's response:

    You did not say, or I missed where you said what is the pathology of your pain?

    There is no clinical evidence that "stress" causes inflammation.

    Many of us would do more damage if we were to have chiropractic care.

    I am a long-term vegetarian, eat no white flour or white sugar. My diet is much like yours.

    I am happy to eat right and do not want to eat crap. This is very important to me.

    However, it has made no difference in my pain levels. I have chronic pain related to spinal cord injury and post multi-trauma.

    There are many reasons to eat properly, but managing pain via diet alone is not going to make severe chronic pain of known etiology disappear.

    I think if you could tell us what the cause of your pain, your statements would make more sense.

    For many of us, inflammation has no role in our pain.

    Fibromyalgia has been proven , again and again, not to be an inflammatory process.

    My spinal cord injury pain is not related to inflammation.

    If it works for you, that is great.
    PetuniaPea replied to annette030's response:
    Hi Annette,

    Glad to hear you're doing well! I have also curbed some activities like running, jumping rope, driving a stick shift, or going to amusement parks (this is because of my foot problem) exercise is pathetic, but I'm working on improving.

    If you've had no luck with magnesium, I urge you to try's something I just found when I Googled fibromyalgia and magnesium (It's one of the most comprehensive explanations I've ever seen! The "Magnesium Supplement Suggestions" near the bottom has some of the best info that I already kind of knew, but I still learned a lot.

    I have chronic muscle spasms, so I've worked my way slowly up to a high dose...800mg a day (the "recommended daily allowance" for women is 320mg, but some say that even that amount is too low). It really helps with my condition, because magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer.

    Magnesium malate may also be helpful. That's a combination of magnesium and malate...more about this at

    Always consult your (hopefully open-minded) doc!
    PetuniaPea replied to ctbeth's response:
    Hi CTBeth,

    Here's a great article I just found about the causes of chronic inflammation that states that psychological stress is a factor in causing inflammation...this is such a great article, I'm bookmarking it to read in detail later!

    I agree that seeing a chiropractor can make some conditions worse...that' why a proper diagnosis is so important...some people just want to know what's causing their chronic pain, and some doctors just don't have the those people are risking it if they see a chiropractor (but then again, there's a slim chance that a reputable chiropractor may be able to diagnose their pain). To all others, ask your doctor if chiropractic care is good for you.

    I injured my neck in 2002 and have never been the same (read my story by clicking on PetuniaPea!). Going back to school in my late 20s and sitting for long periods at desks was so very painful. Even after college, I was still in a lot of pain just doing day to day things, I was miserable.

    I was diagnosed with chronic muscle spasms, not sure what year, maybe 2005 or 2006. I was given an Rx for naproxen...500mg twice a day--the maximum they can prescribe. I didn't want to take muscle relaxers, the side effects scared me. I took the naproxen long term...I was still in a lot of pain, I started getting edema, high blood pressure, and stomach pain (bleeding!). I said to heck with this and swore off all medications! Kind of extreme, but I was just fed up. I was still in a lot of pain. Then I started seeing the chiropractor and started taking magnesium and flaxseed oil, etc, and started to feel somewhat better.

    I even had another acute muscle spasm in March of 2010. I was a 20 on a scale of 1-10 for a week! This was around the time of the Japanese tsunami. I thought, what if a natural disaster strikes here, how would I even survive, I can't even move! I knew I had to do something. I read up on a few health books, but I didn't really do much about it.

    Then only this past year, I gave up junk food, diet soda, fast food, etc, and started eating vegetarian like you! Again, I had read up on health, eating alkaline foods, anti-inflammatory foods, healthy fats, etc, and how sugar can affect muscle spasms. This time it took! Even these past few months I would consider myself near vegan, and now, this past month, I'm fully vegan, and I'm loving every moment of it! I wrote quite a few blogs about how to do vegan right...if you read them, let me know what you think. Thanks for reading my long reply.
    ctbeth replied to PetuniaPea's response:
    Thank you for your diligence in posting articles. I did read the first. Although interesting it is certainly not an scholarly or scientific article.

    I find this statement: "..some people just want to know what's causing their chronic pain," to be antithetical to most of us who participate on this site. We are particularly pro-active in our diagnoses and treatments.

    Although I am not minimizing your pain problems, your pathophisiology is not like mine, so we'll approach our pain syndromes quite differently.

    You popped your neck: I broke my neck. I have cadaver bone and plates and screws that held my cervical spine in place until natural healing occurred, Nutritional status becomes vital, not optional in persons who have experienced multi trauma.

    I'd like you to consider the claim of, "Twenty, on a 1-10 scale."

    Ten is pain that brings one to unconscious- the worst it can possibly be. If your spasm was the absolute worst (I get spasm as most with spinal cord injury do. Yeah, they're insanely painful!) you have ever experienced, it is a 10.

    Once anyone says, "On a scale of 0-10, my pain is an X.." (X= 11, 12, 13, 14, ...20...100), then the 0-10 scale means nothing.

    My pain management MD stressed this to me on eday when I told him that my 0-10 pain was an , "Eleven". It cannot be. Ten is the worst.

    While I appreciate that spasm is a painful phenomenon, I think that my situation (Click on my name and see) is far-different than yours.

    I'm pleased when I hear of anyone becoming vegetarian. I became vegetarian when I was pretty young.

    I was able to maintain my vegetarian, but not vegan, status through five pregnancies and breastfeeding. I also ate dairy and eggs for a year after my accident that resulted in multi-trauma, a few major surgeries, and spinal cord injury.

    I do not "blog" about my diet and, I would think, after all these years, I'm probably "doing vegan right", as you would say.

    ctbeth replied to PetuniaPea's response:
    re: Psychological stress and cortisol in r/t inflammation.

    The cortisol release in a panic attack or asthma attack- the "fight or flight" response is an acute inflammatory process, not a chronic condition.

    If you're getting relief from your muscle spasm with your diet only- that is great.

    I have never tried to influence anyone's dietary preferences or, for the most part, I seldom mention that I'm vegan to anyone. When out to dinner with friends, no one really cares or notices what I eat or do not eat.

    If I am a dinner guest, even if the hostess is serving a meat main course, there are usually appetizers, vegetables, etc. I do not think I've ever left a dinner having nothing to eat.

    My experience, over decades, is that persons who become nouveau vegans and want to enlighten the world because of their new-found nirvana, usually burn out quickly, crave a cheeseburger a few months into it, and abandon their fanaticism.

    Those of us who live and let live, do not preach, do not try to tell others how they should eat, and keep our dietary practices to ourselves unless asked, tend to have a better long-term success.

    Nutritional deficiencies are rare in first-world nations. Real vitamin deficiencies are rare and can be detected by simple blood tests. My MD diagnosed me with low Vitamin D. I had no symptoms, take one Vit D pill daily, and that-is-that.

    Too much Magnesuim will wreck your hair and give you wicked diarrhea, so please use some restraint when taking mega-supplementation. Too much Potassium (K ) can kill you. When you ingest these supplements, you are putting electrically-charged metals into your body. They are called trace minerals as we only require trace amounts.

    I am certain that you know the difference between water soluble and fat soluble vitamins, right?

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