Armed and ready…

IPolymyalgia-Rheumatican just under 3 weeks time I have to go back to the Rheumatologist at my local Hospital to see how I am progressing.. Not well at times. 😀  But a little better than before.

The worst part about Polymyalgia Rheumatica.. is the flare-ups.. only the other week the muscle at the top of my left arm, ached like crazy.. and it sent an ache all the way down to my forefinger..  Sleep, well not exactly.. If I laid on my arm it hurt.. if I didn’t lay on my arm it hurt… and the only way to make sure I got some sleep was to keep the muscle warm with a heat pad and pain killers.

Now back in 1988 I slipped a disc, whilst moving a washing machine.. and eventually after a few months.. the disc by luck, seemed to settle down and I could get back to a normal life.. However that didn’t last long, because in 1993 I fell over twisted my ankle and jarred my back again..  And that was the start of the problems…

Acupuncture… Osteopath… Chiropractor.. tried them.. nothing seemed to help.. and then in 1996, whilst having a bad back.. I sneezed and that was it .. I slipped another disc.. this time the one below the disc I had already slipped.  For three weeks I was in agony.. couldn’t move, couldn’t sleep.. and on a cocktail of drugs and pain relief along with stinking of Deep Heat.

Well in the end.. of to the hospital and a CT revealed that the disc had slipped centrally and was pressing on the main nerve and that was the start of Sciatica… Now they offered an operation.. it was 50-50.  And the out of the 50 per cent chance it didn’t work was 30 percent chance that I could be worse… Sorry those odds are too high for me.. so I declined and learned to live with it.

I learnt what I could and couldn’t do.. and I learnt the warning signs… and when to give up.. I learnt how to manage the pain and live with it..

But since Polymyalgia Rheumatica set in.. my back aches all the time… especially if I try to do anything that puts a lot of stress on the back..  The muscles either side of my spine, tense up and that is it.. I have to stop what I am doing and sit down.. until the ache goes off..   So hoovering the floor can take ages..

Well, the steroids do help, but I want to lower the dosage… It is only since last Sunday that I decided to lower the dosage to 17.5mg of Prednisolone, by now I should be down to the second week of 12.5mg with the dosage being lowered to 10mg  in the next couple of days.

Yes it is long haul, and yes it is very depressing at times.. especially when your mind wants to do things and your body won’t allow it.. However, if I allow depression to set in.. I know that is not going to help matters.. so I try, as hard as it might be, to stay optimistic that in time I will be back to normal.. whatever normal is for me. 😀

But I know even if they cured this Polymyalgia Rheumatica overnight.. I would still be left with chronic back pain.. something that I have over the years learnt to deal with… but again I would love to be back to my former self before I even moved that washing machine back in 1988.

Well the other night, after forgetting several times to tell me,  hubby came in and said about an article that appeared in one of the papers about people with Chronic Back Pain… and he said that in 40 percent of cases.. it could be due to an infection.

That was it … Google here I come.. and lo and behold I found this article and read up about what they had discovered.  The Guardian article I found said:

The Danish team describe their work in two papers published in the European Spine Journal. In the first report, they explain how bacterial infections inside slipped discs can cause painful inflammation and tiny fractures in the surrounding vertebrae.

Working with doctors in Birmingham, the Danish team examined tissue removed from patients for signs of infection. Nearly half tested positive, and of these, more than 80% carried bugs called Propionibacterium acnes.

The microbes are better known for causing acne. They lurk around hair roots and in the crevices in our teeth, but can get into the bloodstream during tooth brushing. Normally they cause no harm, but the situation may change when a person suffers a slipped disc. To heal the damage, the body grows small blood vessels into the disc. Rather than helping, though, they ferry bacteria inside, where they grow and cause serious inflammation and damage to neighbouring vertebrae that shows up on an MRI scan.

In the second paper, the scientists proved they could cure chronic back pain with a 100-day course of antibiotics. In a randomised trial, the drugs reduced pain in 80% of patients who had suffered for more than six months and had signs of damaged vertebra under MRI scans.

An article in Medscape said:

The authors suggest that long-term antibiotics should not be prescribed “without due consideration.” Low back pain is so common in the community that there could be hazards if used indiscriminately, they write.

“However, as many patients, as in this trial, are on sick leave at risk of losing their jobs and have a high analgesic intake, we suggest that antibiotics, when applied along the lines of this MAST [Modic antibiotic spine therapy] protocol may be appropriate in this subgroup, i.e., CLBP with Modic type 1 changes. We do not support the proposition that all patients with lumbar pain should have a trial course of antibiotics.”

Their findings, published in 2 papers, 1 a randomized trial of antibiotics for low back pain, are published in the April issue of the European Spine Journal.

So that is it, when I go for my follow-up consultation with my Rheumatologist I am going armed with this information and to see if I am eligible and if I could be treated with this course of antibiotics.. Surely if my back in not hurting through slipped discs and sciatica.. then the pain from the Polymyalgia will be lessened, wouldn’t it?  I am wondering now if one problem is aggravating the other and so on.. If you cure one problem then the other problem should lessen, shouldn’t it?


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ann says:

    Very interesting about the antibiotics Bren….Looking forward to hearing what your rheumy has to say about this!

    People do not understand what it is like to be in constant pain. They mean well and say that they do understand, but unless you are someone who actually suffer this chronic pain, then I’m afraid that you really don’t………

    I do though!!

    Take care.x.


    1. Bren says:

      Very true Ann, people can sympathise but they don’t understand what it is like to live with pain.. The sleepless nights because pain wakes you up.. the tossing and turning and trying to get comfortable because if you lay too long on one side something starts to ache.. And apart from having to deal with the pain, you also have to deal with the side effects of the medication.

      Whether it is the steroids or not I don’t know, but Jelly legs my god, I have never suffered with them before.. My legs go to jelly at times and I can hardly take another step of course added to this is the thigh pain if you do too much… My legs feel as weak as anything at times…


Please feel free to comment on this post...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s