Dan here, and I’m about to get a bit personal on this little space of ours, for the first time ever…We all know the phrase ‘no pain, no gain’ but what if it’s all just pain, chronic pain. Let me explain…
I thought I would share some thoughts and experiences as the new year kicks off, it’s that time of year when we’re encouraged to make a fresh start, so here’s why I’ve got plans. Pain, especially chronic pain is a subject people tend not to mention that much in casual conversation but I’m sure I’m not alone with what I’m about to describe. Firstly, I would say I’ve become a fitness addict over the last decade so I’m familiar with the muscular burn of a good workout.
Unfortunately I’ve been struggling to keep it all going at my usual pace with what is generally described as chronic pain. My hips, mid & lower back, thighs, shoulders and ankles have been in almost constant pain for the last twelve months. It’s limiting how much I can do in a week of training and the bigger endurance sessions tend to need much more recovery than ever before. It also wakes me up at night and generally means I can’t stay in one position for very long before I need to move simply to try and shrug off some of the discomfort. Now before you say ‘you’re probably just getting old’ let me mention that this came out of the blue and I’ve had great mobility and good flexibility for as long as I can remember. It all started as a pain in my hip that I developed when trying to ride my road bike to and from work, I saw a physio almost immediately to try and figure out what was wrong. After weeks of sessions and his excellent work not producing a single lasting effect we had a chat and he sent me off to the GP. He was as baffled as I was as to why an effective session lasted only hours and I would then return the next week in the same, if not more pain. An initial series of blood tests for every imaginable condition only served to show that I was severely Vitamin D deficient. A very common issue in the U.K. that was compounded by me also working in a basement studio for most of my career. I stacked myself full of Vitamin D over a three month period and that particular issue started to level out nicely but the pain didn’t go away. I certainly felt better and my mood brightened but it didn’t prove the key that would rid me of the pain and let me get back to the usual level of training I enjoy. So back I went to the doctor and was sent for more blood tests. Again, there were no concrete results or pointers towards anything being obviously wrong. So why then do I still hurt, every single day? I ask myself this question multiple times a day. I asked the doctor repeatedly and in the end she just shrugged her shoulders and said ‘it might just be a phase’ – something I found just a wee bit frustrating!
It’s now 2017 and feeling as bad as ever, I’ve decided to take the matter into my own hands for a month and see if I can heal and rid myself of this chronic pain by adjusting lifestyle habits and diet. I’m already pretty healthy but I think we all know areas in which we can improve… I’m looking at you, sugar and caffeine. I’ll go into more specifics in my next post but in the meantime, feel free to get in touch if you’ve experienced (or are experiencing) something similar, absolutely any tips or advice you have would be hugely appreciated and if I’ve mentioned something here that you think might be of use then as before, feel free to get in touch. I know that I can’t be the only one feeling this way and I’m sure there’s lots of good information out there that’s perhaps not as readily available as we would like.
2017 is definitely the year of taking back some control over this body of mine.
My husband also has constant pain, but his is from two herniated discs in his lumbar spine, exacerbated by scoliosis. He also broke his dominant wrist really badly last year, and adding that to the mix, is in a lot of pain every day. I think the biggest thing that people don’t realise is just how tiring it is to be in pain all the time – it really does drain you. So I feel for you and what you’re going through. There are loads of joint remedies out there – have you tried any? Also keeping moving as much as possible really helps to prevent stiffening up, but I know you know that!
Arghh herniated discs!? I can only imagine how painful that is! I always think back pain is especially bad / draining as well? My mum suffers from something similar but higher up the spine and some days she can barely walk. Joint remedies are a good shout, thanks for the heads up! I hope your husband finds some relief from it all!
I hear yah on the pain front. I’ve had chronic pain in my neck and shoulder for 5 years now! No one knows why it’s there, it’s never really gone away but when it’s not bad I just get on with life with low grade pain. At present it has been a vengeful git for the last 2+months. Seeing chiropractor and upped my vital D content, its a costly process which doesnt give lasting effects. Sleep? What’s that?! Not had any proper sleep in awhile has the pain wakes me up.
I have found neck stretches and cold packs helpful, but, like you’ve mentioned it doesn’t last. I’ll keep an eye on you your updates incase you happen upon the holy grail. Good luck dude…
I feel for you. Back in middle of 2014 I began to suffer with hip, shoulder, neck and thigh pain. At this time I lost both my Dad and my aunt within 10 days of each other. I had entered a half iron distance race in August and was determined to race it. I continued to train, but I got slower and stiffer. I would wake at night unable to move. I had to pull myself over with my arms to turn over. I did my race ( a got a friend to do the cycle part) but did the swim and run. Every step felt like I was running on stumps. After that I rested for 2 weeks, but got even worse. Off to the doctor. Blood tests – take anti inflammatory tablets 3 times a day. Blood showed nothing- was referred to a pain specialist ( rheumatoid doctor) he did more bloods and referred for scans of stiff joints. The diagnosis was =polymyalgia+rheumatica. Treatment is an ongoing taking of steroids- starting at 10mgs and decreasing over time. Now 2 years on I am still decreasing, not fully back to normal. Though it all I have continued to swim, bike,run. My consultant has always encouraged me to keep going. And I always will. Sorry for such a long story. I know how frustrating not having an answer is. You may have already been tested for this. I hope you have an answer soon.
Hi Lorraine, that sounds awful! And taking steroids for so long is also not fun! I was on them for years when I was younger… Are you feeling much better now or still the same? Well done for powering through with everything, it’s hard enough when you’re feeling in tip top shape! P.S Apologies for sending you our email TWICE! Tech fail, somehow you sneaked onto the second list! Doh!
Hi Dan – we’ve chatted before but here’s a few thoughts (sorry if you’ve already covered this stuff):
I have read that although GPs have been told to check for Vit D levels in patients, they are not yet up to speed on the morbidity of the conditions resulting from deficiency and according to a Prof Michael Holick (a Vit D specialist, I think he’s american) bone softening or osteomalacia may occur. His advice is that osteomalacia takes years to develop and can take a year or more to resolve, although people may begin to feel better after three months or so.
Aside from that, I expect you’ve been ruled out for anything autoimmune (such as PMR) and / or had inflammatory marker blood tests (CRP, ESR, etc). Also, my experience with low ferritin / iron illustrated how the standard NHS blood test limits are not a one size fits all, especially fit people – which can apply to other blood measures too. So it may be worth getting some more specific tests from a private specialist (like CuroSeven).
Healing, Hygge thoughts x
I mentioned this to Hayley, I suffer wth chronic pain too, but I’m ‘lucky’ in the sense that it’s largely due to me having quite severe joint hypermobility syndrome..by lucky I mean that I have a diagnosis, and although not curable, it’s manageable. I was also diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency 2 years ago, and bone demineralisation (very early stages of osteoporosis).
I hope doctors can get to the bottom of whats going on. Good luck!
Natasha | http://www.danceflowlift.com