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Back Pain

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There's another approach I use that I was taught on a pain management programme when first diagnosed with EDS. It was referred to as the Traffic Light Method.
Using this method involves breaking down each activity or task you want to accomplish into it's constituent elements. Red indicates that you are are completely unable to complete the task without significant risk to yourself and need assistance, Amber would mean that you can undertake the task with plenty of planning and breaks plus some assistance may be required, and green means you carry out the task with any issues.

Let's use going grocery shopping as an example (I'll answer from my own perspective) :
1. Get dressed in the morning. Amber task.
2. Morning ablutions. Amber task.
3. Writing shopping list. Amber task.
4. Putting on shoes and socks. Red task.
5. Loading wheelchair into car. Red task.
6. Driving to shop. Red task.
7. Putting shopping in trolley and bagging up at checkout. Red task.
8. Unloading shopping at home. Red task.
9. Putting shopping away. Red task.

I apply this to lots of things I do, particularly things I need to plan for such as going away on holiday. It helps me work out what I can do if I pace myself and what I need my husband and PA to do for me or help me with. Everything from gardening projects to sorting out piles of paperwork!

Sunny Clouds:
Personally, I think I'd find that system difficult because I'd be engaging in pedantry over categories, whereas I'd adapt the percentage thing to a rough heirarchy or approximate amounts.

That being said, I have tried in the past categorising tasks into sorts of activity, because I find it easier to do things if I alternate activities, and I find it easier to get stuff done if I feel I've done it to get out of doing something else.  Tricking myself and seeing the humour of doing it which doesn't stop it working.

But I think I could tweak my categories.  Maybe 'need help' could also get seen, for me, as 'something I'll put off if I don't adjust' or something.  I don't want 'need help' as a category, because something I've been in crisis over for a long time is not getting help, having to find the courage to do things myself.

I find myself wondering whether my 'alternate the activities' approach, i.e. alternating a bit of housework, a bit of paperwork, a phone call, a bit of housework etc.  (or different alternations) which for me is primarily about helping me cope with mental stuff would adapt for other sorts of problem.  E.g. for limited physical pain thresholds, alternate physical and non-physical.

Ooh, I love stuff like this that gets me to play around with approaches to coping. Personally, I find that even if something doesn't work for me, just trying it helps in the sense of giving me a sense I haven't given up, and emotional effort is my biggest problem now.  I'm trying to find the word.  A term used for limited personal resources or capacity.

(((DD))) fentanyl patches out trump Buprenophine any day of the week so you're already on very strong analgesics. I'm sorry that despite that your pain is so difficult to cope with  :f_hug:

Fentanyl can cause fatigue and also reduce cortisol. Might be worth requesting an early morning cortisol levels blood test? Needs to be as close to 8am as possible which is a pain and must be no later than 9am. If your cortisol levels are low that can be treated which if they were low and you were treated for it that would lessen the fatigue. It's worth a blood test maybe. Just a thought.

I think your pain management routine sounds well thought out and like it is the best method for you.

Have you tried a TENS machine?

Sunny - I love the way you thought about my pain management techniques and considered how to adapt them for your own needs!
Us Ouchers are nothing if not resourceful  :thumbsup: .

Fiz- please don't think I was playing pain Top Trumps; that really wasn't my intention and I didn't mean it to come across this way. Pain is pain and so subjective. Plus one person's tolerance and the rate at which they metabolise meds is very different from another person's.  :f_hug:
I had no idea that fentanyl affected cortisol levels and I will definitely ask about getting tested! Genius suggestion. I'm always looking at ways to reduce my fatigue and this may well help.

Lankou- brilliant idea about the TENS! I had completely forgotten about them. I tried one out about 30 years ago when I first started getting pain issues, but the problem was this was before diagnosis and treatment and I was trying to use it on too many joints for it to be effective.
Now I just need to focus on my lower back and no doubt the machines have improved since then!
Do you use one yourself? Can you recommend one?

Thanks my lovely friends for all your contributions and suggestions. It means a lot to me.


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