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Help: Extreme Full Body Muscular Pain

I have a long history of chronic pain, and I am frustrated (beyond belief) that my PCP thinks this is 'depression.' Therefore, I am looking for alternative possibilities. It's hard to explain succinctly, so I shall try my best to outline it --

1. Around age 36: Slight loss of range of motion in my left arm such that I could not move it at certain angles while laying found down.

2. Around age 37: Violent car accident that left me with herniated C4-C5 (neck discs), a dislocated T6 (back disc), a rotator cuff injury that left my left arm non-functional for a while and a mild concussion.

3. Between 37-39 (post car accident):  Occasional positional vertigo, frequent dizziness, sudden pitting edema in right leg, sudden onset of nighttime breathing problems like an apnea (later deemed 'asthma'), and a sudden loss of outward rotating motion in my left hip which later spread to the right, and a constant feeling that there was something (think a woodchip) stuck under the toe nail on my right, big toe. These symptoms occasionally come back but are mostly gone save for dizziness.

Today, I'm nearly 44, and my situation has deteriorated. I have full body morning stiffness, extreme bilateral pain in my triceps , moderate bilateral pain in my upper thighs, bilateral pain in the butt, very limited range of motion and almost no strength. (I literally feel like I've been beaten up all over in a bar room brawl!) The stiffness is so bad that I can't move my arms in the morning which makes getting out of bed comical, and I can barely raise my head up, if I am laying on my stomach. It feels like a bowling ball, and these strange heat and electrical sensations shoot upwards into my head. I am RA negative though it runs in my family. I am thyroid disease negative, though it runs in my family. A lupus specialist saw me in the ER, and I said I was classic Lupus, but I am ANA negative. Anti-depressants for suspected fibromyalgia have done nothing. The only thing that touches this is prednisone, and that unfortunately turns me into a homicidal maniac. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I personally think I match all the symptoms or polymyalgia rheumatica, but I believe I might be too young.  Any help would be greatly appreciated, as six years is too long! ~ N
3 Responses
4851940 tn?1515698193
You have damage along the spine due to the car accidents and as we age changes happen in our bones too.

Because of that there may be impingement on nerves that are causing referred pain in other areas of your body.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for degeneration of the spine, but there is help to manage and help you to deal with your chronic pain.  If there is damage to some of the joints, you may be offered surgery to replace them (hip, knees etc.)

See your doctor to refer you to a rheumatologist and a physiotherapist and arrange for you to have more up to date imaging done of your spine and other joints.  You may be offered help by way of steroid injections depending what is causing the problem.  It is understandable to suffer from depression with chronic pain, but do go and see your doctor.  Sometimes antidepressants like Amitriptyline is prescribed to help for referred nerve pain and the doctor may be able to prescribe a different pain relief medication for you to take in between the prednisone.

Your breathing problem may be due to damage in the thoracic area.

The oedema in your leg may be a side effect from one of the medications that you are taking - Ibuprofen can cause this.  Elevate your legs when you are sitting to help with this.  The dizziness will be due to your problems in your neck bones. (cervical).  

Make sure that you have a good and healthy diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and ensure that you drink plenty of water so as not to get dehydrated

Don't overdo things and pace yourself.  The physiotherapist will give you specific exercises to do at home to help with the stiffness (there is no cure).  You may find gentle exercise in the water helpful.  Any type of gentle exercise, especially swimming,  and going for walks (if you can walk) is also good.  When you watch TV get up and move about when the commercials come on and don't stay stationary for too long.  

You may benefit from massage and seeing a chiropractor.  Soothing hot baths with Epsom Salts and some baby oil (Epsom salts can dry the skin) or other joint relaxants may help to relax the muscles.  

If you are overweight, losing some weight will help to take the weight of some of the weight bearing joints, even though it won't cure any bone and spinal problems.

For acute pain, you can apply hot or cold compresses.
1530171 tn?1448133193
Hi bethana88.

You got a lot of good suggestions from jemma.

I'm going to enter some "foreign" territory, so please keep a very open mind.
First, let me say that I would likely not be here today, posting my suggestions and comments on this forum, if it was not for what I'm going to mention later in my reply here.
Many years ago I survived two near fatal accidents, both resulting in multiple severe bodily injuries. You wouldn't be able to tell this, if you were to meet me today. I jog, I swim, I bike, I ski, I do weight lifting...
My mental and emotional health, are as good as my physical health.
Why am I mentioning all this? Simple. I was where you are!
This is too important to offer to you in one sentence as a single suggestion:
TMS (tension myositis syndrome).  Your profile fits TMS.
I suggest you read Dr. Sarno's "Healing Back Pain" or "The Mindbody Connection". He's the one who coined the term "tension myositis syndrome".

There's a TMS help forum where you can read about the experiences of  hundreds of other sufferers (over 400 pages of threads!).

There are about 40 YouTube TMS videos ans I really recommend you watch the one titled: Nicole Sachs, LCSW's Chronic Pain Recovery Story.

If the information you come across resonates with you and I think it will, you could consider seeking a TMS doctor.

If you're not getting better with physical treatments, you don't have much to lose anyway.

This my dear, was the basis and mainly responsible for my complete recovery, and which led me to pursue the holistic/alternative/complimentary medicine field.

On another note, for thyroid function, you can do on your own Dr. Barnes
Basal Temperature Test. Just do a search and follow the simple instructions precisely.
BTW the standard thyroid tests are flawed, as they only indicate thyroid hormone levels in serum and not thyroid function in the tissues!

I really hope you consider this seriously, however, my comments and suggestions are not intended to replace medical advice.

Let me know if you need any details.

Best wishes.

Avatar universal
I would skip your primary care and if you haven't go to an orthopedic surgeon. I don't agree that this is just depression, however keep in mind, with chronic pain that depression is normal. I am 39, had a spine injury in 1999. I broke my spine at T1, T2 and T3 and had a semi herniated disk. Fast forward, I deteriorated and I haven't been pain free since my 1999 injury. The pain is constant. Since 2008 I've had cervical spinal fusions of C4-7. C3-4 is now degenerating. The reason I had to have fusion is because the disks blew out and I was having severe left arm pain and numbness and the pain was so bad I can only describe it as 'lightening' like being struck by lightening down my left arm. I have permanent pain and numbness issues now in my left arm. On top of that, separately I have a low spine issue around the sacrum/SI joint on my right. I have right hip pain and numbness and it's now going down to my right foot. They just found a probably benign tumor on the sacrum and I have a surgical consult for this Friday. It has to be removed as it's on the sciatic nerve. One thing that helps keep my sanity a little bit is that I take 900 mg of neurontin at night, it's a nerve pain medication. It has barely any side effects which is why people can take even higher amounts then I do. So for night I take that, and 3 mg lunesta and 4 mg Tizanidine. The combo helps me sleep as I have bad insomnia as it's too painful. During the day is tough, because I have kids so I can't just load up on pain meds during the day, but for depression I'm taking wellbutrin but I am also taking 'the pill' loseasonique, but only for the hormones or my depression is severe. When you wake up in the morning and feel stiff, totally normal for back pain sufferers for that time to feel the worst, because when we sleep the fluid in our spine disks aren't moving as much, so in the morning when people stretch, the disk fluid starts to replenish. That's how a doctor explained it to me once. I'm about to turn 40 yrs old, and my spine is like an 80 yr olds, it's not easy, and you aren't crazy. A primary care doctor isn't a specialist in the spine, so as I mentioned, keep the primary care for general things, but not for this. I have an orthopedic surgeon, as well as I see a pain specialist. I'm due to have this surgery for my low spine and if I'm lucky will resolve that, but we'll see. Do not get to the point where I have, where it's 10+ years of this nonsense. If you can find an office that has both orthopedic and neurologists I would recommend that. Good luck!
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