No matter if you’ve lived with chronic lower back pain for 1 year or 10, there are certain experiences that most lower back pain sufferers have in common.
The type of pain and the location of your lower back pain will help your doctor form a treatment plan. Here are four experiences that help sum up living with chronic lower back pain—and we hope you’ll share this list with your friends and family so they can better understand your condition.
1. Waking up in the middle of the night
Unfortunately, chronic lower back pain doesn’t keep to your schedule—so you’re often jarred awake by your pain during the middle of the night. Not only is this a frustrating experience, but it can also make your pain worse. That is, your chronic lower back pain. Certain nights are better than others—but one of your biggest desires is for a few nights of uninterrupted sleep.
2. Difficulty standing up
This next experience can feel embarrassing. After a few hours of sitting around a table with friends, you find that you can’t stand up—at least not right away. Going from a prolonged sitting position to a standing position can cause excruciating pain, and you often need a few minutes to loosen up your muscles before you can leave a chair. You’re sometimes worried that people think you can’t stand up because you’re lazy or out of shape. But the fact of the matter is that you struggle to stand up because of a condition that is beyond your control.
3. People assume you’re all better
Your friends and family might mean well, but they can be all too eager to proclaim that you’ve been cured. In fact, it seems like every time they catch you smiling or laughing they assume that you no longer struggle with chronic lower back pain.
But you know that the truth is some days are simply better than others. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it, but on Monday you might feel mostly pain free—and on Tuesday you can barely get out of bed. Also, you don’t allow your pain to dictate your mood—so a smile doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re pain free.
4. Doctor’s visits, lots of doctor’s visits
Sometimes it feels like you spend more time at the doctor’s office than in your own home. You’ve seen all kinds of specialists—surgeons, physiatrists, physical therapists—and you’re on a first name basis with most of them at this point. You’re not a hypochondriac, and you certainly don’t like spending time at the doctor’s. But between diagnosing and treating your chronic lower back pain, doctor’s visits are simply a consistent part of your life.