Managing Back Pain With Psoriatic Arthritis
My psoriatic arthritis journey started about seven years ago. Where I tend to feel the most pain and have the most difficulty would have to be my lower back. Not a single day goes by that I do not experience back pain.
This severe back pain hinders a lot of what I do in a day. When getting through washing even a single sink full of dishes becomes a problem then you know it's bad. Please don't get me wrong, I sympathize with anyone who cannot even get that much done because of the pain.
Diagnosing back pain
We use our backs in everything we do. It was something I took for granted until the pain started in. Of course, my first instinct was to blow it off due to my job at the time. See I was a personal housekeeper for a prominent family. I just took my pain as me bending over too much or for too long. Boy, was I wrong.
Can you guess where this is going? You guessed it straight downhill. After a long time of just dismissing that I was overworking my back, I finally hurt so bad that I went to the doctor. His go-to protocol? You guessed it, an x-ray. What was his response when seeing this x-ray? Osteoarthritis. Go figure.
Psoriatic arthritis and back pain
Here he was telling me exactly what I had been thinking. I was overworking my back. The solution was to throw gabapentin at it, a nerve pain medication. Yay just what I wanted. More pills to take with what was becoming an ever-growing list of medications.
So yes, I have to admit that the gabapentin made it easier for me to sleep at night. However, every single day my back hurt more and more. The more I worked the more intense the pain got. It took about four years before I was finally diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.
Feeling like a yo-yo
I realize that is a short journey to diagnosis compared to some of you. I have heard the horror stories of how long and to what length it took to get the right diagnosis. So to a point, I feel very fortunate.
This is probably going to sound pretty cut and dry. The way I manage my back pain is quite like a yo-yo. I find myself up on my feet, I just got to do something. Then I fall down in my chair when the pain gets too bad. Repeat and repeat, up and down like a yo-yo.
Tips for coping with the pain
On days when my pain gets really bad, I wear a back brace. I have to admit it helps somewhat. My guilty pleasure is having a massage done once a month. Other people go to a chiropractor. That is one option I have not tried yet. Warm jacuzzis are also very helpful.
Want a surprise? I can give you one. My doctor told me that I can take up to 1200 mg of Tylenol a day as long as it is not aspirin. It shocked me. I thought this was entirely too much to take. One day the National Psoriasis Foundation had an interview with a doctor. I took the opportunity to ask him what he thought of that high dose. Believe it or not, he agreed with my doctor.
The importance of seeing a doctor
If you are having terrible back pain, please see a doctor. Keep fighting to get a proper diagnosis. It is a fight but the answers are out there. Remember that when psoriatic arthritis happens it can cause permanent damage.
Maybe you have found something that works for you. Please share in the comments. After all, we are all in this together fighting a disease that is invisible to those who do not have it.
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?