According to JAMA evidence (Definition of a Pain Crisis), a pain crisis can be defined as an event in which the patient reports severe, uncontrolled pain that is causing the patient, the family, or both severe distress. It may be acute in onset or worsening gradually to an intolerable level. It requires immediate intervention.
I had a “pain crisis” last night! I’ve had them before but it is still the most bizarre thing! I woke up feeling “bad” yesterday. Maybe it was the weather? Maybe it is a sign of what the weather will be tomorrow? I am seriously thinking of getting a barometer (is there an app for that?) to monitor the barometric pressure where I live! When the pressure takes a dive, I know my arthritis is going to flare up and I’m going to hurt!
I didn’t change any of my medications. True, I am taking less then I was a few weeks ago right after my L4-S1 spine fusion, but that is the goal. But I certainly had enough pain medication on board to not be in so much pain. Maybe I was reacting to the amount of activity I had done the day before? I had been much more active both in walking, standing, and moving around. Could the increase in activity the day before throw me off so much the next day?
My “pain crisis” is predictable. First, I experience incredible chills that mimic flu symptoms. I just can’t seem to get warm. I have a space heater next to my desk in my study to help ward off drafts caused by the doggy door not far away. I had that blasting and yet… I was still chilled. I ended up going to bed under my electric blanket on “high” with added covers. Still, I was chilled to the point of shivering. It really does feel like flu symptoms!
I ended up taking more pain medications and waited for them to take effect. I did have pain in my back; I feel the rods and screws from my spine fusion moreso then the actual incision pain now. Hubby says that is because I’m too skinny! How does one acquire back-fat to keep them from feeling the hardware from that surgery?
The real discomfort I feel related to the surgery is nerve pain. My legs and feet are numb. We think this is due to the nerve healing because I’m not having the prickly pain I was having pre-surgery; the numbness is the last thing to go away as the nerve heals from being pinched. I really hope this is what is causing the numbness! One of the major goals of the surgery was to fix the nerves! I’m just afraid something is wrong; I’m actually having more nerve pain now then I did before the surgery! And now it is in both legs!
I’m also experiencing other joint pain no doubt from being off my NSAIDs. Although I just had a steroid knee injection about three weeks ago, my knee is swollen again. This makes walking and sitting very uncomfortable. Elevating and ice USUALLY relieves the swelling but not this time. Walking becomes very painful whether due to my back pain OR my swollen knees?
Eventually, the “pain crisis” breaks resulting in night sweats. One would naturally think this is a hormonal response to being menopausal but it always happens after these episodes. I wake up in the middle of the night drenched with my hair dripping wet. I literally feel like I just came out of the shower! And while I am hot, I’m still worried about becoming chilled again. Since I’ve never had major fluctuations due to hormones, I find it unlikely this is related to menopause?
And this morning… I wake up “normal”. I’m not in excruciating pain; I take my normal pain medications as prescribed to keep it that way! I’m disappointed that yesterday was a wasted day filled with painful, swollen knees, chills, and pain! I thought I would be “getting better” by now! It is just so frustrating for not only myself but for my family members also. I’m just thankful that through additional pain medications taken, I was able to get the pain under control!
Today starts the first day I will be “left alone”! I hear my family members whispering about me in the kitchen. It’s a big day for them also! Hubby is only working a half day which for him will be 6-7 hours. I hear my son asking his father if he should “work from home” to, you know, “be around”? I already know I can not sit at my desk; it flares up my knee. I’m wondering about watching TV in bed except… I really don’t like watching TV. Maybe I will read a book? Or take a nap? I’m going to have to find SOMETHING to do today? I just think I should be “better” but that gradual worsening of pain to the point of being intolerable, a pain crisis, still weighs on my mind. At least I know… I don’t have the flu!