Physio for nerve pain

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    I know age has a lot to do with it, I’m right at the top of when they’ll consider doing it at 65 may I ask how old you were when you had the op and did it go wrong straight away? I am under Guys and my consultant has been very patient with me but the clocks ticking and I reckon I’ll get a call very soon.
    I too have severe stenosis caused by arthritis of my spine. I still get on with things and it isn’t stopping me doing anything although I am often in severe pain plus the added bonus of sciatica in both legs and feet.


    Hi Joyce,

    I was in my early 50s when I had the ops.

    Within 6 months of the stabilisation operation I had a full fusion but then the following year had all the instrumentation taken out. I never had any pain relief from the operations. What I didn’t know was that multiple operations at the same site can cause irreversible nerve damage/scar tissue so that’s something to know about up front.

    I too always carried on with things, still do but I feel my pain is getting worse as I get older. And the physio exercises are killing my back!


    Hi Laura,and Joyce, I would advise you to keep doing gentle core strengthening and stretching exercises regular may 2-3 times a week or when you can as this does help you to keep going and moving, try something like I do ,swimming once a week as your weightless and also keeps you fit do as much as you can /feel without overdoing it(pacing) all that you also helps with your posture too, which if you stop doing this muscles ect will start to tighten up and make you stiff so when you do try something it will cause more pain than you already have. I know where your both coming from as we get older it seems that we get worse,thats why its important to exercise regular so you dont become a vegetable in a chair, I use a self propelled wheelchair when out, my choice. as it keeps me heart pumping and sometimes build up a sweat. it’s still exercising and keeps me fit as i can be, despite being in constant pain it is not doing me any more damage than I already have. its a case of little and often as you can. and slowly over the months build it up, you soon know when you have hit your max. but you need to learn to stop before the pain gets worse then rest,then later on do a bit more. if you keep a dairy of what you do you will find that as the months go by you can do a little more than when you started. well that’s what i found. I hit my max when i go swimming once a week. like set a goal week 1 then in week 2 do one more of each exercise if its to much on one of the exercises just go back to what you was doing for another week then try again later. you will find that some weeks you feel as though your going backwards but thats fine just try again the following week . Hope you get what I mean. take care the both of you and best wishes.Lee


    Hi Lee,

    I agree it’s very important to keep moving… my husband and I share the housework, he does the heavy stuff, I do the lighter stuff, he mows the grass, I sow the seeds, I cook, he washes up,we share it out according to what we can do.

    Only wish I could go swimming but there’s nowhere I can go and just paddle about, if you can’t swim lengths that’s a no no and I haven’t the strength to do lengths and never did have!

    I’ve been doing my core strength exercises the physio gave me 2 weeks ago and my back is still in flare up mode, have an appt on Monday so will see what he says!



    Hi Laura, sometimes my flare ups last anywhere between a week and 2 months, so this is when you go real steady and slowly does it, I know people where I go who do not swim lengths as we have a gentle swim time, most do swim lengths but some just exercise at the side of the pool and chat and one lady who suffers arthritis just puts velcro weights around ankles and wrists and just walks up and down the edge width ways, just seems a shame you feel you cannot go, just being in the water just takes all the weight off and feels good. anyway it’s up to you what you do it’s choice. Hope it all settles down soon for you, take care and best wishes. Lee


    Personally I think a yoga class is as good if not better than physio.

    NHS physio is mostly a waste of time – they give you a generic leaflet and an impossible amount of exercises then look to put the blame you when it doesn’t work

    “Your hamstrings are incredible tight” “you have a really weak core”

    Privately I have found dry needling and acupuncture some help for not much money

    I think gps refer to physio as its a pretty cheap option


    For some forms of nerve damage physio can be the last thing you need so I would definitely see a neuro doctor first.


    I’ve now had 3 physio appointments.. the exercises have been changed each time.
    When asked how I’m doing with them, I just say you tell me! He’s now saying the purpose of the exercises is not to help with the pain but to strengthen my legs. I’ll be interested to see how much they strengthen because I can’t tell any improvement.

    Helen H

    Hi Laura
    I had the same experience. Each time different exercises, and I had the impression they are most used to dealing with sports type injuries than chronic nerve pain. The ‘no pain, no gain’ approach.

    As long as it is not flaring the pain to intolerable levels then I suppose any physical activity over time would make you stronger.

    For me I have got far more from very slow Tai Chi movements (at home not a class) than physio-it’s slow and easier to remain aware of how far to push your body. Any activity at all makes the pain worse, so it’s a balance between how much I can do without getting the pain up to levels that are unbearable.

    take care


    Hi All, The thing with physio for nerve pain, is just an nhs gateway to other services. it’s just the way they do things. mainly we either have trapped nerves or damaged nerves, and for trapped nerves physio is the first point of call, to do /or try certain exercises to try and un trap them, for some it works, for others it doesn’t. But in my experience the longer they are trapped it can result in damage.but all these gentle stretching exercises whether tai chi, pilates , yoga or from the physio which they base there method on the tai chi ect. I believe keeps you as supple as can be regardless of the pain your in, and does help in some way to keep you mobile. the last resort these days is surgery. As They need to try all other methods first.
    It is frustrating and makes you angry that for some it all seems a waste of time just fix me, but as we all know it is not an easy fix and the pain we have to suffer because of it. If it’s damaged nerves like I have for the past 23+ years , I have found that no painkiller is going to take nerve pain away, injections ,nerve ablations ect either don’t work or short lived pain relief, and even nerve pain drugs for some people only take the edge off, so you can carry on a bit better,this is why I use a Tens as it helps mask the pain I get when it seems to get worse by flare ups for what ever reason. So after years of going round in circles,going mad, and trying to find that miracle cure at the end of a rainbow, I have learnt and used methods that I have learnt through, counselling, CBT and mindfulness, pain clinic/management, ect ect. to totally except that this is part of me, for the rest of my days and that I have changed in that i cannot do what i once did, and it’s all at a snails pace, to stop chasing for that miracle cure as at present scientists have not found anything to get rid of nerve pain, as its part of your electrical system controlled by the brain.the best thing they have found is SCS but thats only when nothing else has worked and if you can tolerate it.the whole thing is a 50/50 chance that something might work for you. what I have found is deal with your days as best you can and live despite the pain the best you can and take in the world around you also to do what makes you happy and contented and find what is really important to yourself, and to be mentally strong and resilient which we all are.the world and it’s nature is beautiful and the best part it’s Free. I look at these youngsters and they make me laugh because they run around like a headless chickens on AUTO PILOT and most seem self obsessed with themselves that the don’t know from there head or arse whichever is speaking, there is a life out there whether your very slow to move like I am and in constant pain, but I still enjoy most days despite this. Sorry about the rant. take care All and best wishes. Lee


    Hi Lee
    I enjoyed reading your piece, very informative. Usually I am in my own bubble with pain but This made me think about appreciation, and acceptance of my conditions 🙋‍♀️


    Hi Rosan, most of us do end up in our own little bubble, trying to live with pain and round and round we go within the system trying to find something /anything that helps us in some way to cope, but amongst that system there is quite a lot of information to try and help us cope , but as individuals we have to try and sort it all out to see what meds and alternative ways to help ourselves and to try and burst that bubble so we can try and cope ,accept, and move on with life as we now are, and the difficulties that come with living with pain, and the best thing I found is to live in the here and now ,not think about the future and what it holds for us ,I find that depressing and not keep looking at the past of what we once were as it is not you now, and that also can depress you . live and enjoy the little things that make you happy and contented today, now.despite part of you that is screaming with pain.rather than shying away from the pain I found if you face it and look into it through meditation, I have found that it changes from day to day and sometimes moves around, like sitting at a train station. the pain, I visualize as a fast moving train going through the station, but as you focus you can see glimpses of the other side through the train, and the more you focus the more you see of the other side with it’s beauty and lush greenery ect. that’s the place you want to go and see despite the fast moving train. Take care all and best wishes, Lee


    An update on physio for nerve pain/damage…. I had my 4th appointment this morning.

    The physio wants me to go to the hospital gym once a week to do circuit training in the lower limb class.

    Had a go on two of the machines while I was there, seemed ok but know it will cause a flare up especially as the class if for an hour. Will try it of course and will use my judgement to how much I do on the day.


    Hi Laura, What they are trying to do is activity and learn about how much you can do before raising pain levels, basically pacing yourself, I understand that each day is different and that you may feel ok dong a certain amount one day ,then end up in a flare up the next, so next time do less amounts but still exercise until you find a part where you do something then stop, and next day it doesn’t cause a flare up. use this as your base line, of activity, that does not cause you more pain or flare ups. this gives you something to start with, then slowly and over many weeks try to increase the levels of activity to start with just by increasing it by one more step or 2 steps or whatever your doing. and not on each exercise you do, just pick one or 2 exercises you feel comfortable doing. if one day it causes you to flare up then just drop back to your base line, let the pain settle to your normal, and start again from beginning, over the months and years you will find that you have increased your base line activities in certain activities. this is how you very slowly get to doing a bit more. I understand that we all have set backs and over do things, but it trying to teach you what your limits are and that each day your limit is different and gets you in tune and listening to your body of what it is capable of doing on any particular day. Also you need to stop thinking that last time i done this I was in pain so not ever doing that again, try it 2-3 times if it’s still causing you trouble then just cut that particular exercise out and try something else , but it may be a case of next time you can do it. its a case of keep moving despite the pain even if it’s at your base level. Hope I have put you in a better picture, they should have told you all this anyway, but sometimes your own thinking gets in the way, which I do understand and not patronizing you. Hope it all goes well, take care and best wishes , Lee

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