Virtuous, I am so sorry you are having such a difficult time managing your chronic pain. You did not mention what medicines you are taking. Finding the right medicines is crucial to getting your pain under control. Keep working with a pain specialist to find the right medicine combination. Because I had a spinal fusion of my lower spine L1-L5, I am limited to what I can do for exercise. I joined the local Y and I do some form of water exercise 5 days a week. The water aerobics really helps my depression and helps me move more comfortably. Plus I have made a really great friends. My doctor did a cortisone injection in my hip to help with a major case of sciatica. So far the pain has not returned. Stress will exacerbate your pain so consider seeing a therapist to cope with all of the things that are going on in your life. There is a lot of good information at The Mayo Clinic web site. Also, I have cleaned up my diet. I finally gave up Diet Coke, I call it Nectar of the Gods. I avoid almost all white foods: flour, sugar, cow’s milk, white rice. I focus on eating high quality protein, whole grain carbohydrates, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. If I stray from this eating plan, I will pay the price the next day. My joints will feel like they are on fire, and will be very stiff. My mental outlook will be clouded as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in what ever areas you need it. Lastly, Virtuous, I try to focus on things that I can do, things I know will make me feel good about myself. I go out of my way when I am out and about to look for someone struggling to get their groceries to the car, reach something from a high shelf, pick up items knocked over from a display and a myriad little things I can do to help someone in a small way. Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t. Make sure you fill your week with fun things to get you out of the bed and involved with people. As for the irritable bowel, try ginger tea. Prince of Peace makes ginger honey crystals that you mix with hot water ,sweeten to taste. You can drink it hot or cold and it really calms the bowel cramping right on down. Plus, it helps fight inflation. I hope some of this helps you.