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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Hello I could really use some help. I’ve been suffering from chronic neck pain for about 15 yrs and back pain for about 5 yrs. I had a fusion at C5-7 in 2011 with no relief of pain. I’ve ran the gamut of specialists from chiro, massage, PT, Pysio, trigger point injections, nuerotomy, multiple ESI’s and even a spinal cord stimulator to no avail, the pain is still there and still an achy, burning, constant pain. Then about 5 yrs ago it started in my low back and has progressively gotten worse. I had a spinal cord stimulator placed about 4 yrs ago by my pain specialist to help the pain. This helped for about 6 months, they have not been able to get it to program correctly to cover my pain. My pain is in my low back to where it constantly feels like someone has their fist digging into my back. I also have right side pain at the hip/buttock area that is sharp and constant and is starting to cause aching type pain in both legs. I finally had enough and had my pain specialist refer me to a neurosurgeon to see about maybe replacing the stimulator to see if I could possibly get coverage in my area of pain. He of course wanted recent imaging done before he would even agree to see me. As I can’t have an MRI right now because of the stimulator I had a CT myelogram. He didn’t know of my neck problems at the time of the ordering of the scan so it was done only at the thoracic (so he could see the placement of the stimulator leads) and the lumbar. I had a visit with him 2 weeks ago. He said since I’ve had so much stuff already done and am still in pain I was a bit of a challenge case for him. I explained that 15 yrs of neck pain and 7 yrs post fusion and still in chronic pain from that as well. He then wanted me to have a nuclear medicine bone scan so he could look at the bones of my spine. I had that done on Friday (8/24) and do not have results of that yet. He did say however that based on the results on my CT myelogram of my back that he could do a fusion and that would take away all of my back pain and I wouldn’t need the stimulator and that he could take that out at the same time. He however didn’t really go over the results of the scan, just that he wanted me to do the bone scan and come back for a follow up visit. I see him again on September 17th - here are the results of my CT Myelogram and my flexion/extension X-ray if anyone could help me. Is it bad enough to need a fusion? Is there a way to be rid of my pain without one? I live alone and fear the recovery time of the fusion however I just really want to be out of pain. I am getting ready to turn 50 in a few days. I would just like to not only do normal daily activities without pain, but I want to be able to pick up my 5 month old grandson or get on the floor and play with my 4 yr old granddaughter.

CT Myelogram:
L4/5 level demonstrates diffuse degenerative disc bulge resulting in mild narrowing of both neural foramina
L5/S1 level demonstrates significant disc space narrowing, vacuum space phenomenon, endplate sclerosis and osteophyt formations. Spinal canal is patent, there is moderate bilateral neural foraminal stenosis

Flexion/extension X-ray: pronounced L5/S1 disc space narrowing with endplate sclerosis and lower lumbar facet arthropathy. Impression: moderate to severe L5/S1 degenerative disc disease and lower lumbar facet arthropathy

Any help would be gratefully appreciated. Is this bad enough to warrant a fusion with 5 yrs of back pain with all conservative treatment tried? I am on heavy pain meds and some days it barely touches the pain. I just want off this roller coaster and I want to enjoy my life. Thank you


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