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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


I have some things to share that may be of interest to you. Some you may not have heard before. I think this may help you and be eye opening if you are in chronic pain.

I"ll tell my story:

I had a microdisectomy in July 2004 for a herniated disc fragment on the nerve at L4/L5. Prior to surgery I couldn't walk. After I could lift toes and put leg in front not drag it (well, do sometimes still) and got 20% strength out of leg. Back pain went down some, and I could lift glass of water without sharp pain in spine. Had hope.

Six months after surgery I got leg, foot and big toe pain through the roof, sharp and stabbing like a knife. Since then, the leg pain has continued to get worse, even on gabapentin. Vicaden and percocet barely touch it. the pain is escalating 18 mons post op.

I have gone from 20% leg strength to about 70% but that changes throughout the day and goes down to 5% where I can't put my weight on my leg at all.

I am in level 8-10 pain daily and have been for two years and I simply can't take it any longer. Why is the pain continuing to increase??? Keep reading...I know some of you are in same predicament...

Numbness has let up some and I keep getting improvements in strength and feeling every few months (and those are usually preceeded by increased pain and electric shocks). But now I have symptoms of numbness and pain starting in the left leg that comes and goes.

Had new MRI recently and 3 back doctors all agree I shouldn't have any more surgery. Had been told to wait for an ADR,which I did for 3 years, but now they say I'm not a candidate for that. I have two bad disks, so asked about fusion and was told that would only cause my upper spine to fail, plus it won't help the leg and existing nerve problem, and they don't think it will help the back pain either. They said that most of the time doctors do NOT know what exactly is causing back pain. they said that most back surgeries fail to relieve pain and make the person worse, resulting in what is called FAILED BACK SYNDROME. I've got three back surgeons who are anti-surgery.

Now, here is where it gets interesting...

Basically, two of the spine doctors told me something that my regular back doctor didn't mention for the last three years and that is that besides a neurological problem (due to nerve damage) I also have myalgia and possibly fibromyalgia, which is muscular and that further surgery will damage those back muscles and make them weaker. I have been wondering if some of the hip and butt pain isn't muscular. Like many of you I get those horrible muscle spasms. and little tender knots on the legs.

The one spine doctor pointed out that the butt muscles are large and there are many little nerves that run through them and he thinks that is part of my problem. Muscular. Not a nerve impingement in the spine at this point. Food for thought.

They see no more nerve impingement in the spinal canal and are telling me to be patient and it will be 3 to 5 years to heal taht damaged nerve. There is scar tissue around that nerve and it is questionable as to whether it is not allowing the nerve enough room. No one has mentioned surgery to reduce that.

I'm only 1.5 years into the healing. They consider that early - yes - EARLY. I sense that no one wants to touch me because of existing nerve damage and suspected muscle problems, which I agree are probably causing some of the pain. But who helps with that? the PT sure didn't. do you know?

Fine. But the pain is unbearable. so now one of them wants to do a spinal cord stimulator but another pain doc advised against it saying I didn't need it. He wants me on methadone instead. FYI: he says methadone is no worse addicting than oxycodone and got a bad rap because heroine addicts take it once a day to reduce their craving for heroine. You take it 3 times a day for pain.

Now, none have recommended a neurologist. you know why? They say a neurologist will put me through a discogram that is very painful. The one spine doctor said that it is even dangerous for someone like me with this level of pain to undergo a discogram because tests have shown that the pain from the test can last over a year, exacerbating the existing pain! I bet none of you have heard that one.

This other pain doc suggested a pain program 8 hrs a day for a month at the hospital. But they are slow getting me in. It could be 2 or 3 months yet. I may have to go as an inpatient because I can't drive far and can't sit and can't stand long either. I don't know why I still cannot sit. It causes pain and my leg to go weak. I am now focusing on getting into that pain program.

My leg turns to jello when I walk more than a mile and a half, or drive too far (over 30 mins). I am pretty much homebound, with short trips to the pool. I have no life like many of you. I am allergic to the meds they give me, which makes this even harder to treat me. Tried Lyrica and affected my breathing and wound up in the ER. Gabapentin (neurontin) gives me horrible side effects so can only take 300 mg at a time and that has basically killed my personality but it does keep the pain down.

I am a walking (limping) pain zombie.

Now, here is where it gets really interesting. After all this (basically 4 years with back pain) I finally find out the following:

The one pain doc said the percocet and the vicaden were the wrong things to take, because they barely touch a nerve condition and I need something long acting like methadone. So I finally figured out why that was all I was given. It was because my back doctor only prescribes up to oxycodone, nothing further. So basically, I have been limited by him but he didn't tell me that, so I toughed it out, not knowing there was further help if I needed it. Now he did mention sending me to a pain doctor but only as a last resort. I should have been sent to a pain doc much sooner.

Hence, he finally sent me to a pain doctor after I told him I was suicidal with pain.

This one pain doc said that methadone was the drug of choice for a nerve condition. The pain program people want to get me off all narcotics once I start with them. My back doctors and family doctor won't prescribe any narcotics. the one back doc is, who did the surgery, and has no problem doing so, but only up to oxycodone. And as you know who have nerve problems, it barely does a thing.

NEXT...





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