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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Hello I was astounded by your story. Unfortunately we are all going to suffer from either cervical, thoracic or lumbar pain at some stage in our lives. My mother had several operations on her spine. She fell from the ladder 2 meters high and the ladder fell on top of her damaging most of her disks. Her sciatic pain, pins and needles, burning and numbness was so extreme that doctors thought they will try 3 shots of quarterzone injections in her spine. The relief was only for less than 1 day. The pain flared up again. She had done nerve conduction studies and the results of that were that the there was severe compression of the L2-L5 region. The doctors performed a procedure called L2-L5 lumbar laminactomy to release the compression but unfortunately due to scar tissue damage from the operation her symptoms of sciatica continued to annoy her life.

It was unfortunate that the doctors in Australia did not recorgnise that the there were far more serious complications in my mother's spine. When she fell she also fractured T12-L1 which was called "double crush syndrome". It was crushed to such an extreme which was why a L2-L5 decompression surgery without fusion was going to make much difference.

I searched for a Spinal surgeon to look into my mother's case and all they could do was give her Lyrica (gabapentin) and increase the dose to 600mg per day which again didn't do anything. It got to the point when I could not sleep for hours in the night listening to her cry and crouch in bed from the sciatic symptoms. The burning and the pins and needles gave a very bad feeling in her legs and the more time we were waiting for answers and help the worst it got. Being a carer and going through all of the spinal trauma's my mother suffered in life since 2004 was quite distressing. I thought I had to do something about it and fast. I "googled" a surgeon in the United States and immediately sent him an email. He offered to take mum as a patient. After changing several flights we finally got there after 24 hours from Australia. There was so much pain during the flight but the flight attendant made mum as comfortable as possible changing peoples seating positions to make mum as comfortable as possible during the long journey.

In the United States surgeons couldn't believe the extent of complications they come accross from mums spine. Screws, rods, metal plates, the works were inserted. After a 5 hour procedure to fuse T12-L1 mums symptoms of sciatica subsided. They couldn't begin to understand why this type of surgery was delayed but they were glad that mum's surgery in the U.S had a positive outcome. Without this type of surgery mum would have ended up in a wheelchair paralysed from the severe nerve compression. We were filmed with a news crew to tell the story of how mum and I came about to visit the surgeon in the U.S and treat her there.

Several months later her symptoms of sciatica flared up again causing her grief and heartache once again. Her spinal problems didn't end there. She also had a spinal cord stimulator implanted at the levels L1-SI but it didn't give mum any pain relief regardless of how many times she manipulated the device for minimal comfort. After chasing spinal surgeons to 4 different major cities within Australia, one doctor took on my mothers case and looked into her severe and complicating problems. L2-L5-S1 was severely out of position. Grade 2 Sponylithesis with a curveture spine. She was with a walker and currently is but after this operation her symptoms of sciatica was relieved. However after suffering a fair bit of scar tissue damage and foot drop as the result of the surgery she still feels burning and numbness in her arms and legs although not as severe now as before. The surgeon says the best treatment for this to have hydrotherapy treatment which she is doing now. It is a great relief to be doing physical exercises in 34 degree heated pool.

Well this is my mother's story and as a daughter and carer it was hard to give up and tolerate her pain but am glad the final operation has released her severe pain. She is still hunching over but in time with a lot of physio and hydrotherapy her back will straighten and the stiffness in her legs and numbness in her arms will slowly subside. Our aim is to get her off the walker and maintain balance assuring her that her walker will no longer be in use, at least not until she is 80+.

Thank you for reading my mothers story. Please feel free to comment.

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