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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Hi, thank you for taking the time to read my situation. Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. I had a strong back my whole life, I played hockey from 13 until the accident in 12/2008 and my back had always been strong. I was turning on a green arrow when a driver ran the light and hit me just left of center, pretty much head on. At first I was optimistic, I had been through two knee surgeries while in the Army and rehabbed them with hard work. I was in bad shape but not hopeless. Went to physical therapy and got through the wiplash as well as some other sore spots, but could not get relief for my lower back. My MRI's didn't show anything specific so I continued with PT until I saw a pain specialist last year who recommended injections. When they failed, I pleaded with him, I needed to know what was going on. My pain was affecting every part of my life. My marriage was suffering, my status as a student was in jeopardy, and my future career as a teacher was looking less possible.

The doctor did a disco-gram. He said that the purpose was to try to re-create the pain, if you find the source it will cause the same pain. He started at L3-L4, it was uncomfortable but not painful. The X-ray showed no leakage and he proceeded to L4-L5. As soon as he injected it, the pain in my lower back on the right side(maybe 3-4 inches above my hip) was very intense. It was the exact pain that I had been complaining about since the accident, radiating down into my right hip. The X-ray showed leakage and the pressure did not stay constant. The pain was so bad I asked him to pause before he started the next injection.

I gave him the go ahead for L5-S1 and it was by far the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. It re-created the exact pain in my lower back on the left side that had been troubling me since the accident. I could hardly stay still, the pain was so intense. He monitored the screen to see if there was leakage and there was. So two positives at L4-L5 and L5-S1. I hoped that something good would come out of identifying the cause of the pain, but to this point, almost a year later, I am still without any relief.

It took about 2 months for the pain to resolve from the discogram.

I had been on Fentanyl patches for over a year, now am on suboxone patches. The fentanyl was much stronger, but it affected my cognitive functioning so I had to make a change.

I saw a back surgeon shortly after the disco-gram and he said he would do fusion, but did not feel comfortable with any other procedures. I really don't want to get a fusion, it scares me since it is irreversible and what if it doesn't actually fix my pain? I have maintained good flexibility and can still touch my toes with limited pain. It hurts when I come back up, but the stretch itself feels good.

I saw another surgeon last month and he said "If you were my brother I wouldn't recommend fusion." I take that as a warning. He said he couldn't see anything on the MRI though and sent me for another one. This MRI looks clear too and I am worried, what if they can't see it? What type of imaging doing I need to get done in order to see what the heck is causing so much pain. I can't walk for than a few hundred feet without pain increasing, I can't stand for more than 15 minutes without pain increasing and I can barely hold my 1-year old. It is hard to handle all of this without any hope.

The pain on the left radiates down into my pelvis and left hip. The pain on the right radiates into the hip as well. As the pain increases it goes up into my mid-back and is quite unbearable, even with pain meds. I was on 50mcg of Fentanyl and still in pain that I would put in the 4-6 range on bad days. I need some type of relief.

Also, forgot to mention that I have numbness in both of my legs. Limited feeling from the IT band to the my thighs, it goes to just about my knees. I have been told this is radicular pain. It started in the left leg with pins and needles feelings, then just went numb. A few months later the right did the same. 10 months after the accident I had little feeling in the top of my legs. I can feel the backside, but the front is numb.

Please help!!!!

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