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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Hello -

I haven't been on the forum for awhile .... I'm a 45 yr female. History: I was in a high impact auto accident in 2005, fractured pelvis, fracture S1, sacrum, inferior/superior pubic ramus, broken left hip, fractured right hip. I was hit on the left side, however my right suffered as well to a lesser extent. All injuries were treated conservatively with a corset. I was on my way to the store to get milk, and didn't come home for 5 weeks. I went on to heal, return to work, etc. but wasn't able to sleep on my left side since. I could deal with that, because I still had my right side.

In Sept. 2012, I was having a normal day, until suddenly, as I was driving, my left hip & thigh were stabbing so bad, I was in tears & had to pull over. That day was the beginning to the end ... I started seeing a Neurosurgeon for my spine problems (severe nerve compression @ L5/S1, herniated L4/5, bulging L3/4, bone spurs, stenosis). At my pre-op appt, he asked, When was the last time you saw an orthopedic? Did you know your sacrum is cracked?, That's chronic, Your SI Joints are worn? That's chronic. I could tell something was up ....but as he was preparing for a fusion, he called me the day prior to surgery, to caution me that both decompression or fusion would make my sacrum & sacroiliac joint pain worse. Initially, he felt that a fusion would less impact my sacral problems. My guess would be the absence of a laminectomy? Thus, I was referred to an orthopedic spine surgeon at UCSF. He disagreed with the neurosurgeon, that a decompression of L5 would remedy my problems, and could not see any other problems with my pelvis. I subsequently had the decompression Oct 2013.

Less than 4 weeks after my back surgery, I had SI Joint injections done (procedure excruciating). My pain did improve; however, at that point I didn't know what pains were coming from where .. my back? my pelvis? I did feel good for a while. Two months ago, my sacral & SI pain came back with a vengeance. I am in 3 x pain than I was before the back surgery. Mmmmm ... The Neurosurgeon was right!! Being Naive to all of this, I went ahead with the surgery despite the cautionary warning & difference of opinion. At this point, I had been seeing specialist after specialist to no avail. I felt like I had no fight left. I had been dismissed by 2 other orthopedic surgeons in my area. My Primary told me that I can't give up, and to work with my insurance to find someone that specialized in both areas.

I decided not to be discouraged anymore, and be proactive. Thus, I found a wonderful orthopedic surgeon in San Francisco, CA. Again, I found myself going to the City (2 hrs away) for help. He reviewed my films with me, and defined my SI problem & unresolved issues with my back. The L5 level still has problems, despite the decompression. He said that so many spine surgeons do decompression's, and it doesn't resolve the patients problems. He assured that he can help me & I will be able to work again. I left his office sobbing with tears of joy, but at the same time, tears for how many times I was dismissed. This is my life we are talking about!! I see him again on 5/28/14 to go over my options. When he told me I have options, I was beside myself. I go from being dismissed to having options? Wow!

I suffer with debilitating pain every day. I have problems sitting, standing, walking, laying down. What can I do? NADA! My sacrum aches, *****ly; both sides of my SI hurt. I cannot lay on either side, I've been sleeping on my back for 1.5 yrs. The last coupla months it's been even more difficult to sleep. I have been using stacked pillows under my knees since all of this started, but now, I have to position pillows under each thigh, and reduce the contact of my sacrum from touching my mattress. Getting into bed is a total production to the point, that I require assistance to go to bed. I have hip pain, groin pain pubic pain, achy bladder, urinary retention/urgency, pain at my urethra, random sensations inside my intimate parts, burning from vaginal to rectum, buttocks, thighs (front/back), knees, calves, ankles, feet toes. If I don't take my full dose of Lyrica, I feel like I'm frying from the pelvis down to my toes. My sacrum pops all the time, and my SI joint pops every time I lift my legs to get dressed. Usually clothing that has leg holes.

My board post pre surgery:

I need to vent, gather advice, support, etc. It's been a LONG road!
Thank you for reading my story.
Hi Teteri -

Thank you for responding to my post:

When you said you had a decompression at L5, did they do a laminectomy? It seems like that would hardly be adequate for all the issues you have: Yes I had a Laminectomy, as well as Laminotomy, Facetectomy & Foraminotomy at this level. Right after the surgery, while in recovery, the spine surgeon told me. "This is going to happen again". I have read many articles about "Post Laminectomy Syndrome"; as it refers to worsening SI problems when the lamina, or portion is removed. I believe I fall into the category of "Failed back surgery" as well, because the surgery didn't resolve my problems. Being new to all of this, my worsening symptoms jive with the neurosurgeon's caution. What do you think?

Second, you say that your sacrum pops and the SI joint pops. The sacrum should be is probably tendons or ligaments that attach to the sacrum that pop: That makes sense. I have pops around the sacrum when I bend slightly forward or to either side. My sacral bone is always tender & constantly aches, feels pin-*****ly all the time. If anything touches/barely rubs on it, I feel sharp shooting electrical shocks all the way down to my toes & my legs turn weak. Even a tag at the back of my sweat pants rubbing on it will cause the same pain. Also, the pain around that area is sharp on both sides, and extends around in the shape of a bullseye (best way to describe). My lower buttocks have sharp burning, where I'd be sitting on a saddle. I get burning and/or pain in the perineum, rectal, vaginal, or all at once. The worse part is when everything burns from the pelvis down to my toes. I never had these sensations pre surgery.

Did they find out what this mass is? It is one thing pushing on the L5 nerve....there are several discs that have annular tears which would not be helped by decompression, and could be causing lots of pain: I was never informed what the mass at L5 is/was. I assumed it was a disc pushing on the nerve?

The new surgeon I'm seeing is the first one to actually review my films with me. At my last appointment, he said, " you have 2 conditions that are fixable", thus wanted a new lumbar MRI & pelvic CT done on 5/28 to study further; afterwards, go to his office for consultation. He could already conclude by the earlier films, there were problems at both SI joints greater on the left, lesser on the right; to what extent, I don't know?

Let me know your thoughts.

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