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Hi from southern Indiana

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi! I guess this is the place to introduce myself to the community. I am a 50 year old male. My pain issues started about 3 years ago, with low back pain that continued to get worse. Up until this time, for about 10 years prior, I would have 2-3 episodes a year that would last anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks, that was usually treated by pain meds /muscle relaxers, ice/heat and PT. Which always got me back on my feet and back to work. I have worked for 29 years in a Coal Fired Power Plant, as an operator and the last 5 years as a shift supervisor.

About 3 years ago I just woke up with low back pain in the 5-6 pain range. Seen my PCP, was prescribed the usual 5mg lortab and muscle relaxers, except this time my pain did not improve. So I was referred to a PM doc at a Ortho clinic. After 3 rounds of spinal injections with no improvement, I was told I needed a 2 level fusion S1-L4. MRI showed DDD at the lower 2 levels with an annular tear at L4-L5.

After a lot of research, 2 more opinions and lots of pain I decided on laser surgery to repair the tear and remove some bone spurs in the same area. By this time I can no longer work, my last day was July 21st, 2006. the laser surgery was done in Sept 2006. The docs said this would help without having do to a fusion surgery. It did help my left leg pain, but did nothing for my lumbar pain. Still unable to work and by Jan of 2007, I'm taking 40 mg Oxycontin ER 2 times a day and up to 40 mg of Percocet for break through pain. I do not have much of a life. I was also put on Cymbalta for it's nerve pain properties and help with the depression. PM is being done by my PCP.

Feb 2007 I was referred to the Leatherman Spine Center at Norton Hospital in Louisville KY. After a Discography was done in early March, they determined that the 2 level fusion was my best bet at pain relief.

April 2007, 2 level fusion performed successfully. After recovering from the surgery I began PT in a heated pool. My pain was probably 30% better than before surgery for which i am grateful but was expecting more.

I still require pain medications on a daily basis and am still unable to work.

Oct 2007 referred to my current PM doc. Great doc who has really tried to help me. An updated MRI showed good fusion at S1-L4. He took me off the Oxy and put me on Methadone 40 mg a day which really helped, also prescribed Lyrica 450 mg day and left me on the Cymbalta.

March 2008 we did a trail with a SCS. Decision was made to install the permanent device. Surgery was done first week of May 2008. The device has helped, but I'm still unable to return to work. I can't tolerate being on my feet much longer than 20-30 min, at a time. And much walking just makes the pain worse. I was put on total disability and began drawing Social Security Disability payments along with my employer's Long term disability. My doc does not expect me to ever improve enough to be able to return to full time employment. Sad. I really needed to work another 8-10 years, but I guess it was not meant to be.

I'm now using the SCS along with 50mg methadone, 450 mg Lyrica and the cymbalta. I guess this is the best it is going to get for me.

Anyway, after lurking around here I decided to join to see if I could contribute and maybe find some help myself.

Mark



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Comments

  • Hi Mark,

    Welcome to Spine Health. Wow what a road you have had to travel! I'm really sorry that between all the surgery and the SCS and drugs that you are unable to work or stay on your feet for very long periods at a time. Do any of your docs have a logical explanation for it? Are they just chalking it up to DDD and leaving you to suffer as a disabled individual? Do you still do PT? What are you able to do during the day?

    Anyway, glad that you decided to join in. I hope that you find new friends here. It's a great place to do that. There's always someone on line since we do span the globe. So no matter if you are up in the wee hours or on during the day, you should be able to find someone here.

    Best to you!

    "C"
  • Thanks for the welcome. In answer to your questions:

    I have not been able to really get an answer for my continued chronic pain. My current Doctor's diagnosis is FBSS. But this a catch all. He did say that he feels I suffered permanent nerve damage from the first laser surgery. He is the best doc I have found in my travels and has really tried to help me. I'm currently not doing regular PT. On days that I feel up to it, I will walk about 4 blocks, but this is only 1 or 2 times a week. Most days are just spent shuffling around the house, trying not do to anything that increases my pain.

    Mark
  • Hi Mark,

    I'm one of these people that refuses to settle for "well there ya go, we've done all we can". If I had settled for that, I wouldn't be here right now, I'd have given up a long time ago. Fortunately I have several docs that are more than willing to help as long as I do everything I can to make it worth their while. I know that sounds strange, but basically docs get supercharged and supermotivated when their patients stay motivated.

    Basically I'm a hard head. Fell on it a few too many times too which is part of my problem, but what the heck, I had fun. I was told after having had 5 surgeries on my lower back that I was as good as I was going to get. Shipped off to pain management and told not to come back for the same thing. I had a contained CSF leak so the neurosurgeons here didn't want to touch me. They didn't want to be bothered referring me to someone else either (I think to protect their precious egos). Fortunately the original NS who moved to DC said he'd help out.

    He performed 2 more lower back surgeries and found the CSF leak and my LB feels great.

    Not quite 2 years later he helped me with my cervical issues.

    A year after that he hooked me up with the PM doc that did my SCS.

    He's still trying to figure out a way to fix my neck, but in the interim has helped with the pain control.

    So what I'm getting at, is that I refuse to give up, so my docs refuse to give up!

    I have no idea if this can apply in your situation, but what have you got to lose? If you're in a spot that you really can't slide any further down from, then the only other direction is up.

    Well, hang in there.

    "C"
  • Welcome to spine-health...
  • Welcome to spine health.


    Christina :)
  • Your story sounds so much like mine that it is unbelievable! Except the fusion part. That is something that my doc is saying not to do and try and hold out for another big advancement in spinal surgery. I had the laser surgery and endoscopic microD for annular tare and am now on methadone and cymbalta. I totally understand how hard it is to learn to live life differently and within our limits. I am glad that you decided to join and look forward to seeing you around the forum.
  • :)hi and welcome to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. perhaps you have found the best combination possible for your pain. sometimes that is the best that can be done. i am sorry you did not get more out of your surgery. good luck and i hope to see you around the forum! Jenny :)
  • mark- welcome to the site from a former hoosier. hope you find answers to help your pain.... :))) jade
  • Thanks to everyone who has made me feel welcome. I will try to get here a little more.

    Mark
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