This may get kind of long but I would appreciate any insight you can offer. Here is my story....
About twelve (12) years ago, I was working at a job that required heavy lifting. At the time I strained my back. I was out of work for a while and saw the chiropractor for a long time. Finally work comp said I had to see a medical doctor. The doctor I saw said that I have a bad back, probably always will and need to learn to deal with it.
Over the past years, my back has been tempramental to say the least. I have had numerous flare ups that have been controlled with chiropractic care, regular massages, ice packs, and heat. More recently, the flare ups had been more frequent and I had gone to my MD who has prescribed muscle relaxants and pain meds. She also prescribed physical therapy but stuborn me didn't have time and was just going to grin and bear it.
My current problems began on 8/11/08. I was having significant back pain, both upper and lower. I went to the chiro one (1) time. He recommended that I keep coming back. I didn't because it started to feel better. On 9/05/08 I was sorting through my sons toys, sitting on the floor-bending and turning. My back flared up but ice and ibuprophen took care of it. The following weekend I shampooed carpets-same thing happened and again ice and ibuprophen took care of it. The following weekend I went to the lake and closed up for the season which is a lot of hard work. This time the pain did not go away. On 9/26/08 I went to the chiro again. He did an x-ray and noticed an area of concern. He minimally tried to adjust me and did ultrasound therapy. He told me to go home and rest my back. I returned on 9/27/08 in a great deal of pain. He did ultrasound again (no adjustment) and told me to call my doctor. I did and she told me to take the muscle relaxants again and Naproxen for inflammation. I did and felt a little better until I got up that night to take a shower. That is when everything went haywire.
When I got out of the shower, I had a sudden pain down my left leg. It was the worst pain I have ever had-even after having children. My husband took me to the ER because I could not take it anymore. The ER doc put me in the hospital for pain management. He was somewhat confused because my pain was in my front thigh and not down the back of my leg. I was on a morphine pump, iv Valium, and iv prednisone. I was seeing double for the amount of meds I was on but it did not touch the pain. While in the hospital I had an MRI which showed a bulging disc at l3. I also had epidural steriod injection with no relief. After a week I was discharged to home with a bag full of meds for pain and muscle relaxation. I was referred to a spine specialist, whom I specifically asked for since he had done back surgery on my husband a year ago and is great. For the next two (2) weeks I was home on my meds and in constant pain.
On 10/16/08 I saw the spine specialist and he stated that the disc is putting pressure on the nerve root. He wanted to get some more tests and then do a steroid shot in the nerve sheath. He increased the dosage on my pain meds (Oxycodone and Morphine) and sent me home. On 10/24/08 I had a test on my nerves (can't remember the name of it) which showed that there was in fact nerve impingement at l3. Next I had a bone scan. That showed an area of concern and recommended a CT scan. Then I did the injection. No relief. When I left there, I cried.
Specialist then prescibed another epidural injection. On 10/31/08 I thought that the nerve sheath injection may have started working as I could get out of the wheel chair and walk short distances with a cane. I notified the nurse of the improvement. On 11/04/08 I had the second epidural and again had no relief. The CT showed that the disc was bulging and impingeing on the disc. I already knew that.
It has now been a week sonce the injection (I waited a week to see results due to delayed reaction to previous nerve sheath injection). I am getting worse again. Still on pain meds, pain in left buttock and radiating down leg. Now in addition my groin hurts, my knee hurts, and I have tingeling and numbness below the knee.
I am beginning to feel like this will never go away. I have to get back to work (at a desk job now). Financially the strain is great and I am the only one at work that does my specific job. It is a job with timelines that must be adhered to. By the way, this is not a work related injury. I should also mention that I have major depressive disorder-recurrent, dysthmia, and seasonal affective disorder. Needless, to say, the constant pain, long hours at home, financial strain, and stress related to not getting my job done are almost enough to drive me insane.
My question is: Has anyone gone through this, what are my options??? What has worked for others. Physical therapy has not prescribed at this time-not sure I could get there if it was. I was told I can only have three 3) epidurals in a year and I have had two (2) fail already. Surgery was mentioned in that my problem is not clear cut and the area is hard to get at so the spine specialist is hesitant to jump into that.
Today the doc's assistant called to say that he reviewed my file and if I want to go ahead with surgery he will do it on 12/01/08