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Can't Take It

Grace44GGrace44 Posts: 18
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Chronic Pain
It's been six months since i haven't been able to do anything because of my back. I'm 18 and i couldn't even hang out with my friends on new years eve because i can't stand or sit very long or at all.

I got an epidural in late october, getting another one on the 9th.

I have herniated discs from L4-S1, and a wicked bad muscle spasm in my lower left side, sometimes, i literally can't move my left leg.

I don't sleep well, if at all.

I take ibuprofen 800-mg and gabapetin 3 times a day and tramadol 100-mg in the morning, i don't know if it helps, but i don't want stop to find out.

If i take a muscle relaxer before bed, it spasms even worse.

Chiro and PT makes it worse.

I need help, what do i do? i just want to be normal like all my other friends.


  • I wish I had the magic words to make things seem a bit more fair for you. I don't. I know that saying you aren't in this alone doesn't help much either. I guess I just want to say that if nothing else, at least a lot of people do understand. Hang in there.

    Have you addressed with your doc, the issue of worse muscle spasms if you take the muscle relaxer before bed?

    Do you keep a journal of all your pain levels and symptoms?

    Just don't give up or give in. Attitude and determination can work wonders for us.

  • Sweetie Im so sorry. I feel your pain everyday.
    It has put a hold on my social life to and I am 41 so I cannot imagine being your age.
    I will tell you a little trick if you want to go out.
    I used the therma care heat wraps last night. As I knew I was going to be sitting at a table and up and down at a friends house. I slept as much as I could yesterday. Did nothing. Took a hot shower and put that on. Yes I awoke in pain as I have that lovely girl thing happening. Back pain an that do not MIX!
    But the wrap did help alot!!! I got up and walked around when needed. Stretched etc. But try those. I just mentioned in another post if they were not that expensive I would have them on everyday.
    I agree with "C" address the fact that the spasms are worse after taking the muscle relaxer. It just may not be the right type for you hun. There are many more.
    Motrin is great for inflammation but just use caution as it might wrek havic on your belly and I have found sometimes if that happens my back hurts to.

    The only way to find out if meds like that are working
    is not to take one and find out what your pain levels are. Especially not being narcotic you should have no withdrawal.
    Keep a journal like "C" mentioned of your pain levels and when. Like what you do to aggravate it or if it stays the same 24 hrs.
    I wish I had more for you!! I know surgery is not always a option or always a cure. Please discuss this all with your dr again. Keep on them hun. You should not have to walk around like this and loose precious time!!

    Let us know how you make out
  • I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through all of this at such a young age. There are several other very young women on here who are going through the same thing, they are like 20 & 21. My pain started when I was in my early 30's and I felt that was unfair, it brought my life to a screeching halt. None of us are going to have the right answer for you but this is a great place to get ideas, tips, etc. as we've been through them all. I too don't sleep but luckily for me muscle relaxers make me feel better, not worse. That's really weird, I can't understand why that would be. Can you tell us what your prognosis is? What has your doctor suggested for you. Also, if you end up with any tummy problems from taking med's that cause acid loke Aleve (which I take along with Oxycontin) or Motrin as Terri suggested, take OTC Prilosec. It's a lifesaver. I'm glad that you're here and I hope that you find some comfort talking with people of your own species. (Pain people)
    Happy New Year,

    P.S. I love your name!
  • My daughter is 18 and I would not want her to have this pain, I am so sorry that you are suffering. I understand how hard it is to go out and enjoy yourself. I am 41 and I like to go out and celebrate too.
    Do you have someone that goes to the doctor with you all the time? If so it would be good for them to read some of the posts on this board. I know they know you are in pain, but reading what the pain is like from others sometimes helps them understand even more. It can also help both of you think of questions you want to ask your doctor.
    The journal is a great idea, the doctor gets a better understanding of your day to day. It is also helpful because when we are in pain, our brain does not alway remember everything they way we think it does. I know you are young and will remember more than I, but give it a try if you don't already. Also, list the questions you have for your doctor.
    I hope you and your doctor find out how to treat your pain and you have a Happy & Healthy New Year.
    You are welcome to PM anytime if you think of anything you would like to ask.

  • :H
    WOW,you are way to young to have this problem thrown at you.I had the same set of problems as you and lived for almost nine years on spine injections,pt/massage.While it did get me through nine years,as I look back on it now I would have done things differently.This is my opinion and just that,an opinion.All the injections that I received eventually built up a huge amount of scar tissue which added pressure on the surrounding nerves resulting in MORE pain.My experience with tramadol was not good,i took it along with motrin and had a very bad ulceration in my lower bowel.I finally made the deceision to have the fusion,and while they were in there all the old scar tissue was removed.now I will also add that I got two opinions before making my choice.All agreed,so I had a tri/level fusion done on 1/15/08.I also went to a pain management DR whom took me off the tramadol and put me on OXYCOTIN,percocet for break/thru pain,vallium for muscle spasms,lyrica for nerve pain,and mexium.While I could think that this is alot of meds for someone so young,if it helps inprove the quality of your life then its a good thing.And maybe you should consider a fusion,you are young,healthy,and would hopefully make a difference in your life.Deffenately keep a daily journal to take with you on any appointment,and research the heck out of the DOC'S that you may consider for the fusion.I will not sit here and tell you that its going to be fun,its not,but after almost one year post/op,I am seeing some light at the end of the very long tunnel.My problem is that I waited to long to have it done,so healing time was a bit longer.GOOD LUCK in whatever you choose,and keep us posted.
  • To feel that old.....I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this at such a young age. My neck problem started when I was about 22, picked up my son and that was the start of my neck going down hill. For years it would not bother me except feel like a bad crick.....it was not until my 40's that it really kicked in. I seriously doubt any surgeon would do a fusion on you at such a young age and I would have to agree. Try everything you can before a fusion....PT, epidurals. I know you say they don't work so maybe you need to change doctors and even PT. As for the tramadol, I was on tramadol for a long time and was told because it is non narcotic there will be no w/d....yes dear there is w/d from tramadol, it has an SSRI in it that will cause w/d so be careful when you stop taking it.

    I wish I could offer you more....please hang in there and do not give up. Also, ask about Lidoderm patches, they worked for me.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,728
    Hi Grace, What kind of doc. are you seeing? Primary care or a specialty doc. Write down all of your concerns and any meds that don't work well for you. There are many different muscle relaxers, If one doesn't work well for you maybe another will. For me the only one that works is diazepam 5 mg. Also there are many different pain meds and sleep meds on the market.
    Your to young to be deprived of a life. But a lot of it will depend on having the right doc. And you making sure the doc. knows exactly whats going on with you. and if something he prescribes,doesn't work, let him know.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Hi There Grace and welcome to Spine Health!

    I agree with a lot of what has already been mentioned!!

    It has been a long time since I have had any type of real social life...I am 39 and not married with no children. I totally understand what it is like to know there is a get together going on and not feel that your able to go because the consequenses are just to painful...

    At this time I still have a tough time with sitting for extended periods of time.

    The suggestions that have been given to track your pain and the medications that work and do not work for you is a wonderful idea...in some way i feel it really gets the docs to take a look at what has been said except it is in written form and somehow I feel it is more effective this way.

    As TerriJV said...don't give up! My personal experience is to be persistent...Pain is real and it does effect every part of our lives...at your young age I just can not imagine the emotions your going through and feelings of missing out...I have felt the same many times myself and finally told my Pain Management doctor that I was having a hard time socializing with people...meaning either I avoided it completely becasue of the terrible pain it caused or because it was hard to connect with others due to the constant pain and feelings of hopelessness...

    I will keep you in my prayers and please feel free to PM me anytime for added support.

    One thing is for sure...We Do Not Have To DO This ALONE!!!
    That is such a blessing!
  • I totally understand what you are going through....so I thought I'd give you some advice and hopefully some insight from my story.....or someone else that reads this........becuase if I knew all the stuff then that I know know.....things would have been a whole lot better.

    I'm 28 and have had major health and pain issues since about 20 when I was in college. Was suppossed to be the greatest time of a persons life....the starting point to a great future.... Hah...hah...hah....

    Went through about 9 doctors since then.....all a complete waste of time. All told me to either quit whining about my multitude of symptoms....that I was a hypochondriac/head case.....that I must be bored to come see them again....that everyone has something wrong with them....or that it was all my fault.....

    Was a complete waste of my time....my energy......and hope.....because doctors are suppossed to fix you right....that they are suppossed to have all the answers.....the sooner you realize that many of them actually just guess....or weren't at the top of their class......or weren't taught the right information ...don't stay current on published medical studies.....and that most know is "pills and surgery" ...the better off you will be. Arguing with most won't help you....printing out medical studies and bringing them to their attention won't help you......it will just cause you frustration....because if they weren't of the disposition to sit down with you and really really listen.....they aren't going to change for you. They have plenty of sick people to fill your place once you leave their office.

    Why am I cynical towards most docs (not all) . Well, I figured out through lab tests though the years that I was gluten intolerant (which is an autoimmune disease that most docs don't catch 1/100 people have it)..they actually screen babies for it in Europe....have done so for many years now....us docs don't.....and on average (from polls form gluten intolerant people) you have to go through about 8/9 docs before they figure out you have it.....blood tests also are nonconclusive (for the ones bright enough to think you may have it)...usually though for blood tests unless there have been better ones in the last few years, you have to have major damage already for it to show up positive... stool tests is very accurate though but only a few labs do that in the US....but subclinical gluten intolerance (even harder for most docs to find) actually causes nerve damage by the way.....and brain damage....and 1/10 Schizophrenics locked up actually have that ...1/10 diabetics are at least gluten intolerant if not sublinical gluten intolerant and totally wouldn't be a diabtetic if they were on a true gluten free diet (no cross contaminated food either). Do they check diabetics for that....no.....insurance won't cover it......do doctors tell you to get checked?....most don't because they don't stay current and up to date on all the possible things that cause all other things...which can cause other things....

    I also have lab proof that I have severe heavy metal poisoning from pretty much all the really nasty heavy metals......which caused so many problems I'm not going to even list though I am now allergic to most foods and almost everything common in the air because of it.....Try telling your friends that you can't go out to eat with them becuase you may be "glutenated"....or that if you do...then you only can eat at certain places.....that totally is a real fun conversation.....the weird diet person label

    And recently to top it all off I developed severe ...severe....(as in dream about morphine shots all the time severe) back pain since August...though I had it for a long time....just go to bad to ignore. My faith in docs went a long time ago so I turned to a chiropractor (though I was just going to go initially because to pay for X-rays to see if I had fractured anything...). I like actual scientific proof in my hands.

    I'm so happy I did though since I actually gave it a try......Going three times a week cut down my pain dramatically (good chiro = less pain bad chiro = more pain).....I'm still in a lot pain but nothing like before (so not dreaming of morphine shots all the time anymore) and not as tired as I used to be but considering I'm still way poisoned with heavy metals, I'm not surprised I'm not totally ship shape. Will take a year to 2 years of chiropractor care to get my spine/neck in the totally right position with no subluxations and maintenace care after that for it to stay in place....if it will stay in place....many of my muscles atrophied (died)....as in dead as a door nail died.....when my numbness began.....neurologist that I went to at the time said nothing was wrong with me.....by the way.....another head case comment (can you tell I just love docs)

    There is a lot of difference though between a chiropractor and a "true chiropractor"....and the difference is one wants to pay his bills and the other wants to heal as many people as he can. It is talent also.....some have it and most do not......Did your chiropractor take X-rays.....does he look at them on the computer each time before he adjusts you. Does he stay consistent with the adjustments. Does he talk to you about the ph of your body.....that if you are running to acidic (ph of body)....that it is doing you great great great harm. Someone told me about ph levels of the blood a long time ago and I didn't believe them......thought they were a quack.....want to kick myself now though. (Sugar turns to acid by the way and yeah soft drinks are pretty much all acid.....darn it)

    Does he talk to you about how the effects of medication......the harm of medications... Does he talk to you about the magnetic field around your spine .....the chi.....lifeforce....aurora.....whatever you want to call it. When your spine is out of place...or you have subluxations (compressed areas)...it messes up the chi.....It may sound silly but it is science. Your field around your body is messed up if your tailbone or spine is misaligned. Your nervous system is electrical impulses.....the impulses go to your organs...when the impulses don't get though.....organs can mess up....even fail....so many diseases and conditions can happen.....all because of the spine being not how it should be. Just think of a light bulb and a circuit. If the circuit can't make a complete loop.....the light bulb doesn't light and the flow doesn't go. Or you can think of it like all these foreclosed houses.....if there is no one in the house (connected to the house), the house totally falls apart...just like the organs if your nerves can't be connected with nerve impulses.....or students in a school with no teachers....absolute chaos

    Does he do X-rays every 4/5 months to show you the spine actually straightening out and the subluxations going away. X-rays do not lie.....

    Just like doctors....chiropractors vary a whole bunch and I know my pain would not have been cut down by most other chiropractors. You ask them for X-ray proof of what they can do.....and run if they can't show you X-ray proof......or if you feel they do not truly care about the pain you feel and how to help you....the whole you....not just your spine. Mine says if I ever move that I had better do my research and interview quite a few because most aren't up to par. and lots of his patients went through quite a few chiros before they found a new one becuase they didn't have the talent. I hear if from the other patients too.....that they have gone through others that weren't so good.....chiros that didn't stay consistent on the adjustments...or just were working on managing their pain....not fixing them so that there pain will go away completely. That is the problem with the current medical system.....pills just mask the symptoms. Better to be fixed than medicated the rest of your life. Sure the pharmaceutical companies would lose billions if docs actually worked more on fixing you rather than medicating you but geesh.....I guess that is why they have so many lobbyists.....

    There was one exercise though at the chiro clinic that I refuse to do because it hurts.....you should not be forced to do any exercise that makes you hurt worse......it was like a gym thing that you put your hands on a bar and pull back your shoulder......won't do that anymore though.......doesn't hurt right away...pain aways came like the next day and got worse and worse as I got more tired..

    Anyway, you are your greatest advocate and if you aren't getting relief from your pain....then switch chiros. If you don't like your reg doc....switch that one too. I stuck with my first regular doctor for six months....he had been my doc all my life....but came a mean rude....(you know what) when he couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.....and in the end blamed me....said my liver swelled up because I was eating bad foods. I was a health nut for crying out loud...a semi-vegetarian......don't know why I didn't switch docs ....just kept trying to make him listen. Don't waste your time like I did and just go and switch and switch again and switch again......did I mention that I went through 9 docs in the last 7-8 years....and other than my chiro....haven't run into a regular doc that I trust yet...and the alternative doc gave me kidney stones trying to get out the heavy metals (which lead to kidney surgey)......so I haven't had much luck with doctors much at all...except my chiro that I found that is totally more competent than all the other doctors I have ever had all put together. I'm sure there are good ones out there though.....keep on looking......and keep on switching. Because if you don't look after yourself....nobody else will in the long run.

    My MESSED UP BODY: (In case you were wondering)
    70% Numbness all over my body (even my toungue)
    Left foot drag
    Balance problems
    Allergic to all yummy foods and the stupid chemicals they put in most foods (MSG and food dyes and lots of other stuff)
    Allergic to 99% of things floating in the air
    Chemicial Sensitivity (Perfumes/Sprays/Chemicals)
    Sub Clinical Gluten Intolerant (an autoimmune disease that can cause lots of other autoimunne diseases..YEAH)
    Neck little to no curve...head to foward..bone flat not at an angle
    Spine not in right position / subluxations / curves
    Something about 3 discs....
    Stand with 11 pounds more on right side than left side since spine is misaligned
    Heart problems
    Kindney problems
    Chronic fatigue
    Atrophied muscles
    Severe Heavy Metal Poisoning...
    Alot of other stuff too.......but I won't bore you

  • I am so sorry such a young and beautiful person like you have such pain. But it usually takes doctors several years before they can come up with the right cocktail of meds to help so don't give up! Someone as young as you should never give up and please don't compare yourself to your friends-we all have our own crosses to bear-who knows, some of your friends may even wish they had some of your good qualties.

    So this is my advice-go to a spine and pain specialist-go pass the GP's and PCP's as much as you can and get to the doctors who see spines all the time. Go to the Mayo Clinic or other outstanding whole body approach hospitals because you deserve the best-you have your whole life ahead of you.

    Those of us in our 50-60-70's are not giving up! Why? Because there is always hope a new procedue, a new medicine, or a new approach will be found to help us.

    And find friends who will support you and dump the ones that make you feel bad, because they aren't real friends. You don't need negativity from friends or from yourself :X

    Good luck and please know you have friends here who can relate and understand you, and to whom you can vent. We will have empathy and feel your pain-but at least I won't pity you-you are a complete and too wonderful a person to have that stigma :) Now get out there and fight for your health.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,726
    do not discriminate in terms of age. So many members here started having spinal problems in their early teens to those that do not have any problems until 50+.
    I believe what makes it more difficult when you are young, is that this is a period of time when you 'should' be able to most things and like you said, your problems have prevented you for going out with friends. Many people look at you, just figure out you are too young for serious spinal problems, so they tend to downplay your situation. That causes a level of frustration. I would suggest seeing a specialist (Neurologist, Neurosurgeon, etc) who can review you situation and determine what your options are.
    Since you identified a disc problem, I can only assume you have had a MRI. Based on that test, has your doctor identified a corrective action plan?

    As difficult as it does feel to you, being young will also be your ally. When we are younger, our bodes tend to respond better to treatments and surgery. What might take a middle age person (45-55) 10 weeks to recover, a younger person might be doing better in 7 weeks.

    Bottom line, make sure you are seeing the proper doctors for your situation.

    Is difficult your situation is both emotionally and physically, maintain a positive attitude and take an approach that says I will get better

    And always remember, that the members at Spine-Health are not formally trained doctors, but we all try our best in providing our opinions and more importantly provide a support group environment that you can come to and 'talk'
    about your problem.

    Good luck and lets hope your medical situation improves quickly

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Even though I wish I weren't welcoming you to this forum because that means you have spine problems and, as seems to be the concensus, its so sad that this is happening to you at 18 years old. It sucks. Its unfair. But don't give up. Medical science is only now starting to really investigate chronic pain. Maybe your back can be fixed. Maybe your pain can be relieved. And if not today, maybe tomorrow. I see your picture and your are such a beautiful girl. You are absolutely right. You SHOULD be able to go and hang out with your friends. But don't give up. You need to find the right doctor. Here's the very last thing an 18 year old wants to hear but maybe take one of your parents with you because I think its true that your concerns may be disregarded given your age. Don't give up. Susan.
  • I'm so sorry you are suffering. It can be a difficult road to travel.

    Does that much ibuprofen not bother your tummy? I was taking Aleve and occasionally had stomach cramps. Recently while in the hospital, I had an ERCP (a GI procedure) and they saw lots of old blood in the bottom of my stomach. No more Aleve/Advil type stuff for me.

    Hang in there - this is a wonderful, supportive site!

  • Hey Grace.
    Nothin' new to add, as everyone has given solid advice. Believe me...we all understand. I'm only 35 and I've had 5 spinal surgeries, but started having surgeries at age 15, when life was the shiznit. Missed a lot of good times. My way coping with the pain then was to drink more beer. I'd recommend that to you now, but it's probably not the appropriate course of action, especially if you're taking meds. BUT...hey...do whatcha gotta do.

    Whatever you do, don't give up. It sucks, but you'll find a way through it. You DEFINITELY need stronger drugs, that's for sure. Valium for the spasms, and at your height (and apparent build from your photo), Vicodin could help for night-time.

    PM me if you wanna chat more. I've got some cool ways of dealing with being young and out of action.
    mike in los gatos.
  • I am so sorry to hear you are going through this at such a young age. I can imagine it is frustrating to keep hearing you are too young to feel this way. As if you have been robbed of your normal teenage life. I too have had back problems since childhood so I know how it is. I didn't have to have surgery or anything at that age, but maybe that's because my parent's never took me to get my back check out, who knows. I am glad that you joined and I am sure you will find this site and these people to be very supportive and helpful.

    Take Care Hon,
  • Hey Grace,
    I hope the words of the foks that have posted to yo havehelpedyou in some way! There is always Hope out there. Somtimes..no a lot of the time ...in my own experience ...it was difficult to see it..
    With much work and a lot of awareness of what kinds of things are going on inside my head...such as the self talk I would have, I finally learned as Dilauro stated "I Wll Get Better"
    Some of this for me ment that I would gain more acceptance of myself as I am at this time and this very moment of life!
    This stuff does not happen over night. It is a tough thing to endure and my heart truly goes out to those folkswho are so young or those whom have been dealing with chronic pain since a young age!
    I am in the process of trying to contact a "pain Psychologist! I think he is on vacation, but this type of Psychologist is one who specialises in helping those of us who live with chronic pain on a daily basis. I am in no way trying to say "go to a shrink" Just letting you know there are options out there for differenttypes of support to help us learn how to cope with our chronic pain!
    Please if you up to it...feel free to PM me...I am always open and here to support others... >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • does any one know what type of mattress is ideal for back pain? firm, soft, tempropedic?
  • Wow, thanks everyone for taking the time to write and tell me your stories and give me advise, i really appreciate it.

    I'm getting my second ESI on friday, hopefully it'll last longer than the first, but i'm going to talk to my doctor about surgery or if there is a permanent option, i'm not looking to play basketball again, just walk around and sit as long as i please, and sleep all day like i used to, lol.

    I've also been thinking about trying my chiro from home again, he's a true chiro that does an adjustment and doesn't just use all those gadget things, like the chiro up in boston that was a nightmare.

    is it just the muscle spasm that's causing all the pain? like once it loosens up does that mean the pain will stop? any one have any experience with that? lol.

    i've also been taking 800mg ibuprofen 3xs a day since august, but my stomach doesn't bother me, should i still take it? i've stopped now cause of my ESI and i think stopping is what gave me a wicked bad migraine.

    well i have a six hour train ride from philly to boston, tomorrow, and classes start on monday, wish me luck. lol.

    thanks to everyone again!
  • Wish I could afford one! People here rave about them :)

    My chiro helped a lot but you need to go to one with a good reputation. Mine helped because she had her staff do elec -stim massage and she adjusted my painful arm, elbow and shoulder blade, but I made sure she stayed away from my neck. I already knew I had bone spurs and no amount of adjusting make them dissapear. Maybe it't different for herniations-ask around and definely ask the chiro just what they expect they can do to help you before you let them adjust your back. Be an educated patient.

    Many chiros are into herbal and vitamins as well. Sometimes I felt like she was some kind of shaman working on me with her oils and drops :) But she helped me with my pain when my other doctors were too busy to see me for weeks on end. Just don't be afraid to stop going to one you don't have confidence in. Good luck!
  • The best mattress is the one that makes you feel good. Temperpuedic is a good brand, but I've tried two of them and they didn't hit me right. It's all a matter of taste. BUT...there are some good things to look for:

    - Stability
    - Memory foam can be good, and you can get it in various degrees of firmness
    - Overall support

    There's tons of good research on mattresses and spinal support. Dig around the net a bit.
  • Just my two cents as an attempt to help.I remember when you joined the "Club".It made me sad how young you are,and already in so much pain.Ok,from my experience with the "Beast" called back pain...If the 800mg Ibuprofen doesn't help in a few weeks period it's pretty much useless.It would only damage your stomach.Have you spoken to your doc about a course of oral steroids?It can be very effective.
    Muscle spasms can be very,vary painful.After my disk got infected I was nailed to my bed for more than four months. My lower body muscles turned into mash.You wanna talk about wicked spasms,talk to me.Gluteal muscles,calves,hamstring.PT was painful,but it got better with time.I still get them sometimes,but it's nothing compared to few months ago.Friend of mine,who's an athletic trainer,told me that for each month I spent inactive,it'll take 2-3 months for my muscles to recover.Patience and persistence are the magic words.
    After I became bedridden my mattress couldn't take the abuse.Needed to be replaced.I tried a few,and bought my new online.The best spent money in my life so far.It is a Sealy memory foam mattress.At the end of each day my body screams to go to bed.It knows it will relax and rest.You may have different needs.Go,try few of them.The model of my Sealy is Blue Lake memory foam.
    If I were you,I'd stay away from chiro "adjustments".It can very well make the matter worse.Instead,try massage for the spasms,but make sure you talk to the therapist about your problems first.
    Hope the novel helps a bit.Get better,and don't give up.As Ron said,you have youth on your side.

  • I've got a home TENS unit (electric stim) that really helps with muscle spasms. I don't know if that's what you meant about "gadgets." Mine is small and can clip onto my sweat pants. Before the TENS I used those Therma Care heat patches, the ones with charcoal, not the menthol ones, but they're not cheap.

    As for beds, both Tempurpedic and Sleep Number beds have in home try out offers if you get them online. You could try them both in your home. If you don't like them you can send them back.

    I've got DDD also. I'm almost two months post surgery for L3-L4 fusion. It's given me a good deal of relief but I'm still limited in what I can do. I think I'll be starting pt after my next dr.'s appointment. I also have a crushed disc at L5-S1 and facet issues.

    Where abouts were you in Philly? I'm originally from the suburbs south west of Philly.

    I hope your ESI goes well. My first one gave me incredible pain relief. My doctor made me get a second one and it ruined my pain relief. Maybe yours will be the opposite.


  • Cwendyhawk, thank you for that post, it was well-informed and encouraging!

    Hi Grace! I agree with other members that saying welcome here makes me feel weird. I wish I wasn't saying it, but I'm glad you've found us for support!

    I just turned 22. I've had spine problems and PAIN for 7 years now, the past 3 being severe. I have a herniated L5-S1 and sciatica that runs down both legs, YAY!

    I can COMPLETELY understand the social aspect of this. I figured out quickly who my real friends were, and that wasn't pleasant to say the least. In the time I needed them most, they would all rather go out, party, drink, and what not, than be with me when I can't get out of bed. After the shock of losing most of my 'friends' I had to learn how to adjust to this new life. It's definitely not easy, I actually started seeing a counselor because I was turning into an angry person due to pain, and I'm NOT an angry person. It's helped a lot... Sometimes, when I'm at home stuck in bed on a weekend night, I feel so lonely that I can't even describe it. This and another website is what keeps me going.

    My problem started from sports too. I mainly did gymnastics and tae kwon do, but I did wrestling, cheerleading, track, flags, dance, swimming, and more I've probably forgot. I had to find a new identity when I couldn't do sports. The only thing that helped is time... It took a long time to figure out who I was without sports and stuck in my body that failed me, but I did it and I like what I've found. The only thing that gets to me is that I got myself in a really, really bad situation by doing something positive- sports. I feel responsible, in a weird way, for being in this situaiton. Through my wonderful counselor, I've learned to forgive myself and concentrate on the present and a little of the future.

    For my 22nd birthday, I was set on going out and enjoying myself as best I could. Ok, so how do you do this when you have a severe back problem, are on crutches due to having my right knee in a straight leg brace (old sports injury re-aggravated... I even had surgery when I was 15 to fix this problem and it didn't work, talk about lame!)? It takes a lot of planning, but it is possible. I first called the bar I wanted to go to. I asked to reserve a table for a party, they said ok. Then I specified that I needed a chair with a back, rather than a bar stool, due to my condition. I brought a big jacket to bunch up under my knee if it hurt. I arrived early to make sure I had myself set up before my friends got there so they would not see me struggle to get into place. I didn't get up unless I needed to. Since it was my birthday :D everone was nice to me and extra helpful. Because of all my extra planning, I ended up having an awesome night! I was in pain, but it didn't seem to matter as much to me as the fact that I was out, with people, acting as normal as I can...

    I know this wouldn't happen if I just had my back problem because, unlike the knee problem, people can't see it, but it was nice for the night! If I'm out on a regular night, I make sure the place has a seat with a back for me. I make it a point when I go out to tell people I have a bad back problem. If I need a seat or something, it's a bit easier to get if you tell the person you're in a lot of pain and will fall over if you don't sit. I'm not shy about saying I have a severe problem. If people don't like it or can't handle it, too bad for them!!! I don't really go to places where I know there won't be seating or other accommodations. This prevents me from going to concerts, dance clubs, and lots of other places. It is quite frustrating, but at least I can sometimes go out to other places. I try not to focus too much on where I can't go and what I can't do, it takes a lot of effort on a daily basis, but I'm super-grateful for the things I can still do because I know I could be worse off. Doesn't mean my situation is any better, but keeping my mind strong helps me to cope...

    I'm sorry you have to go through this and that this is sooo long! :D I'm here for you!!! I hope you find a way to get your situation under control...

    Much love and understanding,
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