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Pain is getting old

tb7108ttb7108 Posts: 35
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Chronic Pain
I have been dealing with chronic back pain for the last 15 years I am 43 years old and have had 2 surgery's .
L4/L5 Lamenectomy and C6/C7. The cervical surgery was about a year ago. The 2 Mri's before surgery did not show the 3 free fragments that the nuro found while messaging the disk. The surgery took 4 1/2 hours. I had immediate relief after the procedures so they were a success, The sharp pain is gone however I have constant neck, lower back and groin pain. This pain is a constant 5 or better and the my Family doc gives me Oxycodone and Cyclobenxaprine and a predisone push from time to time.
Now to my problem the current pain meds are not helping and I need long term pain medication not the quick fix. I have a appt setup for tomorrow and I hwould like to talk to the Dr about seeing a PM Specialist. I cant live like this anymore. ANy advice would be helpful


  • An interventional pain management specialist should be able to figure out a way to provide more relief for your condition. They spend most of their time working with various medications for pain, and, as a result, are better than the PCP or family doc at figuring out a combination that will work for you.

    Perhaps there will be other procedures that could be tried, such as nerve blocks, ESIs or one of the other things PMs have in their bag of tricks.

    Perhaps one of those permanent pain pumps that is implanted might provide relief, or a spinal cord stimulator...PMs have many options to offer you.

    Welcome to the board. Please post often with your questions, concerns and comments. You will find many people who are also walking down the same path and understand what you are going through.

    Just do a little research in selecting your PM. It is a relatively new specialty and some doctors have more training than others.

    Good luck to you. You are right...it gets old fast.

    xx Gwennie
  • Gwennie....
    What should I be looking for when doing my research.
    I hope to find a good one, raising 3 teenagers and going to work everyday its tough when you are always in pain. In this economy no matter how you feel you cant let you chair get cold.
  • I must say I 'am disapointed in the number of people that responed to information or personal stories on what they like or dislike about there PM or what to look for when researching a new PM.
    Maybe you get more of a response when you are a seasoned member of this site.Oh well on my way to another Dr. appt.
  • Hello Tb,

    Welcome to Spine Health.

    How did your doctors appointment go today?

    My experience with my PM doctor has been all good. When I was still in the hospital after my surgery, the PM doctor came in and talked with me. I believe the PM doctor was referred to me from my Neurosurgeon. I do not recall our conversation at the hospital, as I was too heavily medicated.

    At my first visit to the PM's office, I remember having to fill out a lot of paperwork. There was a contract I had to sign, as well. I have monthly visits to my PM doctor and they also perform random drug screenings for all patients. I believe there is some information on Spine Health regarding PM contracts and other information. You might want to take a look at that information, as I'm sure it will be helpful to you.

    Hope you received a referral today for a PM doctor. Living with chronic pain is a long and tough battle. Having a PM doctor to help during my recovery and however long I may need to see them, is a blessing.

    Good luck to you. I'm sure you will receive additional advise from other members here. Spine Health is filled with wonderful people who care. They have helped me so much and I'm very thankful for this site. I think you will be too.

  • You will find a lot of wonderful people here and find a lot of good advice.
    I have only been to one Pain Clinie but have recieved wonderful treatment thare. I have NOT been given any pain meds coz I was already on strong meds for pain from my PC Doctor. My PM Doctor told me to continue on the pain meds.
    I have nerve damage at L4 $ L5. I also have rods and screws at the same place. The surgery caused scaring and that is what is causing me the savage pain in my feet and legs below my knees. I have to walk on my pain!! :''(
    The only thing my PM Doctor had to offer me for relief from my pain was a SCS implant.(spinal cord stimulator implant) It is not a cure but you trade one sensation(pain) for another sensation(tingling) It masks the pain.
    I have had my trial and it was a huge success!! They consider it a success if it reduces your pain by 50%. It reduced my pain 100%!! =D>
    I am now wating for my permanent implant which should be about the first week in June. Yippeeeeeee <:P
    I do hope you have as much success finding as good a Pain Clinic as I have. My Neurologist refered me to the Clinic. I have tried everything else for my pain so this SCS implant is a blessing for me.
    Best of luck to you. Please keep us updated.
    Hugssssssss >:D<
    Patsy W

  • we have a lot in common my friend .i am 43 and i have been in pain for 15 years and also had 2 operations ! it is hard work fighting pain i dont sleep very well i am on a lot of oxycodone and every day is a struggle .but lately i have found the strength to quit smoking and take up gentle swimming {swimming was a passion of mine when i was younger}.i enjoy a swim even though it tires me out. maybe you could do something that you enjoy to help with your pain? .i am at the end of the treatment line as far as conventional medicine is concerned ..so i feel that my life is up to me ..i ether lay there and die or do something..!! i understand how you feel ..i really do there are many days when i wont move from my recliner all day but on the days when i can i will swim and it helps..all i can say is sort your pain killers out with your doctor and try a TENS..rest when you need to but try to do a little something..i used to get annoyed when people told me to try something like swim..but i wish that i had done it early..if you want to contact me please email at
  • Thank you!!!!!

    I feel better today, I had a great visit with my family doctor and he is sending me to the PM specialist.
    I 'am getting by on the percocet with a strong push of
    prednisone. I would like to wish Straker all the luck in the world on quiting that smoking habit....Its Not Easy.
    I' am glad to have found this site and in a strange way I guess we find comfort in knowing we are not alone. i will post after my next visit.

  • Great news! Thank you for keeping us updated. :)

    I hope your visit to the PM specialist goes well and you get the relief you need.

    I take Percocet myself for break-through pain. There are some days I am watching the clock on when I can take my next dose, due to a high pain level day. Then, there are days where I just need one dose.

    I am glad you found this site, too. It has been such a blessing to me and I think you will feel the same.

    Best wishes to you for less pain each day and please keep us posted with how your PM visit goes.

  • Went to my first appointment at the pain clinic yesterday, It was about a hour and I was asked alot of quetions, the Dr was unable to see me until June 2 so I was able to get the process started with the nurse practionioner, She ordered a Lumbar epidural and had me do a drug test, not sure what there looking for but I would assume they need to rule out any non precribed drugs that might be in someones system.
    No change in my meds as they do not prescribe meds on your first visit, I had a ok weekend and was able to fight through the pain.
    Is this consistant with First vistis at a PM clinic?
  • I'm happy you got to see a PM (or at least someone in his office!) I'm glad they didn't just make you wait until the doctor had an open appointment. And yeah, they pretty much always try shots first. In the drug tests, they can be looking for illegal substances, or more/less meds than you are prescribed. If you have more meds in your system than you should, you pretty much get dropped, and if you have less meds in your system than you are prescribed, they assume you're selling them and you pretty much get dropped. It's their way of covering their butts and making sure their patients are following the rules. Just a little note- most drug tests of this kind are not covered by insurance, so you have a good chance of having to pay this out of pocket. Overall, everything that happened during this appointment seems pretty normal. I hope the epidural helps and that the doctor helps you out with medicine!!!

    Much love and understanding,
  • Thanks for the information, I guess i can understand the drug test after the PM Dr. started prescribing meds...but I was suprised they did one right away.
    I have nothing to hide it just made me feel like i did. Standard procedure I guess.
  • I am glad you are getting established with the PM doctor and hope everything goes well on June 2nd.

    Every PM doctor seems to be a little different in their processes and procedures. Your first visit sounds to be standard, so no worries.

    Please keep us posted with how everything goes on Tuesday.

    Hope you have a nice weekend with very little pain.

  • Thanks Tammy...
    I will post after tuesday. To everyone have a good weekend.


    Its nice to know people still have time to care even when there in Pain.
  • Went to the Pain Clinic Yesterday and recieved a ESI in imy L2-L3 region for my groin and lower back pain.
    I seem to be getting relief in my lower back however my Groin pain is more intense along with a strange pain in my left toe, The Dr. daid this might happen.
    I see the Dr in 2 weeks for a follow up and finally talk pain medicine as I have enough percocet for about a week and if meeded I will have my primary renew my script.
    I start therepy next week and will recieve more ESI's for my neck and back(if needed)
    I will post in a couple of weeks
  • hi there and welcome,
    how are you doing so far? my situation with my pm doc is similar to patsy. i take the meds rx and she wants to put in an scs but i want to wait until after i have a kid so right now its meds, lido patches, tens unit and lots of walking. there is no magic fix just trying to figure out what helps us to stay functional. the tens unit helps create the distraction from the pain so i can work a few hours. the lido patch calms the nerve pain. the rest is just regular maintenence. i wish you the best on your journey and hope to see you around here. there are alot of spineys who are glad to share what they know or have experienced. just be patient. i know i have a hard time following the threads since there are so many of them so if you find someone you want to talk to make sure to pm them for more direct response. good luck
  • I feel good today.....The new pain doc is managing my pain very well, with a nerve block and ESI's a change in meds I feel like I 'am moving forward its been a loooooooong time. I hope this continues I know there will be setbacks. I will take a couple of good days for now.
  • I hope you continue to feel better and have a wonderful weekend.

    Great news to hear and I thank you for sharing.

    Please let us know how everything continues on for you.

    Best wishes,

  • Wow how can you stay positive when the yo-yo starts up again, I have been in alot of pain the last couple of days, I feel like I want to puke from the pain. I 'am waiting to see my Dr.
    I truly feel helpless and know I'am ready to give up.
    The pain looks like the winner.
  • Wow how can you stay positive when the yo-yo starts up again, I have been in alot of pain the last couple of days, I feel like I want to puke from the pain. I 'am waiting to see my Dr.
    I truly feel helpless and know I'am ready to give up.
    The pain looks like the winner.
  • Hey Todd,

    I'm sorry you have the yo-yo thing going on. When do you see your PM doctor? According to my calculations, it is sometime this week?

    When I have set-backs, it does get frustrating. I can very much relate to that.

    But don't you dare give up on this new PM doctor! You just started seeing him and he can hopefully help get your pain on a more tolerable level. Our chronic pain is never 100% gone, but with the help of a PM doctor... we can get it at a level we can tolerate.

    I spend my day doing a lot of stretches and some days are more painful than others. I have to do these stretches, as they are helping my muscles and spine... get to where they need to be. It is an extremely painful process and I have good days and bad days. On the bad days, I have to resort to laying down and doing a lot of deep breathing exercises. I put heating pads all over the areas that I hurt. Sometimes even my elbows and wrists are involved. I close my eyes and focus on the areas that are in extreme pain and I try to find the most comfortable position to stay in. Takes quite a few tries, but I eventually find one. With my eyes closed, I will focus on my back muscles and try to breathe out the nasty beast called Pain. I sometimes will wind up falling asleep, which is good, as chances are I am due for my pain meds at that time.

    It's a battle, Todd. It truly is. But, one that will never win with me. I'm a fighter and if I have to invent clothing that is lined with heating pads so I can go out to a movie or dinner... I will do it! If I have to schedule my outings for when I take my heavy doses of pain meds... so be it. I will get out and enjoy myself for a couple of hours and will use whatever I need to, to be as comfortable as possible. Even if I can't eat dinner at that time, I will take it to go afterwards. I can sit and enjoy being out with my hubby and children and just sip on a soda. If the pain is too intense for me to go out, even after trying all of my coping mechanisms, I move myself to a different location of the house for distraction.

    Hang in there, Todd. I know pain very well and there will be better days.

    I'm glad you vented. I have a big list of names of people I pray for and have included your name.

    Please let us know how you are doing and how your doctor's visit goes.

    Best wishes for a better day tomorrow!


  • Hi Todd,

    Just wanted to see how your doctors visit went today?

    Hope all went well.

    Take good care,

    Tammy :)
  • TTLC, you are always the cheerleader!! <:P urging us on to bigger and better things.. but how are you? by your synopsis i read you are even ahead of your recovery schedule!! =D> made me a little sad that you may be leaving, but so happy it you will because you are pain free and and that is your new path.. :X here i am getting all mushy about it already!! :''( keep up the good work! L, Jenny :)
  • Dearest Jenny,

    Thank you so much for the sweet words. As you know, I absolutely adore you and appreciate your support! You're awesome, Jenny. :X

    Because of the ongoing support I receive from so many wonderful people here on Spine Health... I want to give back as much support to others, as I can. It makes me feel good, when I can bring a smile or some encouragement to others. Part of my recovery, is Spine Health. I know I will be a life-long member here, as I can't leave a place that has given me so much. There might be someone else that comes along in the future, that had an accident similar to mine. Or, someone who has experienced some other kind of ailment that I've had in my life and I can offer them encouragement by sharing what I've been through. Just like you... it makes me happy to make someone else feel good. No matter what the circumstance may be.

    My situation now is up and down. I have my good days, my bad days and then my really bad days. My fall was like Humpty-Dumpty... lol. All the kings horses and all the kings men... had to put me back together again. My spine and surrounding soft tissue, that is. The hardest area hit, was in my thoracic area.

    I have had two appointments within the past 2 weeks with my Neurosurgeon and PM doctor. My Neurosurgeon wants me to continue with the home excercises I am doing, as there aren't many PT's that specialize in the thoracic area. What I have been doing on my own, is speeding my healing process... which is excellent. I do have another diagnosis, unfortunately. Arthritis has presented itself all through my spine. I will be working closely with my PM doctor each month, for an indefinite period of time.

    Arizona is going through the Monsoon season right now, so the barometric pressure is constantly falling. There are days I am so swollen, stiff and sore... that I can't get out of bed. BUT... my good days are really good now. I need to work more on my standing for long periods of time. I have about another year left of healing my core muscles. We won't know what my actual pain level will be, until the core muscles are all working. I'm glad to be out of my brace... that was a really tough time getting weaned off of it.

    So... overall... the doctors are pleased with my progress, but I have quite a ways to go still. And, that's okay. When I feel at my wits end... I'll pop on here and vent away! LOL.

    Thanks so much for asking, Jenny. I tend to sometimes keep things bottled up, but I'm working on that. I need to express myself more... let others know how I'm feeling, etc.

    I hope you are doing better each day. You have been through so much from that surgery! Take good care and drop me a note... anytime.

    Todd! Please forgive me. So sorry I rambled on!

    Again... please let us know how your appointment went today.

    Much love to all,

    Tammy :)
  • You are a very caring woman..... I wish you the best on your recovery.
    The Doctor visit went OK he did 3 facet injections L3,4,5 I must say it was painful, next time I will ask for a shot to help with the pain. The good news is I did get some relief in my foot and Lumbar. The Dr is conserned about my hip and groin pain not changing so I will be getting a Pelvic and Lumbar MRI today.
  • Dear Todd,

    Good luck with the MRI today. Sometimes those can be uncomfortable.

    It will be interesting to learn if anything shows up on the MRI... something that could help your doctor in finding the cause of your hip and groin pain. Your PM doctor sounds to be very thorough and I'm glad your PCP referred you to this specialist. He will continue to do his best to help you.

    Since your intial post... you have come a long way with trying to get your pain at a tolerable level. You are making progress!

    The facet injections... nice to hear they give you relief. I don't think I would do very well with those... lol. They sound very painful! Don't get me wrong, I'm glad you (and others) get relief from them... but yeow!

    Thank you very much for your kind words and the well wishes... it means a lot to me.

    Looking forward to hearing your results... best wishes for less pain.

    Tammy >:D<
  • Recieved my MRI results today.
    My Pelvic Mri was Normal, The Lumbar on was not so good.Multilevel lumbar dics degeneration with laminotomy defect on the right at L4-5.

    1.4 mm right posterolateral disc herniation at L4-5 with advanced disc degeneration, advance narrowing of thr subarticular recess, and right L5 neural Impingement.
    2. Moderate L5-S1 and L3-4 disc degenration with a high signal intensity dorsal annular fissure on the left at L5-S1 and in the midline at L3-4.
    3. Moderate bilateral foraminal stenosis at L4-5
    4. Comparison with 8/23/2004 shows progressive collapse of the L4-5 disc in the interval. A rounded area of low signal intensity previously noted on the caudal margin of the disc on the right has resorbed in the onterval. The right posterolateral disc herniation seen at the level of the disc on the current examination is new in the interval.

    I will have the Dr. explain this but...this will account for my leg anf foot issues but what about the pain is in my groin.
    I expect they will reccommend a fusion at L4-5 the bad news is my neck is getting so bad I find myself dieing after a day in the office. Heating pad and No activity. I will hang tough as always. A busy career, 3 teenagers 19, 16, 14 and a very healthy wife of 21 years gives me NO other options but to push through the pain in search of a better tomorrow.

  • constant pain stinks! I can't imagine what some of you have been going through...i've 'only' been in pain for about 3 yrs....most recent MRI shows "no changes" in almost a year, but my last surgery was 15 months ago. Pain management docs are helpful, but you may have to shop around to find the right one. Make sure that you feel comfortable w/him/her and their recommendation(s). Don't be afraid to take a stand -- they may be the 'professional,' but you know your body best and what has/hasn't worked in the past.

    good luck and make sure to keep us informed!

  • After all the Medical branch block injections (facet joints)
    I have had some relief, the pain is back and I'am scheduled for RF tomorrow and I'am scared, the facet loint injections hurt like hell for the short relief they gave me. I dont what to expect How painful is the RF nurology procedure?
    The faet joint injections were done at 3 lumbar levels.
  • Hi tb7108 :)))

    I've had multiple facet joint injections, sacroiliac joint injections, and ESI's. Whenever I was able to find someone to drive me to the PM clinic and wait for me I would get the sedation. An injection of the sedative Versed. I never felt the jolt of pain that usually ran down my leg whenever I got the sedative. It also wiped out my memory of the whole procedure. <:P

    If you've got a driver definately opt for sedation.

    Good Luck!
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