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people who cant have surgery

loraollorao Posts: 37
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Chronic Pain
I have always have had back pain. last year it started to get worse with pain in left leg to foot had an mri, and a discogram noted in my sig. i was told there is nothing they could do for me and gave me no other information i was so upset i cryed the hole way home. afted the discagram i was told i needed surgery. went to the surgeon said he would not do surgery because it would have to be a multi level fusion and it was to risky. so now i do not know where i stand , i have had pt many times with with no relief. i dont want to be on pain killers, muscle relaxers, and nerve medication the rest of my life. does anyone here have the same problems? any sugestions ?


  • the only solution is medication. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking the meds if you need them to control pain. I am also one of those people that are out of options and have no option but to rely on the meds. Just like you I was resistent at first. Now I am taking methadone for the pain along with occasional percocet and soma. I can tell you that this is much better than being in so much pain 24/7. I never ever feel drugged or high from the meds just pain relief. I strongly encourage you to see a Pain Management Specialist. Good luck and please keep us posted.

    BTW- There are lots of other procedures that a PM doc can try other than surgery that may help you.
  • Hi lorao,

    I really wish that I had some good advice for you!
    I do believe that the things that J.J. suggested is well worth a try!

    Keep us posted?

    I wish you well,
    with hugs... >:D< ,
  • i am seeing a pm doc, i take lortab 10-500, celebrex 200mg a day, neurotin 300mg twice a day, zanaflex 4mg twice a day, the medication helps but still in alot of pain. I have had injections with no relief. i have to rely on my kids to help me through out the day. when i read the posts here and it helps me a lot. thanks for the info and i will look into finding another surgeon.
  • I had alot of pain for two years and went to many neuro and orthos until I finally found one that actually found the problem. I suggest you go for another opinion and even a third until you are conforable with what they want to do. I had a surgeon want to do a three level fusion on me, so I know that they do them. I went to another ortho that convinced me I only needed 2 levels and that was what I felt comfortable with. I had tried every other option first, all the injections, therapy and so forth so I knew it was my last resort. I like you didnt want to live on meds the rest of my life. Good Luck and keep searching until you find the one who will do what you feel is best.
  • Same problem here, a year ago was told by two neurosurgeons they could do nothing for my bulging/herniated disc, and been on painkillers ever since.

    Problem is considerably worse now, and I'll be seeing a new Neuro soon.
  • It just seems like we keep runnning in circles. guess all we cant do is just keeping trying and dont give up hope!!!
  • :H I kept searching for 2 years to even find out what my problem was. I was beginning to think maybe I was nuts. Nobody could figure it out. But I hurt so bad, and then finally went to a spine clinic where they did the right test to find my 3 discs that were torn. So keep on trying. You will (I hope) find someone that can help you. Check with your primary Dr and see where the closest Spine Clinic is. That was my salvation. Good Luck.
  • Howdy, I am new to the forum but definitely not new to Chronic Pain or Spinal challenges, had the state first back or spine fusion in 1954, no support screws or rods, and the fusion covered my whole lower back. I have only two or three verts that can move freely so that I can walk, however they are worn out, only after fifty-five years, so my Spine is ready for a long vacation.
    The only thing that keeps me some what comfortable is pain management, I am not able to work any more but I have been lucky and retired with a couple of pensions and social security.
    I still have severe scoliosis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative spinal conditions, not to mention shortening of breath. The surgeon says that maybe further surgery might work, and would possible help one of my conditions, so for me, surgery is not an option. I guess I would just like to say, enjoy life to the fullest and do not let the medical profession get you down. Do what you want and when you like, its possible, I even had Congress of the United States get me into the United States Navy when I was younger. They would not draft me because of my back, but I said that I could do anything, able body could and I got in. So do not give up, if this old goat can do it, you can. God Bless.
  • Thank you so much for the support. I am a fighter also. I am not working at this time, but do as much as i can. I refuse to let the pain take me over! Dont get me wrong i do have bad days but i just rember that there is a lot of people worse then me out there, and i refuse to give up.
  • You have a wonderful attitude! Don't ever give up on finding help. My problem was my age when my problems started. Either they thought that my pain couldn't be that bad or they thought I was a drug seeker. Once the test results came in I was told that only one level could be fused becasue of my age. Didn't make much sense to me. I went to 3 other doctors who were willing to do the 2 levels I needed. Now I am waiting for my spinal cord stimulator trial to begin. I don't know if patients could get that before or after suregery but it might be something to look into. Take care of yourself and let us know how you are doung.

  • Thank you carrie, I will let everyone know how things go.
  • why they have to do a fusion? why can't they go in and at least clean up with a laminectomy to relieve the nerve which would help your leg alot, and do a discectomy to clean up the "leakage" and get the bone spurs out(bony overgrowth)if neurological symptoms that have not resolved over at least 6 months it seems like a little help might be worth a shot

    if you're having DDD problems like mechanical back pain which is from joints and all of that the procedure may not help that but it would help your nerves! If there isn't any disc height loss or vertebral collapse it would not warrant a fusion right away. you may hear well if we do that then there won't be much disc material left. well so what at least the material spilling out on your nerves and in your spinal cord will be gone right?

    I realize all the ooh hah they give you but it would be worth a try. how many opinions did you say you've gotten? sorry if you already said it....I'm not saying this is the end all solve all I'm just saying if it hasn't been proposed then if you haven't discussed why or why not with a couple of docs that may be an option :)
    you're attitude is inspiring
    good luck
  • I have been putting up with chronic pain for over 3 years now, and I understand how you feel. I agree that you should probably seek another opinion because doctors differ in their opinions and there is always something that can be done. I can't have any more surgery at this point but I am hoping to get a morphine pump implanted to help with the back and nerve pain. Whatever happens, don't give up or take no for an answer. Someone has to help you because it's intolerable to live this way. Take care >:D<
  • They gave me the spinal injections that did not help. I had a Functional Capacity Ass. and dont have the results back yet. My pm doc is going by what the surgon said. That is as far as it went. I see him again in a 2 months even when i told him my feet are turning purple, my fingers are numb alot more and my cervical area was hurting with headaches . I was asked what hurts the most, i told him my lower part of my back, he said ok then, and that was that. Thanks for the info and support it means alot to me!
  • To answer some questions...the reason they can't go in and "clean up" the old procedures is because ANY new surgery will create more scar tissue and more problems. The fusion as well. It's a catch-22 of sorts. I was just like you in the beginning as far as not wanting to take anything for the pain. What I can tell you is that it works. I have had 80 epidurals, 3 surgeries at L5-S1 and permanent nerve damage with arthritis. If I were you I would see a DIFFERENT pain management doctor and see what he/she has to say. I realize it may sound stupid, but the only reason that I am able to work and have a somewhat normal quality of life is because of medicine. You have a VERY positive attitude which is an excellent tool to have on your side. Never give up! I wish you the best of luck and I am here if you ever need to talk or have questions about anything. I injured my back at 17 and I am now 25 just to give you an idea of how long it's been.
  • so you have the PM doc going by what the doc said that's good you can propose questions to the doc you saw and get 2 or even 3 opinions. It should be ruled out that the sypmtoms you describe are not a result of a worsening condition.

    Foren6 this poster hasn't had any procedures done and in saying clean up I guess in clarification as it was used loosely. "Clean up" was in reference to the disc material that may be affecting the nerves. You are right in that all procedures naturally cause some scar tissue but as said a lami/discectomy are so much less invasive these days thus less scar tissue.

    They aren't going in to clean up a job already done "new procedures" or scar tissue(which she noted has not at this point been noted) itself but the disc material that does resolve itself for some and for others needs to be cleaned up. The doc is cleaning up the mess the disc leak has caused especially for acute ongoing worsening symptoms.

    In my case my profession does not allow me to work taking meds the rest of my life. I think we all "started out at this point" at one time or another which is why I feel the need to at least educate folks to ask questions like why not this or that. I waited tooo long and should have done a lami and discectomy but I am an unusual case in that the material that could have been cleaned up easily went and spilled out entirely leaving me bone on bone with disc collapse and the above level shredding in an incredibly fast amt of time.(don't freak out this is not normal and happens to very few) They go through all the motions for herniated discs because most of the time they work.

    take care and keep being your own advocate you know how you feel. you don't need the PM doc to get a second opinion. you need copies of all of your films, results of tests ect.
    If you're not comfortable waiting 2 months even after you told him these changes it would be prudent to see the 1st neurosurgeon and get a second opinion then decide on your options.

    A different PM doc cannot give you these diagnostics answers and if you have a good relationship w/ him-her and he/she is treating you by what the docs say he will listen to what this doc and others have too say and put their heads together to help you decide. Don't decide you are going to be stuck on meds for life if you weren't uncomfortable then you might not have asked us to give our 2 cents...lol

    It may be PM and meds, treatments, surgery who knows but pls seek another opinion. The 1st doc may have done you a favor refusing a multi level fusion at this point but was that the only option he gave you? if you were referred for surgery then doesn't that imply something can be fixed? so again why does it have to be fusion or nothing? I don't expect you to answer that just things to look into. you might google laminectomy/discectomy and get aquainted with it, to see if you can relate.

    good luck


  • I do want everyone 2 cents. This is all new to me. Thanks for all the info.
  • I too am not a candidate for surgery but it is because of my diabetes and weight. I am working at losing the weight and my diabetes is in now in excellent control. I having been living with this for the past two years and refuse to give into it, but sometimes am desperate for relief. The Panlor I take does not stop the pain but it takes the edge off so I can function better when I need to. I am very interested in what everyone has to say about the pain management doctors--this sounds like something I may look into. I have been a little resistent to pain meds because I did not want to depend on them, but my thinking on that is beginning to change. I wish you the very best and you will be in my prayers. Keep a smile on your face and hope in your heart, Sharon
  • found another nerosurgeon, my primary doc sent in the referal, i am waiting to see if he will take me or not. Its a start. yea. Even if he saids there is nothing he can do, at least i will feel better knowing 2 doctors has said the same thing......
  • My suggestion is to get a second...and third... opinion. Every surgeon out there sees things from a different perspective and you will find that where one doc won't do surgery another may. I also suggest talking to neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons as well as talking to conservative doctors and those that are not as conservative.

    My problem is that I've done the above and ALL of them say that structurally my spine looks like that of a 25 year old. Unfortunately I'm 41. And the pain is most definitely NOT that of a 25 year old. As I write this I'm sitting in agony as I've not taken my morning meds as I have a doc appt at 1pm. We're starting to look outside the box now...
  • I agree, with getting a 2nd opinion. Or a 3rd, or a 4th, until you get a solution that you are comfortable with, and will bring you some relief!! Good luck with your referral appointment, I hope all goes well, and yes, there are less invasive procedures to fix protruding/herniated discs, but hopefully you can find a treatment, and team that works for you without having to go thru any kind of surgery!!!
    All the best...
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • in my life of pain where i was advised to have a multi level fusion .but on the advice of my pain consultant and doctor and my own research .a fusion would be of little use to me as my pain is mainly in my back and as i have multi level facet joint hypertrophy a fusion would do more harm than good .my pain consultant has put me out to pasture so to speak as she has tried every thing available to alleviate my pain but she has failed so all i am left with is pain killers and rest.i am just recovering from a mega flare up {the worst that i have had} it has taken it out of me big time this time .its not a nice thought to be on pain killers for the rest of your life but if that's what it takes well so be it ..my advice is to do what you can when you can and dont beat yourself up when you are unwell
  • thanks everyone for being so helpfull and understanding. My heart goes out to all of you.
  • I went for a second opinion yesterday, the neuro surgen was so nice and understanding, he sat with me and explained everything, it was unbelievable! the first doc that actually took time to go over the exrays, discogram and mri, he said "do not let anyone cut open your back if you were my wife or daughter i would tell them the same thing with your condition" Surgery would make you worse! his recomendation was to increase my neurotin to 1800mg a day and increase my celebrex from 200mg a day to 400mg a day and stop taking the vicoden. My concern is that will the neurotin make me really tired that i can not function, will it help with the pain where i do not need the vicoden. I gess i will just have to wait and see.
  • i have had 2 lots of surgery but now i am still in pain and i have been told that i carnt have anymore surgery {a multi level fusion was ruled out } i am on long term medication..its times like this that the term ..o its only back ache !!! gets on my nerves!! back pain like we get it is life destroying .i just feel like wearing a tee shirt with yes i am in pain that's why i carnt work and i have a blue badge .for those out there that carnt see our pain !!..the only advice i can give you is make sure that you are on up to date pain relief and try a good TENS get a comfy bed and a recliner and just make yourself a s comfy as possible ..part of long term illness is accepting it .and at 30years old i found that hard to do i am now 43 and still have some problems knowing that this is it and it will get worse not easy my friend ..good luck
  • you and i are in the same boat...drs say no more surgery. kind of hits you in the gut. but they dont want to hurt us anymore. thank god theyre not just looking for business.
    but here's something you and i can hope for....new procedures in the future that might help...
    some day maybe we'll get relief!!!!
  • I have accepted my pain, not willing lol. my main concern is the medication the neuro surgen wants to put me on. 1800mg of neurotin a day, and no pain medication. my memory is horroble already. If it works and i can still function then great! I have heard a lot of horror storie about the neurotin on a high dose. i gess you can say that i am worried about all the side effects.
  • "new procedures in the future that might help...
    some day maybe we'll get relief!!!!"

    I pray for that day to come for all of us.
  • Evidence here might suggest that invasive surgery may not be an option and to some extent that is good news in that in your surgeon was adamant that it would be of no benefit, he is not doing so to be unsupportive. In his opinion that is best for you as an individual and we always go to find the right answer and however hard we look or are supported the answer we would like to hear, is not feasible or recommended.

    The disadvantage of second opinion is that you are looking for someone to agree with you which may not be to your overall and long term benefit and eventually you will find one, I would not retract my failed fusion and in no way should it be used as an example to others for dismissing this procedure for them, it may work and who would not want that chance.

    We are encouraged and given positive vibes about this process nobody would go into surgery with hesitant comment or unsupportive outcomes and it is all a risk to some extent and a leap of faith in the unknown.

    Do you want the right decision, or just one that agrees with you, we are not doctors and only medical evidence with determine the best option for you, my professor told me that not operation after my failed fusion was going to help and this was my life, it unburdened me from others and my own expectation, freed me from the notion that for a little bit more effort on my part a cure was feasible, who knows.

    I am now in my 20th years of potential remedy and in reality it will not happen, I have been manically proactive took responsibility for my own condition and done the very best every day in my physical capability, overall I have done well, a man looked me in the eye and had the guts empathy and compassion to tell me the truth and from my heart I thank him, he saved me from unrealistic expectation, I can walk if only a little and my exuberance will never wane.

    Take care and good luck, living is now, we are our own future.


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