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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Lower Back Pain
I have had chronic back pain for the past eight years which has gotten increasingly worse over the years. No particular problem with onset of pain but whenI went to an ortho surgeon eight years ago he told me I needed surgery and if I didn;t get it I would eventually become paralyzed. I didn't believe him because at that time the pain was not that severe. Since moving to Florida (4 years ago) the pain has gotten increasingly worse. I have not been able to take pain medications because of a problem with urinary retention. I have had every type of injection available without any success. I had an MRI done last June, while going to a pm doctor and he told me there was nothing more he could do for me. Recently, I have been unable to void at all and have been self-catheterizing so went to a new pm doc on Friday to see if he would prescribe meds. When he looked at my MRI from last year he told me I had to see a surgeon immediately. He said that my spine was very compromised and that any sudden movement or accident could leave me paralyzed. I am now awaiting an appointment with a surgeon but I'm not looking forward to it because from what I have seen, surgery is very often not successful. I am hoping to get to know some of you and to read your posts.


  • Hi Jane!

    I am so sorry to hear about the problems you are having with your back, I've been there! It is never easy to decide what to do and I am sure at this point you are ready to do anything just to be rid of the pain. I know I was when I was in your position.

    Weigh the decision to have surgery very carefully and explore all alternative before agreeing to surgery. I have had 14 back surgeries and I can tell you this, once Pandora's Box is opened, you never know what sort of problems may ensue. On the other hand, you may be given a new lease on life. The problem is the odds are not good and the older you get and the longer the amount of time from onset of initial symptoms to surgery makes things very difficult for the surgeon, and the rehab people, due to scar tissue, ossification, stenosis, and a myriad of other consequences and complications.

    I would certainly keep the appointment and I would also start some sort of a basic activities program. It seems counter-intuitive but the most activity, the less pain in many instances. The inactivity often exacerbates the problem. Even if you walk to the end of the driveway and back and a little more each day I think you will find 3 things happen.
    1)You will start to feel like you are engaged in your own recovery.
    2)You will actually start to feel less pain after a few sessions.
    3)You will begin to lose weight and you may even find urinary function is easier (I know I did when I had that problem).
    You see, activity causes all sorts of things to start happening...including endorphin production, better than any shot of morphine. So, if you are unsure about surgery, what do you have to lose? I have been walking away from back pain for some time now (have even done videos about it) and it works, in combination with a well-supervised treatment plan.

    Good luck to you and let me know how things go at the doctor's office. I wish you only the best!

    John Zajaros

    The information provided by members of Spine-Health should never be considered as formal medical advice. It is recommendations based on member's personal experiences only. This can vary from person to person, so do not take comments as medical rules. Edited by moderator Paulgla
  • What specific diagnosis do you have and in what area of the spine? What type of surgery is suggested?
  • I know when you rea posts here it seems like there are alot of unsucsessful surgies here. But the real thing is, most people heal up and go on with thier life. Yes there are problems. I have had my set backs and they were not caused by my surgery, I had pnuemonia for 2 months, not related to surgery, and then my knee flared up and selled up big time and I couldnt walk. So as far as my surgery goes, my Dr told me 6 to 12 months. I am seven months and still have faith that I will be much better than before. I am walking straight,which is a big improvement.

    I hope that you go to the Dr and see what he has to say, You need to look at the big picture. If you are having bladder problems, that is something you dont want to mess with.

    I have no idea what caused 3 discs to tear in my back. But I do know how much pain I was in and at age 49 with a new grandaughter, I did not want to live my life this way. I have complete faith in my Dr and my pain is not as bad as it was pre surgery. It has been a long recovery, but in the end it will be worth it if I get rid of only 50 % of my pain. I can at least have some quality of life.

    Take care and dont do anything that could compromise you back before you see you Dr, and Good Luck to you. You will find alot of new friends here, that will try to help you anyway they can. Please let us know how your appt goes. Love, Robin
  • when you think surgery you get scared. i did on my first of 6 surgeries. it sounds like first surgeon was right. this bladder stuff has to be squared away. if the spine is causing it you may need emergency surgery.
    when surgeon wants to prevent future problems they usually fuse the vertebrae in the bad area so that a fall or injury doesnt send you into paralysis. it's not that dangerous a surgery. they do it all the time with a high success rate. grab the bull by the horns and go for it. i'm sure you'll do well
    best of luck
    ps...dont listen to anyone that tells you to exercise.. and please keep that appointment... you dont want to further injure your spine...
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