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Newbie with Leg Pain

BrothersBBrothers Posts: 78
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:35 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello, everyone. I hope we can have a mutually useful and supportive discussion. I have been in daily pain since 2005, primarily in my right leg, due to a ruptured L4-L5 disk. It was getting worse with conservative treatment before surgery, and continued to get worse after my second back surgery. I have had three spine surgeons and two pain management doctors recommend that I consider spinal cord stimulation. That is what I want to discuss on this forum.

I am typing this message lying supine, which is the only position in which I am pain free. I use a bed desk with my laptop held above my abdomen.

Most people participating in these discussions are nice people with positive attitudes, and I appreciate that.

Thank you


  • scs is considered last resort to ease your pain. have you had a trial yet...did drs explain procedure to you?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,833
    As Pete pointed out, SCS is not something to rush into. It should be the last resort when nothing else works.
    What discs were your two surgeries on?
    What kind of conservative treatments did you use?
    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
  • I see you've had Hemilaminotomy and Microdiskectomy
    and a second back surgery for CSF leak and repeat herniation of same disc. I have had a hemi-lami at L5-S1 waaaay back in 2006. I have not had much relief with the shots, either.

    My next step is the SCS. Just waiting for the right time...

    You will find many whom did not get any relief with the SCS, but you will find those who swear it is the best thing next to sliced bread. Rather than ask a pointed question like that, you may have better luck just candidly reading what others have had to say about it.

    I hope you get the informed opinions you need to help you make an educated decision. Good luck to you; I do hope you find relief some how!

    By the way - Welcome aboard!
  • I really do not have any info on SCS but just wanted to welcome you here. I too am a candidate for the SCS but have been through so many procedures in the last few years that I am hesitant to have anymore digging around in my back. Good luck to you and please keep us posted.
  • Thanks for the welcome messages. Before the disc rupture I had been exercising daily. An orthopedic surgeon sent me for physical therapy. McKenzie extension was especially painful, as the MRI showed the nucleus pulposis was sequestered in the foramin impinging on the L4 nerve root, and extension closes the foramin. After I switched to a physiatrist who said no more extension exercises, I tried pain pills. I thought Celebrex was helping for a while, but not much. Prednisone worked at 50 mg/day, but the pain came back as the dosage was gradually lowered. I started Lyrica and had a transforminal epidural shot of celestone about the same time. For about three weeks, the Lyrica was helping significantly to reduce my pain. I was walking two miles a day, but then I developed a serious allergic reaction and breakthrough pain. Doc said no more Lyrica. Cymbalta made me nauseous immediately at 30 mg. I tried again at 20 mg/day for five days before my stomach forced me to give up.

    When I could no longer sit at my desk and use my computer, I had the microdiskectomy. I thought I was recovering, and my neurosurgeon as well as the MRI radiologist assured me that the bump on back at the incision site was a seroma. However, walking in my neighborhood, I started getting headaches. A week later, I was rushed into the operating room to repair my dura for the CSF leak. My neurosurgeon found more nuclear material splattered around than during the first surgery, including a piece wrapped around the L4 nerve root. He cleaned out all the herniated disc material, but I have not been able to sit normally since the second surgery despite more physical therapy.

    I have been on Gabapentin and Vicodin.

    I have seen 20 doctors about this problem. Two more Celestone epidural shots did not work. Zonisamide caused headaches. Cymbalta caused nausea. Celebrex works as well as candy. Lyrica is out. Amitriptylene 10 mg did not work, and higher doses caused extreme anxiety. My PCP put me on MS Contin, but I could never tolerate more than 30 mg/day and after eight months it was wrecking my stomach and causing GERD, so I stopped it. Gradually my stomach got better, but I still take omeprazole daily. Fentanyl 25 ng/hr caused a terrible headache that lasted two days after I ripped off the patch. I have tried various pills marketed on the web that did not work, but did not seem to hurt either. TENS did not work. Another physical therapist gave up on me. I tried medial branch blocks, just to make sure it was not facet pain, but that did not work either.

    As I said before, I spend more time in the supine position than upright. I have not been able to sit to eat a meal since my second surgery. I eat standing, then go lie down. I have tried several times to drive, but after five minutes and two miles, I have to get out. So I do not drive.

    We bought a new car with a reclining bucket seat so that I can ride reclining while my wife drives. By taking Hydrocodone 5 mg Acetaminophen 500mg in addition to Gabapentin, I can go to the center of town and stand for two hours. Then I have to go home and lie down.

    What else can I do? I do not hang upside down, and I do not wear a corset. However, I have tried just about every treatment that a reputable MD has recommended, with no significant effect.

    As I said in my debut, three spine surgeons and two pain management doctors have recommended SCS. Three neurologists have recommended I stay away from SCS.

    So here I am, hoping to have a useful discussion with people who have tried SCS.
  • Welcome to SH :H I fared poorly with my stim trial long ago, and then the pain pump option was on the table for me. I went through a morphine pump trial but discovered right before surgery I was allergic to it. I finished my pump trial again, this time was with Dilaudid, and I hope to have it surgically implanted in the near future.

    In other words, I can't help you when it comes to SCS. We do have 2 failed spinal surgeries in common and it all stemmed from disc herniations that happened a couple of years ago (see below). From what I understand, SCS and pain pump are regarded as last resort measures when you are no longer considered a surgical candidate and you have chronic intractable pain.

    I started off on Vicodin and it led up to Fentanyl patches, Ms Contin, and now Oxycontin 40mg twice daily and oxycodone for breakthrough pain. I spend my time supine (like the way it rhymes) and I can't sit, I drive myself only when necessary, walking and standing aggravates the pain, and even turning over in bed is an issue.

    I would research all I could on SCS if I were you and learn what it's really like to live with this inside you. I just had a small experience with my trial but even so it didn't help with my back or nerve pain like the pain pump trial did. My surgeon said it was better for me to have the pump because it would cover the pain better than the SCS in my case. I hope things work out for you and you find something to relieve your pain. Take care
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. well. we type in the same way and have pain in common!! ~X( my right leg gives me terrible pain and i find the nerve pain medications to be a big help. =D> talk to your doctor about this if you are interested. :-C i hope you find the information you desire.. :? keep pushing and prodding till you get it.. this is the place for that!!!! :D all the best! >:D< Jenny :)
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