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4 months, feeling hopeless

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:35 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi everyone,

I'll think things are getting better, then they get worse. I have a herniation at L4/L5 and L5/S1. Been in PT for 4 months- no help. Got one shot- made things so much worse that I am so scared to go back and get another. Now doing 'egoscue' method- basically giving 1500 bucks on my credit card since i'm not working to a method that hasn't been proven. I feel..... like if I didn't have family that would be greatly impacted by my leaving..... like I could contemplate something serious. I can't handle everyone telling me something different:
"your back is fragile, do nothing but Makenzie stretches"

"stretch your hips and do eliptical"


"your back isn't fragile at all, it's your mind creating pain as a distraction so go run!"

"it's muscle imbalance".

I could quote a lot more.

I am 26- was supposed to be starting law school, which I worked really hard for. now I do nothing. just sit at home, cry, try and walk, never sleep... on and on. I realize a lot of people have it worse- I'm engaged and supposed to be getting married- I cannot imagine subjecting him to a life of misery with a girl who has no hope, who is constantly in pain and cries all the time. I'm.... perhaps at the end of my rope. I can honestly say I feel pathetic, worthless and don't know who to listen to. Thanks for reading this whining and perhaps pathetic post.


  • my heart goes out to you, it sometimes feels like we will never turn that corner that gives us a glimmer of hope.
    pain is so awful, day in day out. you will make many friends here who can help lift your spirits and give good advice, maybe you need to go back to the docs and tell them everything you wrote on this post, keep on at them until someone listens, its a constant battle sometimes, i know, been there myself, have they given you an MRI ?
    have you tried heat or ice on your back ? i use a tens as well, you need to try anything and everything to find things that give you a little relief.
    all the best, i hope you can find some help on here >:D<
  • thank you for writing me!

    I got an MRI- showed 'severe' spinal stenosis at l4/l5 and l5/S1 with herniation. Im so nervous to talk surgery but they are starting to. It's amazing what clarity this has brought to my life in some ways: I used to be so so ambitious- probably to a fault. Ever since this, I am just wanting to be a good wife, sister, daughter, pet owner lol. I just am appreciating things more I suppose. Ironic that it has to happen at points in our lives when perhaps it is impossible to enjoy them.

    I use ice/heat- weird thing is, the only time I don't have pain is if I am exercising- which is so annoying since I probably am making things worse. I need to call my doctor- I just am sick of talking to them b/c they all (inside this HMO) tell me different things. None of them are cohesive in their thinking so I always leave so confused. Thanks again for writing. It's nice to relate to others. My friends just think I am being anti-social and sometimes I think that they think I am being dramatic. oy! :)
  • friends and family don't get it, i just say no change when they ask how i am, used to say im fine when i wasn't. they don't understand and don't know what to say, it not that they don't care its just they not walked in our shoes.
    its been 19 months since i have been in pain 24/7 still in diagnostic stage !!!!!! im heading for fusion 360 at L4/L5. if and when they finish all the tests, scared stiff but can't carry on like this.
    i feel your frustrations, somewhere on this site is a really good post about how to talk to family/friends, try and look for it :D
  • Hi Jamie,

    I believe Shirley is referring to a post I made a little while ago:


    Hang in there!

    Best to you,

  • just a few comments....i dont know what meds youre on but i know when my pain was worst it was the painkillers that were getting me depressed...might want to go over your meds to see if any of them might cause depression....
    also i hope you are seeing a spinal surgeon for this stenosis. his guidance will hopefully take you through these tough times...sounds like youre a fighter and that should bring you through this mess so your goals will once again be in view :-C
  • I feel for you girl. I am so there with you.. Hopefully if you have surgery it will help you to feel better. Unfortunately there are no real guarantee's. I so understand, nobody knows how you feel and how annoying that non-stop screeching pain can be. It just takes such a toll. I can also relate to what you said about "leaving permanently". I have thought about it myself. I have always managed to pull myself back out of those thoughts, but they are there.. Pain changes your entire life and it is very hard for anyone else to understand. They just keep telling you, well quit doing this and quit doing that. For hell sakes, that just isn't any life at all if you can't do a damn thing you enjoy. It sucks! I had the fusion surgery about 10 years ago, and I can say that the first year was good, I had to have the metal out and then had another good year. Then I started having nerve pain again, but controlled it for years with light pain meds. I was still able to ride my horse and garden, work, do whatever. It's a different story now tho, it flat out sucks. Often fusion creates arthritis. I have met numerous people that only had the discs removed without fusion and it appears to me, they do much, much better in life later on. Just my 2 cents. I would definately explore all my options before doing any surgery. Best wishes to you, are you taking pain medication now? If not, you probably need to.. Take care - Marion
  • I'm sorry that you have to experience something like this, and I certainly know how devastating chronic back pain is. You have so much going for yourself and have worked so hard to get to where you are. But please don't give up on yourself. Your family and fiancee need you, irregardless of your condition. Things happen in life that are out of our control and we constantly have to readjust to its whims.

    I didn't see this coming either; I had no accident or injury to bring this on. My problems are at the same disc levels as yours and I've gone through 2 spinal surgeries in the hope of getting better (see below). I believe there is still a chance for you and it is a major decision if you choose to have surgery. Research all you can about your conditions and ask your doctor which surgical procedure he has in mind for you. The least invasive route is always the best one to try first in most cases. You also have to keep in mind that once your back is injured, it will never be the way it was before but the main objective is to get you functioning with the least amount of pain. Unfortunately spine surgery does not guarantee it will take all the pain away and you might have to accept to living with some pain to a certain degree of course.

    It's not the end of the road either- there is a lot of treatment options out there and you can get it by seeing a pain specialist. They do much more than just prescribe narcotics and you're best bet is to go to a multidisciplinary pain clinic. Life would be unbearable for me if I wasn't getting help from my clinic and they had offered me the option of implanting a pain pump for my chronic lower back and nerve pain in my legs. I recently completed my pain pump trial and I hope to have permanent implantation in the near future.

    Let's see how it goes for you first, and if you do have surgery I hope that you will make a complete recovery. It is possible and it will take a long time to heal. It won't be easy but I know you CAN do this. I have a feeling you are stronger than you know ;) . Take care :H
  • Here is what led to my bad night: I started 'the egoscue' method where they believe injuries are because of bad posture- ok.. so they told me to run again. I wanted/want to believe them (at this point, if someone said shaving my head would help id do it in a heartbeat obviously) so I went for a 2 mile jog. felt FINE during the run as I ALWAYS feel fine when I work out... so then I noticed over the past few days my radiating pain which is weird, its not in the area where the injury is- more in my upper thoracic area I think and it just kills to where I cannot go to sleep or do anything really. (anyone understand this? my doctors so far don't offer me much explanation.... haven't even sent me to a spine surgeon yet or specialist to discuss....just pain medicine people like physical medicine and physical therapy.

    So back at the egoscue clinic, I told them how I was feeling and they say ok drop the running. so confusing and annoying....I guess I was extremely naive but you
    (and I mean "I") want to believe anything. So- last night, I couldn't sleep b/c of the pain and I felt like my HMO doesn't really help me, the cortisone shot made me worse.... I just felt hopeless. your replies brought tears to my eyes because it's amazing what I little bit of kindness and understanding can do for you.

    My fiance and I were huge endurance athletes- marathons, tri's, duelethons etc. He can do them and i can't- I feel selfish but I get so frustrated watching him train etc b/c I feel I am never going to able to do what I love again. maybe i will.... but I guess there of course is that possibility that I won't. I realize this seems so dumb since some have it way worse.... I guess the only way to describe it is to say it was like air to me. I was/am really passionate about it. :(

    does anyone have back pain where you can do everything- like no sharp pains etc..... just all over aching most times of the day? IT SO WEIRD b/c when I sweat/work out it goes away...kind of counterproductive since I should be just healing it!

    Advice: should I take a month and do no exercise whatsoever to see if I have any kind of change?

    words do not describe how thankful I am to have this forum and the nice members like you all. :) I hope you all find freedom from your pain!
  • I think you have a condition that warrants seeing a spinal surgeon or orthopedic surgeon. I think they wilol be the ones that can give you what options you have. I went through 7 doctors before they found what was wrong. I then chose my surgeon by the one that I fwlt gave me the best options and I felt confident in. Get your options, cause you should be able to get better and doing the things you enjoy.
  • I am sorry you are having such a rough time, I do wish you would find you a spine surgeon and maybe he could tell you whay is going on and maybe what they can do to fix it. I commend you and your fiancee on your running and it being a passion of yours, I realize too that you want to be beside him in his training, sometimes we have to sit out a few times to make sure we dont sit out permanently. You do need to stay on top of this and get yourself taken care of. I also bet that given the choice your fiancee would stick by you through all this. You shouldn't think such thoughts of checking out, because you are a very special person and God want's you here as we all here at sh do to. Welcome to the sh forum and please talk to us anytime you need to you can pm any one of us and we will talk to you, there are so many good people here that if given the chance could give you some good advice, please remember we are not DR.s and the advice we may give is strictly from our own experiences. I myself have had several surgeries on my neck and my back, if I had to do it again I would. You are not being selfish, you are just trying to be realistic, maybe you will be able to run in the marathons again if so great, but if not do not give up, you are an energetic person find another outlet that you enjoy. You are now one of us and we want to hear from you, keep us posted as to how you are doing and if you found a spine surgeon. We want to know, until then keep your chin up and know we are here for you no matter what. Take care. Linda
  • I know that things sound hopeless now but you are so young and have so much life to live. There will be an answer for you and you will get some relief. If all else fails there are long acting meds that will help to relieve your pain and give you quality of life back. Most of us have been through the gamut of docs with differing opinions but you have to keep moving forward until you find someone or something that can and will help you. There is hope and you are in a large boat with a lot of other folks that have been down the same depressing, frustrating road. We do understand exactly what you are going through and please come here anytime that you need support.
  • I have had 7 operations in 4 yrs, now I suffer dearly with pain , I take 60mpg of oxycotton and 30mpg or morphine ever 12 hrs, does it help yes a little, but I am getting immune to the meds. Having a stimulator put in my back temporarly to see if it helps, if that fails I guess its the morphine pump, I had a new MRI done in august the last doctor told me that I had tissue damage and nerve damage no kidding sherlock, I hope this new doctor can see something that will help this pain. God Bless
  • I am trying to keep my head up- it's just hard. I am going so into debt for treatments that do nothing. I'm sure you've all been down that road. I just e-mailed my doctor insisting he send me to a specialist- let's see if he'll actually do it. HMO's are the bain of my existence.

    Surgery: How long should I wait to do it? I hear all surgeons are trigger happy when it comes to cutting- i'm sure that's not the case but depending on who I talk to surgery is either: "amazing and the only option" or a "waste of time/money and you usually don't feel any better, possibly could be worse".

    my stenosis is marked as: "Severe" on my MRI- but it's due to the herniations I am told. Also- some people say since I can walk, I am probably no a surgery candidate. Why can't back problems be like broken bones: "take this medicine, put it in a cast, and wait six weeks".

    I hope you all have a great weekend- and again, I cannot give enough thanks for the support.

  • Hi Jamie,
    Sorry to hear of your problems. You have come to a great site for support from folks who can truly relate to what you are going through. I wanted to address your reference to the comments that others have made to you concerning surgery. I got the same stuff from friends, family, and even strangers. It was one of the hardest things for me to deal with because I was in pain, tired, and wanted THE answer. My advice - like you need anymore - is to see a specialist or two or three and try to base any decision you make on the information you get from them as well as research that you do and try to ignore all the "OMG, don't have surgery, my best friend is miserable from surgery" or "You need surgery right away." At times I thought I would strangle the next well intentioned person who was far from beng an expert on the subject but thought I needed their advice. This site has awesome info and there are several others out there that helped me become well-informed and empowered and my own advocate. I'm glad I didn't just settle for the advice that the first specialist I went to gave me. I feel like and hope it turns out that I made the best decision for me. I hope that you soon get some relief and figure out which path you need to take.
  • Jamie,
    If you have a herniation and severe stenosis, you need to be seen by either a board certified orthopedic or neuro spinal surgeon and do it soon.
    The reason that you feel better doing excercise is because you are probably in positions that open up the spinal canal. Where do they say the stenosis is? Canal? foraminal? The longer you wait if there is compression of the spinal nerves, the more likely that you can cause permanent damage, so don't mess around waiting.
    The surgeon may be able to do a discectomy to remove the herniation and a laminectomy to relieve the compression of the nerves if it is foraminal stenosis.
    If you can't get the referral for the surgeon, get one for a physical medicine and rehab doctor and start there.
    Pain causes depression and it sounds like you need to see someone for that as well. Some of the medications used to treat depression also help with nerve pain as well, so it might truly help both conditions.
    Best of luck to you,
  • I can certainly validate your feelings and loss of hope and I would encourage you to keep going. Do you have a Pain Management Dr? I went to 2 different ones for a 2nd opinion. Also I'm seeing the 3rd NeuroSurgeon next month. Keep looking for a Dr. that will help you. Taking one day at a time may seem hard to do but after me having a herniated disc since last Feb. 2008 I thought I would be healed by now or at least had surgery. But know you're not alone out there and I hope you find a Pain Management or Surgeon to help you out. Get your meds reviewed and never give up hope for tomorrow. I found some good info also at www.chirogeek.com. Please talk to your Primary Dr on how you're feeling also okay? Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Just read your post. I was diagnosed in July 2008 with spinal stenosis. All the excruciating pain and symptoms you could imagine I had them. I endured this for over 6 months and started seeing improvement to the point where I am almost pain free. Prior to the stenosis I was running 6-8 miles a day. I can tell you that I am at a point where I am once again running about 3-4 miles a day, much slower mind you but I am running. I have also started playing tennis again with no pain. I have some numbness in my right calf but my neurosurgeon said as long as I can function I am free to do whatever activity I choose. He did say there may be flair ups and the severe pain may will return but for now I am once again enjoying an active lifestyle. Aside from the odd aleve I am med free. I take one day at a time and learned that there is hope. I am a 51 year old male and so happy that the pain has gone away on its own. I hope you get the relief you seek.
  • I know how hard it is to hang on. We have all been down that road. Pain is so hard to deal with. But hang on we do. I know you are just venting and would never harm yourself.
    Do not give up!!
    We are here when you need us.
    We will help in any way we can.
    I know these are just typed words but we are real people here typing these words who are in pain just like you. We are going through the same thing you are. You are not alone.
    Do not give up...you will find help.
    Hugsssssss >:D<
    Patsy W
  • I'm writing in the dark so I have to keep this short. If you would like to chat or just get some ideas/answers please send me a pm. Anyway, have you seen a nuerologist for your back yet? Have you looked into a procedure called Spine Decompression? I'm not sure if it would help with the stenosis but I know it would save you from surgery on the protruding disk. I would do anything to be able to go back in time and have a do-over. I would go with the spine decompression therapy in a NY minute. I have a friend who is a cardiologist and also an athlete and he had this done after having a few herniated disk's, he was cured completely. Even now years later he's doing wonderfully. If you are forced into surgery find the best surgeon that you can, I had a simple laminectomy which turned into me being perm. disabled and forced to live in chronic severe pain for the rest of my life. It's nothing to jump in to. If you must have surgery look for a surgeon who does the newer porocedure where they go through the side instead of the back. You will have a quicker recovery, less complications, and the back muscles are not cut with this method. You also have a LOT less scar tissue on the inside. Please, if you have any questions let me know. I wasn't much older than you are when this happened to me, learn from my mistakes.
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