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Recent Air Force Vet and Vet to Chronic pain Introduction

firewater1981ffirewater1981 Posts: 84
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello all,

My name is Chris and I deal with daily chronic pain. (That sounds like I am in AA or something 8} ) I am 28 years old and was medically retired from Active Duty in the Air Force as a Staff Sergeant on 28 Aug 2009 after 8 years of service. I injured my back while deployed in 2003 in the dessert while lifting and shifting heavy equipment. Some days I could not get out of my chair at work and had to have fellow troops carry me to the clinic. My pain wasn’t chronic until June of 2005 when we were lifting picnic tables out of the back of a government vehicle. I am tall so I have to bend over to pick things up. I bent over to pick up the tables and when I stood upright I felt a pop. It wasn’t immediate pain but it was an unusual sensation. It wasn’t until two days after while I was home on leave to Illinois to visit family that it hit. I was lying in bed and I tried to get up in the morning but I couldn’t. I had my son get me the phone to call my mother. I told her I couldn’t move. She called my grandma and she came over and stayed with me for a while. After a while I had to go to the bathroom but I couldn’t get up. She tried helping me up a couple of different ways but to no avail. Then she swung my legs to my right side over the bed and this time I felt another pop. This one was followed immediately by the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my life. I have been burned before, cut, scrapped, smashed… I can tell you no pain amount to that pain I felt that day. I started screaming and cussing. Yelling for and at my grandma to call and ambulance. I know a grown man screaming and yelling at his grandma. I feel bad about that and later apologized to her. The pain persisted and I persisted telling her to call an ambulance. The ambulance got there and so did my mother who was at work. They came down to where I was in the basement and they started checking my vitals after my mother told them I was active duty. They asked if I had been exposed to any neuro agents or any unknown substances. I don’t really remember that much but I was told this. The ambulance workers later said that I was going into shock. They brought me on the hospital and I spent my whole week of leave there. Great huh? =) The did MRI’s and found out that L5-S1 is herniated to the right and L4-L5 is showing degeneration and is herniated as well. L3-L4 shows degeneration. Later in my career, (about 2 years later) I had been having upper back pain. I persisted in requesting an MRI of my thoracic spine as I was having daily chronic upper back pain and ache as well with stomach and chest issues. The MRI showed herniated discs at T4-T5, T6-T7, T8-T9. Whenever doctors look at these finding they are shocked. One because they tell me that Thoracic herniations are uncommon and two they look at me and my age and the damage that’s done and they are surprised.

Since I have been injured and have been dealing with chronic pain I have been scouring the internet for hopes of a cure. I have been on this website before posting (under a different screen name) when my world was darkest. Unfortunately I do not remember my username or password since it has been many months since I have logged in. With this deliberate scouring of the internet I hope to find some items of hope for myself and for everyone on this site. I am not in your situation with your life challenges but I can relate with my chronic pain and my life challenges. I hope that by posting positive things I can be light of hope for people and hopefully meet some good people in the process.


  • you have really been through a lot of back problems. i dont think you will ever find a person on the internet with exactly the same problems as yourself.its a shame that you have to face these troubles. i was about your age when my back first went. at that time the mri wasnt even invented so i just did the best i could to struggle through it. now technology has improved. if you see a spinal surgeon he would give you the best advice. you dont want to go too long with severe pain as that pressure on the nerves could cause permanent damage. so best you get to dr. quick and see what he says. meanwhile youre among friends here who are interested in meeting you and sharing their ideas....best of luck....pete
  • Welcome (back) to Spine-Health.

    So many of us have a sudden onset of symptoms due to spine problems. It's really amazing.

    What did they do for your lumbar herniations while in the hospital? Have you had surgery? What are the docs suggesting for your thoracic issues?

    Yes, thoracic herniations are rare and very difficult to treat. I'm interesting to hear what the plan of action is for your future.

    Anyway, again, welcome back to Spine-Health. And I think you for your service!
  • I hope you find a good Neurosurgeon to help you and a Pain Management Dr. I've had two PM Drs for 2nd opinions as well as going to the 3rd Spine Surgeon (Neurosurgeon) for his opinion. I've found www.chirogeek.com was a helpful website for info as well as this one. Receiving support here has made me keep it together. Keep us posted with your treatment. 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
  • Welcome to SH...again :H We're glad you are back but regret that your problems have gotten worse. Are you seeing a NS or OS, or a pain specialist? I hope that they have you on medication to adequately manage your pain and they offer a variety of treatment options. Take care of yourself and we're glad to have you back
  • Thank you all for the warm welcome. I remember the last time I was on here I received alot of warm support as well. To answer some of your questions I, like many of you, have run the gamut of treatment options. I seemed to circle around not really getting anywhere. I have been to my primary care, then to orthopedics, chiropractic (series of 8 times), neurosurgery (for advice), physical therapy, back to primary care, decompression therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, more chiropractic manipulation (from a different provider), pain management with injections, back to neurosurgery (different provider), then back to my primary care doctor (who had changed). He wanted and made me do physical therapy again, ordered new MRI's and finalized my med board. I fought to stay in the military for two years but I just can’t to PT. Currently Pain management is handling my upper and lower back pain. I have been told because of my age and because most of my pain is back pain not sciatic (about 70/30) then it would be in my best interest to not get surgery as that is a permanent option and a last resort. I was told that because I am so young and because I have multiple herniations at multiple levels I will just accelerate that damage by getting surgery. I am holding out for breakthroughs in technology and have been for years. I have talked to about 40 different people both in the service and out of the service (people online here, family, friends), both doctors who perform the surgery and patients who had undergone surgery and all of them except two said to get the surgery and that it was beneficial to them. The ones that said it were less then 3 years post surgery. The ones that didn’t where more then 3 years post surgery. I don’t like those numbers. The number one thing I hear from people is surgery made my problems worse and or it didn’t get rid of the sciatica. Fortunately I can say my pain has stabilized and that some days aren’t even that bad. I just have to watch what I do. My plan is to come on here and offer support to people as many have done that for me. I have learned that reaching out and helping others (not overdoing it) is therapeutic to me and beneficial to others. <):) <):)
  • I am very sorry that you are suffering in pain. It is a horrible thing for anyone to go through but I really hate to see somebody so young suffering like I do everyday. I wonder if the unusual amount of thoracic issues that you have may be due to your height. It seems that a tall person would have to do much more bending than a shorter person. I have also run the gamut of procedures and just like you am waiting and hoping for a medical break through to come along and help my spinal issues. I rely on pain killers for now and they do actually help to control my pain on most days. I wish you much luck and look forward to seeing you around the forum.
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. thank you for your service to our country. =D> i am sorry you are having pain problems. ~X( your good spirit is a blessing in itself. :D good luck as you search for pain relief! =D> Jenny :)
  • Hi Chris,

    Welcome, and thank you for your service in the military! Lots of good info here & helpful nice people too. Hope you have a better day & weekend.
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