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New Member, feel so hopeless :(

allykataallykat Posts: 9
I am so desperate for some good news. I hope there is someone out there who has a positive story because right now as tears are again rolling down my cheeks I feel completely lost. I have 1 slipped disc at l4 l5 and canal stenosis, but my biggest concern is a completely debilitating pain in my legs, ankles and feet. It is not a shooting pain it is like someone has smashed all my bones. It doesn't feel related to the back pain. I have had this pain symptom before but it went away, now it is back again and excruciating. I thought i would try to have a shower just then (as i haven't been able to) and the pain was so bad I only lasted 1 minute, any pain in my back is about a 2 but the pain in my ankles and legs is about a 9-10. Osteopaths, physio and doctor have all checked my feet and there is no fracture. I have no swelling or bruising just this constant pain. My work has been so understanding but i am due to go back soon. I am a chef and i am starting to realise this may be the end of my career. I am only 30 i feel so overwhelmed. I would dearly love to hear from anyone who has similar symptoms.



  • Welcome to the board! You have come to a great place and will get lots of support.
    My experience with my L4/5 before surgery was that my legs would ache if I stood up for very long. If I leaned up against a table at work, my left leg would go numb like I was sitting on it. It was scary so I know something of what you are experiencing. The good news for me is that after surgery, that has completely went away. Turns out my L4/5 was torn in two and had a chunk missing so when I moved a certain way it was rocking and pinching the nerve roots. I had to have a myelogram and discogram for them to see that. My MRIs didn't show it except the bulging and stenosis.

    I would imagine being a chef, you are on your feet all the time and bending to prepare foot with your arms forward out in front. The pressure of being constantly in that stance, would cause some bad pain.

    Has your doctor talked about doing further testing? Have you had a leg nerve study test? where they buzz certain places on your skin and see how long it takes for the signal to travel from your back to your feet and so on.

    Since you are younger, you have a great chance of getting your L4/5 to recover and heal. Walking and using heat then cold packs, using a tens unit, and muscle relaxers. Those things can help.

    Good luck!! I hope you get some relief very soon. Keep posting.
  • Hi Allycat,

    Maybe it is time for a second opinion.

    I am sorry that your profession has you on your feet all day, this is something we all have to deal with, whether its on our feet too much, or at a computer, etc.

    Being only 30 yeaes old (where did my time go?!)is an advantage for you as far as healing from any type of surgery, or just getting yourself into shape.

    I wish you well, you can PM me if you have questions,

  • Allykat--

    I am so sorry that you are suffering from so much pain. I know exactly what it's like to work your type of job and to deal with pain at the same time. Please, please PM me if you have questions about dealing with pain at work, or if you just want to vent.

    I too am a chef and I have (had) very similar pains that you are experiencing. I just had a fusion (ALIF) of LF/L5 on September 14th. I was at the point that I couldn't do my job well anymore. The pain was so bad. Sitting hurt, standing hurt, laying down hurt. Nothing seemed to make things better. My feet and leg pain was related to my disc problems and since my fusion, I'm not having any leg or foot pain at all. I was also having lots of pain in my buttocks.

    I knew I was going to have surgery about five months before I had it. I'm a chef/owner and I had to get through wedding season before I could get surgery done. I learned that anti-fatigue mats are my friend. I'm sure you know that. I lined my pathways in my kitchen with anti-fatigue mats and each work station has one. When I stand at my work bench, I place one foot on the table I'm working at. If I'm at the range, I have a half hotel pan on the floor with one foot on it - almost all the time, and I alternate feet. It really does help. I also kept regular appointments with a chiropractor. If you have health insurance, you can probably get a TENS unit paid for by insurance if a chiropractor prescribes it. If you don't know what it is, it's a "band-aid" for pain management, but it got me through the day. It uses small electrical impulses to stimulate muscles and it really did help with pain. Those things, plus resting when I could, tylenol and tramidol for pain were what got me by. The tramadol was the only thing I could take that took care of the pain and still allowed me to play with knives and fire without getting hurt :) Oh, and I took ambien so I could get sleep at night. Without it, the pain kept me up. Anyway, I'm almost 20 days post-op and in one more week I'll go back to work under the orders of "limited duty". It will be great to get back in the kitchen.

    Please don't feel hopeless, there is hope.

    That was a long reply. There is hope out there. Please get a second opinion or a third opinion. You shouldn't have to live this way.
  • Thank you for your responses. I have no swelling or bruising in my foot and it is not sensitive to touch or move. Just exsisting causes my foot to ache. I suppose i should have an xray anyway. I desperately want to avoid surgery and from reading this forum it sounds like virtually no one gets a good response from surgery. My doctor says the next step is a facet joint injection, but by the sounds of it ( in this forum) that too is a painful waste of time. i don't mean to sound cynical but it would be such an easy decision if it was like back surgery = end of problems but it sjust seems too risky. Today is just an especially bad day, and i can feel my usually chirpy self slipping away from me.
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i am sorry you are in so much pain and have no relief! i am sure all kinds of things must be going through your head including the end of your career! please don't jump ahead of yourself. you are a long way from that and it may be something as simple as rest and medication to make you feel better. so get in touch with a good doctor and make a plan of recovery and pain reduction. :D good luck! Jenny :)
  • thanks guys. Means a lot to hear from people going through the same thing. I have had this for 7 months and it feels like it will never end, i need to have hope at the end of the tunnel :)
  • I had spondylolisthesis (slippage of a vertebrae over another) of L4/5. The pain, spasms, dead foot, wobbly and aching legs was horrible. Could barely walk. Just one slight wrong move and I'd be laid up for several days. After a few months of PT and no improvement, I opted for fusion, the treatment of choice for spondylolisthesis. The recovery had been long and difficult, but was worth it. I still have some pain and some difficulty walking, but nothing like before surgery.

    Please don't give up hope. You are so much younger than me. I'm 52 and have a lot of arthritis. I would recommend seeing a neurosurgeon if you haven't already and reading up on as much information as you can find about spondylolisthesis.

    Best wishes to you,

  • Hi, I have just read your post, I, well we all understand here at Spine Health what your going throught and dealing with on A DAILY Basis, its tough and both very physically and eamotionally draining, but you CANT GIVEUP, although I realise most days you probably feel like that and just are very scared about what lies ahead, with regards to your career........STP AND TAKE A BIG Breath.

    Dont be getting yourself too upset, I know you might not want to hear this but maybe you could change caree ONLY IF YOU HAD TO, although I know we all need to work to survive, I really am one of them people that think health is more important and must come first....I think I read somewhere if we dont make time for health and exercise then sooner or later we will have to make time for illness.....that scared the hell out of me lol.

    Ally what I would say is go and see a good reputable neurosurgeon.....In the meantime,try not and worry as much, take each day as it comes, take pain medications if you have to and they help, rest and before you know it......you will have seen that neurosurgeon and he/she just might be able to help you. :)))
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