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Hello! Newbie from Chicago

noseovertailnnoseovertail Posts: 387
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi everyone! I've taken a good look around and I am so grateful for this message board. It's nice to know I'm not so alone and I like reading and learning from other people's experiences.

Me? I'm a 26 year old married female from Chicago. I've been suffering from back pain since I was 16 years old. I never really had support, my mother thought I was a complainer and quite a few of my doctors disregarded my back pain. I started to think that I was a wuss who couldn't handle normal back pain, and I started to just ignore it.

Recently, in the past 2 years or so, it's gotten a lot more painful and I decided to have another go at seeing a doctor. I've been to numerous orthopedic surgeon trying to find someone I feel comfortable with. I've tried pain medication, exercises, physical therapy and most recently had a discogram to figure out exactly what is the root of my pain. The discogram absolutely TERRIFIED me and was actually what caused me to seek out this site. I'm glad I did it though. We discovered that I have two disc herniations, one huge one at L4/L5 and a smaller one at L5/S1. I finally found a surgeon that I really like and we have decided that on November 3rd (the day after my 27th birthday) that I will be getting a TLIF (Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion) to take care of the herniation at L4/L5. My surgeon prefers to be minimally invasive and wants to wait and see the relief I get, hoping we won't have go in and operate on L5/S1 later.

I am currently on Ultram (Tramadol) and it's not agreeing well with me. I get hot flashes, nausea & it tears up my stomach if I don't eat with it. I have a few calls in to my doctor to discuss something else to manage my pain.

I think that about covers my story. Kudos to you if you made it this far into my post! I'm currently unemployed and completely focused on fixing my back, so I am online a lot. Feel free to PM me if you are going through something similar or just want to vent. :) (8)


  • Hi there 'newbie from Chicago'!

    You are very young to have such problems, especially starting with pain at 16. Did you ever discover what caused it?

    Regarding your pain medication, there are alternatives which won't tear up your stomach or give you those other side-effects! You could ask your doctor about them, but the one I prefer is oxycontin/oxycodone, which is long-acting and doesn't hurt your stomach.

    There is a lot of information on this site about herniation/surgery etc and others will be able to give you far better advice on your intended procedure.

    Bye, Val

  • Hi Val,

    Thanks for your reply. I have no real idea of what started my pain. I remember the first 2 times I felt the pain. Once was while I was babysitting and bent forward to lift up a child. The other time is sort of embarrassing. I was in a movie theater, using the toilet. I leaned forward and couldn't get up. That's when I knew it wasn't just in my head, and tried to go to the doctor, except none of them believed me at all.

    Thanks for the suggestion on the medication. I'm thinking that if my surgeon doesn't return my call tomorrow I will call the pain management doctor that performed my discogram and ask him about the medication.

    I have a quick question, how do you create a signature? I looked and looked and I can't figure it out.
  • To create a signature, go to 'Your account' and it's up in the right-hand corner where it says 'Edit'. Click on that, find the signature bit and write whatever you want! When you post, it appears underneath as your 'signature'.

    I think there's a recommendation of a certain number of lines, but mine's 6 and no-one's said anything, so it's up to you really!

    Bye, Val

  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. the best of luck on your upcoming procedure. :D follow your doctor's orders and you should have an excellent recovery.. good luck and keep us informed! :D Jenny :)
  • i also have groin/ hip problems have to face that i will never be 100 percent~!! my biggest mistake was going to an orthopedic for my first surgery now just trying to get my life together and hoping in the near future return to work!!1
  • I am so sorry to hear that you have been in so much pain for so long and had no support to boot! Hopefully you are on the road to getting some pain relief soon. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • thank you for so many kind words!
  • Welcome to SH. You've come to a great place for support and sharing with others who know what you are going through. I had L4/5 fusion last summer, but you are half my age so I'm sure your recovery will be easier than mine was lol. My worst symptoms are gone, but I still have other symptoms that remain. Remember that spine surgery is a long recovery process. So, be patient, follow your doctor's instructions, and come in here for the support you will need. There is a lot of great information about what you will need at home for post surgery, etc. on this site. Being prepared will be very helpful to you.

    Best wishes to you,

  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Hi Andrea

    Welcome to Spine-Health. I am sorry to hear you are so much pain.

    You will find plenty of support here and lots of information that can help.



    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Thanks again! Since my surgery is only 5 days away I'm making sure to scour the site for information. I made a shopping list of things to buy based off the list on here and I think it will help a lot. I'm so nervous though I'm losing my appetite!
  • Welcome to Spine Health. I too am a newbie, and have received a great deal of helpful information and support from the site and other members. I am having a spinal fusion on the 4th, the day after you but on L5/S1 (PLIF).

    I know how you feel. Even though I have had two previous back surgeries, I am scared about this surgery. You wouldn't be normal if you weren't! Anyway, I hope your surgery goes well on Tuesday, and I will remember you in my prayers this evening. Take care and be well :)
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