Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

A new twist to an old story

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Chronic Pain
Some of you folks may know that I have been dealing with shoulder problems for the past year or so. The major problem is advanced arthritis which is creating bone on bone in areas and has begun to fray several tendons.

The 'cure' will be to have total shoulder replacements. But I am in no hurry to do that, because of my existing situations, that type of surgery and recover will be really long.

As a band aid, I have been going for Steroid injections every 6 months. I had the last in November 2009. However, there was a problem in the right shoulder injection. As a result, my right arm is pretty much out of use.

I went to see a shoulder specialist in New York City to confirm the condition. Plain and simple, shoulder replacements will have to happen. When is the only question.

Meanwhile, I am going in for another steroid injection into the right shoulder, this time under fluoroscope.

My pain management doctor just increased my Pain Medications (per day), increased Soma usage and is scheduling a series of acupuncture sessions and just prescribe Voltaren Gel. Never heard of this before, but it is pretty intense. I use it 4 times a day. It is the first and only prescription topical NSAID FDA approved for OA joint pain. Its objective is to reduce hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body.
It will be interesting to see the results

The main reason for this post was just to indicate what can happen as a result of multiple spinal surgeries. I know that if I did not have those 7 spinal surgeries, I would not have the degree of arthritis I do today.

Its like just watching one part after another start to fail.
And there is not a heck of lot you can do to stop it.
But much is my fault since I didnt do what I should have done in my early years.

So really, this is a Warning to all Spinal patients.
Take care of your body the best you can, have the surgeries when there are no other options. And above everything, make sure you follow all the instructions/limitations/restrictions your doctors gave you.

Trying to be a super person and push through the pain may have sound stoic when I was 30 years old, now I realize it was just plain stupid.

But as always, this is not going to stop me or shut me down.
I will deal with this as I have dealt with all other problems. Take them face on and do the right things.
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


  • Ron,
    I have been using the Voltaren gel for my knees since last July. The knee caps or are out of joint and the idea is to help lubricate them to move more freely in the joint. From my side I do like what it does and it is keeping me off a OR table at the time. So I do hope you find some relief with the use of that product, as I did.

    I do as you worry about having all these surgeries and the future impact on our bodies. But I also know when one area of the body is injured we tend to compensate with the use of another part. So I guess my jury is still out as to what all this does in the long run.

    I do hope the injections and the voltaren do start helping the shoulder and you can put off the shoulder surgery for as long as you deem possible. Hopefully summer will bring some relief to you as well. I for one say spring is right around the corner.
  • First off, I am sorry that you have to deal with yet another surgery(s) in the future.

    Deep in my heart and mind I KNOW that I wouldn't have needed this last lumbar fusion, at least not so soon, but I did it to myself. I had another child, which after her arrival my surgeon said for my bodie's sake absolutely no more kids. Also, even with all of the lifting involved with little ones, I went back to gardening, my old ways, and didn't take care of my body like I should have.

    I wish I had found this site sooner, because some sense might have been knocked into me. I also pushed through the pain to do what I enjoyed with leftover painkillers that I had. Stupid......

    I now know that for whatever reason my body is prone to this severe deterioration of the spine, neck is the next huge issue to deal with. You have been dealing with this much longer than I have and I try to take inspiration and strength from your experiences, and others who are willing to share their experiences. Thank you for your post, maybe there are some newbies here that will listen, hopefully....
  • Thanks for sharing. I too have a right shoulder problem and have had one injection so far. I go for another one the first of Feb.
    My arm has dropped in the socket causing an impingement. Yes, it will make your arm useless. I do not have to tell you how painful it is. I fear this may lead to surgery one day and I am not looking forward to it at all.
    Right now I am doing exercizes twice a day to keep my shoulder from freezing up and to build up the muscles. These are so painful that I become sick to my tummy. How in the world can something so painful really help?
    I was not as physically active as you, so i do not know what brought on this problem but I also have arthritis in this one shoulder.
    Today is a very bad pain day. :''(
    Believe me Ron i know what you have been going through.
    I have a knee that must be replaced and now this shoulder. It is like a house of cards that comes tumbling down.
    I will be very interested in how the acupunture and the meds work for you so please keep us updated.
    Best of luck to you.
    Cheers :H
    Patsy W
  • Sorry you're having so much shoulder pain. I just started taking my brother's Voltaren and going to ask my Dr. today for it instead of Celebrex. My brother has to take it only once a day for leg pain he had a lumber fusion over 25 years ago from shattered disc from a fall from 3 stories but is doing well otherwise. I hope it helps your pain. 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
  • Sorry to hear of the news. You are so absolutely right about taking care of our bodies when we are younger, hindsight is 20/20 as they say. I am very interested to hear how the Voltaren Gel works for you though, I can't take it orally, but have seen commercials for the gel and wondered how effective it is. Keep us posted on that, and if and when you do go for your surgery. I wish you luck, and that this will help you find relief, you certainly don't need this on top of everything else. Sending you warm thoughts!!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • When I started falling apart a few years ago, I asked my friend who's a fantastic neurosurgeon "why?", "what gives?". He told me a simple one liner. Active people have injuries! I thought that was the most profound and coolest thing I had heard in ages. Looking at it from that perspective, helps a lot!

    It's really a bummer that you are falling apart all the while you are trying your best to live a good and spine safe-spine healthy life.

    Chin up sir! Otherwise you will waste some of that precious wine that you sample, as it dribbles down your chin. :-)

  • I also feel like I'm watching one part after another fail. I understand how you feel, it's a horrible and helpless feeling. I do everything right for my body and everything wrong keeps happening. I stretch and strenghten 40 minutes daily, eat right, get my rest and take my meds. But my body parts(joints)continue to fail! I'm so sorry your shoulders are causing so much pain. I know limited use of your arms can make life so very difficult. I want to reach out to you and let you know you are not alone! If my ongoing arthritis issues are a result of my 7 spinal surgeries, I have no regrets. I would be in a wheel chair if I hadn't had the surgeries. It's definitely a catch 22. D***ed if you do and d***ed if you don't. Take care Ron, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Faith M
  • I'm sorry that you're having these shoulder issues and I'm glad you've got a plan to stave off surgery until there's absolutely no choice. You know how I feel about what's happening to you, we've talked about that.

    But what I really want to say is that once again, you're an inspiration to all the members here by posting your personal story and experience to let others know what can happen over the years if they don't take care of themselves. And by sharing your story just look at how you have the members talking, sharing and offering additional advice to each other.

    You're truly an admirable man and I don't think that Spine-Health would be half the wonderful site it is if you weren't such a big part of it.

    For that, I thank you, my friend.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    Everyone one has posted so kind words and encouragement, I really appreciate it.

    Cathie, what can I say... You make me feel like a millions dollars and that I have done something that really makes a difference. I love you for that and I am so blessed to have become your friend.

    Michael... Well, I tell you this right up front. The post you made was probably the best post I have ever seen from you. You hit all the chords, you were compassionate, you were understanding, you saw what I have seen. I was very touched by your post, because you conveyed a message to everyone. I would love to meet you face to facend say thank you, not for what you were concerned about me, but what you demonstrated how much you care for others.
    I wlll always rembber yoour post, it is soemthing I will keep in my mind forever.

    I have problems, I have had problems for years, some I had no control of, some I pushed the bar too far.

    The main objective of this thread was to tell people how important it is to take care of yorself
    We can not abuse our bodies, because if we do, we wind up wiht more problems.

    Between Cathie and Micahael's posts, you have given me so much to lok foraward to.
    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 have no where near the issues or the length of time in chronic pain as you or Mike here but I must ask.

    Why do you feel the 7 surgeries were not a good idea?

    Do you feel your doctors mislead you? I do not see how you can say that you would have been better off without them.

    Also about pushing yourself. I am kind of on the fence about the way both you and mike answered the question.

    I believe if I would have followed simply what a doctor feels is good exercise or activity, I think life would have been pretty boring. Even now with my small herniation I still lift weights and keep active as my body allows. My doctor pushes me to do it.

    I am a simple person and when people tell me your pain comes from all the cycling and weight lifting you did and the fall was the thing that pushed you over the top, I just do not believe it. All I know and it seems even in Mike's case as he and I can both pinpoint the day, my pain started on the day of that trauma. Till than I was on top of the world. That is all I know.

    I think sometimes in life we are dealt a bad hand...it is really that simple. We just have to deal with it and make the best of it.

    I guess what I am trying to say in a nutshell is that I think more often than not, it is not our fault but simple fate.

    I mean lets look at pro-football players, given what they put their body through in a regular basis they should all have multiple spine surgeries but most do not. I am sure a doctor would say that they are insane to do what they do.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    Believe me its not that I felt the seven surgeries were not necessary, but instead, I believe that IF I took better care of myself after the first two surgeries, I may have not needed some of the rest.

    I am not of the nature to say we must push ourselves.
    Sometimes pushing ourselves will cause more problems than good. What I have always believed in and still do is maintaining a positive outlook and taking the approach that nothing is going to get in the way of the recovery process.

    Here is where Michael and I will sometimes differ.
    We both believe in how much the correct attitude means.
    But, I have found and I have seen with others there are things that we can not and should not try to do.

    Once your spine has been operated on, there will be some level of loss of physical ability. But that is fine, we must learn to live within that.

    If a doctor tells you not to lift anything over 40 pounds, you need to follow that. Lifting something 50 pounds to gain more strength is so wrong.

    Today, I've learned how to listen to my body. I know when I am close to pushing to the limit. But let me tell you that has taken years to formulate.

    I only wish I knew back then what I know now.. If I did , then perhaps I wouldnt have had the seven surgeries.

    Does that make sense?
    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've had a few injuries over the years - two broken arms, torn ACL, separated shoulder, and ruptured disks that led to fusion. My brother and sister haven't had a single injury. I think they believe I "asked for" these problems by being active (my sister is an especially sedentary). My response to her was once, "I've been out there gardening, skiing, horseback riding, motorcyle riding, running, kick boxing, strength training, and having a great time. At least I've been moving and enjoying life. Sure I hurt and have had some issues to deal with but I sure have had fun getting here."
  • When I first saw that you posted... :W

    I had the white knuckle syndrome setting in. The kind where you are hanging tight to the dashboard, while climbing the high mountains in the 4 wheel drive?

    My knuckles are their usual color after reading your post., Michael.

    I thank you for sparing me the white knuckle pain... lol. I 100% understand what you are saying and it feels so good.

    I really like this post. You pointed out so many important factors which contribute to our chronic pain:

    *Weight gain seems to be right at the top on most everything I read and hear from others. It's so important to watch your calories when your activity levels decrease. They can compound in interest... in a matter of days.

    *Depression is right up there, too. I'm all for better living through chemistry via your psychiatrist, when deemed necessary.

    *Family life takes a toll... yes, indeed. I feel it's important to include all family members who live with you to educate themselves with our spinal conditions. Take them to your appointments... children, included. If counseling is needed for the family... do it. Don't give it a second thought. Our loved ones can be at as much of a loss as we are.

    Your other bullet points are absolutely correct, as well.

    By watching Dr. Oz... he really places emphasis on eating healthy and watching our weight. The show doesn't have very many chronic pain people on the show, so it is kind of geared towards the general public (in my opinion). When I think about that, it makes it even more important to eat healthy... for those of us who can no longer be fixed by surgery and we need to use our walkers and wheelchairs 80% of the time. We can still live our lives and be very happy, once we know what our limitations are. The pool will always be my source for liberating myself (WITH MY CLOTHES ON, RON... LOL) and I don't care if I need to be wheeled down into the pool. I'm going to do my aqua therapy, continue to cater functions at my church, stretch, exercise, etc.

    Thank you Michael, for this great post. >:D<

    Hey? One of these days... would you let us know how the constipation issue is going? I have asked you, but haven't received a reply. I hope it's under control. I had such an issue with constipation and have finally found a great (non-yucky) way to combat it.

    Take good care,

    Tammy :*
  • Dear Ron,

    I know this shoulder pain has been an ongoing battle for you. Until you reach that "tug" to have your surgeries... I hope your pain can be kept at the most comfortable level for you. You have great relationships with your doctors and I know they will be keeping a close eye on you.

    I love what "C" shared: "Active People Have Injuries". That certainly puts those of us who have been Active Klutzes, in a more positive category.

    For those members who are in limbo about how much to push themselves... please take to heart what Ron has stated:

    "... this is a Warning to all Spinal patients.
    Take care of your body the best you can, have the surgeries when there are no other options. And above everything, make sure you follow all the instructions/limitations/restrictions your doctors gave you.

    Trying to be a super person and push through the pain may have sound stoic when I was 30 years old, now I realize it was just plain stupid".

    This is so important and Ron has many, many years of experience to validate this warning.

    Wishing you the best,

    Tammy :)
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    I have a joke saying. "If I new I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself"
    As I sit here on my first day home from my #6 surgery, (spinal). And I read this thread I realise that it isn't really a joke! Ron and I are close to the same age. I was told early on that I couldn't continue to punish my body without paying a big price down the road. But like Michael, I'd rather be dead, than not do the things in life that I wanted.
    But if I would have toned it down a lot. Things would have surely turned out differently. And after my first couple of surgeries, I could have found a site like this, shurley I would have done things differently. And to be honest, the way technology was going with leaps and bounds. I always figured that there would be a sure cure. I'm still waiting!
    And even with the pain management Drugs. "To be able to live a quality life" That also backfired. I'm a "backwards med. kind of person" with a high tolerance for meds.and because of that I had complications in the hospital with getting the pain anywheres near controlled. And had to stay an extra day. And still with what they gave me to keep the pain at a livable level. I'm on my 2 day writing this. because I couldn't sit here. I'm
    taking an unbelievable amount of drugs. And can't keep the pain at a reasonable level.
    So yes, there is a very good reason to do things differently. And listen to the experts that know. And most importantly to listen to you body and exercise common scents!
    I took more meds. to get by, and postpone this surgery. And I postponed this surgery to "have a life" That was a double backfire! And if I'd done things differently (especially over the last 8 years) thing would have worked out much differently for me.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • If a doctor tells you not lift anything over 40lbs after your 2nd surgery and you do not than you have to deal with the possible consequences. So I now understand what you mean Ron.

    I have found the toughest thing even in my lighter condition is to avoid situations where I need to either drive too long, sit too long or do a type of lifting where I could possibly worsen my condition. This means I need to plan my day out to an almost insane level where I need to think about my movements through out the day and have outs in case something backfires. It is so annoying at times.

    I have not had any surgeries and hope not to. The one thing this site has taught me that it is best to wait until all options are expired before making a jump to surgery. I am glad now that when I was really thinking about surgery and one NS gave me the option I decided not to do it cause too many other doctors said not to.

    But I am still not pain free and coming on a year so finally a doctor gave me an option other than surgery, a targeted disc decompress. But I am still on the fence about even doing that. But both my docs recommend it.

    I wish you all a less painful life...and want to thank you all for caring enough to tell us your experience, warn us and give us the benefit of your experience. It is truly very kind of you to do that for all of us.

    Thank you

  • dilauro said:

    So really, this is a
    Warning to all Spinal patients.
    Take care of your body the best you can, have the surgeries when there are no other options. And above everything, make sure you follow all the instructions/limitations/restrictions your doctors gave you.

    Trying to be a super person and push through the pain may have sound stoic when I was 30 years old, now I realize it was just plain stupid.
    Howdy Ron,

    I fully agree with your "follow the instructions" given. I have been pretty good on that, but the ole body has other ideas of course. Based on what is going bad with me, if I had a time machine, I wouldn't have crashed in a helicopter! Oh well, stuff happens right? :-)

    Part of me thinks like you suggested, have x surgery, and others will follow, but for me, so far, all the areas that are failing are the SAME areas that were injured in 84.

    Active, not active - wow hard coin to flip! I agree with your assessment, and too Disabled American's assessment. We really don't know. I figure like my NS said, "Let your body tell you, if it hurts, don't do it." Well, like many sometimes I (and many) push a wee bit past that - normal I think?

    Sorry to hear that you are facing yet another surgery for now your shoulder. Bummer for sure! I will keep you in my thoughts when you decide to get this done. *HUG* I wish you well in which ever decision you decide. Take care. :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I wish you the best regarding your current and future health.

    Regarding the Voltaren Gel...I use it everyday on my neck and shoulder and it really helps. I find I get the best results applying the gel after a really hot shower. It seems to absorb into the skin better.
  • (8) Lisa I can relate about 'going back to your old ways'
    I had a lumbar fusion L4/L5 March of '09. Have you experienced removal of the fusion device?
    Wondering what that entails in terms of pain - recovery etc.
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.