Hi I'm a 45 year old female. Always very active, loved working, being busy. I had very manageable back pain for 20 years, but then I injured my back 3 years ago on a roller coaster and never recovered. Stopped work 2 1/2 years ago. Had all conservative treatments, still unable to manage pain. Pain is mostly in the back - some aching in buttock, leg, foot. Pain constant at around 4 - but activity increases it to 6 - 7 within a couple of hours, unless I rest. I also have acute episodes (pain 10+++) that take about a month to recover from.
MRI shows bulge/small herniation at L4/L5 - the disc is clearly dark, has lost height. All other discs look good. Take Lyrica, Oxycodone, Ibuprofin - make me feel good, but useless/stupid. I did have one epidural steroid injection at L4-L5 which worked wonderfully for two weeks - but the second steroid injection caused EXTREME menstrual pain, plus non-stop period for 8 weeks.
Decided to investigate surgery - had a Discogram last June - but it was NEGATIVE!!! One surgeon said - "No surgery" and kicked me back to pain management. Second surgeon says - "I'll operate, but it's up to you." I've seen that sometimes they can give you too much medication during a discogram (they gave me tons - but I remember the discogram very clearly - NONE of my discs FELT A THING!)
Had facet injections November 2009 (if the pain's not discogenic, then maybe it's the facet joints, they said), which were kind of nice, but wore off quickly - more trouble than they were worth - and didn't cover 100% of the pain.
I feel very strongly this one spot in my spine where I feel the pain emanates from, but I just can't understand why it didn't show up in the discogram.
Surgery seems to be my only option left to reduce the pain, but - THE DISCOGRAM SHOWED NO PAIN CONCORDANT WITH MY REGULAR PAIN.
Any advice? I'm so grateful this forum is here, and all the kind people offering advice/help/comfort. Thanks.