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My Life is Spiraling Out of Control

Gopurdue28GGopurdue28 Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Chronic Pain
Hello. I am a new poster here and this is going to be really super long, so I'm sorry in advance. I am 31, and up until a year ago was a fairly normal married guy with a normal life.
That has all changed now.
A year ago, I was in a minor car accident and something must have happened. All though there is no direct evidence that the accident caused this, it is just too much of a coincidence. I rear-ended someone going about 40, well not just anyone, an F-350 in my little Taurus. The frame of my car hit the trailer hitch on the truck who was at a complete stop. The truck did not move. My frame buckled pushing the engine back as far as it would go. I might have been better off hitting a brick wall. My head was turned to the right and I distinctly remember my head snapping all the way forward then back. I really didn't think too much of it. Weeks later I started getting dizzy; really, really dizzy.
I fell several times, once off my chair at work, once I hit the coffee table on my way down, and once I fell down the stairs.
I just thought I was losing it. It started out as a few 30 min. spells a day, then a few more, then they would last for hours. Then it was almost all day, every day.
At this point I was taking Lyrica for something totally unrelated. I was having mild chronic all over pain that I SWEAR was from these damn new class antibiotics I took for three weeks in a row due to wisdom teeth removal (that it another saga).
Anyways, the Dr. told me to stop taking Lyrica right away so I did. As soon as the Lyrica started to fade away, the pain started. A bad, ridiculous pain that has been my nemesis for 9 months. It has destroyed my life, totally.

It starts in the neck, a severe, stabbing upward pain that burns, and throbs, and sears. It goes through cycles. Usually 60-80% of my day now is spent lying nearly flat so my muscles do not support my head at all. To do so would be a major mistake. It feels like someone is stabbing me over and over again with an ice pick in an upward way starting parallel to about C-3 but two inches away from the spine (on the left side only) and stabbing north but towards my eye. I am hyper-sensitive to light and sound. The headache that accompanies it is excruciating. I used to have a 0-10 pain scale that was totally different. The pains I used to feel wouldn't even register anymore.
I am unable to work. I feel totally useless.
Our house is in foreclosure and our cars our in Jeopardy of being repossessed. My life now consist of watching TV and sleeping. Some days it is so bad I can not even care for myself, which is embarrassing to say. I can't even make myself food to eat. The relationships I used to have are falling apart. My marriage is in shambles.

The kicker: They don't really know what is wrong.
MRI's and MRA's negative.
CT's nothing significant.
I have had 3 occipital injections and 5 C-2 facet blocks.
I get a few weeks of "duller than normal" pain and then it goes right back to the same song and dance.
I am on 600mg of Neurontin and 80mg of Norco and 1600mg of Ibuprofen daily just to take the edge off.
I can't take it anymore. Chronic pain takes every last ounce of your energy and leaves you with nothing left to give.
Sometimes I feel like just giving up and being free.

Please, if there is anyone out there who knows what is wrong or who has been through this or something, let me know. I don't know how much longer I can last. The only time I am happy anymore is when I am asleep because I can be "normal" again.

Thanks everyone,


  • I'm not going to be much help because I have lumbar issues...but I see you are still on the board, and no one else has responded....

    I'm curious what type of physician you are seeing. Who ordered the MRI and the injections? Do you have a spinal specialist that is overseeing your case?

    Just because the imaging is not showing something specific, it does not mean that there isn't something significant going on that is causing pain.

    If you can provide a bit more information, people will be more able to provide suggestions.

  • TY for responding.
    Well no, not a spine specialist. Do you think that is what I should do? I am just seeing pain management specialist, but they do not seem to be interested in what is causing the pain, only dealing with the pain. My fear is this is going to keep coming back if we are just masking the symptoms and not dealing with the root cause. Nobody listens to the patient though. I have also seen two neurologist. worthless...
  • If you are located in the US, I strongly suggest you find a fellowship-trained spinal specialist. This can be either an orthopedic spine surgeon (not a regular orthopedic doctor) or a neurosurgeon. The fellowship is the highest level of training available for that specialty...and you want to know the doctor devotes his practice to issues of the neck and back. Some neurosurgeons prefer brain surgery and you don't want that either.

    Yes, I think that is exactly what you need. Take your MRI and other tests with you when you go. That will give the doctor a starting point. He will order new tests if appropriate.

    Sometimes injuries from accidents take awhile to show up. The fact that you are in such pain and it is basically ruining your life is reason enough to seek treatment!! Just because the specialty includes the word "surgeon," these doctors start out with conservative treatment and only resort to surgery as a last resort.

    I'm going to send you a PM with a couple further suggestions.
  • Also, take some time tomorrow and read through the following information.


    Part-way down the page you will see a link to whiplash injuries. Be sure to read through that part, too.

    You may have done something like tearing a part of the disc known as the annulus, which does not always show up on imaging tests.

    Have you ever tried wearing a cervical collar for support to see if it helps with the pain? You might want to ask the doctor about that....
  • Jay,

    First off, Welcome to Spine Health! Have a look around and use the search feature at the top of the page, and see if that might help a bit? I am so sorry to hear you are experiencing so much pain. When the pain is such that your quality of life suffers, that makes it feel even worse!

    You didn't mention what kind of doctors you have seen. If your insurance allows it, I would try and hook up with a Neurologist (the trouble shooters), or even straight to a Neurosurgeon. If you have what is called a "Positional" MRI in your area (stand up MRI), see if your doctor can get you one of those. Your spine is then imaged under "load", and might reveal something a recumbent MRI might miss. Have you had any X-Rays with extension, flexation, side and front views to be sure there aren't any structural issues (loss of disk height, alignment issues, bone spurs, fractures?).

    Is your pain extending to your shoulders/shoulder blades or down your arm(s)? One of the tests routinely used is the NCV/EMG (electrical study) to see if there is radiculopathy from your neck. Have you had a nerve study at all? Please don't give up, and continue looking for a specialist that can give you a proper exam and required diagnostic testing. Please keep us posted on how things are going.

    Again, Welcome to the site!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Keep looking Jay, the answer is out there somewhere. The fact that you are in so much pain makes it obvious that SOMETHING is wrong, it's just a matter of finding the right person who can diagnose you. I am new to the boards as well but the support here has been tremendous. Visit often, update us, keep in touch. Everybody is here to help each other.
  • Jay...I'm glad you came here. You have a support group here that will try to find you enough information to point you in the right direction.

    I agree on a spine specialist (either Orthospine or Neurosurgeon). They have to specialize in the spine (and not the brain or other area). You'll need to get your MRI & radiology reports but trust me when I say it will be worth the effort.

    I agree with RedHat...the answer is out there. You are young and the Pain Mgmt is just a way to handle things until the answer is identified.

    Chronic pain is horrendous...it really is the way you describe it and can consume your life. People here are trying to help eachother with new information or ideas on what to seek out.

    We won't have the answers but we certainly care enough to help you find someone who does know the answer.

    Stick around...we are here for support.
  • Yes, that's what PM doctors do, they manage pain. They don't fix mechanical problems in the back, nor do they order large scale imaging that would diagnose serious problems... usually, not saying it never happens, but that's not usually their job.

    So, get thee to the orthopedic surgeon as ordered above. I do not have thoracic injury, but injury at L2, which is at the tail end of the spinal cord, and it will knock your socks off how much differently they treat it than lower back injuries, because if it starts really impinging on the cord it can be life threatening.

    But I can also tell you that for 2 1/2 years I've had a big ol' chunk of BONE impinging on my spinal cord and other than pain, which is generally managed, it's not any of the really bad things it COULD do, like make me unable to move my legs. So keep under the supervision of a very good spinal specialist, but don't panic. Impingement is not an emergency until it's an emergency ;)

    (under supervision means that unless the disk heals itself, which it can do, they'll have to monitor it, because nerve damage can be permanent. So prepare to have to be spending time at yet another doctor's office).
  • Hi Jay and Welcome! I am here to offer support! My heart breaks for you and your family! Chronic pain is horrible and it can rob you of your life if you let it,but DON'T let it! There IS an answer out there and it CAN be found!

    One idea came to mind ~ are you taking Cymbalta? It is classified as a antidepressant but in addition, it helps with pain!! I was prescribed it by my Pain Management doc and it really helps! Would you feel comfortable asking your PM about it?

    I whole heartedly agree re; finding a fellowship trained spine specialist!

    Hang in there! Please keep in touch, we are here to support you! Shari
  • I would consider going back on the lyrica again since it can help different kinds of pain like fibromyalgia. As for a narcotic, that may help. Low dose(5-10mg) hydrocodone or oxycodone 4 or 5 times a day may be all it takes to work wonders for your pain. Of course its probably hard to get a narcotic without any evidence of why there is pain. But thats why you have the freedom to see different doctors until one helps you. But IMO at least consider the lyrica.

    As others have said, see someone other than the doctor in the pain management clinic. Ive never got one single ounce of help from a pain clinic, and thats going back to since I had my first injury and operation at 14 years old. Keep in mind others have got help from their pain management doctor, so its always worth seeing one to see if you get any progress working with them.

    But I see you had 5 C2 facet blocks, did you get any help from them?

    What was your MRI and CT of, neck, head, etc., and who went over the results with you?

    Keep your head up.
  • Hey, a really big thanks for all the support. You have no idea what it means just to have hope that things will be better in the near future (somehow). Actually, I guess most of you on the site probably do know exactly what it means to have hope! It can make a big difference.

    You guys have given me so many more things to try and people to seek it to help me. I really appreciate that and am finally starting to feel optomistic about things again.

  • I just wanted to tell you that I feel sorry for what you're going through. Chronic pain is relentless and I can understand how it can take so much from a person. The best thing would be to try to figure out the cause so that you can regain control again. Unfortunately there are those who go years without a diagnosis and this happens a lot. At least you are being seen at a pain clinic which is really good because you don't have to deal with untreated pain while looking for answers. I hope the doctors find out what's going on so that you can get your life back in order. Til then, please don't give up on yourself. Some things will be out of your control, some things might change for you but you must keep on fighting. Take care
  • Hi Jay,

    The Pain Management specialist is only there to help you manage the pain, not find the source of the pain. Please do not give up and find another doctor that is willing to work with you to find the source.

    I am so sorry for what you and your family are going through. I can relate to the chronic pain, it not only affects the pain sufferer but the entire family as well.
    I am sending you a big gentle hug and remember, don't give up! You are not alone! >:D<
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
    But I will also tell you that its YOU that has to figure out how to deal with everything so that it is not spiraling totally out of control.

    Dealing with spinal problems, its so easy to give in and let the medical field try to handle your situation

    There is a partnership between your medical doctor (the one you feel most comfortable with ) and yourself.

    Understand, there is not one easy quick magic pill to make everything fine. Instead, its a lot of hard work and for the most part that work is on you.

    We are faced with two choices when it comes to situations like this. Give in, let the pain consume our lives, let the medical field just be able to provide temp fixes, OR, we can become the active person, the one who is going to stand up and NOT allow the pain to consume our lives.

    I understand pain, but I also realize just how important it is for US as individuals to take control
    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
  • We all have some aspect that we do not have as much control as we would like and the option is to find the things you can have some influence and hope to change over time, trying to change things that are rigid frustrates us all and you will gain some control once you identify what your options are.

    Learning to adapt to those unchangeable aspects is not easy, it take time, experience and understanding.

    Take care, many are here to help you.

  • Just an out of the square thinking here. You've mentioned dizzy spells, passing out, headaches, sensitivity to light. Maybe, just maybe it's not spinal related and I would in conjunction with the other specialists talks to someone regarding these symptoms.
    There can be many causes for the above symptoms some are mild some not so mild, but the above symptoms I would not ignore just because you had a car accident around the same time.
    Hope this helps
  • "Dealing with spinal problems, its so easy to give in and let the medical field try to handle your situation"

    So true with anything. But I think we all have found (myself much more recently than some here) that it just does not work that way. You have got to be a self advocate.

    Good luck out there.

  • All I can say is that on the verge of self harming with an all serious attempt to end the pain with no turning back i posted on message for the heck of it, i made a deal with myself. The people here responded in sincerity, even people who have been through so much worse and I would think don't give a darn about some 29 year old chick who is considering suicide. However, I was wrong, and I am always grateful, and try to be on here whenever I can and PM, post, or reply to anothers.

    please don't give up, you are worth too much to have made it through all of this and not keep going, we will support you!!!

    i miss
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