I am new to this forum although I have read entries periodically over the past few years. I look forward to venting my problems with other people who share similar frustrations and I want to learn anything I can to get a leg up on the "battle" of managing chronic pain.
History -- I'll keep this as short as I can: In January 2005 I was doing benchpress by myself in a gym. After I took the weights off the rack, I had a brief moment of thinking lapse and I lifted my neck up to check to see where I was positioned on the bench. I immediately felt a sharp strain on my neck and an immense amount of pain. As this was happening, the weights fell on my chest and I didn't have the strength to lift them off with the injured neck, but I was also alone, so I literally put my "back into it" and arched, twisted and torqued my back to do whatever it took to keep the weights from crushing me. Now on top of the neck pain, my back was also injured. Ever since I have been battling chronic pain anywhere from my neck to my lower back and legs and everything inbetween.
I had 3 separate MRI's in the past 5 years. Cervical and Thoracic were fine, but Lumbar and Sacral discs showed mild to moderate herniation, annual tears and progresive DDD and slight stenosis in the L4/L5 and L5/S1 discs. However, NONE of these things appear to impact any nerves on the images. Surgical treatment options were limited to a spinal fusion, but no doctor in the Twin Cities that I met (some of the best) would perform a multi-disc fusion for me as they felt that it was too risky. By the way, I am 28 years old. So I've been struggling to find a way to cope with the pain to a tolerable level and I've tried just about everything possible that does not require surgery.
Here is the problem that is starting to really bother me: I CAN'T CONTROL MY PAIN OR REACTIONS TO PAIN IN A SAFE AN EFFECIVE MANNER. I have been very reluctant to go to a pain clinic for regular narcotic treatment because a.) I don't want to live like that if I can avoid it, b.) I straddle the gray area between coping and not coping, so regular narcotic use isn't always necessary. So to date I have been bouncing between my GP and my Orthopedist for periodic medication as needed (if I am lucky) when I "flare up" to the point where I absolutely cannot take it anymore, which happens anywhere from every two weeks to every 5 months. Lately it has been the former, and I know I can't keep relying on these types of physicians to administer these levels of narcotic drugs, plus both of them agree that PT and exercise will help more than anything (I tend to agree as well).
Unfortunately, I don't always have the benefit of receiving medictions as needed, so I frequently fall back on option 2 or 3, which is alcohol. I can drink half of the pain away without meds but I don't want to become an alcoholic and this is no way to live. I miss way too much time from work with back pain and I am mostly useless at home with the wife and baby after work, unless I have medication.
Long story short, I want to sustain a relatively normal life as best I can without endangering myself or others but I don't know how at this point, and what I am currently doing is a downward spiral to disaster.
Does anyone else have a situation like this? What do you find that works best? Someday I hope to be in top physical condition and have the option to effectively operate on my discs to fix the problem, but it will take time and I can't make it on will alone without hitting the bottle or conking out on sleep medication (OTC)!
Please help a fellow sufferer!!