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getting past a rough patch

MackenzieMMackenzie Posts: 76
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Hi guys-
I am hoping a few of you can relate to what I need to talk to my pm about tomorrow. I have been having an awful 3 months despite trying very hard to work within my new limits. It's gotten to the point where I am worried about being able to keep my job.

I am a professor and my job has 3 parts: teaching which requires that I stand for 3 hours a day on a concrete slab floor, research in my lab which is pretty physical, and office work for which I have an ergonomic chair and a private office.

The walking between buildings is killing my lower back and the standing to teach is bringing me to my knees. I am worried about how much longer I'll be able to teach and I'm only 35.

My stim is doing what it's always done - cover ~60% of the nerve pain. That part I count among my blessings every day.

But the least movement now is causing such biomechanical pain that I dread having to buckle my son's seat belt, heaven forbid give him a bath.

I have recently added neck and thoracic pain to my list of complaints for which I was given 12 botox shots at my last appointment. These wore off this weekend having bought me about a month of some relief. Without the botox, the pain is burning from my shoulder blades to the base of my skull, the skin tender to the touch.

I was super proud of myself in February when I was able to just about cut my pain meds in half. But now, I dread having to ask to go back up a little so that I can keep working. For some reason it feels like asking to do this is being ungrateful for what relief the stim did bring.

I hope this makes some sense to someone. Were I ever to manage pain, limitations, apologies for plans canceled, and unpredictability for what I'll be able to tolerate on a daily basis, I'd be set.


  • Mack I give you alot of credit for all that you have done. To cut back meds and keep working is awesome. Teaching may seem easy but my father taught at the college I attended. I saw first hand how hard it was. And adding a baby to your life is enough to make a healthy person cry.

    From what you describe I think you should go back to your neurologist/orthopedist. Sounds like you have new cervical or upper thoracic problems. Have they done any tests on this area prior to the injections? You don't say anything specific which is why I ask.

    As far as classroom can you get a rubber mat to stand on? They work wonders and the school should be willing to provide this under ADA rules. Every little bit will help.
  • Doctors appreciate when you are straight with them in regards to how well or otherwise that their treatment recommendation is or is not working for you. It is not a sign of defeat or weakness to admit that work is getting to you at the moment. I think it actually takes more moxy to admit when it's dragging you down. Your SCS is only one tool in your pain management tool box. If it is helping you out in any way, then that's a plus. It takes patience to fine tune the rest of the mix

    I hope by now that you are having a bit better luck. Sorry I didn't see your post until this evening.

  • :H Hi Mack..Im so amazed at your determination in cutting your meds and returning to work..Its not easy to get off the meds once your on them..CONGRATULATIONS

    Speak with your Dr as you shouldnt have to work in pain and maybe further investigations are needed on your spine area..

    Im now having nerve burns and facet and SI injections and having the 15th tomorrow and YES it does help so maybe this is an option you could speak with your Dr about..

    I was 2nd in charge of the state I live in in Australia for a major bank, working around a 12 hour day but now I sit at home due to this horrible pain and surgerys and wonder what happended to my life as Im only young like yourself, me being 42..The positive side of this is if I was still working I would never have met my lovely finacee/hubby as work took up all my time..

    He knew from day one all my problems and continually supports me thru every procedure and Dr's visit, so sometimes GOOD DOES COME OUT OF PAIN..

    Let us know how you get on..

  • Earlier this year, I stressed my anchors that hold my leads in place. I was quite uncomfortable for several weeks. This was a hard lesson for me to learn. I've really pushed things hard this summer and am finding out that I have limitations. Has your Doctor done any diagnostics to rule out your stimulator as a root cause? I know its a pain, but if you need to bump your scripts up, do it. That's not being ungrateful.

  • I saw my pain mgmt. doc and she was quite sympathetic, and somewhat alarmed. She ordered a CT scan to see if anything has changed and bumped up my meds a bit.

    I am still having terrible pain with flexion (and the extension that follows). Sitting on hard surfaces is tear jerking, and standing is too. But we manage, right?

    In other news, our semester has gotten underway and as a professor of gross anatomy, I see a LOT of human variation. One of our individuals has a spinal cord stimulator (not sure what brand - we don't dissect hips and gluts for four more weeks, we just start with the back). I think one of the reasons I get to endure all of this is to share with first year med students what chronic pain can do to a person and how much spinal cord stimulation can help.

    Will keep you posted about the scan results-
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