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In Pain going Insane Spinal Stenosis...Arthritis..Degenerative Disc Diease....someone help me out he

prayerewindpprayerewind Posts: 14
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:48 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
Hello,

I am looking for some answers and input on anyone that has been told they have at least on of these conditions. Here is my story,

I am now a 52 year old male ( always been a male...smiling ) and have had chronic back pain since I was in my late teens. I worked running heavy equipment in coal mining above ground strip mines for 6 years and spent 11 years working in a western Pennsylvania underground coal mine for 11 years. Due to buldging disc/protruded disc/ herinated disc ( depending on who would read my MRI scan at that time ) I have had off and on pain in my 20's to almost constant pain now. I have been off work for 10 years due to spinal stenosis/arthritis/degenerative Disc Diease, depending on what Dr. I asked that week. I have had nerve blocks, epidurals and many trigger point injections 0ver 250 single shots up to 30 at one time) in the past 25 years, especially in the last 10. I am treated at a pain clinic every 6 months with epidurals either in my cervical, thoractic or lumbar spine. I just seen a surgeon today hoping he could finally operate on my lower back due to 50 % leg pain and 50 % back pain. He refused until I have 90 % leg pain and 10 % back pain. Here is my last MRI report:
there is mild degenerative narrowing and desiccation of the disc at L-3-4 through L5- S1. Posterior bulging of the disc is present at these levels along with posterior endplate spur formation. The prominet left posterlateral buldging disc at L4-5. The prior degererative findings in 2008 is no longer idenified with a L4-L5 herniated disc. ( where id it go ? ) . There is mild narrowing of the neural foramina inferiorly at L3-4 and L4-5. L5-S1 there is degenerative there is degenerative hypertrophy of the facet joints in combination with DDD resuktibng in a mild degree of bilateral forminal narrowing. Degenerative posterior element hyperthrophy is present at L3-4 and L4-5. At L4-5 level there is triangular and circumferential narrowing of the thecal sac resulting form degenterative findings also monderate left lateral recess and right lateral recess narrowing noted at L4-5.

The best surgeon in the area told me today although I have hip pain that wakes me up every 4 hours at night,some left and mostly right leg pain al the way down to the bottom of my feet with burning hip pain at night or when I sit to long. Not to mention it takes two hands grabing to the side of the bed in the moring to drag myself up out of bed. I have had my feet just give out on me when standing in one position to long and if I have nothing to grab onto, I will go down to the ground. On top of this I have DDD throughout my cerviacl spine with buldged disc and a protruded disc at T1-C7. Throw in weekly migrane headaches with that mix.

My question is, is there anyone else out there that cant find a doctor to operate on them with any conditions the same as above. I was told today that a morphine pump placed in my spine may help and I decided not to go that route at this time.

Anyone that would like to share any sinmilar experiences with me would be appreaciated. Also any relief found in treatments would be great. Doctor told me today I have arthritis and even a spinal fusion would work for me. Please share your thoughts, looking forward to hearing from you !
Best Wishes,
Prayer E Wind
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Comments

  • Unfortunately, you will find many in your shoes. Many back problems are just not easily fixable through surgery- the spine is a complex system, and repairing degeneration while maintaining function is something the medical establishment is still working on.

    Many people assume that being told they are not a surgical candidate means that the doctor underestimates their pain. I think it's sad that more doctors aren't more blunt in saying "we aren't very good at fixing this."

    Have you had a few opinions? Sometimes what one doctor doesn't feel comfortable fixing, another doctor is. That's my situation- my former surgeon was not comfortable going in, while my current surgeon is not comfortable leaving it be. I'll be having surgery 3 week from today!



  • I'm in pretty much the same situation. I have multiple issues in my lower cervical and upper thoracic. They can even pinpoint alot of the pain coming from the same spot they operated on before.

    I have been told everything from do nothing to lets fuse 5 levels and see what happens. Unfortunately unless there is a specific thing that they can relate to the pain or numbness a reputable doctor won't operate. And even when they do sometimes the surgery makes you worse.

    Be happy that you have doctors who are being honest and realistic. Many aren't. Check out some of the posts about the pain pumps. They aren't a fix but many people seem to have very good results.
  • I am in a similar situation as you. I am not a candidate for surgery, until I cannot walk.

    At this point, it is just about pain control and that means for myself, learning about all kinds of ways to drop the stress, and therefore the pain. I also use meds, but they are down near the bottom of my daily use and action plan.

    I too have experienced this for almost 3 decades.

    Do read up here. There are good resources to explain how to help your situation.

  • Prayer, I've had some of your problems, declined surgery and decided on Prolotherapy. I've done very well with Prolo and doubt I'll be needing surgery.
    Before you get into surgery you might want to check this treatment method out, it's safe and natural.
    You can search youtube on "Prolotherapy Lecture" for more info. Then PM me for more links and info if you wish.
    Good Luck

  • Hi Prayer :wave:

    I am sorry for all you have been and are going through :(

    Hopefully this site will help you as it has me weed my way through this very confusing world we are now forced to live in. :)

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Thank you for my first reply. Good luck with your upcoming surgery. I wish you the best. Looks like you have really done your homework and found someone that can help.

    Best Wishes !
  • Thanks for your reply and support ! As you mentioned, my surgeon yesterday also remarked the day I can't walk anymore, if I get to that point, give him a call.
    Doctor did recommend having a spinal morphine pump placed into the spine, but for now I have declined.

    I was very fortunate over the summer with many good days and helped my son out with a lawn care business. I have found, probably like many others, the more active I stay, the better I feel. Then their are times when flare ups inter fear and thats were I have been most days for the last 3 months.

    I started seeing a Holistic Healer/Chiropractor and had great success with being able to help out with the stenosis in my cervical and thoractic.

    I have a brother that is 44 now.He complained about lower back pain and consent legpain for three six months seeing two differnt surgeons until he found the one I visited yesterday. I had such High Hopes he would be able to help me also. Hopefully this 3 month flare up will soon cease and I will be off to a much better 2011.

    Thanks for your reply and best wishes !
  • Thanks for your reply and your comment on pain pumps. My surgeon yesterday did mention a morphine pump may be helpful.

    Best Wishes !
  • Thanks for the information Prolotherapy. I will check out the linked.

    Best Wishes,
  • Thanks for your reply and support. Our situations sound familiar. I also have had three knee operations in last 6 years. I have found that the chicken comb injections with hydroloric acid have really help my knee's out. I get injections into each knee 1-2 year. I can go from not being able to walk up steps to being able to walk a mile with no knee pain. I also have been trying an over the counter produck called Baxyl. You can find in t some GNC stores.

    Best Wishes !
  • I'm taking hyaluronic acid orally now because it helps to produce collagen which is what the body produces in response to the Prolo injections.
    The more collagen that I can produce the better.:)
    I guess it helps, I have no way of knowing, but it does give me leg cramps at night so I take a lower dose.
    Taking Hyaluronic acid for joint pain is popular among middleaged weight lifters.

  • prayerewind said:
    Hello,

    I am looking for some answers and input on anyone that has been told they have at least on of these conditions. Here is my story,

    I am now a 52 year old male ( always been a male...smiling ) and have had chronic back pain since I was in my late teens. I worked running heavy equipment in coal mining above ground strip mines for 6 years and spent 11 years working in a western Pennsylvania underground coal mine for 11 years. Due to buldging disc/protruded disc/ herinated disc ( depending on who would read my MRI scan at that time ) I have had off and on pain in my 20's to almost constant pain now. I have been off work for 10 years due to spinal stenosis/arthritis/degenerative Disc Diease, depending on what Dr. I asked that week. I have had nerve blocks, epidurals and many trigger point injections 0ver 250 single shots up to 30 at one time) in the past 25 years, especially in the last 10. I am treated at a pain clinic every 6 months with epidurals either in my cervical, thoractic or lumbar spine. I just seen a surgeon today hoping he could finally operate on my lower back due to 50 % leg pain and 50 % back pain. He refused until I have 90 % leg pain and 10 % back pain. Here is my last MRI report:
    there is mild degenerative narrowing and desiccation of the disc at L-3-4 through L5- S1. Posterior bulging of the disc is present at these levels along with posterior endplate spur formation. The prominet left posterlateral buldging disc at L4-5. The prior degererative findings in 2008 is no longer idenified with a L4-L5 herniated disc. ( where id it go ? ) . There is mild narrowing of the neural foramina inferiorly at L3-4 and L4-5. L5-S1 there is degenerative there is degenerative hypertrophy of the facet joints in combination with DDD resuktibng in a mild degree of bilateral forminal narrowing. Degenerative posterior element hyperthrophy is present at L3-4 and L4-5. At L4-5 level there is triangular and circumferential narrowing of the thecal sac resulting form degenterative findings also monderate left lateral recess and right lateral recess narrowing noted at L4-5.

    The best surgeon in the area told me today although I have hip pain that wakes me up every 4 hours at night,some left and mostly right leg pain al the way down to the bottom of my feet with burning hip pain at night or when I sit to long. Not to mention it takes two hands grabing to the side of the bed in the moring to drag myself up out of bed. I have had my feet just give out on me when standing in one position to long and if I have nothing to grab onto, I will go down to the ground. On top of this I have DDD throughout my cerviacl spine with buldged disc and a protruded disc at T1-C7. Throw in weekly migrane headaches with that mix.

    My question is, is there anyone else out there that cant find a doctor to operate on them with any conditions the same as above. I was told today that a morphine pump placed in my spine may help and I decided not to go that route at this time.

    Anyone that would like to share any sinmilar experiences with me would be appreaciated. Also any relief found in treatments would be great. Doctor told me today I have arthritis and even a spinal fusion would work for me. Please share your thoughts, looking forward to hearing from you !

    Also looking for anyone else that has been told, although you have herniated disc and bulging disc in some areas, arthritis explained by my doctor is not able to be fixed by surgery, but spinal stenosis is. It was my understanding that DDD leads to stenosis and facet joint problems. Why is arthritis of the lumbar or cerviacl any differnt and can't be operated on unless you are unable to walk?

    Best Wishes,
    Prayer E Wind
  • Thanks for your reply. I live in Western Pennsylvania. Is Prolotherapy found in many locations. I did see where its preformed in Calafornia. I will need to do more research and see if I can find a local doctor that can preform it.

    Happy Thanksgiving !
  • Thanks for your reply. I live in Western Pennsylvania. Is Prolotherapy found in many locations. I did see where its preformed in Calafornia. I will need to do more research and see if I can find a local doctor that can preform it.

    Happy Thanksgiving !
  • Prayer, I sent you a PM with some info, a few of the sites list Doctors who use Prolotherapy.
  • Hi Prayer;

    Welcome to our community, but sorry you found your way here. If you're not confident with what this surgeon told you, it is a good idea to get a 2nd, even 3rd opinion on your situation.

    I have pretty much the same conditions as you, you can click on my name to see my history. The cervical surgery I had is a less invasive procedure than a fusion, and it did help with my symptoms in my neck. The 2 months prior to my surgery, I could not be in an upright position without experiencing extreme, piercing pain that travelled from my neck down to my fingertips, as well as numbness and tingling. I had an anterior cervical foraminotomy, you can google it to get details on it. Anyways, the surgeon cut out the protrusion and herniation of the two discs, shaved down the bone spurs I had, and removed part of one vertebrae. While I'm still in pain, it is so much less than what it was, and I'm so happy I had it done. Unfortunately, though, I will have to have a fusion at some point. One other thing I have done that I didn't see on your post, is radiofrequency ablation. It's a procedure that is injections, that send a radio frequency through the needle to burn the offending nerves. I've had it done on both sides of my neck, one worked fabulously, the other not so much. I'm having a similar procedure in a couple of weeks on the side that didn't work out, but instead of using radiofrequency, they use pulse wave (not too sure how that works, but will let you know in a couple of weeks!! lol)

    I wish you luck in finding the proper pain management plan for you. Here is a link that Ron, the site administrator has put together of all the different things we can do for pain management. He calls it "The Blend"

    http://www.spine-health.com/forum/spine-health-announcements/blend

    Good luck, welcome and take care!

    Kelly
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Thanks for the reply and info !
  • In regards to prolotherapy, I've been through several rounds of it also in the past. I was intrigued by the concept, but unfortunately it didn't help much for me. I live in the Central PA area (Harrisburg) & the procedures were covered under my BlueCross insurance. But a lot of insurances still don't cover prolo. And to be successful, you need to have several rounds of injections.

    Regards,
    Tom
  • Thanks for your reply. I have found a few local doctors with a 50 mile radius that to Prolotherapy. I also have PPO Blue cross, That would be great if my insurance covered it. I am still reading up on it and plan on calling a doctor next week to make a appointment to see if they can help.

    Best wishes
  • Thanks for your reply. I have found a few local doctors with a 50 mile radius that to Prolotherapy. I also have PPO Blue cross, That would be great if my insurance covered it. I am still reading up on it and plan on calling a doctor next week to make a appointment to see if they can help.

    Best wishes
  • namdoog55 said:
    In regards to prolotherapy, I've been through several rounds of it also in the past. I was intrigued by the concept, but unfortunately it didn't help much for me. I live in the Central PA area (Harrisburg) & the procedures were covered under my BlueCross insurance. But a lot of insurances still don't cover prolo. And to be successful, you need to have several rounds of injections.

    Regards,
    Tom
    Lucky you to have insurance cover it. I'm paying out of pocket. One word of caution is that Prolo does not work well if given at only a few locations(sites). For lumbar problems there needs to be about
    30 injection sites used, usually from the upper lumbar down to the bottom of sacrum and across the beltline. My avatar is a shot of my lumbar the day after a Prolo session.
    If ligaments are the problem and if the patient follows the simple recovery process and if the doctor is trained properly Prolo will work to strengthen your ligaments.
    My MRI showed a herniated disk pinching a nerve which was giving me leg pain but by tightening up the ligs the pressure came off of the nerve and my leg pain is all but gone now. It was hard for me to believe that Prolo would take the pressure off of the nerve at first but now I am a believer.



  • It's been years since I had prolo but I'm sure my back didn't look like that! It looks like you got attacked by a pack of wild hornets! Actually that did happen to me. Anyway I was under IV sedation for the injections so I didn't feel a thing.

    But I must admit prolo IS something to consider, especially if you've tried all the conventional treatments & modalities.
  • namdoog55 said:
    It looks like you got attacked by a pack of wild hornets!
    LOL!
    or a mosquito attack in the Burma jungle.

    After the first session I had quarter size bruises.
    Love this stuff!:)


  • EDITED

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    Post Edited by Moderator haglandc

  • Hi, just signed up because of this post. I'm 29 and was just diagnosed with spinal stenosis (lumbar) after a few years of on and off hip pain. About 9 months ago it got pissed off and now I have pain from lower back to ankle in my right leg, and after prolonged standing pain in my right hip. The causes are degenerative disk, arthritis, and bone spurs. I've been taking vicodin from my doctor for the past ~5 months at a rate of 2-3 a day. I know this may be controversial but I'm wondering if any of you have tried medicinal marijuana? I can't find any solid info on whether it helps or not in this situation? I can't afford procedures, and have been told surgery is my option twice now(my insurance is a crappy HSA,bad enough that my doctor told me he only is accepting me because my sister works for him). Medicinal marijuana has been passed here, and I'm curious if it might help as I know the effects of vicodin on the liver and don't want to add that to my problems. I'm not some pothead looking for an excuse, yes I smoked some in high school, but haven't touched any drugs since I was 19, and feel rather hypocritical as I went off on my wife for smoking it once 6 years ago. Does anyone have experience with this option?

    Sorry if I'm hijacking the thread, but this was the best place I could find where others have shared info!
  • I wrote before but forgot what I wrote but it wasn't published anyway. After going to over 40+ doctors in the last 17 years, my dr.has come up with a great combination of pills to take to get rid of pain. To start, your dr. should put you on neurontin which tricks your pain so you don't feel any pain. It works great. That in combination with percocet or oxycodone together will totally eliminate your pain. As for headaches, try topamax. It has to be taken daily but will get rid of the headaches. One other pill is Relpax but is expensive and only take if you have a really bad headache. My husband who suffers from low back back problems takes a pill called flexeril. For sleep, try limbatrol. I would discuss that with your dr. as well. My problem has been in my neck but using the above combination for the last 8 years has given me the ability to work every day and I have not had surgery. You need to find a good neurologist who knows about these different medications. As far as trying other routes, take it from me. I have searched everywhere and this is a winning combination which will allow you to work and feel great.
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