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How much pain can one person have????

sadlammyssadlammy Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Chronic Pain
I am a spouse of someone in persistent pain and I am so tired of watching my poor husband suffer. It seems like there must be an answer somewhere but I just can't find it. We have been battling his low back pain since his 20's and he just turned 40. It has ruined us financially, put strain on relationships, robbed him of being able to do more active things with our son, and diminished his will to do anything.

It all started with a sneeze...he lived with the herniated discs for a few years and we blindly sought the help of pain management doctors. I say blindly not because I disagree with anybody taking meds, I think it is a personal journey and choice for everyone. However, regardless you must make an informed choice. In our youth, we didnt, we just trusted the docs to make choices for us and it resulted in a severe percoset/soma addicition. The docs at that time were telling him to take 15 advil per day to help the inflamation. He has had back surgery & epidurals which did nothing to help him...and possibly made it worse. Now, he is 5 years clean from opiates and has severe ulcerations down his esophogus, stomach, and intestines from the excessive advil. He cannot digest his food properly and runs to the bathroom with violent diahrea after every meal. He his left foot is freezing cold at all times, and he has constant muscle spasms down his leg, you can actually see the muscle throbbing ALL OF THE TIME. His low back is in constant pain and he has since developed cyst like tumors near the incision site on his back. From all the abuse to his body his teeth have not held up well and he has periodontitis which also causes him constant discomfort. He is also developing knobs on his joints indicative of arthritis. Despite all of this, he drags his broken body to work every day to support his family and works 10 hour days on his feet as a chef. He cannot focus on his job, he looks crippled, and he sobs for 1/2 hour everyday before he goes to work. He cannot take any opiates because of his past experience with pill addiction and he also is unable to take over the counter pain meds because of his sever ulcers. We use as much natural product as we can but his pain is so aggressive it doesn’t help.

He cannot do this for another 25 years and I fear he will not have the chance to try if he had to. I don't know what to do...where do we go from here? I would really love to hear a success story from anyone who has been where he is. Please help


  • Is his back considered stable? What I mean by that is, there is no more surgery that would correct his problems. If he's living with nerve damage, there are other prescriptions he can take besides opiates. In fact, the nerve medication (Neurontin, Lyrica, Cymbalta, Topamax, Savella) are much more effective on nerve pain than the opiates. If his spine is stabilized, there is also the option of a spinal cord stimulator (SCS) or if he's really at the end of his rope, an implanted pain pump. There are lots of options available.

    I have the muscle spasms and the pain in my legs 24/7 also. I have an SCS and I take Oxycodone for the pain. I'm unable to take the nerve drugs. I also take Baclofen (muscle relaxer) for the muscle spasms and cramps in my legs.

    Why not tell us more of what he's has had done and has done.

  • Oh Sad...Welcome to Spine-health and I am SOO sorry to hear what your Hubby and you have went through!

    I agree with Dave in that maybe, just maybe one of the inplants could help him!!

    I know that I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers and I am looking forward to hearing more your your journey thus far!!!
  • to spine health. So sorry to hear what you and your hubby are going through. Glad that you came here looking for help, the members here are full of knowlege and support. It would be great if you could let us know more about your husband's diagnosis and treatment thus far.
    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Hi sadlammy :wave: I am so so sorry for all your husband is suffering through.

    Please keep posting here and share all you can. This site is super great with sharing information, knowledge, resources and our own personal experiences.

    Please know we do care :hug:

    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.
  • I totally understand your husband's plight and hope you are able to find a way to help him manage his day to day life. Dave has some excellent suggestions. I too am opiate free after having been on large quantities for several years. I went through a detox program and now by choice I stay away from any narcotic pain medication. I use Neurontin, Celebrex (a Cox 2 inhibitor) and Baclofen for muscle spasms. I also have a spinal cord stimulator which does wonders for helping me to manage my pain.

    I also used acupuncture which was great for "bridging the gap" in pain management before I received my SCS.

    I hope you are able to find some information here that helps.

  • Hello,
    It is never easy watching someone else in pain and feeling unable to help them as you would like, I know that if my own wife could ease our collective plight she would do so and this has been a lifetime experience for her also.

    In commenting here shows you have empathy and words of encouragement for your husband and many here are in a similar situation to you, we would all want a supportive and encouraging partner who even without the pain itself help encourages and supports us to do our best every day. Pain is a team event and all those restriction that are familiar to us all are so poignant, you enable him to continue with you wise words and positive encouragement, caring for a pain patient is knowing when they need additional support and the right words to say for most occasions, any partner can be very influential in how that relationship develops.

    My own wife tells me when I need to up my game and when to rest, she is my guardian and has my welfare as a priority, giving to me, when in need at times herself, a thoughtful act.

    In reality none of us can make that pain go away, although we can be empathetic encouraging and know when to listen, this is not for some an innate skill and you have worked hard to be that supporter, a person we all deserve in times of hardship. I know that even though you comment of how difficult it is for your husband, you as many do here are taking a disproportionate amount of all the other addition responsibilities, shopping cleaning, cooking and all those other family roles.

    He can only do all those things you mention because you are supporting him and enabling things to continue normally even with the constant pain, that is not easy. Only time will tell if this level of capability is possible and many here are examples and what can be achieved with her right support, I and many continue to survive in challenging circumstance beyond what even we might expect and even with the knowledge that we have some idea of the future we are all progressing in our own special way.

    Has the doctor said he can take no medication; I take medication for taking medication also as many here do, tablets are only one aspect of the PM strategy and many other areas can be evaluated for improvement. You story is not unique and many here have a blueprint of all the things you mention, does your husband not want to take medication. Did the PM Doctor give you any other suggestions ?

    Taking medication is a long way from addiction and we many have all started out thinking we alone could manage without it, that is something we can only evaluate as individuals, here we are always looking for alternative and additional strategies.

    As a chronic pain patient of 20 years I thank you, and others like you for all your support.

    Take care John
  • I also agree with dave, more information would help us greatly understand what steps are being taken and considered. In addition to his other questions, is your hubby seeing a spine specialist currently? Is he seeing a spine specialist that part of a clinic that includes physios and PT?

    There are further alternatives that can possibly help you husband and if you'll give us some more information, we might be able to point you into a more pointed direction.

    Take care and I applaud you for hanging in there with him and reaching out to those of us who have been there and done that. You'll always find someone on this forum who can understand what your hubby is going through, as well as the toll it takes on you.

    Please keep up with this post so we can help you both get through this mess.

    Take care,
  • Thank you all for your kind words.

    To answer what the doctors have suggested...they always differ in opinion, but the gastrointerologist has told him no advil/ibrpropion, no milk, and today the doc said no gluten which is always fun. Due to the amount of medications he has taken it has simply destroyed his digestive system. The gastro doc said during the endoscopy that he had some of the worst ulcerations he'd ever seen all the way through his system, so we really do have to be careful about what he takes. Sadly, he has already been on neurotin, celebrex, and many others and they didnt help. He absolutely CANNOT take any opiates, he had to go through re-hab to get off of them and the addiction was worse than the pain I assure you. He does take tylenol on occaision but I urge all of you to be careful with that one as well, tylenol was not intended to take long-term I know someone who passed away from taking long-term tylenol. He has done accupuncture, hypnotism, counseling, physical therapy, traction, chiropractor, massage, yoga, meditation, tins unit (sp?), inversion table, walking, etc. He has taken almost everything I have ever heard of, tried epidurals w/& w/o the pain cocktail. Also, with regards to the extent of his injury...it the classic L4/5 & s1 nerve root, he had a discectomy where they snip the bulge, this did nothing but his other discs began to degenerate quicker as a result of the surgery so now his pain is broader.

    I think with his GI tract problems it is just overwhelming...it is one thing to be in pain, thats challenging enough, however to be in miserable pain with his back and also having cramping diahrea multiple times a day, that is just too much. Its like having the flu after a car accident if that makes sense. He is in so much pain that on occasion he vomits from the level of discomfort. If we could just work on eliminating one of the problems we could try to manage the others a little better.

    I think he would be open to new treatment but to answer some of your questions, no he is not fond of medication. It has nearly killed he and I both, in the middle of this I had a pulmonary embolism at 29 from birth control and it almost killed me and would have left him with a toddler to raise, in his condition. After all we've been through neither of us will just take anything without first researching extensively. However, if there were an established medication out there without a questionable history that bears no risk of dependency we'd be all over it:)

    I had not considered the SCS and I am not very educated on it, how does it work?
  • Hello and welcome. I am so happy you found this site.

    Dave and "C" has given you some excellent advice. A lot of people here have had wondeful results with the SCS.(spinal cord stimulator) They can target the painful area with the stimulator. Unfortunately it does not work for everyone, it did not work for me.

    I now have a pain pump which has saved my life!! Because the meds are pumped into the spine, doses are in micrograms, not milligrams and side effects are greatly reduced. The only thing you feel is a reduction in your pain. Baclofen can be mixed with the pain meds in the pump for the muscle spasams.

    I am so sorry you and your hubby have been forced to go through such an ordeal. Everyone on here knows what chronic pain is and our hearts go out to you. I know you will find help and support here.

    Dave is also correct, if you could tell us more about what all you have tried it would help us more in possibly helping you.

    Best to you. Sending you a hug coz you need one. >:D<

    Patsy W
  • Rather than me go into detail, here are some articles an animated video on Spinal Cord Stimulation.

    Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant Video
    How Spinal Cord Stimulation Works
    Spinal Cord Stimulation for Chronic Pain

    Once you have the opportunity to review the above video and articles, I suggest you peruse the Spinal Cord Stimulation topic area to get a more personal overview of the treatment. We would be more than happy to discuss the treatment with you and your husband. Just let any of us know how we can help.

  • stomach issues? I have had similar problems, and have had a procedure done twice now, where they wrap part of your stomach around your esophogus. They can do it lapriscopically now (sp) and it isn't too bad. It usually lasts about 10 years or so and it does a good job. Not sure if your husbands problems are stomach and esophogus, but it works very well for the esophogus and isn't too hard of a surgery. Might want to consider going to see a doctor that specializes in gastrointology. I also take prevacid twice a day for stomach ulcers and it works well. Might be worth checking into. I'm sorry about the rest of the mess, that is tough.. I commend you for coming here to find answers and support tho. I know many people do not have that kind of spouse, or any support at home. He is lucky to have you. Best wishes - Marion
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