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Physical & Mental pain

asignor908aasignor908 Posts: 339
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am a little over two weeks post op on my Laminectomy L-4 to S-1. I have pain in my right leg from but to foot (only left leg was a problem before surgery). Left leg was much better after surgery but it's making a come back as well.

I have severe PTSD and Anxiety disorder which have really started in and getting the better of me. I started freaking out telling myself the pain pill are making everything worse and I should quit taking them right away. I did try to back them down today but of course the pain has shout up.

I guess I am panicing in someways, I went through many feelings from I need to be in a hospital for the pain to I need to be in a hospital for my brain. I llok and feel like a mess now and I am paralyized with not being able to change anything due to my anxiety.

I have been suicidal before with my PTSD, but don't worry I'm not there, at least not yet. I'm not even sure why I am bothering you all with this stuff, this is not the kind of thing you are used to dealing with, but I thought I'g try anyhow, as I said I am freaking out. When I think of my options none of them look or sound good to me at this point.

Sorry for the intrustion of my craziness. It all just hurts a lot. Well thanks for listening and I hope and pray your situation is going better then mine is right now.


  • I don't have allot of advice to offer you at 3:30 in the morning lol, as I have trouble sleeping and just thought I'd check the board. I will be praying for you as i go back to bed now. I'm a 60 year young, Grandma, and had a double fusion in July, of which I'm still suffering from daily pain. I am learning to cope, better than in the beginning of my surgical recovery. You probably already have been told that you are "very" early in your recovery, and among other things you're having to deal with the depression and anxiety that comes along with this kind of surgery. Someone told me before my surgery that this kind of operation is not for the "weak", and now I know what they mean.
    There will most likely be allot of people responding to your post in a few hours, with some good advice. This is a great board for that, and most of us have gone through what you're going through. Like I said I will say a prayer for you, and hope you get some relief from the physical and mental pain your're dealing with. Also, try to keep up with your pain meds as best you can before the pain hits, and if you are seeing someone for the emotional part, be sure to keep all your appointments, especially until you're through the worse of this. Take care!!!
  • Hi Mindymork62 and thank you for the response. My depression and PTSD get the better of me and I start getting all worked up about what is the right thing for me to do for the physical and mental pain. While pain pills help the physical pain they always seem to have a price on the mental side. Some times I just want to give up because I feel like I can't take it anymore. I do try to pray daily to some degree. Mostly I'm very down on myself for being a useless waste of space and I think dieing would be better for me and everyone else. I don't really want to die, I want things to improve but I don't think they can. These last ten years have gotten harder and harder for me. Thanks for caring enough to drop me a post. I hope and pray I will figure something out soon.
    AL S
  • Hi Mindymork62 and thank you for the response. My depression and PTSD get the better of me and I start getting all worked up about what is the right thing for me to do for the physical and mental pain. While pain pills help the physical pain they always seem to have a price on the mental side. Some times I just want to give up because I feel like I can't take it anymore. I do try to pray daily to some degree. Mostly I'm very down on myself for being a useless waste of space and I think dieing would be better for me and everyone else. I don't really want to die, I want things to improve but I don't think they can. These last ten years have gotten harder and harder for me. Thanks for caring enough to drop me a post. I hope and pray I will figure something out soon.
    AL S
  • You're so early in your very painful recovery and hope you can think positive as it's when you're down like this you have to live 'one day at a time' and not think so far ahead in the future. Let your Surgeon know that you're feeling anxious as if you were on anti-anxiety meds before they could help you now. You're doing so well to have been through major surgery and you will get through this. Sending out a prayer and positive thoughts for you. Check in daily please. We really need to keep tabs on our spiney friends. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hi Charry

    Just checking in, sorry I am such a wimp, but right now I feel like my life is going to hell in a hand basket. I know this must seem rediculous, but it's how I feel and it's hard to battle lately. I do appreciate you guys caring, it does help. I will keep praying and trying to get through this mess.

    Thanks again for your post.
    Take care,

    AL S
  • Being in pain is isolating, frightening, and all consuming. It is no wonder that we all go through a period of anxiety and depression after spinal surgery.

    One of the best things is to talk about it. So posting it here on the forums is a starting point for dealing with your feelings and getting support. Its difficult to be mindful of what is happening today, that you are early in recovery and we usually feel worse before feeling better.

    But, as you realize, we are not qualified here to give you the help you know is needed. I hope you seek outside counselling.

    Best wishes,

  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    It is so early in your recovery and I agree it is "one day at a time". I would place a call to my physician and explain that the pain pills seem to be bringing on the anxiety.That right now skipping the pain meds is not a option. Your doctor should be able to help the anxiety you are having. As for feeling useless there are many members on this site that will be looking for advice and feedback from the same surgery you just had.You are now on the other side ( already had your surgery) and many others are waiting their turn for surgery and will have many questions that you will be able to answer. Hang in there and things will get better with time. I will say a prayer to give you the strength you need to see you through this.
  • I'm so sorry to hear about the problems you're having. Like it was already said, you're so early out from surgery, and major surgery at that, so you're bound to have the physical pain still. Recovery is such a long road, it can bring on things that some people don't even normally have like depression and anxiety.

    I also have anxiety, and have for many years, and after my surgeon changed my muscle relaxant to valium from flexiril, that seems to have helped. But with the depression, I'm assuming that you have a doc you've talked with about this and/or the PTSD since you've had it so long? Are you still seeing that person? Do you have any family members or friends that could come and stay with you for a few days to help get your spirits up?

    I'm just throwing a few things out there, but I certainly don't have any magic cure for depression or anything else. I know that medications work for many people and some find that with anti-depression meds, they oftentimes can go down on their pain medications as well.

    In any case, I'm thinking about you and am hoping that you find the right balance of things to get back on track. I understand that it's a difficult time and we'll be here to help you in any way that we can.

    Take care of yourself, Al.
  • If you wasn't having these thoughts I would be worried about you more.We all felt that way soon or later.
    Just hang in there. you be suprise how much you can handle.

  • It's unfortunate that you are not having an easier go of it with your recovery from surgery. Just wondering if you have kept a log of your day to day progress/symptoms. I found that during recovery when my mind fixates on "things aren't any better or they are getting worse", that being able to see even small improvements in function or pain or energy levels helps to clue my brain into the fact that I am getting better. Even small things like taking 2 minutes off my walk (same distance), more energy after a shower and breakfast, not quite as much pressure or sharp pain ... stuff like that is great in showing me that I am recovering.

    I don't know what you are doing during the day, but I also found it was so crucial for me to structure my day and stick to it. Even simple things like taking a shower and putting on fresh clothing every morning makes a huge mental difference for me. Forcing myself to eat a small healthy breakfast, drink plenty of water and set a schedule of rest/move around/rest seems to be important in the recovery battle.

    I measure what I can do instead of what I can't do.

    Of course discussing the issues with your doc is really important in all of this. My surgeon told me I would have flares, and I just had to ride them through. He also said that once I made it through the recovery I would forget a lot of the pain and feel much much better. He was right.

  • I was wondering how you are doing. How are you coping with the pain and the anxiety? Just to let you know I was thinking about you. I know i get so frustrated and anxious some times because I cannot do all that I used to do, including work. I had a really good government job up until December of 2009, and I won't be able to go back because of the lifting requirements. I did apply for Social Security Disability last April and was approved this past November.It's no where near to what I was paid in my government job, but it's better than nothing.I had to see one of Social Securities psychiatrist in September, and I didn't realize how much the surgery had affected me until she started asking me allot of questions about my mental state, and then I started breaking down and crying and couldn't stop. She just sat there and listened and offered a box of tissue. Then she said if I wanted to talk anytime, just give her a call and she won't charge me.I talk allot to my husband and daughter now, about how I feel and it seems to help, even if they don't have a "magical" answer. Just give us a post when ever you need to. We're here to listen.
  • I'm sorry you're experiencing so much pain and mental anguish.

    Could your pharmacist review your medications and perhaps suggest one or two changes in order to minimize the psychological side effects? Who else would be good at this? A neurologist? A psychiatrist? A pain managment specialist?

    Regarding the surgery, now that it's over - you will get better slowly one day at a time. I have an upcoming surgery and I think I will re-read these posts when I'm in MY throws of pain. A lot of great responses you got here! People really care about you.

    Besides for us, please reach out to your family and friends too even if you feel like you're a burdeon. They don't feel like you're a burdeon because they aren't in chronic pain with PTSD and post-surgery. They can handle you. You just can't handle yourself now and who could blame you? We're not meant to be alone at times like these. Please let people help you!

    And if you think 'you're not the kind of thing we are used to dealing with' then you're under-estimating the people on this forum and everyone's life experiences!

    Regarding your surgery, you only had a laminectomy? No discectomy or fusion?

    Thanks for checking in. I'll be looking for your responses!
  • I am sorry to hear what you have gone through and espcially your loss of the ability to work. That is such a major loss that so many people don't realize. I have had people say to me how lucky I am to have social security and not to have to work. I told them to count their blessings because the life I have now is not fun and I certainly don't make what I use to. I alrady had social security from military PTSD, anxiety and panic disorder. The back pain started getting worse about 8 years ago and 3 years ago I was on pain medication full time due to chronic pain. In August I had the ACDF surdery for upper spine and on December 14th I had the Liminectomy L-4 to S-1 to address the most severe pain in my lower back and legs. Now I am wondering if I did the righr thing as my pain was prinarily in my lower lafe back and left leg after I went home for two days I was taken back to the hospital by ambulance with horrible pain in my lower back and right leg to the foot. They treated it with steroids saying that they thought a nerve became inflamed. After three days i went home again, the unbearable pain wasgone, but now I have similar pain in my right leg to my ankle as I suffered with in the laft leg for so many years. I haven't been able to reduce pain medicine, in fact it was increased since coming home the second time and i am on more pain meds than i ever was. I also have a big fear they are goung to want to reduce the pain meds and I am afraid because I know I'm not ready, but here in Ohio doctors appear to be afraid to give pain meds for too long. So my quality of life has gone down more and sometimes I just don't feel i have the strength to keep trying. I know i shouldn't do this, but at times I do feel sorry for myself and i feel the good things in my life or in the past now. Sorry I sound so awful, but it's the way I feel almost all the time. I still keep praying for a solution and i thanks God for the blessings I do have because this could be worse if I had no income and was homeless. Well sorry I rambled on, I guess I wanted to talk to much. Thanks for sharing and i hope you will be doing better soon. God Bless you and your family and thank you, Al
    AL S
  • Hi and yes I only had a liminectomy as far as I know. I feel like i had something far worse, I don't know how to rate these surgeries. I had an ACDF on August 4, 2010 in my neck witha titanium plate and 6 screws and that seems to have healed fairly well although I don't know the status of the fusion. zthat surgery was primarily to protect my spinal cord which was in great jepordy where a small car accident or a fall could have left me crippled for life. My primary pain issues have been in the lower back and legs for a long time although my left arm had become numb and the arm and hand always felt like it was in a painful sleep mode. The ACDF surgery resolved the left arm problem immediately after surgery. I hope that answers the question. Thanks for the post, Al
    AL S
  • I'm so glad the ACDF surgery went well. Was your recovery smooth then?

    Did you get a diagnosis before this surgery? What's the surgeon's prognosis?

    Have you called the doctor's office to report your pain levels? {perhaps keep a pain log) Maybe they'll have some suggestions.

    Keep us posted (pardon the pun!)
  • im late to the thread, i was MIA or should i say MID (depression), I have PTSD which led to severe clinical depression.

    how are you doing today?

    have you thought about a few extra sessions with your therapist, or if not currently seeing one , to get one.

    i no my depression sure hinders my ability to sort out my spinal issues, not a good combo, as you need to be mentally fit to handle this

    youve had 2 surgeries not far apart, a lot going on, and also your prob grieving , or its brought up the losses for you at this time, its hard al and im sorry your going through this

    time can be a good healer, and try some distraction techniques , like funny , uplifting movies, music is good too, do something u enjoy, no matter how small

    come and vent here , when you feel the need too
    hang in there

  • I truly appreciate your post and caring how I am doing. I wish I couls say well, but unfortunately not so good. You hit the nail on the head, I suffer from PTSD, Major Depresive Disorder, Genralized Anxiety Disorder with Panic. Now on top of a few other health issues, this. I have been in chronic pain for about 10 years and started on pain medications about 3 years ago. Since the pain medications entered the picture my depression is worse and hits more often, but what do I do? The pain has been so bad in the last year or so I literally have no choice even though I know it's taken me down in other ways. I put my hopes in the surgery I just had, my pain was predominately in the lower back, left hip, and left leg down to my foot along with a neuropathy type pain in both legs since June of 2010. I take a nerve medicine that finally helped the nueropathy quite a bit but did nothing for the classic bck and leg pain. After surgery at first I thought my left leg was healed, but two days after coming home from the hospital I began having this unbearable pain in my right lower back, butt, and right leg to the ankle. The pain was unbelieveable, I could stand it even with my pain meds. After 24 hours I couldn't move without yelling out from the pain. They had to have an ambulance take me to the hospital and every small movement made me cry out. After I was finally in the hospital they started with IV pain meds which helped some and then IV steroids and after three days of that the pain was there but bearable with my pain meds. The steroids had a terrible affect on my PTSD and I thought I was going to end up in the mental ward but after a few more days it wore off. My right leg is still in pain and now my left one is joining in. I have a great deal of trouble walking, sitting, standing up or taking a shower, and getting out of bed is very hard. I am not getting better really although I feel they think i am or should be and blame some of this on my anxiety. It's not from anxiety. I also feel they want to start reducing the pain meds which really frightens me at this point. In many ways I can't look ahead and when I try to it looks grim. My wife works full time so she can't be here for me and I'm glad because this is bringing her down and I try hard to put on a good face whens she's at home, but she knows. I was already over weight from my PTSD and depression meds and I've put on more since the surgery although I'm really not eating that much, wife blames the steroids.Now to top all of it off in the last 48 hours my indew and middle finger of my left hand is acting up. Just the slightest bit of pressure on those fingers or griping something and I get an electrical type shock/pain in those fingers and it really zings me. My upper spine surgery in August cure my left are which was numb and dead feeling, but painfully so, I just pray that's not coming back as well. Well Flower, that's where I'm at, anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated, I'm lost at the moment. God Bless and thanks for writing, Al
    AL S
  • How was your experience in the hospital? I found mine left my PTSD a bit the worse for wear, just that feeling of being powerless and in pain and having people not listening to me.

    Do you have a therapist? You may have mentioned it. It might be time to give her/him a call and set up some appointments.
  • Yes the PTSD definately got worse in the hospital, and I do have a therapist that I see weekly and a psychiatrist that I see monthly. I will be seeing them both on Friday. I have been in treatment for Military PTSD since 1983 in private therapy and in VA therapy since 1999. I also was in a 7 week inpatient intensive PTSD treatment program in 2004. But they say that my PTSD is to severe and they can only due maintenace treatment to keep me stable. This is a rough ride for sure and the pain is not getting better.

    Thanks for writing and God Bless
    AL S
  • having to deal with this pain on top of having PTSD - I am finding myself starting to get depressed due to the lack of sleep, the bad weather which is keeping me inside and the pain that I had really thought would be getting better at almost 4 weeks after my fusion. My heart goes out to all of you and anyone who is struggling with other problems because it is hard enough to deal with just the surgical one in my world!
  • It is hard when you have compound issues which just seem to pile on each other making it all more difficult. I just am praying that this pain starts to decrease soon and I won't have to go through some other procedure, but it's clear to me I can't live like this.

    AL S
  • Hi there Al, sorry things are piling up on you right now. You sure sound like things are getting you down. I had a fusion on L5S1 about 13 months ago. It failed and now I'm looking at more surgery to fix it again. 13 months of not working is making me crazy! I know what you mean about your not being 'lucky' to be on Social Security. I'm not on SSDI, but long term disability. Same deal though, setting at home way too much ain't good for your head!

    Hey, probably ain't the same deal, but I know what it's like to have some wartime skeletons in the closet. Sitting around the house gives you a lot of time to think about 'em too eh? I am sorry that I haven't much in the way of helpful advice for you. All I have is a small understanding of how it can be and a prayer to offer for ya. But, if you want to, PM me a little about your PTSD situation. Or not. I know that for lots of us, it is often easier to not talk about the bad days. Sometimes though, it helps to just tell war stories to other GI's. Or just to reminisce about the good things about our service days.

    We lived through basic training and wars..and even though I feel like I could quit sometimes, I'll be damned if this back stuff is going to take me out!!

    Let me hear from ya
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364

    You are not alone, and there are a number of us who do understand and have gone through (or are in the process) of going through similar experiences and feelings to yours.

    My only words of ?wisdom? would be to stay plugged in to your medical/mental health providers, and stay plugged into social experiences of any and all beneficial nature.

    There is (as always) the spritual aspect of life and living - how ever and wherever you may find that as needed.

    We are hanging around here also ... so I hope that we can provide some degree of support and companionship.

    Warmest regards and hope for us all,

    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • You did have a lot to offer just by responding, when someone such as you responds to my post it helps me a great deal and it means a lot to me. That somebody cared enough to take the time to drop me a post. What you have to offer is valuble and it means something, at least to me as I'm sure it does to others.

    I'm in the same boat, been through alot in my life and theres been a few times this thing has come close to beating me, but I believe in God, my familiy gives me a great deal of encouragement and convinced me it would be selfish and hurt them to much, so I have to try for me and for them, not the least is because God says it's wrong.

    I don't talk about what happened giving me PTSD in the military, I have been in massive treatment at the VA for many years on a weekly basis and been in the psych ward more then once I am not proud to say. I even did a 7 week inpatient intensive PTSD program. The doctors say there's no cure for me, just weekly maintenance to try to keep me level and out of isolating and severe depression bouts.

    Please PM me if you want to, I'd love to chat with you, but I can't talk about what happened to me, but I can listen to you, or talk about anything else you'd like too.

    God Bless,
    AL S
  • Who has written to me. You guys on this this site have been a great spource of support and inspiration foe me since day one. God has always been my number support source, He never lets me down, but I know I have to do some of this for myself, and I certainly don't feel like I can do anything most of the time. Relying on pain pills has been the worst thing for me and now I'm afraid of being takedn off of them.

    I'm still in alot of pain and the pills help that but they take so much from me in exchange and then put you in a great trap for the help they give isn't free at all.

    Take care and God Bless
    AL S
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