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Hi all ...

quicksilverqquicksilver Posts: 126
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:51 AM in New Member Introductions
I'm just popping in to introduce myself. I'm 56 and have been experiencing increasing back pain for the last few years. Briefly, I have had burning, numbness, and a deep pain not only in my lower back, but also radiating into my buttocks. Just to make things interesting, the intensity and type of pain would change almost moment to moment (no rhyme or reason). The intensity would range from a 2|10 to a 6|10 with an average of 4|10.

In 2009 I talked with my GP about this and he had me go through a round of PT. At that time I declined any pain meds as I didn't want to risk any dependency issues. PT didn't really help so I just grinned and hung on for the rest of the year. Later in 2009 I did break down and ask for Vicodins. Then in early 2010 I went back to my GP and told him that my back was killing me. He gave me some more Vicodin, had me undergo an MRI, and go through a second round of PT. The Vicodins helped a bit with the pain, but not as much as I would have liked.

The MRI showed several minimal disk bulges and "minimal anterolisthesis". I took a copy of the report to the PT facility (same as the first time in 2009). They took one look and said, "Oh, back pain. We'll give you some stretches and exercises to perform." They didn't give the MRI results a second glance. You can guess that after a second dose of 'more of the same' my back didn't show any real improvement.

Finally I had had enough. Late last year I contacted a neurosurgeon's office for an appointment. However, my insurance company balked; I had to go a Physical Medicine physician first. That brings me to the present. I've seen the Physical Medicine doc and the first thing she did was to tell me that I have spondylysthesis. That was news to me. Nobody before had discussed my back in any meaningful way. Long story short, she set me up with PT at her facility (different from the first two, and sent me for an epidural.

The epidural eliminated the pain radiating into my bottom, but my lower spine began to hurt even more. I saw the Physical Medicine doc after the epidural and she gave me meloxicam 15mg. The meloxicam doesn't seem to help any but I haven't had a chence to get back to her about this yet.

After the epidural the Pain Medicine doc set me up to return tomorrow for an encore. In the meantime, the Physical Medicine doc decided that since the epi worked on some of the pain that perhaps I should get facet injections tomorrow instead of an epidural.

At this point, all I can do is wait and see how things shake out. Thanks for allowing me to tell my long-winded story. When it comes to back problems, it seems that there really are *no* quick versions of the whole story.

Michael
Disability retirement
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Comments

  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. we are very close in age and i realize some of the problems that come with aging and having pain! i do wish the epidural would have been alittle more effective for you! it sounds like you have a game plan and that is a good start.. have a look around and make yourself at home..we are always here to listen! good luck to you! Jenny :)
  • I had spondylolisthesis of L4/5 for which I had a fusion. I would ask to get more clarification on this and research it here on spine health. The usual course of treatment is fusion. Good to hear the epidural has helped you somewhat.

    Marianne
  • I'm back home from the facet injections. They don't seem to have done a whole lot for me. In a way, I'm not too surprised about that. Allow me to explain this. I haven't done a huge amount of research about back problems so I'm not up to speed on all of the different therapies available.

    When I had my epidural, the Pain doc explained that he was going to inject a local anesthetic mixed with a steroid. The goal (as I understood it) was for the steroid to reduce the pain and swelling. The anesthetic was there to limit the pain caused by the steroid itself.

    Today, the Pain doc told me that the facet injections were nothing more than a test. If I found immediate relief from the injection of local anesthetics then the next step would be to burn the nerves in my affected facets. Unfortunately, when he had me stand up after the procedure I found that the pain was only reduced a very small amount. He then told me that he was unable to provide any more relief for my back pain.

    I'm not terribly upset about this. I've been in pain since roughly late 2008. It would be too much to ask for an instant miracle to provide long term relief. I'll just have to keep plugging along with the stretches that my latest PT practitioners have given me.

    Thanks for your support.

    Michael
    Disability retirement
  • Michael, well, you got mixed news at your doctor appointment today but you sound ok with it! i like your mature attitude and outlook on things Michael.. you have a very upbeat spirit!! i wish you the best and am sorry the injections did not work.. they never worked for me neither.. LOL!!anyway, stay close to the forum for awhile and cheer yourself up! good luck again! i do hope you find some sort of effective pain relief.. have you tried long acting pain medications?? you might talk to your doctor about that.. i have found them to be a life saver as far as my pain goes! Jenny :)
  • Thanks again for your support. I am indeed relatively upbeat about all of this. I have had issues with depression years ago and have no desire to return to those days. I also have found that my faith helps me immeasurably when the pain gets too much.

    For the most part my pain is quite managable. While it can get intense it hasn't been incapacitating. The Vicodins that I take help dull the pain somewhat and right now that's all I can really hope for.

    Michael
    Disability retirement
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