I have been through two lumbar fusions now, anterior and posteriorly approaches, only to have more leg/foot pain from the surgeries added to my previous back pain. I have been offered additional surgery, but I'm not convinced additional surgery ("we can try...") won't do more harm than good as opposed to the way I was previously convinced of the need for my surgeries in the past. Being single, without any source of help or care to sustain me through another major surgery (and no income) and not living in an area of mass transit system is somewhat contributory to this decision as well. My pain management treatment has run the full range of the usual antiseizures meds for radiculitis, trials with Cymbalta, Lyrica, Topomax, Elavil, every muscle relaxer you can name (except benzo's like valium), every opioid except dilaudid and fentanyl, (I should mention I have also tried the NSAIDs that consistent have given me bleeding ulcer with every trial), and every series of injections known to pain management. Although I haven't "maxed" out on opioid dosages, my pain doctor doesn't feel comfortable with any further dose escalations as I am still driving, and I do have a relationship with him that I trust him on his decisions regarding medications. And yes, I have done tons of ice, heat, PT (more than my insurance covered) and accupuncture; the latter without detectable significant improved of pain. I can no longer afford massages. I've had counseling in the past to accept "coming to terms with my life with pain, and loss of my former identity and life", and I know this is required for SCS as well. I find I can only spend one-two hours on my feet without hitting those "8's & 9's" (negated if even 15 minutes of sitting precedes the standings). Needless to say, when you are single and without help, that one-two hours gets used up pretty quick with a load of laundry or doing dishwashing, let alone food shopping. So, its time to seek other options for either SCS or intrathecal pump.
I know this topic has come up before, but with limited responses in those threads I've searched so here I go hoping to get a larger reply pool:
1. For those with SCS, were you on a TENS unit first, and if so how did they compare? I have had a TENS unit in the past, but honestly the number of times per day I have been "shocked" (causing accidental outburst that are not my usual demeanor) despite covered control dials, along with the fact that it only seems to work when my pain is at the very lowest in the am makes it less useful. I can't honestly say I am thrilled about an internal version of this (which is my impression of what an SCS is") implanted in my spinal cord if it will only relieve a portion of leg pain given on my les than so-so results form TENS.
2. Did anyone out there have control of lumbar stabbing/burning back pain with the SCS as well leg & foot pain? Was it complete control of your pain or did you find yourself still supplementing with oral meds?
My doctor is very much against intrathecal pumps, although I have done some research on my own. It seems that many people with intrathecal pumps still have SCS's or still require supplementation with oral drugs.
3. Has anyone seem to do well with SCS trial, but once the permanent devise was implanted seemed not to do so well? If so, how may days was your trial? I have heard of trials from 3 days to 15 days.
4. Was anyone made worse by either permanent implantation of the SCS or the intrathecal pump or have regrets about having these? Anyone else have trouble finding a surgeon willing to do a intrathecal pump?
Thanks in advance to any who replies to this thread or pm me.