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In pain and confusion

ouchithurtsoouchithurts Posts: 79
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Chronic Pain
I'm new but have been stalking this site for a while now. I was hoping someone had a similar issue and they can relate.
For a year now I have been having pain in my lower back. My GP sent me directly to a PM after seeing my xrays & MRI(placed me on vicoden & flexeril). First my PM said it was facet joint arthritis he also stated that my symptoms related to a herniated disc but the MRI didnt show it, so I had 3 injections in my facet joints...didn't help. I fell in my garage on my butt 3 weeks after my 3rd injection (xrays again, nothing broken). My pain of course got worse. During that time at every appointment he would ask me if I was still working, I was. Everything was going down hill fast as far as my pain & getting around. He decided to send me to PT for 5 weeks for aqua therapy & suggested I take time off work to rest, de-stress & attend therapy (I work nights & my husband agreed it would be good). PT TOTALLY made everything worse. I completed PT & went back for my follow up and advised my PM about my pain being worse (it's now going down my right leg and my right hip is on fire constantly. He made me an appt. to come back in a week for an epidural & said he didn't trust my MRI once again and said he may order a new one but didn't. First epidural down and still no relief, Epidural two down now and worse than before, PM stated he may order a discogram he still believes my discs are to blame. I go back next week for a follow up. I am still not working (3 months now) I cannot go shopping alone, driving any distance is not happening, housework is being done by my daughter (well, some of it) I cannot move somedays at all. My life is in the pitts! To top it off last night my left side started hurting as bad as my right side has all this time (down the leg, hip is extremely painful, cannnot bend down & pick anything up, cannot sit, stand or walk very long, knee pain, buttock pain) I am now on morphine, vicoden for breakthrough pain & flexeril. I can be always be found with an ice pack on any one of the above mentioned areas or with tens unit turned up as far as it will go (i have maxed it out) Sorry this is so lengthy but I am at my witts end and am willing to try anything new to get rid of my pain. I have never taken any pain meds before or had an tests; injections like i have had to experience in the past year. I hate them all but am willing to do anything to be able to walk and be pain free again. Has anyone here experienced this pain and constant craziness?


  • I also had a RFA for my facet joints that also did not work.
  • about getting an opinion from a spine fellowship trained orthopedic or neurosurgeon? Or two?

    You have tried most of the conservative approaches that most spine patients go through; maybe its time to rule out surgical intervention.

    Much luck, SG
  • I agree,you need to see someone else.Someone who will treat you as a serious urgent matter,not oh come back next week,we'll try this.
    I also think you need to get a new scan.An up to date one.
    All the best ,& keep letting us all know how you are doing.
    Here,you have people that comprehend what you are going through,so don't be a stranger.
  • Has anyone here experienced this pain and constant craziness? Yes, for a total of 4 years now since the first onset of pain. I am sorry that this has also affected your life. Wish there was a magic cure because I sure would have done it by now for sure. Not to discourage you. You might be one of the lucky ones who find relief one way or another. I have not. I am currently wanting off all medications after being on a slew of them for the last few years. I find that all I do is cry all the time and I think it is from being frustrated and mad not from being depressed. I am not suicidal or sad. I just am very emotional and cry at every thing all day long and can't stop. So it is the meds or because I am mad at not being "fixed" and getting worse. I want to know what it might be like to be without meds again. Maybe I won't handle the pain, but I want to try at least. So you see yes unfortunately I understand how you are feeling about right now. I hope things get better for you and by no means do I want to add to overwhelmed feelings. This site has been so helpful to me since I found it and I hope it helps you as well.
  • Thank you guys for your comments and advice. Bep, I really know what you mean about being emotional. I cry everyday esp. when hubby leaves for work and I am stuck at home. We both were working together on the same shift before I was "put out". There is so much I want to do and can't. I have always had the attitude that if I was sick I would rather take a day off work when I was well because I wanted to goof off; rather than calling out sick.
    My problem with going to another Dr is I am afraid I will get a doc that will leave me hanging with the pain and not care. I know this dr is giving me the run around but at least he is medicating me enough that I can try to get some relief. If I didn't have pain meds I would drive myself over a cliff. I also know that he needs to be more aggressive in "fixing" me. I think that I will be having that conversation with him next week and see how it goes. He is sympathetic to my pain at least, I have had drs in the past (giving birth) that were not and it was horrible. I will keep you updated on what's next.
  • I would be concerned about your leg giving out on you. You have weakness,or numbness in your leg(s)?

    I had numbness and pain and weakness in my leg after my back stated hurting and my family Dr. ordered an EMG/nerve test to see if it's caused by disc compression and the Neurologist does part of the test and lets you know if something's abnormal.

    It was an uncomfortable test and I have to go for another one May 30 before my Dr. will order another MRI on me. I hope you get some relief soon and see a Neurologist and Neurosurgeon or orthopedic Surgeon. It's good you have a good PM Dr. Keep us posted and glad you're not lurking anymore and vent away we're here to support you through this. 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
  • I have been there, and am still somewhat. Please be aware that there may not be a magic bullet for your situation.

    I encourage you to talk to your doctor about how you feel about your situation, both physically and emotionally. I do caution you to be diplomatic in how you approach your doctor. He may not be giving you the run around. Unfortunately, it seems that the medical community is not where we would hope as far as diagnosing or fixing back problems. It is hard to know what your doctor is thinking w/out talking with him. Some doctors know how frustrating fixing back problems can be and for one reason or another do not communicate their thoughts on the matter with the patient.

    My personal feelings on the matter, after dealing with this for years, is that most doctors are afraid to move too quickly and make a problem worse than it already is. After having a 2 level fusion and not getting much pain relief I have come to realize that living/dealing with chronic pain is a difficult personal journey. I can tell you that I am finally getting to a point of acceptance and moving on with my new life.

    I am not sure if I have communicated what I wanted to tell you, but it is difficult to get the idea into words. Which may also be what your doctor is experiencing. The best I can tell you, and I know how hard it is, is to try to be patient. Hopefully you will have a good outcome to your problem. You may unfortunately find that you are on a long, difficult journey. The path you are on may not be as clear as you want, but you can get thru this. Hang in there, and try to keep your spirits up. I know it is hard, and I am not trying to tell you that there is no answer to your problem, or to have no hope.

    I truly wish you the best. You have found a good place here at SH to get answers and support.

  • I am glad I finally started to talk about it and stopped lurking in the shadows. I am feeling the love already. I feel disconnected from the world most of the time. My husband is the only one I really talk to and I know I am driving him crazy. He's so supportive (he tells me to wake him up at any hour of the nite so he can get my ice packs instead of me walking up & down the stairs). I could go on and on about how good he is to me, but I am very hard headed and independent and it's killing me to let anyone do things for me. We normally are camping, riding bikes, & hiking this time of the year but can't because of my pain. I try to pretend that I'm fine but when I do too much the pain rears it's ugly head. I really need to vent & get it all out to realize life will never be the same. Hubby is constantly looking out for me & I have to learn to accept the help. I just hate what this is doing to him not just me. Sometimes I feel like if I just ignore it, it will go away..I'm finding out that will never work. Hopefully we will find a way to make it better. I just wish we knew what the problem really is.
  • I just wanted to mention something about what you said earlier about seeing a different doctor. You are currently seeing a pain management doctor, right? Well, that's all he's there for, is to help you manage your pain. Which actually brings something else up, to expect them to "fix" you is not a good expectation and will only lead you to great disappointment. Their purpose is to help manage your pain at a tolerable level so that you have some quality of life, hence "pain management". Having said that, it is perfectly okay to seek out another doctor who has the ability to "fix", which could be a neuro or ortho surgeon or even neurologist. While it is perfectly acceptable to see other doctors in that aspect (actually, I'm headed off to see my surgeon in a couple of hours, and then see my pm tomorrow), if you signed a contract with your pm, you probably can not accept medication from any others.

    As Norm said above, it might not be the case at all that your pm is giving you the run around, although it might seem so. The sad and unfortunate part about pain management is that it is all trial and error, and can take time to find what works for you. Your pm could have 10 patients that the same thing works for the same injury, but it won't work for you, and vice versa. I know it's so frustrating. But somehow, somewhere, we have to find the patience to keep with it, and keep the hope that he'll find that thing that will help bring your pain levels down to a point that you can bear. I also just wanted to mention an experience that I had as well. I've had the same injections in which one time they worked, another time, they didn't, same with the RFA. So don't give up on those either, it could be just that the stars weren't aligned with Mars, Saturn and the 3rd moon of Jupiter that day when it didn't work, or whatever reason it is that sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.

    Have you talked to your doctor about your emotions? It is quite normal to become depressed when dealing with chronic pain. If you talk it over with your doc, s/he might find it beneficial for you to start with an anti-depressant. You might not think you're depressed, but very well could be. Sometimes we don't see it in ourselves when it is so clear to others. And once we start to feel better emotionally, it is a little easier to deal with the pain, and there is no shame in getting that extra help. Trust me, I've been down that road, and it was long, but I am better off.

    Anyways, I'm glad that you did decide to jump in and join us. Hang in there, talk it over with your pm and gp, and maybe one of them can get you a referral to a surgeon or neurologist, who can better find out what's going on and give you a proper diagnosis and maybe even prognosis. Also, a lot of pain clinics also have pain psychologists on board, does yours? They can teach you some great coping tools and skills and are there to listen as well. Maybe "gently" remind your pm that he had mentioned the discogram and MRI at your next appointment. It could be very likely that he forgot, it happens, they do have a lot of patients, let alone all the ideas they are thinking about at the time to get you feeling better. Good luck, take care, and keep us posted!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • I had a great day yesterday. I had my follow up appt. with my dr and he suggested a new MRI, nerve test, & discogram; and he upped my pain meds. FINALLY! I'm getting somewhere! I am excited that maybe we can find the source of the pain and get it taken care of. My struggle has been going on for a year now and I didn't even have to ask the doc for more tests. He actually suggested we proceed more aggressively. I want my life back and I am finally on the right track. Wish me luck, even if we can't correct the problem completely at least I can get a complete diagnosis.
  • That's so great! I'm glad the doc came through for you. Good luck, and keep us posted on what comes out of it!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Yes I can definitely relate to what you are going through, I have been going through the same pain for almost 4 years and do believe I am going crazy!!!lol I have the severe back pain from DDD and right leg pain and now my leg buckles all the time. I have almost fell a few times luckily I was always next to someone or something to grab on to. I have been through everything PT, NSAIDS, Tens unit, epidurals and plenty of pain medication over the last 4 years. It can get very depressing not getting solutions I am finally to the point of surgery and will probably have to have it in the next few months. I know it's not easy but we are all going through something similar on this group. I am so glad I found it, it has helped to be able to talk to others going through the same thing. I know my husband must be totally sick of hearing about it, but it's hard to not talk about your pain when your life is filled with it. So it's helping to come here and relate to others then maybe I won't bug him as much.

    I cannot work either and am feeling pretty useless at home, my daughter is helping with the housework and I am paying her a little each week. She is 19 but Is still at home. It has helped to take the load off especially on my bad days. It sounds like your PM just mainly is there for your pain levels but for a fix you might want to try a orthopedic spine or Neurologist spine specialist. Most off us have more then one doctor but you can only get pain medication from one of them.

    I hope you find a solution soon, keep your chin up and remember to come to this forum it really helps to hang with other crazies!!! Lol =))
  • Very good Kelly, and nice of you to share the anti-depressant aspect as well.
  • your doctor maybe a lurker on here and recognized you. Glad you got some movement. I was going to a PM and he would only treat me for my cervical because that was all that was referred to him from my previous PCP. My new PCP is taking care of my pain management and seeing a physiatrist for cervical and lumbar issues. I have had foraminal injections at L4/L5 and L5/S1 with decent relief that lasts several months so far no relief with cervical injections.
    Don't be afraid to seek opinions from different Drs. The Ortho surgeon who sent me to physiatrist said he looks for a surgical solution so wanted to see if there was less invasive options for treatment first. Also have been on cymbalta for over a year it helps with nerve pain somewhat but definately with the mood that can come from all of this.
    Good luck to you.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • Today I went for my 2nd MRI. The tech propped my knees up with a pillow but it didn't seem to help. I lay there in severe pain for 45 minutes crying. I finally yelled out to ask for a break so I could move a little. He came in and told me I was done. THANK GOD!!! Anyone else that doesn't have back pain wouldn't understand and I was afraid the tech wouldn't but he told me he understood. I feel like a big baby. I came home and took my meds again. Sheesh what a mess. I want to quit hurting NOW! I'm so sick of it.
  • Did you ever try Medrol dose packs or prednisone. Those are the only thing that helps me when I am worse. All kinds of injections, triggerpoint, epidurals and facet joint ones just made me worse. Just thought I'd share this with you. Hugs.
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