Hello there! I was on this site a few years ago and now I have returned for some fellowship in the back pain arena. I feel there isn't a real connection when I'm trying to tell people what I am experiencing and I know its because they have no clue what I'm talking about. I felt the need to come back here to get back a "community" feeling and for some help with the issues I'm facing.
Here's a little about me. I'm a 28 year old female and have had back pain for about 17 years. Yes, if you do the math, that would have made me 11. Its true. It wasn't until I was 17, 6 years later, that a doctor finally ordered an MRI. They were astonished as to what they found. 3 severe disc herniations at L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1. No one could believe it had gone so long undetected or that I had survived 6 brutal years without any treatment or medications.
Now, I have another herniation at T12-L1 but that one doesn't bother me...its all th lower herniations. I have had 5 MRI's, 2 discograms, 6 epidural steroid injections, countless cortizone injections, many hours of physical therapy and too much Percocet for any one's life time along with muscle relaxors and anti inflamatories. I have seen orthopedic surgeons and neuro surgeons. Some were honest and said they wouldn't touch my mess of a back for any amount of money, while others are trying to be more optimistic. I'm getting the sense that nothing is really going to help. I have heard from many soucres that people with 3 level fusions are not happy folks and I don't want to be one of them. A micro decompression seems to be the current term of choice for the doctors. Another issue is that I have sciatica pain to the right and a numb foot on the left. (It seems that I blew the disc out, a double herniation, once to the right and once to the left) Basically, I was told to pick which was worse and to focus on that. So, the 4 herniations, the nerve pain and the numbness are just the tip of it all. Stenosis, radiculapothy, and lots more of those fun terms are peppered throughout my back history. Its exhausting.
I feel pretty helpless at the moment. I'm never going to be "fixed" and I know that. I do understand this could be a million times worse but I feel depressed nonetheless. I go to my doctor Wednesday to hear the surgery verdict. I'm tired of a life of pain and not being able to do the things that I enjoy as much as I would like. I'm hoping being here will help some of the loneliness and despression ease off. Thanks for listening!
** Update - My surgeon is sending me to Georgetown University Hospital in DC for another opinion. We found via MRI today that my L4-5 disc has completely collapsed. The discs above and below this disc are bad but not collapsed. He feels my options are few at this point, if there is one at all. Feeling very miserable at the moment :-/