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PerseusPPerseus Posts: 17
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in New Member Introductions
My name is Melissa and I am 57 years old. I have had cervical and lumbar problems for years. I had a c5-6 fusion 2 years ago and an RF on my lumbar L4-5,L5-S1 in 1999. I am scheduled to have a posterior foraminotomy at C4-5 and C5-6 in December. We are also trying to see how to treat severe lumbar pain. I have had MRIs, x-rays and CT on cervical and not lumbar. The CT clarifies my problem which is boney buildup. I may see if a lumbar CT would be of benefit. About a month ago I went through epidural injections with some relief. At least I can now stand up straight but pain still a problem. I had a medial branch block last week as a diagnostic test for RA but had what they call negative results. I only had about 20% improvement so another RF was cancelled. Even though I have some nerve rootlet incroachment in lumbar per MRI, I don't have any neurological problems in lower extremities so surgeon is not recommending a decompression or fusion. I have taken Oxycontin for several years for chronic pain. I have also gone through years of PT, I have done accupuncture, massage therapy, TENS, and most everything. I see my surgeon next weeks to see what he will recommend next and I am very afraid that there are no more options for me and that I will just have to live with this horrible pain and inability to stand up straight. I cannot go through more PT, accupuncture, etc. I am also concerned about the cost and had hoped to have cervical and lumbar surgeries at the same time. I know that I am not alone. I am not sure which forum to comment in because of the cervical and lumbar issues but I feel as though I have run out of all options and that my situation is hopeless. That is why I am reaching out to others with similar experiences. HELP!


  • It's rough you have lumbar and c-spine issues also and sorry they won't help with your lumbar issues because of no nerve impingement in your legs.

    I don't think they would even do cervical and lumbar surgeries at once anyway. I have had a EMG/nerve test to see if sciatica or weakness is caused by lumbar issues. Not sure if you've had an EMG done yet?

    I also had flexion/extension x-rays to check for instability in my lumbar spine and not sure if you've had those yet for your lumbar spine?

    Do you take any nerve pain medications like Cymbalta, Lyrica or Neurontin, or Amitriptyline but there are others also?
    I take Cymbalta for lower back pain and leg sciatica and take Lyrica that helps with my neck pain. Cymbalta was recently approved for help with lower back pain by the FDA as well as for sciatica and depression.

    I use an infrared platinum heating pad for my back pain while I'm sitting down and get some relief with this.

    Aquatherapy with a Physical Therapist has helped my lower back pain also as it's a specialty heated pool and there are programs out there called arthritis aquafit.

    Please never give up for a Dr. that will help you with your lower back pain issues. You may want to post your cervical surgery in neck surgery forums and lumbar under another forum lower back pain to get more responses. We're here for you. Take care. Charry

    More articles from Spine Health-

    There's a lot of info if you do a search in blue box top of page eg. http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/spine-specialists/specific-questions-ask-your-spine-surgeon

    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 and welcome to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. so glad you dropped in! Charry has given you alot of good advice already! be sure and check out those forums for more input!! you certainly have a long road ahead of you!! i do hope you find an answer and get some pain relief! no matter how many surgeries you face, be sure and follow the doctor's orders to the letter..your recoveries will go so much more smoothly.. be sure and stop by during your recovery!! the forum can make a long day go by a lot faster.. keep us informed!! Jenny :)
  • Thank you for your comments and support. I have not had an EMG on my lumbar but have had MRIs and flexion extension xrays with "slight motion at L4-5 by 2mm on flexion which reduces on extension." The MRIs shows:

    Part of 1999 MRI shows:
    L4-5: broad based disc protrusion that narrows the thecal sac centrally to 5.3mm,and narrowing of the thecal sac on the left of midline by osteophytic ridging and facet arthropathy changes, and this is where my pain is greatest. Correlation with the patient's clinical smptomatology referable to the L4-5 level for central canal stenosis is suggested. Central and lateral canal setenosis is noted. Mild interior formaminal narrowing is noted bilaterally and ligamentum flavum hypertrophy and facet changes noted.
    L5-S1: right paracentral disc protrusion indents the anterior margins of the thecal sac. Contact with the right S1 nerve root sheath is noted.

    2011 MRI:
    Cl-5 & L5-S1: Shows the same issues with slight changes showing broadbased paracentral disc protrusion indenting the dural sac just above the right S1 root sleeve origin. The disc protrusion appears larger than prior 1999 MRI and it has moderate right lateral dural sac narrowing just above S1 root sleeve with possible rootlet encroachment.

    My doc says that I have a combination of low back pain and lumbar spinal stenosis with multilevel degeneration L4-5, L5-S1 with spinal stenosis. He discussed a decompression which my previous neurosurgeon had recommended, but my current doc says it is not the procedure of choice for my issues. So far I have had all imaging except CT on lumbar and wonder if the same boney encroachments I have throughout the cervical could also be part of the problem with my lumbar. Those only showed up on cervical CT and not on MRI so I wonder if lumbar CT would be of benefit? After all, it is the same spine so I would thing that the same arthritic boney changes would be throughout my entire spine.

    My surgeon was actually willing to do lumbar and cervical surgery at the same time, due to my insurance/financial limitations but I had hoped to have the lumbar resolved with an RA. I don't know if the next step is a discography or mylogram. My doc had mentioned those procedures a few weeks ago.

    Unfortunately I live in a rural area and water therapy requires a long drive which further complicates the pain and we also have NO physical therapists nearby. The world's best PT who had worked on me for over 10 years is over an hour away from me now. I also need a knee replacement and arthritis in my feet so PT is very challenging.

    Your support and information really helps but it is so hard to not feel depressed and still hopeless that the #1 plan failed. I hope I feel better and leave with some hope after my doctor appt when I find out if there are any options left or if I just have to learn to suck it up and accept being a hopeless, stooped over, disabled 57 year old. Sorry to be so pessimistic but that is why I have reached out to this forum for help.

  • hi!! please don't feel so bad about yourself right now!! i get the feeling you feel very hopeless and depressed.. i hope that being around others who feel as you do will help you to feel a little better.. you and i are very close in age and i just wanted you to know that you are not that old yet!! LOL!!! i know our physical condition makes us feel so bad sometimes, but please hold out hope!! take care of yourself!! Jenny :)
  • Thank you for caring. I am anxiously awaiting my appointment on Wednesday. Thanks again.
  • I wanted to thank everyone for your support and suggestions. I had my posterior cervical foraminotomy with decompression of C4-5 & C5-6 on 12/22 and before that I had extremely successful radial frequency on my lumbar with 95% improvement in pain. What a tremendous gift! Now I will try to find the appropriate forum for recovery. I am new at posting comments so please bear with me. I just wanted to thank everyone who reached out to try and help me. Happy Holidays!
  • edited by tam, spam
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