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Hi there! I'm new and venting!

teketchtteketch Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi Everyone,

I am very new to the forum thing but thought I would give it a try since nowhere else do I find anyone that understands what I am going through. I am a 29yo female and have had back issues since I was 17yo and still to this day I have no difinitive answers as to why.

At 17, I had what we will call my first "incident". I was told by an urgent care dr that I had strained my back. I layed on the living room floor for four days until I could move again and went back to school thinking that was the end of my problems, but it was only the beginning. I enlisted in the military where I had constant low back pain which was ignored or seen as an excuse to get out of pt. (Physical training--not therapy.) I finally received an x-ray workup from a dr. I was told I had spodylolis and was supposed to be sent to Walter Reed for an MRI. Then came September 11th. Needless to say the MRI never came about.

During the next few years, I had several "incidents" where I would "throw my back out" and be bedridden for days. I became accustomed to them. When I was about 23 yo, I had another series of x-rays done in which I was told I had arthritis and a fractured tranverse process of the l5 vertebrae. I was also told at this time that I had spondylolisthesis. No one ever explained to me what this was and I didn't learn until a few years ago when my "incidents" became more frequent. Anyway, I was sent for an MRI and was told I had two bulging disks.(l5-s1, l4-l5) No treatment ever occurred at any time the first few years, besides medication and rest. This time I was sent to physical therapy that didn't do a bit of good. I went for several months and never saw any improvement in my pain.

After the pt, I moved and wasn't able to continue treatment. I was a single mother to 2 children by now and didn't have insurance or money to pursue treatment. Then, 5 years ago, I met my husband and we had a daughter shortly after we were married. During the last stages of pregnancy and after her birth I have severe sciatica which I attributed to her. Three months after she was born it was so bad that I couldn't walk. I had another "incident" and went to the ER by the urging of my husband. (Every other "incident", I was still partially mobile. I could still walk and go to the bathroom- this time I couldn't). The ER quickly told me there was nothing wrong with me, they couldn't do anything for me, and sent me home.

At this time, I had insurance and decided to pursue the issue. I made an appoinment with an orthopaedic surgeon who, again, did another set of x-rays. Nothing was determined so she sent me for another MRI. This time I had three bulging disks. (l3-l4, l4-l5, l5-s1). I still had severe sciatica and was given my first epidural steroid injection which helped the sciatica immensely!! It wore off at appx 5 months and I had another done which only last a matter of 4-5 weeks. Again, I moved and had no insurance, so the issue was dropped. I had lost a lot of weight and figured that was part of the problem.

As of April/May of this year I started having a lot more problems. Pain is constant and some days are worse than others. I have terrible sharp shooting pains in my lower spine region when I have an "incident" which used to be about once a year is about once a month. The last incident was 6 weeks ago. Before, there would be something to set it off. I could actually feel something happen in my spine and I would sit down somewhere before I knew I wouldn't be able to move. This time, there was nothing. THe pain is so bad somedays that I cannot walk, my husband has to help me off the couch, get in front of me like a human walker and hold me up while I shuffle my feet across the floor. In May, I had yet another MRI. same issues now l5-s1 is herniated. I finally got referred to the nuerosurgeon two weeks ago. Somebody finally beleived I had pain! The nuerosurgeon was not helpful....he stated that nothing I had would cause the pain I think I have. He is currently scheduling me to have a scoliosis work-up done and another injection but this time in my SI joint.

Today, I gathered all my previous medical records and have an appointment with another nuerosurgeon next wednesday for a second opinion.

I hope in coming here that I can find others who have had similar troubles so I know I am not the only one. Bless my husband as he listens to me and tries his best to understand, but ultimately he doesn't know how frustated I am. I am tired of living in pain with no answers. I can't even pick up my daughter or hug my children without pain. Hopefully, we get some answers soon.

Thanks for listening to my vent!!!




  • We all feel the need to vent from time to time, and this is a safe place, where people can understand. Let us know what happens with your 2nd opinion.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Thank you, Karen! I feel like I have found a place where people understand! I will definately post an update as soon as I know something.
  • Teketch:

    Wow, that all sounds familiar! I call mine "episodes", though. Bless your heart, and it's really tough with the kids!

    I don't wish to offend any lurkers who may be doctors or surgical nurses, but I want to relate my story as it's similar and with a good outcome (L4-S1 fusion 15 years ago).

    I think a lot of us have more problems because the health care workers have never experienced this, and it seems they (or many) attribute it to malingering, looking for drugs, etc. It's NOT helping to treat all patients this way, I wish they'd remember that lil Oath they took.

    I had a discectomy that was still causing me pain years ago. I was in "back school/PT" following and doing everything I was told. The massage therapist told the surgeon (who owned the PT clinic) that I had a lot of scar tissue. I think he was probably pretty knowledgeable, as he'd been the PT for the Russian gymnastic team in his youth. The surgeon said I was probably just trying to get free massages.

    I moved the following year, and still had my "episodes" as you are describing. I eventually had an MRI, the new ortho wanted to do basically exploratory surgery to see why I was having issues. My pre surgery visit was with his nurse practitoner though, who told me I was faking, looking for meds, and I'd get no sympathy from her for wasting their time basically.

    When I woke up, the first thing I saw was this nurse, and she was crying. She had assisted with the surgery, and apologized saying it was the worst she'd ever seen. The MRI didn't pick up the fragment in scar tissue that had nearly severed my sciatic nerve! It took quite a while to get "back", but I did.

    I think what I'm trying to tell you was best said by one of my own clinical instructors years ago. "Remember in law and medicine, that it is still referred to as the "practice". You know best what your body is telling you. So, rant away..if you have to, rant until they pay attention, too. If you're like me, I'm not writhing on the ground crying and screaming, but it still hurts!
  • I'm glad you haven't given up and keep looking for a Dr. to help you. This is a great place for support and hope you do get the help you need and best wishes with your next Neurosurgeon appointment on Wednesday.

    Do a search in the blue box at the top of the page for Questions to ask the Surgeon as there's some helpful questions on what to ask.

    Have you had a EMG/nerve test done yet about any sciatica or weakness you have in your legs yet? Or seen a Neurologist yet? Usually your Family Dr. would order the EMG and then the Neurologist does one part of the EMG and he lets you know the findings if the sciatica or weakness is caused by nerve impingement in your back. Best wishes. 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
  • So... I went to my new nuerosurgeon on Wednesday. I was a little leary that things were going to be the same as with the other nuerosurgeon, the PA seemed to be in a hurry and was very short. I thought "here we go again' but the doctor came in and was very nice and explained that he believes that the tear in my l5-s1 is the one causing me pain. He sent me to get an SI joint injection and another ESI today. I feel better but there is pain in my hip that I think it from the SI injection. I am pretty sure that it is from the injection site? but I am going to give it a couple days. It feels different than the pain I had and more achy? for a better term.

    Then within the next month but after two weeks from today he wants me to get some facet blocks to try to determine where the pain is exactly coming from. He doesn't want to do surgery because he thinks I am too young so hopefully his therapy works out. Once we find out if a nerve is causing the pain then we will burn the nerve. It sounds kinda scary. Anyone had this done???

    So on the up side we are going places. I feel like someone is finally listening. Dr said he would have liked to have had me as a patient from the start and says he will work with me as long as it takes. Made me feel good. He was very personable and joked with my husband and I! Doctor's like him are few and far between I think. Enough rambling for now! Thanks for listening!

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