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What do you do when nothing seems to work?

melindammelinda Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
Hi, my name is Melinda and I am new to this whole concept of chat boards. I'm writing because I'm trying to research some issues regarding my husband.

My husband had L4-L5 disc replacement. They found that they couldn't get the artificial disc centered due to an overabundance of nerves in the area. He is now on several forms of morphine to fight the pain and it still doesn't take it away. Add to this that he has cluster headaches which are worse than migraines and he is miserable. We are checking into the neurostimulation therapy, but so far no surgery or injection has worked. He is terrified to try this as everything he has tried so far hasn't worked and has actually increased his pain. We also aren't sure how this stimulation therapy could affect his cluster headaches. He also has oestoarthritis in his sacroiliac joints.

He can't sit, stand nor walk for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Does anyone have an any ideas or know anyone we could ask? We have been to doctors in Fayetteville, AR and Tulsa, OK. Right now, he is seeing a pain specialist.



  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    It is good he is seeing a pain management doc.
    That has been the best doc for helping me.

    And of all the tests, the EMG was the most telling and also surprising to doc and gave him a new game plan.

    Most of the epidurals made me feel worse, even before I left the office, with pain and N&V.
    But a couple of them worked for the lower extremeties.

    It truly is trial and try again. And also never give up.

    I am never without pain, but the med take edge off and keep me out of ER..for the most part.

    Hopefully pain management doc will surprise you with answers and treatments he can try. Please keep us posted on he is doing.
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Hi. They also did artificial disc replacement on me on my l4l5 back in 2004 and they caused nerve damage to the nerve root,

    I am not sure if your husband is posibly having same issue as me or not,
    Did they ever mention that one of the nerves were compromised during surgery?
    Does he suffer with nerve pain going from the surgery area down to his legs? Or is it mostly just deep pain and stifnes in the lower back?

    Nerve pain is the most complicated to treat as i found out. My original dr who put the artificial disc in would never admit my pain was from nerve damage, But after seeing another dr he recomended we fuse the l4l5 leaving the artificial disc in because nobody will remove it because of the danger involved in removing it,

    The fusion realy did not help at all in the long run and if anything just made my situation worse, but during my fusion surgery that dr confirmed there was nerve damage there and it might heal or posibly never heal, its been 7 or more years now and i have the same nerve pain along with stress on other levels,

    Has you husband been put on any of the nerve medicarions such as lyrica or neurontin? These are some of the medications they usualy recomend for nerve pain because other pain medicarions dont do enough for the nerve pain,

    I had the nerve stimulater trial for pain control that you speak of but my trial did not help so never had it put in, Thats not to say that it wont help your husband because its posible it could help, it sometimes depends how the placement of the leads are put in to cover the pain,

    I myself is considering 1 last try with another scs trial with the newer flat leads they use now because i was told by my pain dr they can target the pain area beter,

    Some people think the lower back pain cant cause the head aches but thats false, the severe pain trigers all the nerves and stiffnes that goes along the pathway of the nerves and muscles travel all the way to the brain stem and cause head aches,

    Any time i had an injection where i had some short releif from pain in my lower back the head ache usualy subsides along with it,

    How long ago was his surgery? And which artificial disc did they use?
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Welcome to Spine-Health. I'm sorry to hear about everything you and your husband are going through. I've attached an article about neurostimulation therapy (SCS) that might help you both understand exactly what it involves and how it might help.


    I also hope you're reading some of the discussions in this area, other people's experiences with this type of devise and treatment.

    I hope this new treatment helps your husband.
  • Im sorry that you and your husband are having to deal with this much pain. This is a good resource to talk to others in similar situations. I also had the Flexicore ADR like Alex and have the constant nerve pain in rt leg . I don't have experience with fusions or SCS because frankly I'm to scared to make it work . If one day I do try it and find it successful I will probaly kick myself for not doing it earlier . I'm in Oklahoma , and just managed by meds , tens and activity regulation. Please feel free to Private Message any of us to talk (pm). Hope to see you soon , and btw, we know it's just as tough on family as it is on the patient . We are here for u too. :)
  • are still quite new in the usa. nerve damage also can happen just from being crushed. if there is no disc then it's bone on bone or maybe barely any disc left, so the nerves are affected in that way too....

    if they recommend a fusion maybe get 2 or 3 opinions. i was in the same sorts with the nerve pain it was insane. i had about 5 minutes to sit and well u see the rest. personally my l5-s1 was bone on bone and l4-5 was shredding fast, so i elected to have a double fusion. i fused but the surgery failed.

    i do have a spinal cord stimulator to fake my brain into thinking it's not pain. it took awhile for me to accept that the scs was it. i was sure unless i have nerve damage affecting something i will not have any more surgeries. however, i wish i would have done the scs sooner. even though it was cumbersome and an ordeal it was worth every second.

    i feel it's imperative to find an experienced neurosurgeon to do it. i have an advanced bionics model that is designed to get the back and leg with 2 leads. it allots me enough to be able to do....not 100% but along with lyrica and a duragesic patch i can plan a little better etc. if a doc tells u anything is 100% pls see another for a second opinion.

    i am in nc feel free to msg me if you like. i do have to add that it has been extremely difficult for my family esp my hubby with whom i am so grateful for. i can't work and am still very limited depending "what" i do. he has been amazing!!! it's not easy i know. pls don't get me wrong he's had some major frustration of course and rightfully so.

    welcome to the spiney site!!!
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