Hello, and thank you for this site. I read the FAQ's and new member posts, so wanted to introduce myself properly.
first - this: "Anyone that comes close to a number 8 should be heading out to the ER." in the new member FAQ is priceless. I always have to explain "my scale" when a doctor asks me my pain level. I'll say 7, and they'll say well that's not bad. Yeah, well, if a 9 or 10 on a scale is supposed to mean I've already called 911, 8 is a "getting a ride to the ER", then 7 is pretty bad!
And to my intro: 42 y.o. male with 10 years as an Army 'leg'. I started to have back pain in the Army, and the doctors (of course) prescribed the typical "ranger candy" (800mg big orange Motrin pills). After several years of that, with increasing dosages and some a gram+ of aspirin for good measure, I blew 3 holes (ulcers) in my duodenum. I bled. A lot. I figured it was time to see a specialist and, after 1 doc I didn't like, found my savior.
Long story short(ish), I started with facet joint arthritis in my lumbar (L3/L4). This has progressed to arthritis in, basically, the entire L and SI joints. Throw in a random herniation to T7/T8, T12, L1 spread through the years, annular tear, narrowing of something-I-can't-remember-without-the-MRI-report, my whole lower back hates me. Occasionally the rest of it too. My pain management doctor and, now, my primary care have been absolutely amazing for me.
Past meds: all of the oxy/hydro morphone/codone combinations, but most make me sick. Tramadol, neurontin, elavil. 50mcg/hr Fentanyl trans-dermal patch.
Current meds: percocet 5/325 for BT, 25mcg/hr Fentanyl patch. (mirapex ER for RLS, prevacid for GERD)
Procedures: Multiple RFAs (radio frequency nerve ablation, or rhizotomy, or RF neurotomy, or whatever you want to call it). At first, it was just the L4/L5 RFA, then he had to go down in to the SI. Recently (1/18/12 and 2/2/12) I had the lumbar RFA for the 3rd time. I get about 9 months of relief from these. I don't even know how many nerve blocks I've had, but they were limited efficacy and very short in duration. My doctor only uses them for the occasional herniations now.
I've had such amazing luck with the physical symptoms of my pain. Unfortunately, I haven't sought emotional help for it. My docs are great, but they just don't know what the pain is like. They listen, and sympathize, but can't empathize. So, I'm reaching out for some support. I'm not depressed (pretty sure of this), but the pain is depressing. Does that make any sense? I'm also very fortunate that they work with me, make me feel a part of the team. I think that's why it has taken so long to reach out. Over the past 2 years, however, the herniations increased in frequency and the arthritis has started to affect other joints. So, here I am. Hi