I've been to this forum off and on for the past 16 months. As I am about to attempt to go on Disability while watching my only child leave for college and my career and business crumble, (I've been the primary wage earner for years) & possibly my marriage not far behind, perhaps I will need to visit much more often. (I'm a 53 yr old woman just hitting menopause too. Yahoo!!)
On with my question. Like many on this forum, I have yet to get a straight answer from the medical community about what is actually wrong with me or how to improve it much less fix it. If anyone out there has had something close to my symptoms, I would be so grateful to know.
16 months ago, after a lifetime of no back problems ever, my dog yanked on the leash and I had sudden low back pain. It took a long time to find out, but I had a large, central herniation on my L5 disc that broke through the posterior longitudinal ligament. (Most herniations go left or right b/c of this ligament.) Symptoms after the acute phase that continue today are: Chronic low back ache that is exacerbated by sitting and standing accompanied by crippling muscle spasms that run predominantly up my right paraspinal muscles from my L5 area to my neck. The muscles deep in my shoulder blade are often the most painful. Muscle spasms are triggered by sitting, standing, walking and some other activities. I have been fortunate to not have suffered from sciatica, however I have yet to find any Dr, who can explain what exact nerves are irritated that cause the spasms.
I know that the spasms are originating from the L5 area because after 10 months of attempting tons of PT, steroid shots, acupuncture, osteopathy, high doses of magnesium, I opted for Microdiscectomy surgery. Went "out of network" on our insurance and spent a ton of $ to get one of NYC's top surgeons, had the procedure done at Hospital for Special Surgery. For the first 7 weeks after surgery the spasms disappeared completely. By week 7 they began to creep back in and within a month, were back with a vengeance. (Can anyone say "scar tissue"? Cuz my surgeon doesn't want to admit that's what it is.)
I have diligently continued with post op PT strengthening that has yielded absolutely no relief. Getting fit aerobically is nearly impossible as even low impact exercise triggers spasms. I cannot sit or stand, so work (which for me is entirely desk and computer) has become impossible. I struggled along for 16 months with the aid of narcotic painkillers which have recently begun to not only wear off but have started making me sick.
I've begun a leave of absence from my business with the hope that stopping the desk sitting and increasing the PT might finally help. I feel pretty bloody hopeless at this point and can't imagine a "speedy recovery" after all the let downs and lack of even slight improvement. My family is sick of my complaints and keep telling me "I worry too much" and need to "get positive". I understand their frustration, but I am gutted and demoralized.
Has anyone out there had a central herniation accompanied by a similar pattern of spasms??? I would be so grateful to find someone who has suffered with this and curious about what you have tried or answers you may have found.
Thank you all for your time and compassion.