Hi there everyone,
I decided to try and get more serious about trying to find a way to improve my quality of life which has been severely reduced since my early 20's due to spinal issues resulting in chronic pain that i will describe in as much detail as I can below. This has been the root cause of my depression, anxiety, lethargy and hopelessness. In the past several years i have gone through phases of telling myself "ok, i'm going to be proactive about this and try to get answers" and then something will happen or i reach a dead end with a new doctor , lose my insurance etc and then i feel like i have to start all over again. I am hoping to meet others that may share similar experiences and stay vigilant. I just lost my job as a direct result of missing a week with a spasmodic episode which left me basically immobilized. Lost my insurance and am once again at a crossroads. Now the option of surgery has come up while unemployed. I have incredible support from my family and my care providers and don't want to lose momentum., but obviously want to exhaust every possible solution before going under the knife.
Ok so here is what i'm dealing with, straight from the most recent MRIs (dont know what most of this even means)
Multilevel severe endplate irregularities and wedge-shaped deformities of the vertebral bodies consistent with advanced Scheuermann's disease and increased thoracic kyphosis
Thoracic MRI june 2012: Advanced disc degenerative disease at nearly all vertebral levels with disc dessication, loss of heaight and Shmorl's nodes of vertebral endplates. Anterior wedging of midthoracic vertebral bodies T6, T7, and T8 with 20-25% loss of anterior height with "Scheurmann's like" exaggerated mid thoracic kyphosis with apex at T7 with Cobb angle of 32 degrees.
Multilevel thoracic spine degenerative disc disease, characterized by multiple Schmorl's nodes extending into the superior and inferior bodies of T5-T10 vertebral bodies, markedly advanced for age, with exaggerated mid thoracic kyphosis. most severely compresses the T9.
Lumbar MRI Feb 2012--
multiple schmorlls nodes involving the T12-L1, L1-2, L3 superior endplate, and L4 sup. endplate. Compatible with Scheuermann-like disease. Bone marrow edema pattern about the L2, L3 and L4 endplates. Grade 1 anterolistehesis of L5 on S1 with possible bilateral pars defects. Otherwise alignment unremarkable. Disc desiccation seen from the visualized lower thoracic spine to L3-L4 level. Small high T2 signals seen posteriorly at L1-2 L2-3, and L3-4 disks with annular fissures. The conus terminates at the L1-2 level. Normal in signal and contour.
L1-2 Mild disc bulge without sig. facet arthropathy
L2-L3 Mild disc bulge without sig. facet arthropathy
L3-L4 Mild disk bulge with minimal bilateral facet hypertrophy. Disk material encroaching into the inferior recess of the neural foramen bilaterally, causing mild bilateral neural foramina stenosis. no sig. central canal stenosis.
L4-L5 Moderate bilateral facet arthropathy with mild bilateral ligamentum flavum infolding, with moderate right neuroforamina narrowing.
L5-S1 mild disk uncovering with possible contact of the disk material and exiting L5 nerve roots, especially on the right. Probable mild bilateral facet hypertrophy
current meds -
amitryptaline 25mg at bedtime,
bupropion 150mg in morning,
oxycodone 10mg IR 2-3 times/day as needed,
Oxycodone (contin) 30mg 2x day.
Lidoderm patches as needed, and trying
been on relatively same dosage of opiod meds +/- 10-20mg/day for about 1 year now and am getting adequate relief (usually). thankfully not building too much of a tolerance.
Stuff i've tried in the past-
Have had 3 epidural cortisone injections , last one about 4 years ago i think. Physical therapy caused more pain, massage therapy helped a bit, but i can not afford those anymore either. Stuff i have tried and discontinued- neurontin, baclofen, remeron, nortriptaline, fentanyl 25mcg (worked well but fell off too early, def a better solution for the psycological benefits of not having to reach for a pill bottle as much.. just wish they actually stuck for 3 days!).. have tried many other antidepressants used as off label pain management but cant remember all.
My hope is that i can reduce or eliminate the need for opiates eventually. Right now they are a godsend, but I don't want to turn into someone that is lazy about looking for any "real" solutions just because a pain pill is available and an all-to-easy out. Really, they are chains- i have run out while away from home before and withdrawals+pain = HELL ON EARTH.
I look forward to getting to know you guys , and sorry for the lengthy post i just wanted to be thorough!