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Newby - just registered

Hi- I'm 52 and have had chronic lower back pain for 14 years from 3 highly damaged discs (L3/4, L4/5 and L5S1) from a horse riding accident from when I was 16.

I am on Tridural, Tramadol, Cymbalta, Meloxicam, Esopremazole, and a sleeping pill and will start Gabapentin tomorrow. My family doctor who screens patients for back surgeons, and my pain doctor both think that I am will not be considered a candidate for surgery because multiple discs are involved and because of my age. I am finally seeing a surgeon in a week - have been waiting for 3 years to see him - because when I was first listed they didn't think I was a candidate - but my family doctor has been advocating for me.

My pain keeps getting more complex and worse, more crippling and limiting as the years go by. I've had all sorts of injections, and a recent MRI and discogram. Right now I am waiting for an epidural put into L4.5 to kick in - I had it a week ago and have been sick, sick sick in pain ever since with a new numbness at the base of my spine. I am due to go in in two weeks for two further nerve root blocks on either side of L4/5.

I am feeling so discouraged and down. Its so hard for people (friends, family, neighbors) to understand how wearing and exhausting it is to continuously be fighting to be positive and keep moving forward. Every step hurts, every moment hurts, and I feel so alone.

I used to be so strong and felt so alive.



  • and welcome to Spine Health. There is a ton of information though from your post I feel you need support from people that understand what its like to live in chronic pain. We do! Its hard to keep positive but you must find something that keeps you going and looking for answers and a way to relieve some of this pain. I am thand thinking you are not in the US so I dont really understand why its taking 3 years to be seen by a surgeon but I hope this surgeon will have some suggestions for you. Surgery is not always the answer but after exhausting everything else surgery can work to give you some sort of a normal life. I am a recent 3 level fusion L3-S1. Am I out of pain, NO! Is it different yes. I know my spine is stable, something it wasnt for 10 years. I now have SI joint issues and my neck is a mess...so surgery might fix an initial problem but adjacent issues can arise as well as being left with nerve issues. My point is that there is not one answer, its more about finding something that helps you find relief from the day to day pain....meds, exercise, PT, massage, accupuncture, whatever might work....DO IT! This site keeps me sane as veteran members and mods are amazing. The support I have found here has been what keeps me going sometimes. I have small children so I use them to motivate me to keep going...they deserve as normal of a life with a mom that at times vomits from pain! Crazy, but sometimes we just laugh about it and cuddle in my hospital bed....a single with me and 2 kids....this keeps me going and looking for answers....somedays I stop looking for the answers and just live my life the way it is....I have been dealt a really crappy deck of spine cards....it doesnt mean I can play to the end even if Im bluffing all along! Stick around, reach out to people here. You will be surprised how much you can learn, how helpful reading posts can be. You are strong, you are still alive and you can do this. Peace, Ellen
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
  • Hi Ellencali - thank you for your post, especially for telling me what life is like after your surgery. I know that surgery will not cure me and in fact all my doctors have been warning me that it could make my pain worse. My kids were little when my pain started and it was very hard for my youngest to adjust to me not being able to play with her like I had before.... but my kids are now grown up (one in college and one graduated from college) and they are such wonderful caring and supportive people. I used to feel guilty about them growing up with a mother always in pain but now I realize that I did all I could for them and they turned out great.

    I was feeling really down last night and though I still can't do much today my emotional self feels better. I do try to do everything I can from meditation to massage, to medicine and laughing - its just frustrating as I am sure you understand to always be limited by pain. My goal is to be able to do a minimum of exercise to get back into some kind of physical shape again - I can't even walk any distance right now. But perhaps this epidural will kick in and I can try something at the pool. I joke with a friend of mine that all I need is to be on vacation all the time - live in a resort and have someone else cook, clean and drive - I'd be fine!

    Thanks again for responding to my post. I do feel very alone at times - stuck in the house, so I appreciate you reaching out like you did.
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