Hi - I'm a 41 year old, tall, thin, marrried male and have had chronic lower back pain, stemming from a herniated L5-S1, spinal stenosis, spinal arthritis, DDD and root compression in my left leg (from the herniated disc) for 3 years. After numerous other treatment methods, such as injections, medication, PT & exercise, I finally gave in. I just underwent spinal surgery in December of 2012 (hemi-laminectomy and partial discectomy) and am still in recovery. Still out of work (sedentary job), as I cannot sit without being in pain VERY quickly. My office commute can be upwards of an hour (dependent upon traffic). Standing in one place hurts a lot too, especially if I'm not barefoot & standing on some foam pads - even then, he pain just creeps up & becomes unbearable. I also had knee arthroscopy last October.
I was advised by my surgeon that I'd be recovered in 2-3 weeks. It's now been 2 months. This is affecting my life drastically in so many ways.
- I have been in constant pain 24/7 for 3 years and continue to be.
- Family relationships/home-life have suffered greatly, as my dependency on others has worn their patience thin. As much as I try to communicate how much the pain affects my mood, positive thinking, memory and general ability to function…it does no good. I suppose it's like trying to describe to a male what childbirth feels like - though I've heard from other fellow lower back pain sufferers that their back pain is much more intense than their labor pains felt.
- The medication I am on keeps me from being able to remember basic things (e.g. - I will forget a topic of conversation, while right in the middle of the conversation). I am taking 150 mg of Lyrica (50 mg. in the AM and 100 mg. at bedtime) and 15 mg. of Diazapam/Valium (as a muscle relaxant, as well as anxiety).
- I am depressed and frustrated.
- I just want my life back before losing everything important (family, friends, work, etc.), due to this awful condition.
Other medication I have tried:
Neurontin/Gabapentin, Celebrex (I cannot tolerate other NSAIDs because of bleeding stomach issues), Oxycodone, Hydromorphone/Dilaudid, MethylPrednisone, Steriod Injections and several muscle relaxants that had no effect on me. I'm sure that I'm forgetting a few, as I've ingested more medication over the past three years than I thought imaginable.
The Lyrica seems to help a little, but SEVERELY impacts my cognitive abilities/memory.
Under my primary doctor's care, I am trying to ween myself off of the Valium VERY slowly (I was taking 17.5 mg per day & over the past 2 weeks have dropped to 15 mg.). I've been taking the high dose of Valium for years now & stopping suddenly can cause serious health issues (can be fatal).
I am currently doing aquatic physical therapy 3 times a week & think it's helping. Unfortunately, I am still in worse condition than I was prior to December's surgery.
Also meditating daily, eating organic foods, drinking smoothies every day (spinach, kale, carrots, celery, OJ, Pomegranate juice, yogurt, a banana, flax seeds, frozen blueberries/strawberries & organic protein powder) and am remaining as active as possible.
FWIW - I am an extremely tense individual by nature and have a LOT difficulty relaxing my body.
As alone and hopeless as I feel at times, I'm trying my best to remain positive and taking life one day at a time. It can be really, really tough though. I'd do anything to be pain free and to have my memory back.
Best to everyone,
L5-S1 herniation since 2010. Constant pain in lower back & sciatica in left leg. HemiLaminectomy & MicroDiscectomy performed in December of 2012. Taking recovery one day at a time and trying to remain as positive as possible!