My wife has had the chronic back pain since 1995. She had to stop work since 1997 and is now retired and on Medicare and Anthem Blue Cross Insurance.
In May 1996 she had L5-S1 discectomy to remove a small bulge and between 1997- 2010 up to nine injections (nerve blocks, epidural, facet blocks) all without significant relief.
In 2002 she began an odd pattern of having hurting pain one day and tightness (spasms?) the next day. The tightness runs from the anus area through the spine all the way to the neck and seems more harmful than the original pain. This changed only one time since, when she had two "good" days following an emergency room visit (break-through pain the meds didn't touch) where a very strong pain killer gave her two pain-free days without the tightness.
Beginning 2008 she began having flushed face, tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing and rapid heartbeat. In the last 6-8 months it seems the tightness is bothering her worse than the pain. She was being evaluated for a spinal cord stimulator, but that was delayed until she could get her anxiety under control. After all this time and without hope of extended relief she developed depression and anxiety . . . fearing the meds would stop working and leave her bedridden. Last year she was diagnosed with apnea and is now sleeping better with the CPAP machine.
She has also tried acupuncture, physical therapy, two different pain clinics (nerve blocks, meditation), anxiety treatment, TENS, various pain medications and muscle relaxers.
Has anyone in this forum experienced this type pain/ tightness type chronic back problem? If so, any tips to relieve the tightness? Her muscle relaxers and/or anxiety drugs are showing limited success. Thank you.