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Disabled USMC Vet with Severe Pain and No Answers

As of September 2013, My husband, a USMC Veteran has been having severe problems with his service connected disability. We have been to several Surgeons (both ortho and nuero) , Physical Therapists, several doctors later we still have no answers.

His Symptoms:
Chronic Back Pain, Severe sciatica and numbness down the right leg, bladder and bowel problems, drop foot in right leg,
and loss of muscle tone and strength on the right.

His diagnosis via the VA and all doctors we have seen.
*Degenerative Disc Disease
*non allopathic lesions of pelvic region
*monoplegia of lower limb affecting dom. side
*GAF = 55
*fasset authropy (sp?)
*levo scoliosis (sp?)

The last MRI Findings:
Disc Desiccation loss of disc height. L4 L5 S1
Disc Bulge L5/S1 and L4/L5
Spinal canal / formina are patent

He has been out of work for 6 months, physical therapy only makes is worse, spinal injections work about 50% for about a week then fade away.

We don't know what to do or what the next step should be.
He is currently taking gabapentin, paxil, and tramadol
He is in constant pain and is very frustrated that we don't have a full diagnosis to explain his symptoms or a "fix" / program to help his symptoms.
in his own words "I want someone to tell me how to get better or tell me im screwed if im screwed. I just want an answer either way"

Please Help
Ashley M Butler


  • It's hard to think about someone/ a family that has given so much and getting jerked around. We're not medical people so can't tell you what a diagnosis would be, but, if PT makes it worse, and shots barely give any relief...what does that leave besides drugs? I guess that would be surgery. I know I've been told to call the doctor's office right away if I start to get bladder or bowel problems.

    Sorry I can't help with anything more definitive.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Thanks so much liz! I'm not looking for.formal advice we just need to try and figure out what to do next. Its hard for us to believe no one can explain whats going on. We just want to findsome people that can give us ideas of where to go next.
    Ashley M Butler
  • Please get him to the ER if that occurs. Has the VA sent him to a surgeon? At his next appointment let them know that conservative measures aren't working and he would like to be seen by a surgeon. You may have to be very direct to break through the VA protocol.
    Good luck and let us know how your husband is doing.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
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