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Curious about other's opinions on Treatments.

hoopshhoops Posts: 4
edited 12/21/2013 - 12:42 PM in Lower Back Pain
My wife has back pain that started five or six years ago and progressively worsened to the point where she lives with severe pain 24/7. She's had Epidural Shots, PT and a Radiofrequency Neurotomy Procedure done. She started her journey by using Hydrocodone, kept progressively taking stronger pain meds and is now doing two 30 MG Morphine Sulfate every five to six hours. The morphine does help a little shortly after the tabs are taken, but it doesn't last that long.

To date, nothing has really worked and she won't consider talking to a doctor about surgery. However, after the Radiofrequency Neurotomy Procedure, that failed, her doctor is now trying a different approach. He wants her to start Aquatic Physical Therapy, Acupuncture, Psychiatric Treatment, and using a new, additional Antidepressant and that's why I started this thread. For those of you that are suffering from "SEVERE" chronic lower back pain and have been for quite awhile and have tried one or all of the three treatments, or others not mentioned, what were the results.

I ask this because I suffered just like she is now and I went through all the stuff she has except for the Aquatic Physical Therapy (I did do regular PT three times) and the Psychiatric Treatment. For me, none of it worked including surgery and I eventually ended up taking 600 MG of Avinza (time released morphine). A year after the surgery I started having a life again so I'm not sure if the surgery helped or it was my drive to do things (projects, etc) while in pain.

Anyhow, I curious what your feelings are about the three new things the doctor prescribed because I have very little faith in them working and if there's other things that have worked that my wife hasn't tried, I'd like to know about those..

Thank you.


  • edited 12/21/2013 - 4:06 PM
    I have gone through everything that your wife has and even tried aqua PT during the past 2 years. Additionally, I have had RF ablation on L3-S1 on the right and left side as well as the right SI joint. I also see a chiropractor regularly. All without relief from the pain. I do not take morphine, as I am allergic. I take Tramadol and Percocet, which do not eliminate the pain, but makes it tolerable. I have gradually become more and more limited in what activities that I can participate in, do to my pain. I haven't worked since August. I am scheduled for a discography on Monday to determine if my pain is coming from one of my discs. My orthopedic surgeon isn't convinced that I need surgery without me having this very painful procedure.
    My suggestion is for your wife try every avenue available and offered. I would also suggest that she find a hobby or activities that would keep her mind busy. Talking to a therapist is also good.
    I hope you find this helpful.
    Kerri in Arkansas
  • I feel bad for you because I've been there. Bummer.

    I hadn't heard of the discography before so thank you for that info. Please let me/us know how that goes. I'm curious how bad that will be.

    Your bringing up the reason you take Tramadol and Percocet gave me an idea. My wife is taking a form of morphine right now and it's not doing much. A year ago she took a 30 MG Avinza capsule and another time she tried a120 MG of Avinza capsule and neither really helped that much. Both times she tried them she got a little short-lived buzz and that was it. I think I'll bring that up with her doctor and discuss the idea of letting her try the Tramadol and Percocet.

    Lastly, because I've been through what you and my wife are going through, I am a believer in being proactive in attacking the problem.

    Anyhow, I guess the discography has already been done (just noticed that). I hope it went well and wasn't too painful.

    Thanks so much for your input. It gave me two new ideas.
  • http://www.spine-health.com/forum/pain/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-treatment-step-step

    The link that I included for you, was written by me to help those old and new to the treatment of chronic spine pain so that they understood the process to getting treatment. Some or all of the steps are usually taken depending on what the doctors believe is the cause of the pain. I didn't see where you stated what her findings were from any imaging tests or studies done?
    The morphine that you wife is taking ,is it short acting ( immediate release or as I suspect- long acting/extended release?)
    If it is short acting, then part of the problem may be that she is on a rather hefty dose of morphine, if she is taking 2-30 mg tablets every 5-6 hours , that is somewhere between 240-300 plus millgrams per day and that is far too much , too often.
    The big issue with using short acting/immediate release medications is that they kick in relatively quickly but wear off just as quickly, over the next 4- 8 hours , depending on the person's metabolism and this results in constant ups and downs in her blood plasma levels, which creates a yo yo effect of pain relief, and then none, then wait for the next dose to kick in.
    What kind of doctors has she seen regarding her condition? If she has not consulted with a board certified spine surgeon, it is well past time for her to do so. Just seeing a surgeon does not mean that she must have surgery, but if there is a mechanical issue, and it can be repaired, isn't that better than continuining on escalating pain medications that don't resolve the problem? If there is compression of the nerves, and the compression can be resolved and removed, then the pain may also disappear.
    If the pain is in fact from the nerves , then there are medications taht are far more effective than morphine to manage that, such as cymbalta, lyrica and gabapentin, for starters.
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 12/25/2013 - 1:55 AM
    Just a suggestion. I have severe thoracic pain for the past 8 years 24/7 through trauma. I have not had an operation. They put me on strong opiates which did not touch my pain until I combined them with a muscle relaxants. When I am in severe pain my muscles were spasming so much which made my pain worse. Long story but have now found it was a mechanical problem from the start and have found some help and a correct diagnosis after 8 years and $30,000 mostly of my own money, for every conceivable western and eastern medical option - numerous tests, no-one, including the supposed best specialists could work it out as it was not a textbook injury.

    When I thought I must be crazy I went to a psychologist who could not believe how much pain I was in. She was great for other stuff but could tell the pain wasn't caused by anything psychological. As I was not a textbook injury none of their normal testing worked on me. Most of the specialists were puzzled but could not solve the problem, they could not look outside the box for any answers. Thank God I have finally found someone who can give me some pain free time - she has saved my life.
  • Just curious - why won't your wife consider surgery if she has tried most everything else and is in 24x7 pain?
    Surgery is a very personal decision and has it's risks. Has anyone ever asked her about why no surgery? I am wondering because I was very fearful and anti-surgery. For me, when they thought I would lose bowel/bladder control, it was enough for me to go for the surgery - even with that I got several opinions and someone asked me how big or small my world was. That question was enough for me to realize my world had gotten really small - a walk to the mailbox was overwhelming let alone the thought of dinner with friends which was always a "tentative' commitment.

    I feel for you and glad you are both getting help because chronic pain is not easy to deal with by the person suffering OR the person living with the one suffering. Best wishes at helping her find relief.
  • Hi,
    I have been in pain since Sept. 2012 and went through all the injections and PT before opting for an L5 S1 fusion due to a collapsed L5 disc.
    I am now 3 months post op and still in a lot of pain, so I get where your wife is coming from.
    I read a lot about the surgery and figured it was my only relief...I wish I was right. I went 2 weeks ago for my 3 mos follow up and the fusion is healing nicely, but my pain is still pretty bad.
    I have been doing the aqua therapy for 5 weeks, and it feels good being weightless in the water, but the pain returns the minute I step out of the pool. I have not tried the land pt yet.

    Now my doctor thinks I have a "loose" SI joint causing the pain. I go on Thurs this week for another injection to help him diagnose if the pain is from that. I have to wonder if that hasn't been the problem all along and I could have avoided the fusion, but I'll never know that answer.

    My dr put me on Nucynta, an opioid, but I can actually work taking it. I sit at a computer most of my day and I am dying by the end of it, even on the Nucynta. The only thing it really does is give my that "happy" feeling but doesn't take away the pain. I feel for you and your wife, because I never knew pain like this before last year. I wish I could help, but it actually helps me to know that others are in this kind of pain without relief, sometimes I think it's only me.

    I would love to recommend surgery for her, but I don't think anyone can guarantee she will get relief from it. Good luck with helping her through this, it sounds like you are a supportive husband and that's very important!
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