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GETTING MY PERMANENT IMPLANT ON JAN 22-Still Wondering if I'm Making RIght Decision - Help!!

Hey Everyone. I'm new to this site and have been reading and re-reading everything I possibly can on spine stimulators. Had the trial and it helped tremendously with my leg pain. The only problem is, that my pain alternates between low back pain, buttock and hip pain and/or just plain leg pain. My history is that I've suffered with back pain for about 7 years now, had a small disectomy and fusion in 2010 which gave me 2 years of complete relief from back pain and left leg sciatica, and now as of 9 months ago, I'm back to severe back and both leg pain. I have spinal and foraminal stenosis and have spent 25 years in the medical field (orthopedic) just to see "failed back surgery syndrome" on a great number of people who have chosen to have the "bigger back surgery" with hardware implantation (screws, rods, and cages, including my late husband who had one 16 hour surgery and 3 revisions, only to still have severe back pain and end up getting addicted to pain pills and alcohol in an effort to reduce his pain). I've also gone through all of the regular pain management channels including pt, accupunture, various epidurals, ablations, burning of the nerves, etc., and there's nothing more they can do for me. I'm also on 90 mg of morphine sulfate a day, which basically helps my back pain a bit and does absolutely nothing for my leg pain. My life has been reduced to sitting all day long with my two dogs and either reading or watching tv and slowly walking them about a block twice a day in pain.

When I went to my spine surgeon throwing up my hands in despair and asking him for the surgery with the hardware implant out of desperation, he wanted me to lose 20 pounds (which I had gained when going through chemo when I got breast cancer in 2009) and he told me the loss of weight would give me a better result. He was even hesitant to operate because he said in his opinion,, with my 20 pound weight gain, that made me obese!! I told him it was a catch 22 because with my pain, I was unable to do any exercises and therefore couldn't lose the weight. Then he changed his mind and said he thought he could get me a good result. So I went and planned to have the surgery and when I told my pain management doctor, that's when he recommended I try the spine stimulator.

Sorry about this being so long, but I guess my question is, the doctor who is putting in the spine stimulator on Jan 22 said he will try and put the leads in higher so as to try to give me more relief of pain in the low back/buttock area. I;ve read on here that a lot of people say the spine stimulator does wonders for their leg pain but nothing for their back pain. I don't know if I should have the spine stimulator implanted now because on days when it's just my back or hips and buttocks that hurt, the pain is just as bad as the days when it's just the leg pain. I'm still going to have to be on pain medication for my back pain and I'm just not sure that this whole ordeal of having the spine stimulator implanted is even worth it.

I would appreciate any feedback anyone could give me. Thanks so much to all my co-sufferers!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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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
  • Please go back on this forum about 2 years or 1 1/2 Read ALL OF kathy journal (she may have spelled it Kavy.) Bless anyone who gets 100% relief from this. It's getting close and your getting nervous. Start preparing for after surgery.!!!!!!!!! Ive written tips as did Kathy. I have multiple pain sites upper and mid back from neck. It's tricky but better than before.
  • Thanks Terri. I really appreciated you responding as you're the only one who did. I wasn't really getting nervous as I've probably had approx 23 surgeries in my 55 years! lol. I'm concerned because I never got a second neurosurgery opinion or a second pain management opinion. For the last 6 months or so, it's been the leg pain, worse than the back. On Sunday though, my pain changed (which it does) and most of my horrific pain was in my upper lumbar spine L3/4. I know for a fact I'm not going to get back pain relief as I read a great deal of these posts. So, I've decided for now, until I can get a second opinion, to cancel the stimulator implant which was scheduled for 1/22. I just don't want to go through all of this just to have one pain diminished 60-70% while another pain exists at full force. I'll go and read Kavy's post if I can find it. Again, thanks so much. Joy
  • CascaCCasca Posts: 8
    edited 01/15/2014 - 12:55 AM
    Hi Wildfilee,

    A thank you from me to TerryP too, who was kind enough recently to point me in the same direction, and I found the journal to be a very detailed and helpful account. The lady who posted spelt her name 'kathyy', and posted in 2008. Best of luck making your decision.
  • RickilalasRRickilalas Posts: 559
    edited 01/15/2014 - 10:40 PM
    I put off my first SCS for over a year and now I wonder why I did that to myself.
    In most cases the implanted unit does a much better job then the trial. I already like your doctor because he says he can possibly place the leads higher and get you some low back.coverage. This was done for me. In the OR at implant time the paddle was placed at the sweet spot for regular.coverage and then they woke me up and turned it on and asked how the coverage was. It was only half way up my thigh. They put me back out and raised the paddle two vertebrae up. I have good coverage for my lower back and down my legs. Keep in mind they have these sweet spots to place leads for the best coverage but we are all different and sometimes it has to be placed different in another place to get the coverage we need. I strongly feel that lead placement is the biggest reason for success or failure.
    I did have a new and odd situation come up in that some.scar tissue was growing in my spinal canal.at a lower position causing pain in my left ankle and my SCS did reach it with the sensations but did not take.care of the pain. A few months ago I had a second unit implanted with the paddle around the L2 area and so far it has taken care of my ankle pain.
    Yes a hassle with two units but the major pain is being helped in a major way.
    I feel I will have a big part of my life back.
    Wish you well and hope it helps you out.

  • Kathy's surgery journal was much latter than 2008. I think it was late 2011-2012. Just keep in mind this is VERY DIFFERENT than your 23 other surgeries. You just need THE OPINION OF ONE good surgeon who can get it in and placed. It's different!!! The reps for the unit know who will get the job done. The technology has come so far, I hate to see you blow it off. It's a different mindset than corrective surgeries.....they ARE NOT fixing the spine. I hope you give it more thought but you have to do what is right for you. We never really know the exact outcome of this surgery, only that it can really HELP!
  • lisaco123llisaco123 Posts: 10
    edited 01/19/2014 - 11:21 AM
    Finally after suffering for 7 years with cervical pain and muscle knots from horrible spasms, I am getting my trial stimulator on 1/31/14. I have been through the mill; 4 surgeries, multiple injections, accupuncture, PT, facet ablation, different narcotics and now I am approved for a SCS. I pray I get some relief from the pain and stiffness and can lower my narcotics, stay in PT, and maybe even get a job.
    I am ready, body and soul. Maybe I can get my ROM and drive again. Maybe I will be able to sleep thru the night. Please join me in my prayers.
  • good luck on your surgery. Im cervical neck- muscle also. I sent you a PM. If you get a chance. You may want to review my post for surgery prep. That would be August 2013
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