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9 years of back pain-never been worse

Hello. I have tried many numerous ways to try and heal the back problem I have. It started 9 years ago with a blown disc (l4-L5) that I was told pierced the nerve. I believe my first mistake was not taking faster action on it. I went to hospital as the pain was nothing like I've experienced before. I have had broken bones and such. They put me to sleep and told me what happened. Jump to March 2010 and that was my first surgery. The surgeon needed to remove the disc that was hitting the nerve which turns out was doing so for a few years. Most of my pain is in the right leg on the front of my thigh, which is the L3-L4 nerve root. I did not get better, had a second surgery March 2011. I did not see any improvement. To avoid another surgery, I had 2 spinal injections. I still did not improve at all, had a few more MRI's and a CT Scan, was told disc hitting nerve, L3 -L4 disc blown, L2-L3 disc blown, need surgery. I went to the best surgeon I could find, who actually was a surgeon to high profile celebrities, he operated in May 2012. Same procedure. The surgeon had me complete another CT scan 6 months after that surgery and he said it was successful, the nerve is clear but badly damaged. It will take a few years to heal. I have tried Gabapentin, Nuerontin (which I believe is the same), steroids, lyrica, anti-depressants, percecet, vicodin, anti-inflammatory medicine all through this whole ordeal to try and find a way to live with this unbelievable burning pain in my leg. I have also tried physical therapy three times. I was passed on to a hip specialist, who currently has me in PT. The pain has worsened and I am out of people talk to. I have spoken to my family doctor numerous times, who claims he is unable to help. My surgeon insists I finish PT even though the pain is increasing. The only thing that ever helps is Vicodin. I have taken it on and off for 9 years, have been careful not to abuse it hearing so many horror stories about addiction. Currently I have stopped taking it after completing 2 months of prescriptions. I do not withdrawl, but the pain is unbearable. I have a wife, 2 small boys, and a very stressful job, and a life that is quickly slipping away from me because I don't have the motivation anymore. I don't want to do anything but lie down. Currently I take a lot of advil and tylonel which worries me, stomach problems next?
My last MRI shows a hamstring tear. (I have been limping for the last 6 months which is new.) The dr. said everyone has a tear in their hamstring. Is this true? My CT scan shows many things which appear to be causing problems, but my dr. said not to go by what I read. It makes no sense to me. I am very broke from paying everyone, and am out of time and patience. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this? I feel my life has been stolen from me and I have nowhere to go.
Thank you for your time.


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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    You do need to finish the PT. Even if it hurts to an extent. Physical Therapy is such a valuable tool in overall pain management. But I will also be the first to say that there is a limit to how far PT should go on a patient.

    The Neurontin / Lyrica are the two major medications designed to deal with nerve pain. Pain medication doesnt help with this nerve pain, but it may just make you feel over all more comfortable.

    Once you have some problems and are favoring it, limping somewhat, etc, you will start to impact other parts of your body.
    Nothing goes un-noticed. I am not sure about the statement that everyone has a tear in their hamstring muscle, but I am not a doctor, so I cant make a medical call on that.

    I do know that for any spinal patient, especially lumbar ones, it is very important to keep your leg muscles loose. The first that go is the hamstring. And that start to pull tightly, so it could through your hips out of alignment. Laying on a table, a physical therapist could see if one leg is longer than the other.. Thats one sign of hip out of alignment. There are also other clinical tests that therapists can do to see if your hips need some work.

    As far as pain relief, thats something you need to discuss with your doctor. Be upfront and tell them how uncomfortable you are and if they have any suggestions that might help. Some of those suggestions may not be narcotic pain medication.
    The last thing you want to do is tell your doctor you want some pain medications, that raises the red flag.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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