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2 surgeries, numerous injections and still pain, dependent on oxy

I am not exactly new, but have not been here in almost 3 years. I was an EMT in a very active system and always on the go/in shape. In 2009 I while moving a pt I lifted and twisted at the same time. Had a laminectomy and did work hardening training until the insurance company said I was too much a risk to work on the truck. I tried working in the billing dept for a couple of yrs but I had severe tailbone pain from sitting all day. I ended up being talked into a fusion, after all, L5 and S1 were bone on bone. The fusion helped my leg pain and numbness but only made my back pain chronic. I am now on disability. I am taking oxycodone 15mg 3-4 times daily for pain. Since my fusion in 2011 I have gained 50+ lbs and have been going to PT for back and women's pelvic therapy 2 x a week. It has helped some, but I just don't know how to live with daily pain and it is making me very depressed. I have two kids 11 and 13 and I want to be able to everything I used to with them. It breaks my heart. Do I exercise and try to push thru the pain? Do I rest? How do I cope and is there any hope of getting back to normal? Thanks!


  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 03/05/2014 - 6:35 PM
    Part of any chronic spine pain is yes, having to learn to push through the pain to some extent, otherwise, we tend to loose muscle mass, strength, endurance. The use of pain medication should be kept to the lowest possible doses, for as long as humanly possible. While using narcotics is not necessarily a bad thing , it can easily lead to a reliance in the medications to manage even the slightest twinges over time.
    When was the last time that you consulted with a spine surgeon to see what the status is of the fusion process and the overall condition of your spine at this time?
    Weight control is one area where we really need to keep our weights down , since the additional weight only serves to aggravate an already weakened area of your body.....so regular amounts of walking and excercise help to improve our strength overall and endurance.
    There is a link below my post to the Step by Step Guide to getting Chronic Spine Pain treated......it is a good reference for new members to learn about the process in getting back pain treated.
  • what I am going to tell you is from my own personal experience .I too have to take oxycontin and oxynorm. .oxynorm is the fast acting one .I need 3 x 80 mg of oxycontin and 6 x 20 mg oxycontin a day .i have had 3 major spinal operations and for me there is no working through the pain as pain will stop me .my sleep has been disturbed for the last ten years i only get two hours and i can't even wear long pants as anything on my lower legs feels like its burning . it was 2 years since my last spinal that was a fusion ALIF and it was an evil operation and i am now left with other complications from it .i still need the oxycontin and will do for a very long time ...probably life long there is a lot that i can't do any more .you have to ask yourself do you still need your pain killers or are you just taking them out of habit ..are you still in pain ..do you wake in pain /does pain stop you doing things like going food shopping ?? if you can manage to live without your pain killers almost pain free than you may no longer require your pain killers BUT don't just stop taking them or you will go to hell and back with withdrawals ..please seek professional medical help but only of you know yourself that you don't need them any more ..good luck
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • mcjimjammmcjimjam Posts: 307
    edited 03/06/2014 - 8:22 PM
    Are you being treated at a multidisciplinary pain clinic? If not, talk to your family doctor about whether that might be a good move. They can offer a lot of specialized knowledge on different ways to manage chronic pain. They can review your meds and make sure they are providing you with the best relief possible, with the least side-effects.

    They have psychologists who can help you with various strategies to try to reduce pain and live better with it such as mindfulness meditation training, cognitive behaviour therapy or acceptance and commitment therapy. Our thoughts, beliefs and behaviours are influenced by pain and not in a good way. In fact, pain changes a persons thoughts, emotions, behaviour etc. in ways that lead to more pain and negative consequences of pain such as depression.

    These pain clinics also have physical therapists who can help you work out what kind of exercise will be safe for you and will help to mitigate the deconditioning that chronic pain tends to bring. They can offer you advice on pacing your activities which helps to reduce flare ups from "overdoing it". Pacing also allows you to build up your activity gradually in a way that won't cause significant flare-ups.

    ETA: I also agree with what Sandi said about pushing through the pain. When everything makes us hurt, sometimes we have to push through it. We can't just stay in bed, never moving for fear of pain. There are still certain things we shouldn't do, and certain pains we shouldn't ignore but they are different for each of us so you would have to talk to your doctor. Charting your pain levels along with any potentially triggering activities you have undertaken might help to illuminate what causes you trouble and what seems to be okay. There are a number of apps available that would be suitable as well as printable charts available online or through your doctor.
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