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Five days ago, I underwent a simple procedure that ended my year-long struggle with back pain. I am now symptom free! My sympathies go out to everyone on this site struggling with pain. If my story helps even one of you, I will be so grateful. Please let me know if it does or if I can help in any way!
After months of treatment with no improvement, I worked my way to three of the top doctors in the U.S. in their respective fields. Two were Harvard University-educated, top of their class - a neurosurgeon (specializing in the spine) and an orthopedic surgeon (specializing in the spine). Both of these doctors work at Brigham and Women's, a fantastic Hospital in Boston (also a Harvard University Teaching Hospital). I also worked with a physiologist in Denver, CO who heads many cutting-edge FDA trails relating to chronic pain.
Ultimately, the solution to my pain was simple, sacroilliac (SI) injections. The problem was, the sub-par doctors I first worked with weren't current on their research and didn't know that 25%-30% of back pain cases are caused by SI joint pain. The majority of these cases go mis-diagnosed or undiagnosed!!! Ultimately, the bi-lateral cortizone injections in my sacro-iliac (SI) joints eliminated my pain and gave me my life back. According to this article by CNN this is the solution to back pain that most doctors won't find.
The first doctors I worked with never suggested SI joint injections. They kept giving my cortizone injections around my lumbar/sacral spine. But they never worked for me! It took me getting to top doctors in the field to find out that 25%-30% of back pain is caused by SI joint pain and many of these cases go undiagnosed!!! Please cross this off your list if you are in pain! It may be the solution.
Below you will find an overview of my symptoms, the procedures I tried, and finally, the solution.
Excruciating low-back pain. Back pain spread over upper glutes and downward towards upper butt-crack (sorry I don't know how else to say this!). Worse with = sitting, walking, running, carrying back on one arm (i.e. grocery shopping), stretching, squats, weight lifting. I had two minor herniated disks in my lumbar spine which WERE NOT THE PROBLEM, although doctors kept treating them. Three compressed disks in lower spine due to years of cross-country running.
Had to go to part-time at work and finally had to quit my job. Spent at least 6 hours lying down. Lost friends because of horrible mood pain and medicine put me in. Went from exercising 4-6 days a week to barely being able to walk 15 minutes and gaining 20 lbs.
20 mg Tramadol 4X a day plus KRATOM. KRATOM is a leaf/herb that is legal in the U.S. and has opioid like effects. I stumbled upon it in Boulder, CO, a liberal, herbalist/acupuncturist/health nutty town. Although, you DON'T need a prescription for Kratom, it is a strong pain killer. It played a huge role in my pain management. I was skeptical of taking it at first because some people use it recreationally for its calming, pain-killing, anxiety-reducing effects. But after hating the effects of oral steroids and Hydrocodone, Vicodin, etc. I gave it a shot. I actually chose to take it rather than prescription pain killers because it is much less addictive than prescription pain killers and it's cheaper. Interestingly, many people use it to get off serious drugs like heroine. I highly recommend trying it if you have been struggling with the highs and lows of other meds. Be honest with yourself and only take what you need for pain. Don't abuse it. TENS machine. The tens machine helped a lot. Some think it doesn't work but it provided a lot of relief for me.
MEDICAL PROCEDURES THAT I TRIED BUT WERE NOT THE SOLUTION
4 cortisone injections at L3/L4, L4/L5, L4/L5, L5/S1. BILATERAL NERVE BLOCK L4-S1 (this may have worked for 2-3 days. I should have backed off my meds for several days before the procedure. I wasn't in enough pain to know if it worked.).
Chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, PT, pilates. (i did all of these for 6 months but relief was short lived and they cost a lot and took up a large amount of time)
I hope you all find solutions to your pain!