Hey all, I'd just like to say hi and vent and maybe find some other members who are in a similar situation or just willing to engage me. I've got a number non-severe issues:
- Mild double-curve scoliosis
- Grade I spondylolisthesis at L5 with L5/S1 with disc contacting nerve roots, and bulging L4/L5 disc
- Spina biffida occulta at S1 with "unremarkable" nerve root cysts
- SI joint dysfunction/arthritis
- Minor leg length discrepancy, uneven hips (slightly improved with heel insert)
My chronic pain experience started around age 17, about one year after my spondylolisthesis was discovered, and has slowly become worse with time (I'm 24.) Luckily I have made this far in life without being injured or having surgery. I am of normal weight. I quit smoking ~2 years ago and have gone from a heavy alcohol and marijuana user to one who uses both in great moderation.
I've been through many rounds of physical therapy and still perform many of their exercises at home 2-4 time per week, which has always been the most effective treatment for me. But it's not enough. Even being in PT right now for 6 weeks isn't enough to give me relief. I've tried acupuncturists and chiropracters and disliked both. I do not have any pain med prescriptions, though I did get a small course of Norco last year when I had mono - it only helped my back if I took more than indicated
I do, however, have a Skelaxin prescription. I don't take it every day, usually 1600mg every other day or every third day. It helps a little bit. I also take OTC NSAIDs and acetaminophen... some days a lot of both, once in a while I give my innards a break and take neither for a day.
I have pain all over, every day. The worst paint starts in the middle of my lumbar spine and extends down, I'd describe it as 'bone pain' or 'mechanical pain', and more recently it goes all the way down to my tailbone and radiates out to the rear of my hips.
I do not have sciatic pain in my legs. My feet often hurt, my knees often hurt, my back muscles near the lower / upper spine and piriformus muscles are like rocks; QL muscles, hip flexors, shoulder muscles, neck muscles and others are sore and very tense at least 90% of the time, even with Skelaxin. My gait is rather destructive and I wear down the outer sides of shoes very quickly. I have very little lumbar lordosis which wreaks havoc on my posture, shoulders, and neck. Exercise provides moderate relief.
I suppose that part of me wants life advice from you all. My orthopedic surgeons (I 'see' two and can't decide which one I dislike the least) are not interested in talking to me about my issues since I don't need surgery yet, and physical therapy is nice but transient. I'm considering seeing a pain specialist in the near future, but...
Basically I feel like I'm in a no-man's land of pain. Exercise, skelaxin, lots of Aleive & tylenol isn't enough. Surgey is too much. Starting up an opioid addiction doesn't sound appealing either, especially if I need to have surgery in the future.
I have learned to embrace pain to a certain degree, but it still frequently interrupts my day. Sometimes it affects my mood. I avoid physical activities and can't stand in place for more than 15 minutes, among other things. I can't sleep without a body-length pillow but even if I stay in "good" positions all night I am guaranteed to be awakened by pain if I try to sleep more than 9-10 hours. Even 6-8 hours means waking in discomfort.
Do you all think I'm missing a piece of my puzzle? Something else I can try? I probably should exercise more intensely or more often, but even when I finally have the muscles I 'need' to strengthen in good shape, my body still doesn't use them 'correctly' without a huge conscious effort (i.e. "tighten your lower core, let that QL muscle down a bit, straighten this part of your upper back..." it's too much to do 24/7.)
Thanks to those who read my post, I'd like to talk about any part of this that you're interested in responding to.