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Lost. Need advice. Please help.

I'm a 23 year old male.

In March of 2013 I was working for an extended period of time and when I was finished I bent to pick up a screwdriver and I felt like I got knifed. The pain was immediate and noticeably worse woth weight on my right leg.

I saw a pain doctor who my GP referred me to. The first ESI steroid injection got me walking again. But I had minimal pain relief. I was prescribed 3 10mg vicoproferen and 900 mg gabapentin a day. I was still in severe pain and within a month I was given a second ESI. The results weren't noticeable. I was referred to a surgeon in May of 2013.

I got MRIs and xrays of my spine. The surgeon informed me that I had a herniated disc at L4/L5. He said he could do a diskectomy but he felt there was more that a pain doctor could do to help me, and the disc would likely repair itself within a year.

I returned to my pain doctor who refused any further treatment in September 2013. I found a new pain doctor Jan 2014. This "pain doctor" wouldn't continue my medications that the previous doctor had me on. He said he didn't prescibe narcotics and increased my gabapentin to 1200mg a day. I was in extreme pain. My GP prescribed me a small amount of hydrocodone to help me get by.

This pain doctor gave me 1 epidural injection, which only helped for about a week. I was in extreme pain and his office did not return my phone calls over a period of 4 days so I fired him. March 2014.

I saw my neurosurgeon again April 2014 with new MRIs and xrays. He said the disc healed and was no longer herniated. He said I have the early stage of black disc disease at L4/L5 and L5/S1 and that there was no surgery that would successfully help my pain.

I'm devastated.

I'm currently trying to find a pain doctor who will try an electronic stimulator or a pump, by the advice of my surgeon.

I'm dealing with all of this with a girlfriend who is totally unsupportive and feels like I'm faking my pain or I should be able to just tough it out.

I'm in severe lower back pain with pain down the inside of my right leg. I am only ever really comfortable laying down.

I want my life back. Any advice, PLEASE help me.


  • I've seen chiropractors, Pain Management doctors, soft tissue manipulation, epidurals, physical therapy, and of course the heavy regiment of pain medications.
  • TarenTTaren Posts: 525
    edited 04/10/2014 - 5:29 AM
    Dealing with chronic pain is hard, but even harder when you are surrounded by unsupportive people. I guess what I would do in your situation is to keep trying....Maybe getting a 2nd opinion on your MRI maybe some fresh eyes would see something that the fist dr. missed, that does happen. This happened to me with my neck. I got an MRI, fist neurosurgeon said nothing was seen, I knew something was wrong with me, so I sought a referral to a new neurosurgeon, took my MRI pics and report and he saw the reason for the problem I had been having for the last 4 months...I had ruptured discs at C4-C5 & C-6. He ordered a new MRI just to be sure and I was in surgery 2 weeks later for a fusion.

    I'm sorry your having pain and not getting help, I know this is exhausting to a persons body. Just hang in there and like I said keep trying to get help.
  • i hate to be a debbie downer but people do not want to hear about problems with chronic pain, friends, relatives and co workers don't care and they don't want to hear about it. they cannot relate because they don't know what is happening. and to be truthful a lot of people think that people who say they are in chronic pain are looking for drugs. i had to tell my work because my dr wrote a bunch of accommodations that they had to follow after my surgeries and i had the support of HR. i never talk about it even with my wife and only if people ask. but it sounds like all of your doctors are telling you there is nothing more they can do to help. your girlfriend might be unsupportive because all of your doctors said there is nothing wrong with you so she might feel that you are exaggerating. you always have the options of getting more opinions but after a while if all of the doctors say the same thing then there might be something else going on. by the way, back pain is the number one issue with disability and after a while doctors and others are reluctant to treat people who complain of back pain especially if all of the test show nothing is wrong. i would get another opinion and if he says the same thing then try some alternative treatments and see if they help. i know this is probably not what you want to hear but after years of chronic pain this is what i have found about how others feel. get another opinion and if that one is negative then you have some decisions to make. by the way all of this does not mean there is nothing wrong with you. if you feel wronged be agressive and be a self advocate and don't put up with what others are saying.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • What kind of alternative treatments have y'all found to help the pain? I feel like I've tried everything short of a witch doctor, but I am always actively seeking any treatment that can help my pain.
  • accupuncture, aroma therapy, massage, relaxation techniques hypnosis. i am not up on eastern medicine but you can google them to see what is going on.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 04/10/2014 - 6:47 AM
    I do all of the above except acupuncture (expensive) & have for a few years now. None of them 'work' & take all of the pain away, nothing does! My routines all help to chip away at the pain or make me feel a little more in control. If you're unfortunate enough to have chronic pain as a constant companion it comes down to pain 'management' not pain elimination.

    You know your body & your pain. It must be so hard to deal with this without clear answers. I think you have to keep searching & it could be time for another opinion. What did your doctor mean by "early stages of back disease" in your lower spine? What did the MRI show down there?

    I hope you don't mind the questions. It just struck me as a 'wishy-washy' diagnosis..
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • As I said above.....get a 2nd opinion, you are entitled to that. If you feel something isn't right with your body, it usually isn't, I can attest to that, & I believe so can Aaron (anelsen15)
  • LC84LLC84 Posts: 599
    edited 04/10/2014 - 9:49 AM
    In addition to a second opinion, I would also get a copy of your MRI report so you can do some research on what it states. Then you'll be prepared to ask the proper questions.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • TarenTTaren Posts: 525
    edited 04/10/2014 - 10:15 AM
    That's another good idea that L just gave you. Look up what the words mean and then pretty soon you will be able to decode what your report says and as L says you will be more prepared to have a conversation with your specialist. Sometimes you have to be your own advocate when it comes to your health.
  • Hi dirtycitytx...........I think that what you mean is DDD- degenerative disc disease? It is not really a disease at all, but a normal part of the aging process for the human population. If you were to send everyone in the city you live in for an MRI, if someone is over the age of 18 -21 , they will show some level of what is called DDD. It is listed on a MRI report simply because it is a finding, one that is considered by radiologists and spine doctors to be normal, unless there is is an unusual amount of DDD for your age, or some other basis for it to be an abnormal amount or severity.



  • I think it is a little strange that the surgeon talked about getting a pain pump or electronic stimulator. Normally this is done as a last resort and only after someone has tried a wide range of medication and treatments. Both procedures require surgery and can cause some real problems if something goes wrong. I know you are pain and you just want relief but be proactive in trying different treatments. I know one thing that has helped me big time is getting in a swimming pool and doing some light stretches. If you do not live to far from a hospital you can see if they have a pool and if they have classes or a open time. Many of the classes are geared to those who have joint problems for whatever reason. Since a rheumatologist deals with all types arthritis ( not just rheumatoid types) and you do have DDD that also maybe a option. The thing about surgery is that you can't undo what is done and almost always you end up dealing with bone spurs and other changes that happen after the surgery and you may fine yourself with even a bigger problem then what have now.
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