Hey, everyone. I hope you all are having a good day today. Mine is a little better than lately. I have been suffering from back and leg pain for 7 years now. Diagnosis was delayed because my PCP said "people your age don't get back problems". When the pain moved into my legs I demanded to see another doctor who ordered an MRI. I was 22 by this time. The MRI showed a very large centrally herniated disc at L5-S1 that caused severe narrowing of my central spinal canal, and moderate narrowing of both lateral foramens. It also showed a large right-sided bulge and fissure at L4-L5, and moderate to severe facet arthopathy throughout the lumbar spine. I was sent to a spine surgeon who wanted to do disc replacement, but I was about to start medical school and I didn't want to delay it. I waited two years then saw another surgeon who wanted to jump straight to fusion, but again I wasn't ready for a major procedure like that and I thought it was overkill. I found someone who was highly recommended by all the doctors I'd gotten to know through medical school, and he send me to physical therapy to get me stronger before then doing a microdiscectomy. I recovered quickly and felt better but only for about 4 months. Then, slowly but surely, my pain returned with a vengeance. MRI then showed severe and abnormal scar tissue reaction, with the scar tissue tethering my nerve routes and caude equina to the walls of the bony canals. On top of this, both discs had reherniated. At this point he did not want to operate at all because of the scar tissue. I did more PT and was sent to pain management and put on long-acting opioids and strong NSAIDS. My pain progressed and I found myself taking extra time off from medical school because I couldn't tolerate a full day at the hospital or clinics on my feet. Finally, this last March, I had a St. Jude Penta lead spinal cord stimulator placed at T8-T9, but he had to do a full thoracic laminectomy for it to fit (I am very petite and thin). Recovery from that has been very bumpy: bleeding problems, hematoma at the generator site, slow wound healing), and I am now suffering severe thoracic spasms and cramps and I've been stuck on the couch for almost a whole week. I was fired from my part-time job for missing too much time post-op. I am supposed to return to my medical residency in June, but I am so scared I won't be 100 percent by then. I am now 28, two years behind on my medical training because of these back issues. And, I sadly had to switch from internal medicine/critical care to diagnostic radiology just so that I can tolerate working full time in medicine.
Anyway, sorry this is so long. I just wanted to share my experience thus far, and see if anyone can relate. If anyone has had similar problems after SCS placement, please let me know if anything helped you recover! Thanks for reading!