I am in need of some serious help. I am 50 and a lifelong athlete. In Dec. 2010, I had a disc repaired. In Dec 2012, I had my first L3/L4 fusion. I went into rehab and in July 2012, 6 months from my surgery, I slipped on my garage floor and fell directly onto my tailbone. At first, the pain was excruciating and I was in shock for 5 minutes or so. I immediately thought to call my neurosurgeon to see him or go to the emergency room but the pain all of a sudden went away. So, I thought I was OK. However, as days went by, I started to have some minor pain and it grew and grew until I went to see my doctor. After additional studies, all seemed ok but the pain continued to get worse and worse. So, starting in August 2012, I began my first set of pain management injections and then September, then October and finally a Rhizatomy in November. None of these did any good. In total, I had 23 total spinal injections and 1 set of trigger point injections.
This finally led up to my having my 2nd lumbar fusion of L2/L3 in Feb 2013. I guess he had to re-do everything since he had to go in again to do the L2/L3? But now, I have severe pressure around my spinal surgery site and above/below and to the right side, sometimes left side too. It's hard to describe it. Sometimes I don't even know what to say to my doctor anymore.
The reason he did the 2nd fusion he says was due to my back becoming "unstable" due to the fall. A comparison though of my prior the fall films and after the fall films really show no difference. He is a very conservative doctor, so I trust him. When he says "unstable" and there is no real difference in films pre and post fall, why do you think he would do another surgery? If nothing on the films should any difference due to my fall, what does he mean by "unstable"? Clearly, I needed something as the agony of the pain was awful and still is. At this moment, I spend about 95% of my time at home as it is very difficult for me to drive anywhere; about 10 minutes in my car, my lower back and right glute starts to ache, gets much worse as I sit in the care and then the pain goes down to my let to my foot, across my right leg, numbness/tingling to my foot, ec. So, I really cannot drive anywhere and going for a walk to the mall or do anything that requires some for of walking is really out. I try very hard though. My career (which I am on disability from) was traveling all the time by car or plane, sometimes 100+ per day or more by car alone. Just driving 90 miles from Palm Beach to Miami to see my 3rd opinion doctor caused me agony and I had to stop my car and get out every 25 or so minutes. Then, I had to drive back. God awful!!!!!!!!
I had a 2nd opinion, so to speak, when my disability administrator for my company/employer had me examined. Since he was an "insurance' doctor, I thought he would try to EDITED
me. However, he did not and that was amazing to me since he was/is known as some who would side with the insurance company. He said I had "failed back syndrome" and a"chronic back injury". My surgeon also sent me to a 3rd opinion to see one of my associates in Miami at the EDITED
neurosurgery department. After the exam, he also said failed back syndrome and chronic back injury.
What does that mean? At this moment, as a lifelong athlete, I am almost completely dysfunctional and do not lead a normal life. Sleep is extremely poor as I cannot get into any comfortable position as soon as my back arches even a little bit, it feels like a steel rod is there (of course there is) and I get a jolt if I turn over (and I groan each time). Each morning when I get up I can barely do it. I have to get support of my walker or a couch end. I have to sleep on the floor to try not to arch my back, no mattresses at all help, I don't know what to do here. I am even wearing a compression brace now which seems to help a little. I take Percocet or a related pain medication ONLY when I have to just to move around. It does help but I am a bit fuzzy.
My 3rd opinion doctor told me to "go back to the gym and push through the pain", but ONLY use very light weight on MACHINES only. I am only using 30-40 pounds as compared to a 350 bench press 5 years ago! So, I am no long ever going to concern myself with weight nor do any free weights in the future. I am doing that but it is really miserable, but I feel good about doing something. Everything you do, no matter what it is, affects your core/back. So, although nothing has improved whatsoever, I will continue to go and do my best.
Now, this is important and a great thing. I have been a cyclist, a bike similar to the ones on the Tour de France, a racing bike configuration where you have to lean forward to get to the handlebars. In my case, I had the handlebars pointed more upward so I do not have to lean forward too much, I am raised more so I can use my arms for support. I can continue to cycle!! Yes, I can feel it but the severe pressure is much less! I can go 30+ miles in adequate comfort, until I have to stand up again or get off the bike, so that is the same. Many tell me its the position that "stretches" my lumbar region. I have read that before too in a bike magazine by a doctor who answered a cyclists question on this. So, at least I can a hell of a workout on the bike but again, it's the position that helps surprisingly. God help me if I ever fall which every cyclist does eventually.
Finally, one of the doctor's suggested I consider spinal stimulation implantation, which I am not. I have had enough procedures. The success rate of that is low.
Can anyone help me understand what is going on? Oh, I am sure I am permanently disabled but to what extent I do not know, how do I find out? Needless to say, I will never be driving long or sitting long in the future unless a miracle happens, which I doubt at this point of time. It has been since Feb 2013 when I had my last fusion.
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