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Learning to live with pain

annlataannlat Posts: 2
edited 09/21/2014 - 4:41 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I had a lumbar fusion with instrumentation L3-5 about 5 yrs ago after having many months of worsening pain, numb feet, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, etc. and have done really well. For the past few months I've been having new lower back pain which radiates to the front of my leg and sometimes in my groin. I went to my neuro and had an injection.....it lasted 5 days.:-( I had an MRI which shows my scoliosis has gotten much worse (it wasn't too bad before fusion), I have a bone spur, problems with the space between T12-L1, DDD progressing, etc. I really don't want to have surgery until I have to, so I have a TENS unit (which helps) and getting a corset.(Does this really help??) I have to be able to work, so I am taking max doses of Robaxin and Naproxen. I work in a cardiac cath lab,so I have to wear a lead apron and I'm on my feet most of the time. I know this doesn't make things any better.
I just want to know that it's possible to learn to deal with the pain. I am 55, but too young to become immobile! It makes me EDITED some days and depressed others. And it's very tiring to have chronic pain.
I'd say I'm lucky after reading some of your stories. I'm sorry for everyone going through this pain! I just needed to vent......


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 09/20/2014 - 8:04 PM

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Thank you for the information. The Blend was very informaative. I am now in PT and added a TENS unit to help.
    Have a good weekend!
  • Welcome, Anna. I've only been in pain for a year but I feel like I am learning to live with the pain, bit by bit. I have heard that corsets can weaken abdominal muscles. In fact, in the old days when many women wore them it was thought that women naturally had weak abdominal and that is why they needed to wear corsets. Even young girls wore them.
  • edsmith29eedsmith29 Posts: 1
    edited 01/19/2015 - 2:57 AM
    I had a partial lumbar laminectomy in 1982 at level L-4, L-5. Recovered to where I was running 40 miles a week, weight lifting 5 days a week and pain free! Re injured lower back in 1999 and waited 7 years for additional surgery! I had been advised to have a Tri level fusion from S-1 to L-3, but Dr decided to be more conservative and only fusing L-3, L-4, and L-4,L-5! I have been taking Avinza 120mg (Morphine Sulfate) Percocet 10/325 and Valium 10 mg for 9 years! I finally got tired of battling the addictive properties of these meds, taking them more for chemical imbalances than pain! I first eliminated the Valium and Percocet cold turkey, but when I tried to stop the Avinza I started experiencing more nerve pain in my legs! I then cold turkied the Avinza and am now taking a few Percs and a few Valium for pain and sleep management! I have lost 30 lbs for the first time in my life without trying! I feel like my body is in total ketosis and wonder if I will ever have a manageable pain level without meds? I haven't ran in 20 years, but I miss it so much, I am thinking of trying again at the age of 59! I am tired of losing muscle mass, having low testosterone levels and feeling like crap! I am open to any advice, as I have wasted 20 years of my life living in pain! I have been to several neurologists, tried implanted electrical stimulation, cortisone injections, and anything else you can try! This is my last attempt to regain my health!
  • Looks like you revived an old thread but it caught my attention as I just had my first fusion 6 weeks ago on my L5S1. I never thought it would get to this however maybe I never even put thought into as I've lived with lower back pain since my late 20s. Nothing serious, just nagging back pain when lifting heavy objects, or even holding my kids when they were little. But.things got worse as I got.into my 30s, stopped physical fitness, eating habits sucked and doing a ton of sitting and driving in my job. Than late 30s ecerythkgn started falling apart. Did the chiro thing (joke), them steroid injections (short term), then fragmented my L5S1 which landed right on my sciatic nerve, major sciatica down right leg, meds and epidural fixed for a year, then first full herniation Feb 2014 with brutal sciatica (had MicroD), and then Nov 2014, another herniation with worse sciatica yet. So had L5S1 on 12/15/14.

    I just had 6 week follow up and clear to start PT and driving short distances. Been walking 2-3 miles a day the last month, lost 6 lbs but but have another 20 I'd like to get to. I put a lot a lot of the extra weight on the past year because of the pain, very low energy levels, fear of reherniating, and just not taking care of myself.

    Anyway, you metioned you body being in ketosis, which I believe means your body is burning fat for energy. In mind, that sounds like a great thing as I'm sure wondering how to shed the pounds without starving myself and at this point, not being able to do a lot except walk. Hoping PT with give me some.more ideas next week at my first visit.

    The other thing you mention is low testosterone levels. I'm 44 yr old male, and I actually had my Primary test my Testosterone at my pre-surgery work up based off the way I've been feeling, which includes fatigue, loss of strength and muscle mass and just lack of motivation and depression. And I actually see a top mental health professional which I am treated for some mild depression, anxiety. But I cam just tell my whole body feels different..

    Well my T level tests came back VERY low. I know this can be caused by excessive use.of opioids which I've been on for 2 years, but my doses weren't too high. 10mgs oxycontin 2x a day and 10mgs of oxycodone 2-3x a day for break through pain. But that was only in the past 6 months.

    So I am wondering if a conservative Testosterone replacement therapy would.be helpful.with many of.my symptoms of fatigue, depression, lack of motivation and energy, as well as assisting in the fusion to actually take.

    Ive been researching how low test impacts the bones fusing and it seems that's a legitimate concern. Obviously this would be done by working with all my providers to keep them all.in the loop, so wondering if you or anyone has researched.the Test replacement therapy.for back issues and aging men.

    Also, regarding your love of running and considering trying that again. In my opinion, that would make absolutely NO sense. I've been told I should.NEVER run again, especially with DDD. Anything high impact would.be silly as its.obvious this would.not help at all. And with you in comatamt pain, you are.going to make conditions way worse. On.no Dr., but I wod think that makes common sense.

    Wonder why you would wamt to worsen your situation.
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