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Finally dealing with my back pain

Hi, Im new to this site. I am up typing at 3:30am and cannot sleep. I have had chronic mid and lower back pain since my early 20's and just ignored it. Why? I really do not know. I went to an Ortho and had an MRI done. I have a few bulging discs and arthritis or "stenosis" in my lower back. She "Doc" said I should set up appointment with the pain clinic at a local hospital. I had injections to block the pain in order to see if it helped. I thought it did so ended up getting Rhazotomy (spelling??) Long story short is I have 2 left and 1 is in a few hours.

While this is a crap shoot, I then went to a friend of mine who is a chiropractor. He doesn't take my insurance but said he would treat me free except for the DRX9000 "spinal decompression." The cost is $6,900.00 for 25-35 sessions. He said he would treat me for $2900.00. Today was my first day and I'm sore and just confused. I am also prescribed pain med from the pain clinic. I really am just venting because the more I google and the more I look or ask, the more confused I get. Mattress, Ortho, Ice, Heat, DRX and physical therapy. I have tried and trying all of them. I'm just praying I get better. I am 46 and chase bad guys. I have been off work for over a week now and this whole thing is scaring me. I can chase an armed gunman in a dark alley but this scares me more.

Just venting and I realize nobody will have an answer and there is no magic bullet (no pun intended)



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 09/24/2014 - 9:48 PM

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • mcjimjammmcjimjam Posts: 307
    edited 09/25/2014 - 3:35 AM
    Sounds like you are getting taken for a ride. Thousands of dollars for what exactly? Google "DRX9000 scam" It is basically a traction device. Traction has not been proven to help back pain. Even if you have less pressure on your spine while using the device, as soon as you stand up you are back to how you were.
  • is not going to do anything to treat the arthritis nor the stenosis. What did the ortho recommend as far as treatments and or surgical options go?
    If insurance won't cover a "treatment", and you have to pay out of pocket, it is generally because those "treatments' are unproven and often are not helpful to the patient.
    I would not allow any chiropractor to touch my spine unless and until I know that there are no risks with their adjustments or treatments.
    You could hang upside down on an inversion table and get the same effect that a "7,000.00" treatment costs ........in fact, you could hang on monkey bars in the local park for free.
    I am not making light of your situation, in fact, it bothers me that stuff like this is offered to patients , and they are paying out of pocket for something that is marketed to them as a guarantee/treatment to avoid surgery .....but it does little more than hanging upside down on monkey bars in the park does.
    I'm sorry but I would suggest that you return to the surgeon who can go over different options for the proper treatment for you, and refer you to the proper therapies you may need.
    Don't waste your money on this.
  • murraymrmmurraymr Posts: 103
    edited 09/25/2014 - 6:33 AM
    I barely made it through military to qualify for retirement... and they were pretty patient with me. I suspect you are past PT and need some intervention. The bottom line for me is a SCS implant, but I ended up with nerve damage that led me on that path. So, I advise addressing the bulging discs earlier rather than later!

    Some endoscopic procedures can be done to avoid too much invasive surgery. Your doc will know best.
    L4-L5 fused at birth (congenital malformity). L-5-S1 bulge/degeneration, L3-L4 bulge/degeneration. Permanent nerve damage L5-S1 and L3-L4. Fused C5-C7.
  • I'm so sorry & I know what it's like to be desperate. At the start I did decompression, purchased an inversion table, I even paid a chiropractor to put a 'door stop' rubber thing under my bum then hold my leg up while he looked at his watch & charged me a fortune!! I know it must be hard to hear because this guys your friend & he's doing you a discount favor. I think most chiropractors honestly believe in what they do & for some with aches & pains & no physical damage they can help some. I've been repeatedly told by specialists NEVER allow a chiropractor to do adjustments...I have disc problems, arthritis & some other stuff. There are some real horror stories around! I know it's going to be hard to tell your friend that you don't want him to treat you but just remember your spine is so complex he's really not qualified to help you & this could effect the rest of your life. We need you back chasing bad guys & not in the ER having emergency surgery because he 'adjusted' you!
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • I like English girl have been told never to see a chiropractor. My neuro said they can give people strokes, move things too far and cause more damage resulting in a scarier outcome. It can be very confusing in the pain world, there are so many medicines and options with different chances of it working but the scariest thing is the unknown. Venting helps with the emotional toll that you body ends up going through so keep trying and hopefully something may help. Acupuncture and massage has helped me the most compared to medicines, physical therapy and alternative treatments. If you haven't tried those then give it a shot (for me it didn't work the first 3 times I went and on the 4th time it did help)
  • I second and third the other posters about staying away from chiros. Your back has some serious structural issues and no chiropractor can realign your spine. With that said I would go back to your pc/internist and see if you can't get a second/third opinion about whats currently going on with your spine. Either an ortho or neurosurgeon will lead you down a path which is right for you. Honestly, must people come on here are concerned/scared about surgery, but for me surgery wasn't as bad as people make it out to be in their head. After the first 4 weeks my body was recovering and getting stronger. It just takes time. Hope this helps, and good luck.
  • Can I just ask a quick question re the arthritis diagnosis? Was it done through blood work or does it show on an MRI I've been told from the again of 28 after I herniated a disc during labour that I have arthritis or wear and year yet I've never had an arthritis 'test'. I attended a chiropractor religious for a few years before my baby was due and swam three times a week, physically fit etc etc but I am utterly convinced even though I have no proof, that the adjustments did more harm than good. I have bulging L4-5 C4-5 and am working on strengthening back muscles as the strength is poor in my abs. I have chronic rib/ mid back pain too but I can't seem to get past my GP she actually said the last time 'well this is all to be expected with your type of condition, degeneration, wear and tear' but I've been hearing that from 28!! What's the difference between wear and tear and normal usage?
  • There are simple blood tests for rhumatoid arthritis. It's worth getting them done just to be sure. I have osteoarthritis which has always been considered a "natural part of aging. Wear & tear" but I was diagnosed (with X-rays etc) when I was a young teen. They are now making advances in genetics & I think some of us are just predisposed to it. There isn't a blood test for osteoarthritis. It's something they see on your diagnostic tests.

    No one with structural damage to their spine should be seeing a chiropractor. I've been told that by so many specialists & I've read some real horror stories. It's the adjustments, alignments, machines etc that can be so dangerous & a lot of chiropractors can't resist using those techniques. My surgeon just says "Stay Away!!". It's rare that they cause real permanent damage but I know people who have gone from the chiropractors straight to the operating room for fusion surgery!! ;-(

    My arthritis can cause my spine to change at an alarming rate. Once I had 2 MRIs 6 months apart & it looked like a completely different spine! It's really important to keep on top of things & a GP isnt really the best doc for that. I see a board certified neuro surgeon. He refers me for different tests & treatments.
    I believe that the correct antiinflamatory arthritis diet & proper (gentle) exercises & stretches help my condition but there is no 'cure'. Keeping a strong core to protect your spine helps.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • When was your last MRI? You really can't tell what's going on in there without the right diagnostic tests.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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