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New to Site- Chronic Intractable Pain, Back Surgeries, Epidurals

PlumbTuckeredOutPlumbTuckeredOut Philadelphia, PAPosts: 325
edited 12/17/2014 - 6:25 PM in New Member Introductions
I needed to find this site 40 years ago! When I was 8 years old I dove into a pool that was only 3 feet deep and my back issues began but, as a kid, who takes you seriously?
When I was 18 I started actively seeking help for my horrible back pain but I was told I was "drug seeking"- I was a jock and I could keep up with my sports through the adrenaline but the pain was horrendous when I wasn't in extremely intense blood-pumping activities.
Finally when I was 32 a neurosurgeon saw me in an ER and heard me trying to explain my plight to a nurse. That night he operated and, well, now I'm not so sure what he did but I was out of pain for the first time since I was 8 years old! Ten years later and in a different state the surgery needed to be repeated and less successfully. And now, 6 years later, I am a regular at a Pain Clinic. Finally a bunch of doctors who totally understand what I'm saying and why I do what I do! They have been wonderful and I've been doing PT, epidural steroidal injections and pain meds. The disks in my back have slipped on several levels pinching nerves and affecting reflexes. I'm hesitant to go through more surgery because who wants to do that every few years?

But now I have the "label" of chronic intractable pain and the heavy duty pain meds that comes with that and, while I like being pain free I'm terrified of the "addiction factor". I've been told that I'm being carefully monitored but let's just say that I'm well aware that no one intends on becoming an addict. So pain meds or another spinal surgery?


Welcome to Spine-Health

It would be very helpful if you could provide us with more details. Here are some questions that you
should answer:

  • - When did this first start?
    - Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
    - What doctors have you seen?
    - What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?
    - What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results
    - What medications are you currently using?
    - Has surgery been discussed as an option?
    - What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

Please take a look at our forum rules: Forum Rules

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 12/18/14 00:25

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...... (Robert Frost)
I still don't know if I should have taken the one that said, "Caution! Dead End" (Me)


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • PlumbTuckeredOutPlumbTuckeredOut Philadelphia, PAPosts: 325
    I have had 2 surgeries one at L5-S1, S1-S2 (Lucky me I have an 2!) The second was at L4-5. They were laminectomies along with cleaning up lumbar stenosis and a bone graft to strengthen a vertibre (Just found that one out a bit ago looking for old records!).
    I have been to neurosurgeons over the years after finding no support from the ortho-guys. My surgeries have been preformed by neurosurgeons.
    Currently I am with a pain clinic. I am seen by a team here and have been having nerve block/steroid injections one to my neck C7-T1. And am having more injections to L5 and S1 facet joints. I have PT for a few weeks, then a reassessment, then maybe more PT or time to rest or more injections.
    Currently surgery is being brought up but I was to try all the non-invasive possibilities first- again.
    I have had recent MRIs of cervical, thoracic, and Lumbar spine. There are degenerative changes from L1-L5 . Right to right lateral protrusion surrounded by osteophytes producing severe right foraminal stenosis and compression of the L5 nerve.
    I have more findings at the cervical and thoracic levels but honestly, I'm a lousy typest so reading from a report to copy here is killing me.... my apologies.
    The medications I am on are Lyrica 75mg twice a day. MS Contin 15mg twice a day (yes, just started that), and Oxy-codone 5/325 4 times a day as needed.. (It took the team of docs quite a while to convince me that taking pain meds was okay.)

    My favorite action plan is to find the level of meds which I can best function at, get me into physical shape to see how my own body can best function when healthy and then wean me off the meds. Some of the docs suggest I am being overly optimistic but I can dream!

    I also have other physical issues which complicate everything. I have Celiac Disease which was not diagnosed until 2010. I have made wonderful progress since the diagnosis but my bones were starved for minerals for years and old breaks and fractures did not heal well. I have a "funky" knee for which I have had 3 surgeries from an attack at work back in 2000. I have foot drop in my opposite leg due to nerve compression. I have a feeling I'll never be on Dancing With The Stars. (I'm just fine with this!)

    And this is it so far. I try to keep things light. If I were to look back on the original injury in 1974 and all the pain along the years I'd be a wreck. Instead I plug along.

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...... (Robert Frost)
    I still don't know if I should have taken the one that said, "Caution! Dead End" (Me)
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