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Alex C.AAlex C. Posts: 10
edited 12/18/2014 - 12:14 PM in Lower Back Pain
Hello! I hope you're all well, especially since the holidays are approaching. I haven't posted in a while, but I have spinal stenosis (foraminal) of L1-S1, with osteophytes, nerve compression, and now retrolisthesis of my L5-S1. I had a silly snowboarding accident back when I was in high school, where I basically folded in half; my feet and the board almost hit my head and I've been telling my pain management dr just that. After receiving 4 bilateral transforaminal esi, the pain hasn't gone away, it's only gotten worse. It makes me want to cry sometimes. My legs are starting hurt more. I've done 4 and a half months of pt, had injections which didn't work, did meds, using tens, but nothing is working. Any recommendations? I have no idea what to do. I'm definitely not going to see a chiro or anything like that, as I have trouble walking already. I've never come across this before..

Much thanks in advance,



  • kinpainkkinpain Posts: 958
    edited 12/18/2014 - 12:58 PM
    Have you considered consulting a board certfied spinal specialist, either a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon? I know probably the last person you would like to see is a surgeon, but they are the best qualifyed do diagnose and evaluate problems like yours. Once you have the proper diagnosis, they can advise you what would be the best treatment. If that option is open, certainly a non-surgical option would be good, but sometimes surgery is inevitable. They will tell you what is most appropriate to treat you. Good luck!
  • Hello! Thanks for your advice! Much appreciated. I've seen 2 neurologists who prescribed physical therapy and gabapentin for the nerve pain, a neurosurgeon who looked at my written reports only and said absolutely nothing is wrong with me, a rheumatologist (suggested by the neuro who thought it was rheumatoid arthritis) who gave me meloxicam for my osteoarthritis and it didn't work, 3 different orthopedic surgeons who have different opinions on treatment (my primary ortho says surgery, the other says injections (which have failed), and the other gave me over to a pain management doctor). I've seen my pm dr twice for shots and neither have done a thing. I'm basically at the end of my rope, I've been dealing with this for 9 months and have been out of work on medical leave. I've tried every single form of conservative therapy, except a chiro, which will never happen because I'm not taking the risk and acupuncture because many drs around me don't take my insurance. I'm making an app with another orthopedic surgeon after Christmas and I have another one the first or second week in January. I've had many different opinions but I'm sick of doctors telling me nothing is wrong with me when there clearly is. I feel as if I am a cash cow and a piece of paper to the doctors and not a person. I need to find someone who will listen.

    Thanks in advance,

    Alex C.
  • not to consider a chiro, as in case of serious spinal problems they can do more harm than good. From what you said I can see that you definitely tried all non-invasive techniques without finding any relief. Nine months is a long time to deal with pain if no end is in sight. If I were you, I would look into the possibity of surgery. Find the best, most reputable board qualified spinal surgeon among previous contacts or find a new one. Go for a consultation and make sure you ask a lot of questions. There is a great link on this site about what questions to ask when considering surgery. I would specifally ask what kind of surgery is being considered? What would be the expected outcome? what is the probability of success? Would you get relief from pain or would the surgery only help avoiding further damage? Make sure you find out about the surgeon's qualifications and experience. How many of these surgeries had he performed? Just make sure you don't rush into anything without carefully evaluating all your options. Good luck!
  • Thank you for your kind words and suggestions. I've already considered surgery as an option since I'm young and would heal relatively quickly. I've been told I'm going to need a decompression of my nerves (l1-l5 bilaterally) but since I have the retrolisthesis at my l5/s1, they may have to fuse the vertebra together because the slip is backwards. I've heard decompression with a fusion would help me out but I know people who have done the same have been in pain ever since. I'll be asking the ortho I see how many times he's preformed surgery, his success rates, how many years he's been in the practice, etc. I always like to find out as much as I can before I even go see a surgeon; like I said each one of my orthos have different opinions but I'll pick what I think is best for me. I don't want this getting to the point where my legs are too weak to stand. Time is of the essence so to speak.

    Again, thank you for everything. I appreciate it!! Merry Christmas!!!

  • Fusion is one of those surgeries, that depending on the outcome, people either say they are so happy they had it, or that they regret it because they had a very hard time with it and it did not help with the pain. The fact is, that fusion is not the solution to eliminate pain per se, it is to be used for stabilizing the spine and correct for the slippage and misalignment. I am very happy I underwent fusion (twice) but I know that many people with less desirable outcome don't agree with me. This is why it is very important to discuss this with your surgeon, they usually can predict quie accurately who is a good candidate for fusion. Think it over very carefully. Whatever you decide, good luck!
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