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New to this world and in dire need!

Emily 7289EEmily 7289 Posts: 5
edited 02/23/2015 - 8:17 PM in Chronic Pain
Hello all!

I've had a "bad back" for about 7 years now, but it has never been as bad as it has been lately. I made an appointment with my PCP and he ordered an MRI. The results made me very emotional. Sad because I am only 21 and have so much wrong, but glad that I am finally on the right path to help. I have multilevel DDD (T12-L1-L2-L3), 3 bulging discs (L1-L2.L3.L4,L5), multilevel Schmorl's nodes (T12 - L4) and multilevel facet arthritis (L3,L4,L5,S1). Only my lower back was looked at, but my doc said he's about 90% sure my upper back was the same. Also my hip has been causing significant pain, so that and my upper back will be looked at this coming Wednesday. Doc also set an appointment with a PM doc but due to the small town I live in I won't be able to be seen until mid April. I scheduled an appointment with an ortho in Phoenix (also due to the fact that I live in a very small town and no back orthos are available here) for this coming Thursday to discuss options and begin my journey. I decided to make an account here because before I was diagnosed here I ran across this site a lot and figured it'll be in my favor to do so. So here I am! Hoping someone can give me their opinions, or options for me. My PCP put me on percocets 5/325 and I am having no relief what so ever. I ice in the morning, rest on a heating pad at night. Also do yoga, and muscle strengthening exercises when I can at work. I hardly ever used opiates aside from a previous cesarean section surgery. I am completely new to this world and don't know what to ask my doctor tomorrow at my appointment. I want to know what my options are as to other narcotics? If I even can get different ones? I know that DEA is strict on this stuff due to my grandfather suffering from severe arthritis, I've seen the hoops that he has had to jump through. I'm actually quite scared as I feel like I am asking for something "bad" in a sense. The percocets have helped to an extent, but as I type my entire back is pounding and pulsing in pain. I am also on Meloxicam, gabapentin, and flexeril. Please can someone, anyone, ease my mind and tell me if I am overreacting, advise what I should ask for, and tell me what this journey will look like for me? Thank you in advanced and I appreciate you for reading this!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Welcome to Spine-Health

    Use that above hyperlink to help you get started with Spine-Health and navigate through the system.

    If there are any questions, you can always post them here, send Liz or myself a private message or contact Ron rdilauro@veritashealth.com

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Jillybean079Jillybean079 Posts: 266
    edited 02/24/2015 - 3:35 AM
    I completely agree with Doug. He pretty much covered it. You will most likely be in pain management for a long duration of your life...you will become tolerant to meds. Take the least amount possible to establish some relief. You will never be pain free...you can expect about a 50% pain reduction realistically. Most of us have to live this way, but do not let your diagnosis define you. I know its hard, and I struggle with this as well. The best thing you can do is try and stay active. Keep doing the things you love. Do things to take your mind off the pain. I have to do this constantly. Keep a positive attitude. We are all in the same boat and here to help!!!
    Spine-Health Moderator 
    Ankylosing Spondylitis
    Bulging discs T12-L3
    Annular Tears with Disc Extrusion L4-S1
    Moderate Central Canal Stenosis
    Moderate Foraminal Stenosis
    Enlarged Facet Joints/Ligaments
    Spinal enthesopathy
    L4-L/5 PLIF with cages, rods, screws 2/15 

  • Unfortunately, everyone goes through the same process, but the level of pain + intensity differs and so does the end result....Clearly you have some issues here that need to be monitored closely, but that being said, my advice to you isn't to ask your Doctor for anything at all. I would advise him or her of what the meds are doing for you, but do NOT under any circumstances try to ask for a specific type of drug in particular or an increase. Just state what is going on and let him or her know that you are in discomfort.

    Ultimately, there is so much more to pain management than narcotics..... I don't care who you are, in time, your body will get used to any drug at any dosage. The narcotics will never take ALL the pain away, ever, and if it does temporarily, you will find that that too will end. It's just the way it is. The idea is to take some of the pain away and use other means to manage.

    It's hard to say what the future holds......I would hope that surgery never becomes the focus, but it could be a possibility at some point in life. In the meantime, do what your Doctors + PT say and make sure that you do the exercises required. Don't focus on what you have no control over. Today, in the moment, is what counts.

    Do not become a victim of your own circumstances. Live your life the best way you can and manage your pain. It may never go away 100%, but that doesn't mean you can't manage it. I do my best to manage my own and I'm not doing too bad. Don't become a statistic. When feeling bad, deflect. Get up and do something that you enjoy or that will bring you some sort of happiness. Life is too short as it is and at your age, you still have a lot of living to do, so don't waste it being miserable about the situation you are in. Deal with it and LIVE through it as worrying about it wont change a damn thing aside from changing your quality of life. Less worrying; more living. Capiche? :)

    Keep us posted and I've officially sent healing vibes your way :)

    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • I knew most of what you're telling me. And can't agree anymore. I just idk overreact when it comes to things like this, because I've feared ever having anything wrong with me. You are right on the living life part, it's been hard to do so when I can't even move my body without being in constant pain and my back poping with every motion. I will get there though, I promise. I'm guessing once it settles in? As for my doc appointment I just told him how much pain I was still having and he uppedy dosage, I have my first ortho appointment tomorrow and I'm hoping (fingers crossed) that I'll get some more straight answers, and hopefully those answers won't involve more drugs.. Again just hoping. Thank you!! I will def keep updated. It's nice to hear this from people who feel my pain, it's more surreal to me if that makes sense?
  • Doug HellDoug Hell Posts: 335
    edited 02/26/2015 - 8:22 AM
    You're young. You have your whole life ahead of you. If some meds are required to help cope with the pain, don't sweat it. We're all in the same boat with that. Just hold on tight for the ride and remember to live. There's life to be lived. Don't let this stop you. Be strong and persevere.

    We're a message away!

    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • Unfortunately you inherited this. I have stenosis on l4 -l5 and hip arthrosis, (which will have to been replaced eventually), however I am still young and thus this is not an option yet. At least they are saying that.
    You should immediately make an MRI of the hip. Maybe they can still save it with toilet of the hip - arthroscopy. Yet depends how much cartilage is still there.

    One question, how you guys afford all of this? Since I am from Europe all of this in the US should be expensive.
  • Doug, gave great advise.
    Remember to stay hydrated and I find still, that lying on the floor with my legs on the couch sitting part takes alot of pressure off my spine. It's also a relaxation technique that PT taught me. We forget to breath when we're in pain and worry.
    I hope you find ways to know you are still beautiful even when you don't feel it and you deserve great things in life, even if it's a nap.
    46 F Avg Hgt/Weight non-smkr/drkr, ex-runner
    Chronic back/neck pain/urticaria (pic)
    ADCF C6-7, 11/13
    C3-4-5 , L3-4-5-S1 DDD bulge annular tear

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