I have over 20 years of dealing with spine issues of one sort or another. So far it includes 6 cervical and 2 lumbar surgeries. The basic history is as follows.
1993 - Took a header while downhill skiing. Nine months later had a front entry discectomy and fusion at C4,5.
2001 - Bashed the top of my head into the top of a doorframe (I'm 6'7", doorframe was 6'5"). Four onths later had a rear entry discectomy and fusion at C6,7 with foramenotomy (calcium deposits had choked off the spinal fluid going to my right arm and I was having lightning bolts of pain shooting all the way into my fingers).
2011 - Rear-ended in March auto accident. In September had a front entry discectomy at C4,5 with fusion. Cadaver bone used for fusion dislodged and was travelling down along my spine. Corrective surgery needed in October with installation of titanium plate to stabilize my verterbrae.
2012 - Due to sress resulting from prior operations, C3,4 ruptured and required front entry discectomy and fusion in July. Plate from prior surgery removed and new one installed at new site. Fusion failed to heal. Corrective surgery required in September in which cabling and additional titanium bolts were installed from rear.
2014 - A stenoidal cyst and ruptured L4,5 disc that had been growing worse from the accident required removal of the cyst, insertion of titanium bridge, discectomy and fusion.
All the operations resolved the acute pain associated with the injuries, but late in 2014 I developed ongoing chronic pain as follows: In my shoulders and arms, squeezing or stabbing pains, often all the way into the backs of my hans and fingers.
In my ribs, squeezing main the often wrapped all the way around my ribcage or felt like a knife or spear going straight through my sternum from the rear, making it painful to sneeze or even breathe. In my left leg, pain that often went down my thigh, knee, shin, ankle all the way into the back of my foot.
I have consulted three different surgeons (two neuro and one orthopod) and they essentially agreed that I had multiple problems (degenerative chanages, bulging and ruptured discs, facet joint deterioration, bone spurs) but that none of them could be corrected by surgery. I receive approximately 20 injections into my spine but they have not resulted in any decrease in the pain. The DO/Physiatrist I was seeing (one who came to me highly recommended) threw up his hands in frustration and referred me to my third surgeon.
I do get some relief by sitting motionless in a recliner, but that relief is only temporary. It seems as if gravity is my mortal enemy. Almost any activity (taking a shower, getting dressed, making a meal) can set the pain off again. I had been singing in a community choir but that really exaggerated my symptoms. Commuting to work (whether by public transportation or by car) at the beginning of the week put me in my recliner from Thursday through Sunday. At this point even sitting still working at a computer lasts at best only 3 - 4 hours. The more I do, the more it hurts and the longer it lasts. Going to the gym or any other form od real exercise is out of the question. I have been prescribed oxycodone, flexeril and naproxen, but they make me so buzzed and dopey that I spend a great deal of time sleeping or nearly so. My inactivity has put me on the path to unwanted weight gain (so far only six or seven punds, but it feels like twenty) and I am losing the modest claims to being in shape that I used to have.
I am in search of one or more medical practitioners that can help me manage this pain down to a level where I can actually get back to work. That group might include surgeons, physiatrists, physical and occupational therapists, as well as psychologists/psychiatrists, accupuncturists or practitioners of some other non-traditional method of pain management. I am to see two different recommended pain management doctors next week but am holding off on the physical therapy prescribed by one of my surgeons until I get a feeling that one of them (or both!) might have the careful, thoughtful approach to my problems that might work for me. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.