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AcmAAcm Posts: 6
edited 07/11/2015 - 1:09 PM in New Member Introductions
I have had back pain on and off since the birth of my second child in 1978, mostly with over exertion.
About 5 years ago my back starting hurting more frequently, especially with vacuuming, gardening, sweeping etc. I had an MRI that said I had a bulging disc. No therapy, medication, or treatment were given.
In 01/2015, my husband and I stopped smoking. I subsequently gained approximately 15 to 20 pounds. We decided to start walking as a form of exercise and signed up for a 5K. I managed to complete the 5K walking, but had extreme back pain. We went to a park to walk, and I had to stop after 1 mile due to extreme back pain.
I purchased a back brace thinking that might help with my back pain and walked in another 5K. Again, I did complete the 5K, but at the end I was hardly able to put one foot in front of the other due to the pain. The back brace did not help keeping my back from hurting.
While putting out our garden I had to sit on the ground to plant because I could not bend or stoop to plant. Now vacuuming, sweeping, loading and unloading the dishwasher, doing laundry and just about all daily activities are accompanied by back pain. I am unable to stand more than 5 minutes without terrible back pain and pain into my right buttock and down my right leg with tingling in my toes.
The only thing I have found useful in helping with the pain is the TENS unit. However, this only alleviates the pain for a short while. As soon as I am up walking around the back pain returns.
I fortunately do not have any pain sitting. Sitting in fact helps relieve my pain. I am unable to lay flat on my back. I have woken up several time in the middle of the night and found myself on my back, and it is almost like a paralysis to be able to turn to the side because of the pack pain.
At this point I am probably only able to walk about a half a block before I develop severe back pain. My back pain at its worse would be rated a 8/10 to 9/10. At its best would be a 3/10 to 4/10.

Most recent MRI said bulging disc at L5 and DDD L3, L4, and L5 with endplate erosion.

Primary doctor referred me to a neurosurgeon. He suggested epidural steroid injections. I had my first ESI on 6/22 and had no relief. Went on vacation in the meantime and had a terrible time because I couldn't do anything. Had my second injection this Tuesday. When I got home my back felt very achy and tight. Then last night, the day after the injection, I got up and had no pain all day until fixing dinner standing at the stove. The pain was as bad as ever! Once I was able to sit down it subsided quite a bit.

This morning I got up and again had no pain, but started doing dishes and of course I was standing again and started having pain again. I am scheduled for 1 more injection in 2 weeks. Unfortunately during the course of these injections I have also gained almost 10 pounds, which I cannot afford as I was already overweight. I am unable to exercise because of my back and the treatment I am receiving for my back is not working and causing me to gain weight.

I am very discouraged at this time. I just want to be able to go for a walk and not have pain and be able to do things again.


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  • Betty65BBetty65 FloridaPosts: 83
    Have you been to a pain management specialist yet? They may be able to reduce your pain to a tolerable level so you can at least go about your daily activities. I understand the frustration of not being able to do even housework without pain....

    Have you tried heat, ice, etc? Has your doctor prescribed any medications?

    This site is very helpful for gaining an understanding of the types and causes of back pain. I've found that I can talk to my doctor more "intelligently" after reading some of the articles here. Take care and let us know how you are doing.

  • I have not been to a pain management specialist. So far I have only seen my doctor and the neurosurgeon. I am scheduled for 1 more ESI and then after that I will see the neurosurgeon again. Not once have either doctor given me anything for pain. My regular doctor did prescribe me baclofen for spasms, but it did not seem to help.

    I guess I will just wait and see what the neurosurgeon says when I see him after the last injection.
  • Hey! You don't have any cysts do you? That's a pain that often completely goes when you sit but springs back when you try to do anything. Just mentioning it. Just in case ;-)

    Are you icing after your injections? That helps me avoid the common pain flare.

    Spine pain can take sooo long to properly diagnose & even longer to treat. I know it's incredibly frustrating. Try to pace yourself & be patient. I know! There's a lot a pain management doc can do to reduce your pain. Have you stopped taking the Baclofen? I started with Tizanidine (for years until I became tolerant) & then moved to Baclofen 3x a day. I find it helps but it did take a while to start working....I remember asking my doc to go back to Tizanidine in the early weeks.
    I'm glad the TENs helps a bit. Have you tried hot Epsom salt baths, ice/heat, aromatherapy, specialist massage, etc? There are lots of little 'tricks' that people use to manage their pain. Hopefully once you get more of a handle on your pain they will start physical therapy & that will help with the weight gain. Do you have 'Modic Changes' listed with endplate issues? If you do physical therapy please make sure they're taking that into account. In my experience it limits the exercises you can do without increased pain.

    Congratulations on quitting smoking!! That's HUGE!! If the steroids are guilty for the latest gain it should go when you stop ;-)

    Sleeping with a pillow or special body pillow can help stop you rolling onto your back. Getting stuck is horrible!

    DDD can cover a multitude of 'sins'. Only your surgeon knows how severe your problems are. Please take it slow & try not to push yourself until he gives you your next step. I know it's a slow process... Please let us know how you get on.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • To my knowledge I do not have any cysts.

    I went to the grocery store Friday night and within 5 minutes the pain had started back. Then Saturday when I was cleaning up the kitchen the pain came on with a vengeance. I thought I would pass out before I got to sit down.

    When I have the injections they said the take it easy the day of the ejection and resume normal activities the next day. My normal activities are going to the grocery store and cleaning up the kitchen. If I still cannot do that without pain, I would say the injections have not worked. I have my last one on 07/24. Then I will see the neurosurgeon again. He better have something up his sleeve to make this better. I want my life back!
  • Ugh! I remember standing in the kitchen, holding my baby (she cried like crazy every time I put her down), trying to make dinner, white as a sheet, a sweaty, crying, nauseas mess from the pain after an injection. It sucks doesn't it? For me ESIs often increase pain (ice & meds are the only things I've found that help a bit) the steroids can take lose to a week to kick-in & help if they're going to.
    Spine pain can take so long to diagnose & treat. It's horrible. Hang in there. Is there a surgical option? Did you get the feeling that your neuro thinks concervative stuff will eventually work? I'd ask the question "How long should I try other things for before I risk permanent nerve damage?".
    Have you only had a 'normal' laying MRI? Your pain seems to intensify a LOT with standing. Have you ever had a weighted MRI? if you endplate erosion = 'Modic Changes' I've been told that a lot of exercises, movements can increase pain. Have you been given a list of restrictions?
    I've got a really messed-up spine, arthritis, permanent nerve damage etc. I often wish for "My life back!". I know how you feel, I truly do! Ugh! These things can take a lot of time....
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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