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life expetency for back patients

terror8396tterror8396 Posts: 1,831
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Chronic Pain
just curious
4 back surgeries the last 7 years. one laminectomy and 2 fusions and one hardware removal plus a laser diskectomy and all of the medications i take plus lack of exercise. does all of the previous things cause a drop in life expectancy? i know i have gained weight due to the inability to exercise because when i have a fusion my dr says i can't lift bend or twist for 6-8 months. will all of this cause a lack of living or are these not relevant to my life? the only thing i worry about is the weight gain. when i was able to before, i swam and played some tennis lightly. before all of this i was an animal on the tennis court. swimming seems to help but as mentioned, my fr has limiited my physical behavior because i am recovering from a fusion. is there any research on this subject? if all i have to worry about is losing weight, then i will be happy. it seems that all of this laying about will reduce my living. does anyone have any ideas about a good weight reduction program? and please no commercial endorsements for weight loss . i remember the old phen phen program and that was the best weight loss program i have ever been on but it is illegal to get them now
I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.


  • But being overweight and sedentary lowers your life expectancy all by itself. I am guilty of the same through no fault of my own.
  • Yes, I did the phen phen too. Yuo are right it worked well. The absolute best diet that I have found lately is the South Beach Diet. Written by a cardiologist and works quickly. It is low carb but not to the extreme of Atkins. It will work even with limited movement.
  • hi! you are are more than welcome to join the weight loss/life changing thread. painintheback is a member. we weigh in on Sundays and give each other support throughout the week. pm me if you are interested. that is the only way i know, calorie reduction and exercise. this encompasses a wide variety of things so give it a chance. we are facing problems like lack of exercise, meds that cause weight gain, stuff like that! good luck! Jenny :)
  • I to have put on extreme amount of weight starting when my back went wacko about five years ago. I'm due to have surgery soon and I'm scarred to death because of the extra weight I'm carrying. I'm so looking forward to being able to move again. But until then how do we get our weight down when we can't move enough to burn off what we eat off? It's all so hard.
  • Well, wish that was "Me-Sex", (hope Moderators don't kick me off, I'm kidding!!) but unfortunately I'm writing because of my weight gain, I feel like a bear waiting to hibernate (lol)....Seriously, though, since I've had so many steroid injections and then of course, the daily medications, I weigh more than I ever have and I'm just miserable.

    Plus, I can't walk far at all and my neurologist told me I was just making my condition worse when I told him how I was trying to walk more since that was about all I could do for exercise. He doesn't think I need to lose weight. But, he doesn't have to try to find clothes for me to wear either! It's bad enough finding clothes that don't bother me, but size-wise too - WHOA!!

    But, for instance, since I live so close to our large Mall here, I make my payments at the department stores rather then mail them and walking is absolutely unbearable.

    After 5 minutes, I'm limping so bad, my left hip, leg and foot are all in just tremendous pain - I can't find the words to describe the pain, but .....well, all of you know how I feel. I have an exercise ball that feels good on my lower back sometimes, but I certainly can't lay back and roll around (lol) and do all those exercises, but sitting on it feels good sometimes.

    I'm petite, and never weighed a lot except with my 3 pregnancies. Now, I have clothes boxed up, size 3-14.....I'm in the 12's again. Plus, food is something that has never been high on my list, I don't really eat that much, I eat small portions is what I mean. My husband is a retired firefighter, so he cooks great meals. If it was just me, I would probably just eat Ho-Ho's, Fritos and Ding Dong's and I'm fine (ha)....however, lately I've been on this Lender Bagels with Honey Nut Cream Cheese thing.....that is my downfall at the present time.

    Barb, I was going to ask if you don't mind, when you listed your medications, if you meant Hydrocodone or Hydromorphone. I'm pretty sure you mean Hydrocodone, but I am taking Hydromorphone, and while it does give me a little relief, it is not long lasting. I am in need of some kind of BT medication and need to find something that would be compatable with it.

    I think Hydromorphone is in the same classification of Oxy, and Vicodin (Hydrocodone) has Codeine in it, which I am allergic to. I don't know that the two would be compatible anyway, or if Oxy isn't in the same class of meds, if it would give me more relief, my point is my pain levels have dropped temendously and I've been checking the Medication Board and reading other places about medications, trying to come up with something that might help with my pain.

    My doctor always pulls out his little computer to make sure all my meds are compatible, which I really like, plus I know my pharmacist very well and she would know immediately if things were not. I've already taken and tried so many medications in the past 10 years, but hoping to find something that would work with the Dilaudid (Hydromorphone), Zanaflex, Neurontin and .05 Xanax mixture now that I've been on for awhile.

    As I said, this past year my pain levels have taken a really sharp downward leap. I have had to change doctors, and have found a neurologist and definitely need to find a good pain management doctor and get back on track. So, I just will continue to do my chores, that's enough moving around, I'm telling ya!! And keep the ice on my back and hip for now......sometimes the heat helps, I use that in the car (lol), aahhh....feels good! But, the ice seems to really help me more.

    Hi Jon, you sure have been thru a lot! My daughter teaches high school English. She has been off on maternnity leave, they just had their 2nd baby, but seems I remember reading about you teaching. She loves it! If so, what do you teach?

    My best to you and everyone!

  • I'm wondering if anyone knows, besides the weight gain / lack of exercise issue (which is, of course, a very risk), is there anything else that might shorten our life expectancy? For example, long term medication usage?
  • I watched Dr G's special the other night about top killers in the US. Smoking, Obesity and alchohol. In that order.

    So stop smoking, drinking. Eat Right and excersise. Seems pretty simple to me.

    I would also recommend any kind of low carb diet.

  • On paper its quite simple. I don't mean to sound rude, but its just not the reality many spine patients live with (if you read the posts above). For many of us, it is too painful to even walk for a few minutes, nevermind the stairmaster. Therein lies the problem - we would all love to lose weight, and diet alone is not enough.
  • Don't take this the wrong way, but that's what hydro-aerobics are all about. The water supports the body and allows you to get the aerobic exercise needed.

  • I really don't think there is a correct answer for that.

    "C" description of hydro arobics is a great sourse.
    Water is excellent therapy and exercise. As it relieves the pressure while exercising.

    I mean I took care of ppl in a nursing home and they lived well into their 90's and some of them had been on medications for years for back problems, surgeries, other health issues.
    So I basically think it comes down to the person and how they handle there chronic pain and how they live their lifestyle. If that makes any sense :?

    Hey if I can do all this Im going through at this time in my life. Anyone can!!! <:P <:P <:P <:P <:P <:P

    Enjoy your night
    Terri O:)
  • Water water water. You are weightless and its much easier to move and exercise in the water. I had 2 fusions in 6 months and my doctor lets me swim. In fact he encourages it. Its when I feel the best, being weightless. Good luck.


    14 surgeries including L4/5 laminectomy, L4/5 fusion, L1-5 fusion. Also many cortisone injections and 2 failed rhyzotomys. Going for #3 soon.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • Though I do recall a few people in my aqua therapy class after my first surgery that still could hardly move, and they were not post-op. But they were trying and that's the most important part..
  • i was watching celebrity rehab last night and all that dr could tell his patients is that they are all going to die if they continue to take drugs. my favorite is that staying on pain meds makes pain worse so one needs to get off of them. Did this guy get his m.a. at the university of quack? a major problem with media etc on our case about pain meds. my pain dr also tells me one month that i am on correct dose and to stay on them then the next month he wants me to ween myself off to lower dose. this guy also ticks me off. he wanted me to keep a chart and i told him i have been and i gave them to you. he checked in my chart and could not find them. i believe he threw them away last time. can't win for losing. i could try to find another but i don't want to go through the hassle of looking again
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • }:) Sounds like it might be worth the hassle to find someone new.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • imho, the majority of pain drs are pain in the ...my first one was good albeit he said weird stuff if he did not want to up dosage, same with this guy. It is amazing that ddrs will make up stories, facts, anything to keep a patient under their care. most drs have dropped blue cross, my ppo so finding one is going to be a hassle then i will have to explain why i want a new dr. they all know it is because of drug issues and then you start out with one strike. i had to get this guy because my old one retired so i had no choice. this one is close and for the most part he does not get weird. but everyother time he does. i will feel better with less meds after he says i am at the correct level. you can't win for losing with pain dr's. i usually support them but now i have ambivalent feelings about all of them with this crap about making up stories

    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.

  • Dr Drew is an MTV generation doctor, he used to do "Loveline" with a comedian Adam Corolla, that tells you how serious he is-just making a buck off of propaganda.I tried to watch that show and it just upset me, addiction is very real indeed, but pain is too and his stance is full of half truths most of the time.His media pandering, like some other shows are just media scare tactics that only make it harder for us in pain to be treated properly.

    Alcohol/tobacco are far more dangerous, yet you can buy them at will.
  • You have to remember jon when comparing to Dr. Drews show.
    These celebs/people are using these drugs any old time for a wicked high, or deep down inside mental pain.
    So they are taking anything and everything when they get their hands on it.
    They are not a med schedule per a dr. Half of them cannot even talk right. And they are mixing them with other drugs /alcohol etc. Huge differencde then what we are doing.
    So yeah they are going to die if they do not get off their crazy train they are on.

    Us that have our meds RX'd for chronic pain and are taking with responsiblity are going to be just fine.

    Has a pain pump implant ever been discussed?? Alot of people have had great success with them. Just curious if you have ever thought of it.

    Im with ya on most pain drs are a pain . Sometimes they give you more pain then what you went in with.
    My old PM was the same way. Would switch me to another drug without upping the dosage on the med I was on. HELLLLOOOOO um the correct way to do it , is if you have me on 10mg oxy 2x's day and its not working, lets up the dose and go from there.
    He would not. He just kept throwing another long acting med at me. I HATED THAT.

    I also am in the process of looking for another one. And I am left with just 1 place. There is only 2 places in my whole area. SUCK yes. but I have to do what I have to do.
    And with your insurance and them not taking it, thats odd.
    BC/BS is such a huge insurance company thats what I have.
    But of course every state is different.
    I totally understand your frustrations!!!!!!!!!!
    Mabye the if you found the right dr. The drug company would pick up the cost??? Or the generics for 4 bucks at walmart etc.. Not sure on that one. I know alot of pain meds come in generic form..
    Just a thought.

    Terri ;)
  • the guy jeff conway from taxi apparently has had back surgeries and has been on meds for pain relief and to get high. the is the ultimate drama queen or king . screams yells says he wants to kill himself etc. dr put him in hospital and told him that pain meds make his pain worse not better. he would not let him use any meds for back pain at all. unbelievable. conway was on first show and now on second one. he hides meds and girlfriend also uses. unbelievable but it is like a train wreck, i can't stop watching. it is high b.s. and the dr does a disservice to pain medicine on the whole. gary busy is there to help others and apparently according to him he has no problem. he is goofy. i believe he had brain damage due to motorcycle wreck. anyway all of this crap makes it harder for real pain patients and i am afraid it will get worse, not better for us

    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Docs stop accepting this and other insurances, as my last pain doc did, because when you belong to an insurance company, they can limit what you are able to charge for anything. Greedy docs would rather have their high prices, not controlled/cut by anyone. I work for a doctor and handle all of the insurance dealings. For a $45 charge, we are cut to a maximum of $36. Then, the insurance pays off the $36 only whatever percentage your coverage is for, usually around 70%-90%. The patient is left to pay for the rest and whatever is over the maximum, well... The doctor must eat it, it gets adjusted off. When you belong to an insurance company, it is illegal to collect anything over the maximum allowable for any charge. Most insurances are now following Medicare guidelines for their fee schedules. Anyone with Medicare knows that they barely pay anything, so for a doctor, it is more profitable not to be linked to any insurance and gain a clientel that is able to pay out of pocket for high, excessive charges. Most doctors are in it for the money. It's rare to find one willing to help patients with little means of paying. I'm grateful I work for one who cares about patients and accepts anyone. He will take $10 a week if that's what you are able to pay and will give you the highest quality service regardless of how much money is rolling in. Not good for his wallet, but amazing for patients who otherwise would not be able to get care. I know there must be other docs out there like him but they are far and few between. Sad. Stupid insurance. Stupid money. Evil... =((

  • I watched last season and have started watching this one as well. You hit it right on the head about being like a trainwreck that is disturbing, but yet, you can't take your eyes off of it.

    I noticed last season that Dr Drew has a big problem with anyone taking opiates/opioids, whether for legit pain or not. I totally understand that the people on this show have street drug/alcohol issues, but Dr. D seems to have lumped even CP patients in with all of these people. And I do wonder how that will affect the rest of us in the long run.

    Even the talkshows like Oprah and Dr. Phil have put a huge stigma on any and all people who take meds. Even though the people on their shows are admitting that they take massive amounts and beg, borrow and steal to get them. Nobody ever shows the "other" side...."Our" side. Doesn't make for good TV, I guess. But I don't think it bodes well for those of us who are 100% med compliant, and need some of these meds to live even a sembelence of a "normal" life.

    Well, I'll get off the old soapbox for now. Great overall topic and thread, Jon. Thanks for bringing it up. Mitzi
  • You know to put this thread in perspective, you may well get run over by a bus tomorrow....

    Live for today guy's and worry less, laugh more.

    Stress is evil - we all had enough of that because of our pain and natural anxiety linked to our treatment or surgeries. But try and keep it all in context, surely a happy shorter life is better than a long miserable one?

    Enjoy each day and count your blessings, however hard you think your lot, there really is someone worse.
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