I'm new here, so I apologise for just jumping in asking for advice, and I also apologise if this is long!
My husband has suffered with lower back pain on and off for at least the last ten years after he injured his back lifting some stairs helping someone out. He didn't get it seen to as he thought it would just recover by itself, which it seemed to initially.
He suffered pain every so often, but never enough to seek help as it would usually last a matter of days before disappearing again.
About two years ago he started suffering with pain in his lower back again but this time it didn't disappear, it just got progressively worse. He saw our GP and started taking anti-inflammatories and mild painkillers. Our GP also practices acupuncture so he had a few acupuncture sessions with her too. None of this worked, so he had an MRI which showed degenerative changes and herniated discs L4 and L5/S. This was about a year and a half ago. He persevered with painkillers with no improvement. He then started osteopathy about three months ago and attended this for two months. He started to improve, but then had some setbacks - tripping over and landing awkwardly, sleeping in an awkward position etc. and he found himself back at square one again, only this time the osteopath said she had done all she could for him and he really needed to go back to his GP to be referred to the spinal specialist. He developed sciatica during this time, from about a week after seeing the osteopath which started off as pain in his right bum cheek but over the last few weeks has gone down his entire right leg and into his foot as far as his toes. He says it feels like burning/shooting pain like lightning going down his leg and is especially painful in his shin.
I'm not sure why or how, but out of the blue it got much worse, and I called NHS 111 who then called paramedics out. They contacted his GP who then prescribed him Oramorph and Diazepam. He had started taking Amitriptyline and Gabapentin about a week beforehand. Then two days later he couldn't urinate and was admitted to hospital and catheterised. They did another MRI and found that his discs were bulging more than they had been last year, but that that wasn't the cause for the urinary retention, the Amitriptyline was. They explained that they didn't think anything else was going to help, they dismissed the injection saying it wouldn't work and that spinal surgery was the only option, so the next morning they prepped him for surgery and had him sign the consent form. Literally minutes later a consultant spoke to him and said they were not going ahead with the surgery and were discharging him instead to wait up to 5 months for an appointment with the spinal specialist! They said the reason for this was because he wasn't in any pain in his leg, so I spoke to everyone I could, including PALS to get them to listen to us because of course he does have severe pain in his leg, much more so than his lower back. They insisted he went home despite this, and so we have been home a week today and he is in absolute agony. The medications aren't doing much, he had to stop taking the Zomorph that they gave him in hospital because it was making him very unwell, but he has continued with the other medicines - Oramorph (up to 60ml per 24 hours), Gabapentin (900mg per day), Diazepam (up to 15mg per day) and Lactulose.
He then developed severe pain in his groin and right testicle the day before yesterday and saw the out of hours GP at the hospital, who said he couldn't rule out CES but he thought it was a hernia caused by straining from constipation because of the morphine.
Today his pain has intensified and I called NHS 111 again, who told me to call our GP to see about referring him in for the spinal injection or to be admitted to hospital to manage his pain for at least the next three weeks which is when his appointment for the specialist is (I told the consultant at hospital he couldn't wait for up to five months and so they moved it forward as urgent). I am currently waiting for the on call GP to visit at home.
I don't know what to do? He doesn't want to go to hospital to manage his pain because he doesn't want to stay in for that long, but he's in agony and isn't coping. He wants to try the injection but I don't know if we can insist? We have five kids between us and I am struggling because I can't see him in this much pain not being able to help him. I have trawled the net to find ways to help but I've not found anything useful. He doesn't want to be away from the children either, but I just don't know what to do now. My mind is frazzled! He needs a plan of action and to know that this will get sorted out, but right now it seems like he's being told take this and that and see if it works, and nothing seems to really help much.
Sorry for the long post.********************************************************************************************************* Welcome to Spine-Health
One of the most important things that members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. It is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. This is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding and your thread is more effective.
So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, The fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. Many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.
Here are some questions that you should answer:
- When did this first start?
. Year, Your age, etc
- Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
- Are there others in your family with similar medication conditions?
- What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)
. Which doctor did you start with? Ie Primary Care Physician
. Who are you currently seeing?
- What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?
. Physical Therapy
. Ultrasound / Tens unit
. Spinal Injections
. Massage Therapy
- What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)
. Summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them
. How many different tests have you had over the years? Similar results?
- What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)
. Name of Medication
. How long have you been using this?
- Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
- Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
- What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?
Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.
Please take a look at our forum rules: Forum Rules
I also strongly suggest that you take a look at our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) which can be found at the top of the forum menu tab or by going to FAQ
There you will find much information that will
- Help you better utilize the Spine-Health system
- Provide pointers on how to make your threads / posts
- Tips on how to create your avatar (your picture), posting images, etc
- General pieces of valuable information
Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.
Everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
As such, no member is permitted to provide
- Analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie MRI, CTscan, Xray, etc)
- Medical advice of any kind
- Recommendations in terms of Medications, Treatments, Exercises, etc
What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.
It is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). It is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have areI’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?
Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways it’s like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.Specific comments :Personal Opinion, not medical advice :
Personally, it sounds to me that your husband is seeing so many different doctors, I am not even clear as to what the exact diagnosis is and what the action plan should be.
They need to isolate the problem, find the root cause and then determine how to correct this. Even though the wait to see the spinal specialist seems long, at this point, no other one is seeming to take control of this.
Medications alone will not be the answer to control his pain. What really helps the most is the total package. Take a look at: The Blend
That identifies all the various components in pain management.
--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 07/28/15 11:21 est