Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

I am New Here, My Name is Linda..

lwattsllwatts Posts: 12
edited 08/28/2015 - 8:33 AM in Lower Back Pain
I am New and I belong in three areas, Dang it!!!
I have a very bad spine, and I have been dealing with it since may of 89......yeap, that is when I first fell and blew three disk, and my right leg was numb for 2 weeks.. and I have not been without spinal pain since..
I have had, 2 Spinal cord stimulators put in and taken out! and I have had 2 Laminectomy's l4/5, and L/5/s1.
and I had to let them go in to remove Bone spurs my body wanted to grow after the Laminectomy's..
that was the Low back..
My Cervical is bad also, I had a very bad blown disk at C6/7, so they put in the artificial Disc there...
but it has been a pain ever since.. and I have canal narrowing at C3/4 and bulging, and also annulus at C4/5 with slight canal narrowing,
There is ventral cord remodeling at C4/5
I also have Spondylosis at C7/T1 mild they say.

and a FEW bulges in my thoracic area...???

and then
My body bone scan says:
There are Osteoarthritic changes in the shoulders and in the Acromioclavicular joint on the left. there is increase activity in the cervical spine on the left consistent with osteoarthritis.
Findings= Chronic changes.
Thoracolumbar Scoliosis= mild.....
well I can not find my Lumbar written report but I do have a scan of it, if I can post it, I will figure out how to do that!!! it is the worst, I have what 4 Ruptures and then 1 bulge... yeah not good.

So for now this is me, Linda from Florida, and I live on the couch most of the time, but I get up and get moving as soon as I can..

Welcome to Spine-Health
Please click on link for helpful information!
~ spine-health moderator, savage
Linda Watts


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,878
    As you start to read our forums you will be amazed at just how many people have very similar situations to yours. It is kinda of amazing when you find patients that have cervical, thoracic and lumbar disc issues. Then start to add joint problems caused by Osteoarthritis. So, you will be with a group of people that totally understand your situation.

    Also, you will read that there really isn't much of a distinction between a Herniated, Ruptured or Bulging Disc. Many times you will see them used interchangeable. Take a look at Definitions of Bulging vs Herniated Spinal disc
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi Linda, I live in Florida too. I too am housebound right now, but coping. I see physical therapist three times weekly, go for scans next week and see my neuro in September to plan the third fusion on my lower lumbar. I'm coping well except pain this week as side affect from epidural injections. Good news is they were my last. I had a week of walking from the first, a day from the second, and am still walking from this week..but the walker and cane are gonna be my friends soon as the legs are already starting to go again. I'm 42 and really just now accepting the situation for what it is. I too found this forum helpful. I turned to it before my second fusion and joined a surgery buddy group. When I get my next surgery date I will do so again.

    As someone who doesn't look sick unless I'm walking like I'm 110, I find it hard to explain my situation to others or really feel comfortable sharing. Most of my friends are completely healthy and we engage in active lifestyle. To finally surrender to the pain and acknowledge it has been a huge step for me. Getting that disabled parking permit. Using the walker. When I was in my thirties I used the walker but me and everyone else knew I would beat the problem. Things are different this time. I'm sure as heck gonna beat this, but...I'm not someone who can live the active lifestyle I have been trying to keep up with for the last 2 years.

    So I'm reaching out here. I'm reaching out to my family and friends. I'm getting a therapist, that choice was hard. But I figure I have a ortho, neuro, pain management and physical therapist.. Why not make it a nice group of five, lol. Just kidding..seriously this is some hard stuff. So I think it will help to have someone help me be more open, especially with myself. I intend to be amazing in this life. Being inside on a bed for the last few months mostly is not what I had in mind. So if I can get help to moderate between the surgeons the emotions and what I can expect, then I think I can find a way out of the house and live, not just survive.
    Anyways, nice to meet you, truly. Glad to hear our hurricane will be a tropical storm and wish you well and safety. Will check back on you and if you will do the same, maybe we can help each other cope. Best wishes.
  • ADRJenAADRJen Posts: 211
    edited 08/29/2015 - 1:39 AM
    I live on the Space Coast, near Melbourne. Also very glad we won't be hit with a hurricane. My poor husband spent hours yesterday preparing, but better safe than sorry. I have similar stories as you both. I'm now 60 but my problems started in my 40s. I went to Germany 12 years ago to get an artificial disc at L5S1. It worked well for a few years but the discs above it were compromised and I had the 3 discs above it fused two years ago. For the past month I've had severe sciatica in my right thigh and butt. Went to a Neurologist and had nerve conduction test which showed it is my S1 nerve root. It looks like my artificial disc has moved slightly, possibly pushing on my SI joint. He feels I need the disc removed and L5S1 fused. All of this is what I tried to avoid by getting an artificial disc to begin with. I have an appt with my surgeons PA Tuesday to get her thoughts. Not looking forward to another surgery but I haven't left the house for a month except for doctor appointments. I just wanted to let you know I feel your pain, literally.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • Hi Adrj, welcome and thanks for sharing. The cone shifted west again, yay!
    Yep, I love Melbourne, both my boys born at Holmes!
    Thanks for sharing. I remember 12 years ago the artificial discs were being talked about. I was 30 and wanted to be considered, but just didn't have the means for travel then. That is when I had first fusion.

    Interesting that we both had the problems above where we tried to get relief. I hope your pa appt goes well and a plan to help you move and improve your ability to get out of the house more materializes. I think those little trips out of our house are so helpful to our well being. I'm glad you have a good medical team, I think that helps too. Thanks for sharing your story, it was nice to hear from a fellow melbournian! We have moved from there about 8 years ago, but still go back for bizarros pizza, the beach, and those chocolate covered potato chips from grimaldis.

    Linda, I too have bone spurs near the past fusions, spondy, severe faucet arthritis, stenosis. After bone spurs were removed, did you have any relieve in walking? Do you have a medical team now to help?
  • I live in Tallahassee,
    and No i do not have a team of Doctors, I have not had any fusions as of yet, but I am thinking I am so getting there... My lumbar is buy far the worst, Is there a place I can put pictures so that I can put of links so that you guys can see them and maybe tell me what you think? I have just been for the last several years doing pain management.. and avoiding surgery as the doctors around here say you do not want to do that at all if possible, but I am getting to the point I am down all the time, and I have taken some really nasty falls, and this last couple of weeks had some spinal cord issues.. that caused both my arms to go numb all the way to both my hands and fingers, and my left leg buckled when it happened, and then both legs started going numb and had tingling and nerve issues up and down and all over the feet on both, and have been hurting very bad since. but I need to post the lumbar picture and do not know how to do it. I really do not get much help out of my Neuro here, he gives me plenty of pain meds, but he has not even suggested me going to a specialist at all?? and I am thinking it is time I step up and push for it myself.
    Linda Watts
  • lwattsllwatts Posts: 12
    edited 08/29/2015 - 3:28 AM
    it shifting west, is not good for me, lol, I am right up there where they have it going.. I am so glad they say it is only going to be a tropical storm! lets pray it does not intensify any stronger....we do not need any more water around here as we have been getting plenty all summer.
    Linda Watts
  • lwattsllwatts Posts: 12
    edited 08/30/2015 - 2:39 AM
    here is the links to my scans

    I do not want anyone to get into trouble for giving advice... but maybe private message me and tell me what you think? as I am really thinking it is time for me to start getting some second and third opinions, as the pain and nerves are really getting very bad now, and I have been dealing with this for a very long time. Linda.

    6.02 You agree not to ask for any analysis or interpretation of diagnostic tests (ie MRI, CTScans, EMG, etc.),
    6.03 You agree not to respond to any request for analysis of diagnostic tests (ie MRI, CTScans, EMG, etc.)
    Same rules apply to Private messages as they do to Forum threads

    -- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator 08/30/15
    Linda Watts
  • Hope the gulf tears Erika apart! Last thing u need is to have one more thing on your plate!

    I know how it feels to want someone to look at your Mri Linda. I have done every Google search from the body map to comparing mine to normal looking mri's online. It feels like we want someone to say: that's it! There's the broke piece. We can fix that!

    Sad to tell you that will get you no where. The only way to get some peace of mind is thru the steps outlined in the forums. I can't recall the link, believe it is in new member section. It is a detailed roadmap of dealing with lumbar issues and the steps to take. None of these steps are fast. With my personal journey I had no choice, no choice but fusion. It worked for me 12 years ago. It worked for me again a year and a half ago. And I'm hopeful for this next one, on a third level. Each decision was hard. Getting into a dr was hard. Waiting. Waiting sucked. I think the worst part was the beginning when a neuro said I imagined it all. I feel lucky he did that now, because it taught me lessons. You, and only you know what you feel. You have absolutely got to go to a doctor. They are your only resource for solution for this problem. I'm not in any way saying you need surgery. I have no idea what you need to solve your back pain.

    I know you need us. We who have been at the beginning know what you are battling and what you need to get solution. I don't know your insurance situation. In my case I talked to people and got recommendations for ortho and neuro. Waiting for those appointments sucks. Bring your history to every appt. mri's treatments you have done and dates and outcomes, medical history of surgery and meds. If at all possible bring someone with you! I'm a clever girl, but I miss what the doctor is saying sometimes. Or I can get off track and not ask all my questions. Bring someone who cares about you and can speak for you. I'm a downplayed of pain. Thank the lord I took my husband who reminded me and informed the dr of real truths, falls, pain.

    I have done this process three separate times. Sadly I'm quite great at it. I'd rather be good at windsurfing again, or marathons. But nope, this is my speciality. So good for u: count on me to support u. The choice is yours dear, I'm not trying to be pushy. Seriously, feel free to just vent and ignore me..I've been there too. Not judging, just here to hear you and support you. Good luck!
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,820
    2dgs4cmpany, that statement about you and you alone know how you feel inside .... There could not be a more true statement that exists for medical patients. I have been on this site for a long time and believed and preached the same thing, I am very happy that over last couple years I have seen a change , more people are believing this and pushing to get diagnosed, treated, and they are not buying a dr who says in your head. I truly believe if you got this one thing out of spine health , that you know your body and symptoms best, that is something that will help you the rest of your life. It has honestly saved my life and led me to find out the true cause of my problems. Great advice
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • 2dgs4cmpany22dgs4cmpany Posts: 200
    edited 08/29/2015 - 8:13 AM
    I appreciate your kind words and sentiment. Stay strong my fellow lady, and we will be an encouragement to one another. Knowing that I have people in my life who can relate to exactly what I'm going thru physically, mentally, and emotionally is such a gift, I'm so grateful to these forums.

    Plus, I DID GET MY CANE OUT! So proud of this small accomplishment today. I have a giant ego and have not wanted to use it, the walker, the disabled parking permit. And some rare days I don't need them. But today I used them. That is because I read some really encouraging threads about people feeling the same way I did.

    And crochet. Making blankets is something that helps me when I'm stuck in bed. I can focus and be creative. It helps me relax when the spasms come. I want to learn knitting and quilting..do you do anything that helps when you are laid up?
  • lwattsllwatts Posts: 12
    edited 08/29/2015 - 9:10 AM
    I have not been able to do any thing with my arms and hands so bad! with my Thoracic getting so bad I have had to give it all ip for now. I have a 15 needle Commercial embroidery machine and I have not turned it on in i know 5 months.. anything i do with my arms and upper body kills me..
    and with my hands i can not even crochet...
    Linda Watts
  • I just want someone to see them and let me know if i should push them or get second opinions???
    My doctor just keeps upping my meds, and does not want t send me to now one, and i really do not get a chance to ask him...
    Linda Watts
  • MicheeMMichee Posts: 2
    edited 08/29/2015 - 10:53 AM
    Hi Linda. I first started having major pain early 2008. I was 41 and other then high blood pressure I was healthy and active. All through my 20's and 30's I went to the gym regularly, swam, walked, roller blade, was very active and fit. I hardly ever went to the dr. So infrequently that my family physician had retired and I didn't even know! This in itself was a huge problem when I first started having pain. I just woke up one day and could hardly stand, the pain was so bad. After 2 years of going to the walk in clinic and being told that it was siatica and trying physio, chiro and massage and mild medications I got a kidney stone and went to emerg for it. Well guess what? I finally got the MRI I had been requesting and there was indeed some problems. I have since had surgery to remove bone spurs in 2010 but still have so much pain to deal with everyday. I also have a bulging disc (which they were going to cut when I had the spurs removed but it wasn't bulging at the time of my surgery), scoliosis, narrow thecal (so nerves r being compressed) and bursitis! Now my pain Doctor says he thinks I have fibromalgia (sic) too! Grrr! I go for monthly epideral, nerve blocks and cortisone shots. I also take gabopentin and extra strength ibuprofen. I was on a number of strong pain meds but stopped taking them all as they were barely touching the pain and the sid effects were not worth it. I am going to ask my doctor about medical marijauna though. I have read some stories about the effectiveness of this and I've tried so many other things. What have I got to lose? Anyway, enough about me. I just wanted to say it is so important to find the right doctor. The one who is willing to send u to different specialists and try alternative treatments. I have also tried spinal decompression, shock therapy, TENS, accupunture and Botox. Good luck. I hope u find a team that works for u. It's hard to accept that your life has forever changed but keep positive people around u and try to have some laughter through the pain.
  • I take gabapentin and ibuprofen as well, they are extremely helpful for the leg pain. I use my tens unit at least once a day and try to get on my heat pad with it for at least 20 minutes. It provides some great relief. Your advice for a doctor who is willing to continue searching is great. That is the point of all this..not to give up. Get treatment and cope with new realities. I'm trying to wrap my head around that new reality as I'm 42 and have always danced, ran, walked. I want to do some of those again. Some are not going to ever be possible. I'm gonna start seeing a therapist to talk about that so I can move forward and accept, find some new normals and be happy.
  • There is a really good YouTube tutorial by a doctor who explains in detail how to read your MRI. Just type it in the search button and it should pop up.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • My Neuro is a good Doctor,
    per say' he will send me to a pain Doctor and anyting like that! But I am just wondering how long do I go before the damage is to great? should I push for surgery? He is on the Mindset, you have had to much surgery already????
    I had 2, Spinal cord stimulators, a Head on collision made the first one desloge in my spine so they had to take it out and put in another on, and my Body Rejected it,, that is right it tore right out of my skin...
    Then in 1993 I had my first Laminectomy on L4/5, and it caused a Bone spur to grow on the nerve so they had to go in there and remove it, and then in 2006, I had a Huge Herniation at L5/S1 they had to do a Laminectomy on..
    So I do not think it was that much surgery, heck my Twin Sister, has her whole Lumbar fused, and her whole Cervical fused....
    I am just saying mine is not Stable and getting worse by the year and I have tried for many years now to ignore it the best I can, but it is just at that point I am living on the couch or in the bed, I do not go anywhere what at least once a week or 2 weeks, I would like to be able to get up and going some what...
    Okay, I guess I am whining but something has got to give....
    Linda Watts
  • I think u r winning. I think I hear you saying you have had enough and want some solutions before it all just falls apart on you. I so u stand that. I had to go thru the injections and physical therapy steps to prove out the fusion for both me and my med team. I can see that now..that I had to endure and hope. But now it is time to mKe the decision. Will we take out old stuff and put in new? Will we leave stuff and just address new level. Will we do a hire level because it does have significant bulge even though I don't have symptoms from that level, or will wait on that one? These will be the tough questions because I'm very aware of the outcomes. Will I live thru this? Will I be in wheel chair after? Will it be so incredibly successful? Will it be in between? So so hard to think of this when I'm 42. I'm a mom of a senior and freshman in high school. I waited my whole life to mom at this time. My kids are just phenomenal..and that is saying something considering they have worked thru some hard things themselves. The last thing I want is to have fusion and be about me. But it is what it is.

    And then I am like you. Just waiting thru this time period to decide procedure, to wait for operating room availability. I can barely walk. I'm petrified I will damage things in the interim or have a fall or have one more side affect from the treatments.

    AaaAhahhhahahahHhhahHhaah! That is me screaming in frustration! So neither of us are whining my girl. Stay strong. That Mir you tube site is helpful. I'm no good at looking at my own Mri, so sorry I can't help there. I guess my advice girl would be to go to another dr. That your dr sends you to. I think I hear you that he is awesome and doing that. I wish us both patience and health as we wait to be fixed..if we want to be fixed.

    Anyways, peace for you my girl. Good luck and know u r not a whiny girl. You are brave, courageous and a force to be recogned with. You are worth it. You have made me feel better about me by just talking about this. It's hard complex stuff. Hang in there
  • thanks for chatting with me, i am like you I am scared to go forward, I am scared of more damage they might cause!!! I am scared of not coming out of the surgery, or getting blood clots, and I am scared of not doing anything now??? dang it! I go to bed in severe pain, I get up in severe pain and I stay in severe pain, and i am on a lot of high dose meds!!! but I have sat and sat, and now all three levels are hit me at once, and it is like were do you need to start? the Cervical, or the Lumbar? or do I let them fix my Shoulder again, just so they can rip, it out doing another back operation??? All I know is I am 53 years old, I have raised three Children and the Baby is now 30, I want to start thinking of My Husband and I retiring and Camping and doing FUN things, but i HURT all the time? I know I can Handle the pain, I have been doing this for years! but, I need to know when do I push for the fusion's i see all kinds of people on here daily that have been fussed, and then I wonder why I have not been?? did I not go to the right doctors? did I not ask the right questions, or did I not push? But then I see all these people who have had the Fusions and are still in all of this pain???? so I think to myself I am glad I did not get them as they just lead to more problems, My twin her screws cam loose and now are wedged into her Vertebrae on the next level and is so unstable until it is so bad they do not dare go in and try to remove them!!!!! They said it would cause way more damage to her spine! all of this from her being in a Motor Vehicle accident... so now she just has to deal wit the pain as long as she can..
    Thanks for the chats. by the way do you have a idea of what I can google to put up that video?
    Linda Watts
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,820
    I don't know if same one but there is a doctor on YouTube that walks through MRI's. Very educational and informative just to build your understanding and dialect
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • About the Google search. I just typed in how to interpret an MRI and it comes up. It is interesting and I learned more about mine, but it really wasn't the answer I needed. It is helpful I think in teaching the back and it's parts in laymen terms and helped me understand when doctors went over my own with me.

    So how to know when to push, when to get right dr, when to have fusion or any surgery? My story:
    I had an orthopedic dr for ten years and he was wonderful, did both my fusions. In my case he suggested them as solutions at different times. The first when I was 30 for l4/5. He said 3/4 would need it in 10 years. Well, the first surgery was eye opening for sure, but I recovered that first week, which is incredibly hard, then 3 months of rehab and then when first year passed it was like it never happened. and I lived absolutely pain free. And I mean it Linda, I lived. I was young and perhaps a lil stupid. Ran marathons, roller bladed. But it didn't hurt. I was careful and did have to take ibuprofen more often as years passed, but not in excess. Then eleven years later, it was pain time again and that is when he did 3/4. He left in old stuff but said he wanted to remove it, but didn't want to mess around to much. He said l5/s1 would be next.

    I recovered from the second fusion with equal success. Imagine my shock this past April, just a year and a quarter later to be in pain again. and yes, it is l5s1.

    I'm going on about this for a couple reasons to answer your thinking. Your wondering when you will know or if surgery is the answer. These are hard and excellent questions. I knew with my first. So did the doctor. So that one was easy.

    The second was harder. While I was getting ready for that fusion I moved about an hour away from him. So I interviewed a new dr in town to establish with after this second fusion. He looked at same stuff and said yes, get the l3/4 fusion, but consider l5/s1 too. He was a neurosurgeon, not an ortho. He was willing to do the fusion, but could not get me in for another 4 months and as I was a new patient, he would want to medrol, epidural spinal injection first. I already had the operating room booked with my old ortho for two weeks from then.

    I wonder what anyone would have done in my shoes? Of course I took the ortho way. I wanted to be out of pain, and knew I was a good candidate for the fusion. I decided to ignore the neuro comment about l5s1. Did the fusion, success.

    But here I am again. What if I had just waited? And by the way now I am with the neuro, thank goodness he would still have me. We just finished the Medellin/injection phase and will have our heart to heart next Tuesday. But earlier I said it, I wrote imagine my surprise. I now realize I expected unreasonably 10 more years. After the second the ortho and the neuro said no more running.

    When the pain came in April I went to both of the Drs, one out of habit and the other to really listen. The old one said no more surgery and to do medrol and physical therapy. I have to be honest, I did not think he was my solution anymore. I just in my gut didn't. My husband goes with me to all of these, and he felt the same. We felt that the ortho just wanted me pain free. Which is good. He upped my meds too. I just in my gut thought, hmmmmm.

    So we went to neuro and told him everything and asked for his gut. He said medrol, pt, epidural injections. He really thought l5/s1 needed fusing even though I had just had l3/4 almost a year and a half ago. He wanted to give that fusion a lil more time and also try the lesser treatments. He said one of two outcomes will occur. Things would settle down and I would have relief or they wouldn't, and when we met again we would pull all the data and scans and decide.

    At the same time I was with pain management dr who did the pt scheduling and now all my meds. He had started fascet injections. So when neuro ordered epidural injections, he stopped fascet and do the epidurals. Those were the three I shared with u. He and pt are in same practice and they both together and separately concurred after the many shots and therapies that fusion would be a solution for me. They also upped the meds.

    So this is where I'm at and why I'm here. To me, and my team, we are all in agreement. It doesn't mean I'm not scared to death or stupid. I know a third fusion is a risk. I know it may not go well, but sure hope it does. I feel I've made the best choice because I explored every angle.

    Sssssoooooo long story short friend...talk with your loved ones and then get to doctors that are trying to solve a better life for you. If camping, crocheting embroidery are realistic for your future, tell the doctors that and what does it take to get to do those? It's about quality of life. When the doctor responds with treatment or surgeries, discuss the risks of doing them or not doing them. Then talk to loved ones again and then make a decision. Lastly, sometimes our backs do not look good on film, but in life you are coping and able to find peace and no pain. In other words your bad back isn't flared up. I have had episodes of that and was quite content to stay in that land for as long as possible. I wish that land on you. I'm not in that land since April. I want to walk again, so I choose fusion. If I end up in wheelchair I will deal with that when it comes. In my head I just hope sitting is comfy because maybe I won't walk, I would roll! My back hurts so badly that that outcome is acceptable to me. So that is how I decided. Love talking to you as well. I did look at your mri. I can definitely see some trouble there. But I have no clue how to fix! I support you in whatever you choose!
Sign In or Register to comment.