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Chronic lower back pain

TacticalTTactical Posts: 5
edited 08/28/2015 - 8:49 AM in Lower Back Pain
I'm new to this forum. I'm a 41 year old male, soon to be 42 in September. I've been dealing with constant, miserable back pain and sciatica since January2013. In July of 2013 I had surgery on my L2/L3. I now have hardware there. Even after my surgery I'm still miserable. My latest MRI scan shows I have multiple bone spurs, multiple bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis. My back doctor said he didn't recommend anymore surgeries even though in his words my L5/S1 is in bad shape. I'm in pain management. Have been since August 2013. My pain management doctor has given me 4 spinal injections since January2014. His office is great all around and they put me to sleep for the injections. I'm scheduled for my 5th injection Friday September 4th. I'm on the 10/325 Hydrocodones 4x a day and 750 Methalcarbonal 2x a day. I barely get any relief. Most days I'm either in bed or in my recliner alternating heating pad and cold packs. Physical therapy hasn't helped, the injections help some with my sciatica but not a great deal. Doctor has mentioned a procedure for spinal stenosis. Has anyone had this done? Thanks!

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
    . Acupuncture
    . 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?
    . Results
- 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.

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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

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Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.
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  • - Analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie MRI, CTscan, Xray, etc)
    - Medical advice of any kind
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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 are

I’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 :

Regarding your question about spinal stenosis, please read Overall treatments for lumbar spinal stenosis

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

Honestly, I have never heard of any patient being put to sleep for an Epidural Injection. In fact any time I have had mine, they want me awake to talk things over as they administered the steroids. Some doctors may offer some form of conscious sedation, but you are still fully awake.

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 08/28/15 14:44 est



  • We sound like twins, but I'm 42 and a woman, lol! Similar story to yours. My ortho who did my L4/4 and the l3/4 ten years later said similar to me this spring. I went to see a neuro for a second opinion and began the injections and therapy per both my ortho and neuro. Neuro says fusion at l5/s1 will solve for me, injections will prove it or won't. They did. Just finished third round and they diagnostically align with the l5s1 problem. I go for cat scan on 31st,and then decision time with neuro on 8t of September. Meantime I live in sleep number, ice heat, meds. Physical therapist and pain management doctor think I will have good outcome with this third fusion.
    I don't know about any procedure for stenosis, but have that problem too. I wish you sanity as you go thru this and encourage you to get a second opinion. I know it sucks. I know how hard it is to walk into another doctors office who doesn't know you and have to start over with them, assuming they will take you, as you are now considered a complex case.
    It is hard emotionally, physically and mentally. You are only 41, I get it. I really really do.
    This last injection has been hard for me, bad headaches as side affect. Found out today it was muscle spasms.
    I never had neck pain or headache in my life and thank god for that. I had no idea how painful that was and have a new empathy for those with that condition
    I didn't mean to sidetrack your post, I just wanted you to hear you are not alone. Don't get down on yourself.
    Today I went out for the first time in two weeks. I went to the party store to get body paint for my teenagers who went to school football game in body paint! It was a twenty minute errand and almost killed me. I'm so grateful I got to do it.
    Find happiness in whatever you can and stay strong. And trust me, get the second opinion. I loved my first doctor, the ortho. But to be honest he treats a majority of 80 and 90 year olds. Please do not think I do not have empathy for them. My point was I needed someone to view me as a very young and active person who yes, wants out of pain..but wants more. I'm getting help to understand I can't do what I wish I could anymore. But I'm also not going to stay in my sleep number forever.
    I hope this is helpful to you and again, did not mean to sidetrack your post
  • TacticalTTactical Posts: 5
    edited 08/28/2015 - 6:22 PM
    Ron DiLauro, I have my injections done in Chattanooga, TN. Every one I've had I've been asleep. It's done at an outpatient surgery center that my doctor is one of the owners. My first injection I was told it wasn't normal anesthesia but I would not be awake. Sure enough they put something in my IV and said have a nice nap haha. Next thing I know I'm waking up back in my room. Research I had done before referred to it as twilight sedation. Thank you for the information.

    Hey 2dgs4cmpany,
    Thank you ma'am for your response. I'll reply more probably tomorrow. It's late here and my lack of sleep has hit me hard tonight. I've had maybe 7 good hours of sleep in 3 days. While it's fresh on my mind. I didn't have really any side effects with my first 3 injections but my last one back in March. I woke up with a terrible headache. I was told by the nurse that a headache was a possible side effect. I couldn't get rid of it for 3 days! I also had spasms in my lower back. My right hip was numb for a week lol. I'll reply more later.
  • Tactical, thank u for the info on headache. I appreciate it. Last night was a good sleep for me in that when I felt the muscles tightening, I employed tens unit, heat and meditation. I slept for 6 hours straight! Wowsers and I a happy lady! That loss of sleep is really hard, I hope you can find some soon. Without it I bet u have a harder time coping, I know I sure did.

    With my fascet injection procedures and all three spinal epidural a I had sedation. I too was told it was twilight. I too went night night and woke in recovery 20/30 minutes later. The headaches/muscle spasms this time happened a day later, so I was unprepared. I think the initial reaction to the pain helped the pain. Now knowing what was happening and feeling the pain coming, I'm prepared and can cope. I hope someone is helped by reading this and knows what I did not. That kinda pain was surreal. I realize now I was probably at emergency room moment. I thank god a girlfriend came over right at that moment and helped me with caffeine, ibuprofen and ice. I was unable to talk and slow talk/seriously stroke like. That is some scary stuff.

    We are young. I don't care if you are 20, 40, 60 or 80. Not knowing things is an obstacle I intend to circumvent with immersion in becoming my own expert.

    I feel really stupid telling you all this, but I didn't know gabepentin was a medicine not to drink with. I have always drank with my back pills. I learned the hard way not to with this med and what an idiot I have been. I didn't know not to go into the sun after steroid injections. I learned the hard way.

    My point in sharing this is that I'm a fairly intelligent individual. I just never really paid attention to my back problem. Much as someone is given a cast when their foot is broken and then they go out and go sailing anyways, or go to soccer games, or go out to party..I just didn't consider my treatments, my cast. I ignored what I was going thru. Of course I know how stupid I was now. But I will also say that because of my age, and society - we are trained to suck it up, no pain no gain, oh, u have a horrible illness...it's gonna get fixed and u don't have to stop. U can beat this mentality is ingrained in me. I have awesome support family and friends who said slow down. I just couldn't hear them. My body literally was begging me to stop. I pushed harder.

    I'm finally pausing. Thank god.
    Lol, rereading this is a wake up call to slow down and stop putting anyone's, especially my own expectation of life away. I need to let that balloon go and accept my situation for what it is. I'm told the next fusion should solve my current immobility. That I have to make serious lifestyle changes. So I'm working on that and peace and serenity of that proposition.
  • TacticalTTactical Posts: 5
    edited 08/29/2015 - 11:14 PM
    My back has completely changed my life. I use to be a gym rat. Now I can't workout. I can't walk for long periods. Same with standing. I'm limited period. I've had to be put on blood pressure medicine, depression and anxiety too. Pain is so bad it causes awful nausea. Bad enough I have to take phenergan 3 or 4 days a week. I'm most likely going to get checked out by a back specialist at [edit] Hospital soon.
  • grammaof9ggrammaof9 Posts: 263
    edited 08/30/2015 - 1:34 AM
    I am having everything I can to avoid a L5/S1 surgery. I had 4 level cervical and can't imagine lower fusion. I also am sedated for injections but never completely out just twilight. Never had an injection headache but I feel I have one of the best PM around. Who knows if that makes s difference or not. I get very bad headaches from my infusions of blood plasma that I receive monthly. Anyway on Friday I just had the RFA procedure L3/S1 on both sides and hoping that will help with my back and leg pain. I will admit I was nervous since I did not want to have any extreme pain from heating the nerves. So not to bad uncomfortable probably 10 after coming out of twilight to full awareness do Dilaudid in IV and ice for 20 minutes and was released. Alittle discomfort now resting more then usual but I am hopeful it will be successful and stop the nerve pain down legs. I have been off gabapentin for almost 1 year. I think it worked great. 2400 daily but my PM did not like that drug. My brain really was in a fog and I had gained an extra 10 or 15 lbs. I jumped in this thread just because of the mention of injections and that I will not have anymore spine surgeries. I am now 61 so both of you I understsnd want to get somewhat back to being active.
  • Vicki, thanks for the injection thoughts, I appreciate it. Headaches being managed by me as days tick by. I can feel when they start so I'm able to remedy before they take over. I'm sorry you have had to deal with this life and pain. I think it sounds like you know your limits and what you will and won't do. I admire that. I hope you are having good results from Friday's procedure. I never finished my fasccet injections as my neuro switched me to epidural so I never had the nerves burned. I hope u have relief. I sure hope u never have to have fusion if you don't want it. I have had two and goin for the third. I have had exceptional results from fusion, so if you ever need a positive story to reflect on for that, I will tell the tales.

    Mike, I know how you feel gym rat! Lol. I was boot camp girl, marathon runner. I was the man, lol. People stopped what they did in the gym to watch me do 100 push-ups marine style, no trouble. I revelled in my fitness. I love my Mary Lou Reton power thighs. I could push 300 no problem. I identify myself as a physical person. I'm the dancer in the room when the music comes on. I jump up and down when I get excited. And now, I cannot. I can barely walk. More of an igor slide drag except when I use my cane, then I look kinda cool...lol, I'm kidding. I look like a 200 year old igor. I'm gonna start therapy this week specifically to get some help with this. Because when I get this next fusion I simply cannot go back to any of that. And as I cry as I type this..I don't know how to not be that girl. I don't know if I can be a slower version of me and not lose my mind. I know I will conquer it, and I will figure it out. I just need someone to help me break it all down before I lose my mind. So if you can, and if you are willing, I agree with some of the posts here and am doin it myself- get some counseling. I used counseling in my life about .3 years ago to help our family, our son work thru some issues. I was not a pro therapy person. I'm telling you what: the break thru he had and then the positive affect of that on our family made such a difference. I'm no longer afraid to reach out and say hey, I'm in way over my head. I'm not weak, I'm strong and the only way I can get out of this problem is with support and help. Anyways..wishing you a happy five minutes today mike. Just know I'm in your corner and wish u every success.
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