Anybody have any advice for me?

Welcome to Spine-health’s Lower Back Pain patient community. You can also read doctor approved Lower Back Pain Articles and watch Lower Back Pain Videos.
23 posts / 0 new
Last post
DeVoreNOLA
DeVoreNOLA's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 08/23/2011 - 12:43am
Anybody have any advice for me?

Hello my name is Megan I am a 23 year old female 5'3" 160 pounds, I was in a car accident almost a year and a half ago resulting in multiple disc herniation's. I have been to chiropractors, pain management doctors, and a surgeon. I have had two cortisone injections which resulted in no relief left me with more problems (menstrual, acne problems, and weight gain). I have had 2 MRI's and a discogram (unbearably painful) leaving me with a diagnosis of having two herniated discs in my lower back. I am in constant pain in my lower back and my calf/heel/foot/toes constantly are going numb or it feels like needles are sticking in them, and I cannot find relief. I am currently on hydrocodone 10/500 which do nothing to ease the pain I have tried multiple other pills with the same result, my pain management doctor told me that he did not want to put me on anything stronger as a possible addiction could incur, I have NEVER had a history of drug abuse or any problems with addiction I am afraid that because of my age that they already come to that conclusion. I am about at my wits end and about to loose my mind the pain is unbearable which has caused me to only get 2-5 hours of sleep every night granted I do have ADD so my mind never shuts off but since my injury I have lost a significant amount of sleep. I have recorded my sleeping habits and when I do finally fall asleep I am constantly tossing and turning (up to 20 times in a 5 hour period) or waking up. My surgeon is recommending an anterior lumbar fusion of my L4-5 which I am scared to death to do because of my age and the serious nature of the surgery. I don't know what to do I just want some relief from the pain and to be able to have a normal nights sleep and function like a normal human. I want these doctors to start taking me seriously instead of just pushing me aside because of my age; I am 23 but I am very intelligent, I do not party or drink or do drugs the most I ever do is go out to eat or to a movie once in a blue moon. I am a homebody which is how I like it I would rather be home with my dog watching a movie. Any help or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

advertisement
Donnabe
Donnabe's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 months 3 days ago
Title: Member
Joined: 05/09/2011 - 7:09pm
Hi Megan! I am 24 years old

Hi Megan!

I am 24 years old and had a cervical disc herniation. I know how painful injuries to the spine can be.

Only you can decide if you are ready to have surgery. Have you exhausted all the other options? Do you feel like the pain is ruling your life? Did you get a second opinion from a different surgeon?

I personally decided to have surgery. In June I had a c4-c5 anterior cervical disectomy and fusion. I am 2 months post op and doing so much better! Recovery wasn't even that bad.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask here or private message me.

Donna

ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg

backache99
backache99's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 19 hours ago
Title: Member
Joined: 11/01/2010 - 4:05pm
hi megan and welcome to SH

you are in the right place here .i myself have 16 years of back pain /operations and painful procedures under my belt .and you will find the rest of the bad back team very understanding and helpful .our top man RON is a font of knowledge and a lovely man .right to business .i too am going for an ALIF in dec and i am also a bit scared but like i tel every one once the cannula is in the back of your hand its good night and you wont remember a thing.the dreaded discography yes they hurt like hell so you have my sympathies there .sleeping too is a very common problems with back pain again i too only get 2 hours a night .as for pain killers you are on a small amount of oxycontin and your doctors main priority is pain control .unfortunately addiction or tolerance as we normally refer to it is common with all opiates but as long as you are taking then for PAIN and taking the prescribed amount then any {addiction } issues can be dealt with post op when hopefully you wont require as many or can be put on a lower strength pain killer.i too have a dog its a cocker spaniel {blue roan} my advice to you is go to your doctors and be honest with him/her and see if he /she will up your pain killers as good pain control is very important at least until your operation .you should know that the ALIF is a massive surgey and it will take many months for you to get back to [normal} or as normal as you can be .you should make sure that your consultant is suitably qualified to carry out this kind of surgey as you don't want some one straight from med school operating on you! .any more questions please feel free to ask .PS for now heat/ice should help as should a TENS machine another good investment is a rise and recline electrical recliner when after your operation and for now .you will be able to get comfy on it and sleep on it it will be a god send after you operation .take care and stop worrying
tony {UK}

1997 laminectomy
2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014

DeVoreNOLA
DeVoreNOLA's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 08/23/2011 - 12:43am
I am so glad

that I have found somebody near my age that has gone through this that I can talk too. I have a few worries about a fusion. What is going to happen 10-20 years down the road. What if it doesn't fuse? What if my body rejects it? Things like this I am worried about how long I'm going to be down and healing.

I cannot function as a normal part of society because of my pain level I cannot stand for long periods of time or sit. I am most comfortable on my side with a pillow in between my knees.

Thank you Donna for your response

DeVoreNOLA
DeVoreNOLA's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 08/23/2011 - 12:43am
Thank you Tony

I only take my pain medicine at night before bed the only other time I take them during the day is if I am having a really bad pain day and I will half the pill I have a pretty high pain tolerance and it has developed in the past 1 1/2 years. I have done a little experiment on myself and stopped taking any pain pills for two weeks to see how I would handle it this was the most miserable 2 weeks of my life my brain was so scattered I accidentally poured coffee on my computer among other things, and instead of the "normal" 2-5 hours of sleep a night I was getting 2-3 and constantly waking up.

I have a Dorkie Dachshund/Yorkie mix her name is Grace "Erin Go Bragh" O'Malley

I absolutely adore my surgeon and have read up on him for a constant 8 months now. He actually approves surgery's for the FDA or something along those lines.

Donnabe
Donnabe's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 months 3 days ago
Title: Member
Joined: 05/09/2011 - 7:09pm
Hi Megan, Any time you

Hi Megan,

Any time you want to talk feel free to PM me. Also if you have a facebook PM me and I will give you my full name.

As for your questions...

What is going to happen 10-20 years down the road?

No one knows. What is going to happen in the future if you get the surgery? What is going to happen if you dont? I chose to have the surgery because I knew my only other option was to suffer. Maybe I will herniate a disc above or below the fusion.... That is a risk i took. Its worth it to me, maybe I'll have a good 10 or so years before I have to get another surgery. I would not have had any good years if I didn't have the surgery.

What if it doesn't fuse?

Our age gives us a better chance of fusion. Also it is up to us to make sure we are not smoking and doing everything possible to be healthy and promote bone growth.

What if my body rejects it?

Will your surgeon use titanium plates/rods/screws? That is what mine used on me. I did not have a reaction... and I can't even wear gold earrings without a reaction. My surgeon says a reaction to the plating is very very rare.

How long I'm going to be down and healing?

Probably a while. I would talk to others on here that had the same procedure. Its worth it if you feel better after right?

ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg

tamtam
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 2 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/19/2008 - 6:35pm
Surgery

HI Megan,

First let me say welcome to spine-healh. Look around at some of the other threads and you will find there has been others your age whom have had surgery. One problem they are mostly gone right now out living a normal busy lives. But there are still success stories on the board, which you can see. As far as your doctors taking you serious, it might be your pain management doctor is well aware you need surgery, by giving you more meds now, post surgery it will be harder to control the pain. If you are strictly choosing the conservative route and are against surgery, then you need to discuss that with your pain management doctor. Also I strongly urge you to get a second opinion, if you have not already. I understand you have researched them, but it might help you with your decision.

The one thing I can tell you most here do surgery, when the pain is taking every part of the daily life and interfere's with everyday living. Will your surgery be a success, whom knows, it is major surgery and surgery comes with risk. But if your not getting around now and have lost all normal life then sometimes going for surgery, your not trading much. Also you need to ask your surgeon what is the percentage surgery will help you. Also find out what is the risk of you not having surgery?

As far as medications, your explaining nerve pain have they tried you on lyrica or neurontin to help with the nerve pain or what about a muscle relaxer? If he/she is afraid of addiction there are other meds to use and try. There are obviously some that won't work sense the injections didn't help.

Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. Keep us posted on how you get along.

janiski
janiski's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/05/2008 - 3:09pm
Hi Megan

Hi and Welcome to Spine Health. You will find a big group of people who have had many different types of procedures and treatments.

I have had 3 fusions. I was knocked unconscious by a snowboarder and it ruined my SI joint and spine not to mention numerous other problems. My back eventually started deteriorating and the vertebrae slipping. I had my first fusion at L4/L5. The my spine started collapsing in on itself and I had L1-L5 fused. Later L5 started slipping forward so L5 and S1 were fused.

All my fusions were successful and got rid of the problems, pain, weakness, etc. I am not as young as you but I build bone quite well and all my fusions are very solid. The 2nd one used a bone graft from my hip and I think that was more painful than the fusion. It definitely takes a long time to recover from.

The fusions themselves take a long time for total recovery. I was able to return to work 3 weeks after I got out of the hospital. I was very active before surgery and I know that helped plus I had been doing core strengthening for years.

My plates, rods and screws are titanium. No problems there.

Some people have a one level fusion and have no further problems. Other people, depending on their particular spines and problems, find that the fusion can put stress on the levels above and below. Everyone is different.

I would do it all over again as I am mostly pain free. Sure there is some discomfort but nothing like I had before surgery.

Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.

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.

JulieA
JulieA's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 3 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/26/2008 - 1:02am
Welcome to Spine Health

Welcome to Spine Health Megan.

I am a double fusion (lumbar/cervical)- triple crowner patient (cervical/thoracic/lumbar). I agree with the others responses. My lumbar fusion was a life saver (literally)after being in pain for a very very long time. The jury is still out on the cervical but I was hit (T-boned 8 weeks after my acdf the day I was released back to work). I now have multiple thoracic herniations and I am looking at my options. I don't sleep well either.

What I would do for 8 hours of uninterupted sleep???

I wanted to suggest that you ask for a sample of ambien if you haven't yet tried it. Also if you don't have a foam topper (the thicker the better) you may want to try that along with a muscle relaxer at night. Talk to your PM about it. I take zanaflex after 5 years of flexerile.

I also take a host of other pain meds (used to take what your taking but changed about a year ago).

Feel Better,

Julie

DeVoreNOLA
DeVoreNOLA's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 08/23/2011 - 12:43am
Thank you

all so very much for your responses.

Now for the medications I have tried I have taken Flexeril it didnt help and it gave me a headache.
Tramadol no relief
Hydrocodone 5/500 no relief. Along with
Flexeril no relief
And my last one has been of course the Hydrocodone 10/500

I have taken Ambien before, I was diagnosed with PTSD about 3 years ago. I was sleep walking on it. I closed my door to my room so my cat and my dog would get into my living room and terrorize me all night. I woke up one morning and found my door cracked. Apparently during the night I had gotten into my bedroom closet gotten into my dirty clothes hamper and thrown all of my dirty clothes all over my living room and kitchen. That scared me enough to stop taking it thinking maybe I could end up outside let my animals out or even get into my vehicle I was living on my own at the time, since now I am not it might be worth a try.

DeVoreNOLA
DeVoreNOLA's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 08/23/2011 - 12:43am
Pain Management Doctor

also I meet with my pain management doctor tomorrow morning so I will know then what we both can figure out for myself.

Pages