Back Pain Need Help "Can't stand in same place for long."

Back Pain Need Help "Can't stand in same place for long."

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mudfootball
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Back Pain Need Help "Can't stand in same place for long."

I have been suffering from severe back pain for 2 years now. I have gone to 2 Doctors. (Orthopedic surgeon and a Neurosurgeon.) OS said I needed a Spinal Fusion the NS said I needed a back brace. My problem is that I can’t stand for more than 15 minutes. I can walk for miles but can’t stop and stand. It is so weird. As long as I’m moving I am OK but the moment I stop a stand in the same spot I begin to start hurting. If I sit down once it starts hurting I am almost instantly relieved from the pain. My job requires me to sit for long periods, I am sure this has an effect. I have been working to make my back stronger, but no luck, still the same. I am a little overweight but in good shape. My pain is on the left side. I am sure it’s the L3 or L4 area. The discogram that was taken a couple of weeks ago was negative due to not being normal pain. It did indicate that L3, L4 are worse than the ruptured disc at L5. Weird again. But I am lost, the pain will not leave me. I am scheduled to go back to my Pain Management Dr. on Nov 1st. I guess I will get an ESI in the left L4 area. Not sure if it will work or not, the other ESIs have helped but not with my standing problem. Does any know what this could be or mean? Thank you to all who replies.

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jellyhall
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Hi mudfootball

First of all, let me welcome you to Spine Health.
There are lots of friendly people here, who know what you are going through pain wise, and will offer support wherever we can.

The symptoms that you described, sound quite like mine before my fusion surgery.

I couldn't stand for more than 5 minutes without pain building more and more. Sitting would relieve it immediately. I couldn't walk at a slow pace (as when shopping), but when I walked briskly, I seemed to be fine for a long time.

My symptoms were caused by spinal stenosis, with pressure both on my cord and nerve roots. I was told that if I didn't have surgery, the problem would get worse as my spine degenerated.

By the time I saw my ortho surgeon, it was too late to even try ESIs, as the stenosis was so severe.

My lumbar fusion has dealt with this problem and I am feeling much better now. The recovery hasn't been easy, and it is very long.
I still have pain in my neck and thoracic spine, but I was told before surgery that it wouldn't deal with that.

I hope that they manage to find what is causing your pain and can suggest a solution to deal with it. Has anyone mentioned spinal stenosis to you?

Cath111
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Hey mudfootball

Welcome to Spine-Health. You've found a great place for info with the articles and videos on the site and the forum members are great, they're all very knowledgeable, helpful and supportive.

Jelly took the words out of my mouth. What many new spineys don't understand is that back problems aren't always disc related.

I had the same problem, I couldn't stand for more than five minutes without severe pain in my back, hips and pain down the back of both legs to my knees. Not sciatic pain, it was different - wider and deeper and not sharp shooting pain like sciatica (I've also had sciatic pain but an ESI and medrol pack relieved that). Bending forward and sitting relieved my pain. I even had to have a stool in the kitchen before my surgery just to cut vegetables while making dinner. I can second the opinion that stenosis and facet problems are very, very painful. If your problem is indeed stenosis, then it's no wonder that your discogram came out negative because the disc is not the problem.

Like Jelly, I had stenosis and also facet joint problems and spondylolisthesis. I had a buldging disc, but the disc was the least of my problems.

When it comes to ortho vs. neuro, here's my favorite saying from a fellow member, Metalneck:

"We dont have neuro problems causing ortho problems .... we have ortho problems causing neuro problems. - Metalneck (aka Dave)"

So that might explain the difference in opinion from the ortho and neuro.

I suggest finding a fellowship-trained spine surgeon to go over your MRI and other imaging (if you've had them). It can be either ortho (my preference) or neuro, but someone who only works on spines. They may try facet joint injections first to see if that helps.

Be your own advocate and find the right spine specialist to help you get to the root of your problem. Good luck and feel free to PM me if I can help you in any way.

Cathie

mudfootball
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Thank you!

Thanks everyone so much for your help. My Ortho said I had mild to moderate stenosis around L4 along with DJD. During the discogram that’s when I screamed more was from L4. The ruptured disc wasn’t as bad. In fact, wasn’t that much of a bother during the discogram. I meet with my Pain Dr. on Monday. I will suggest Facet Joint Injections this time. I really don’t want a fusion, too afraid that I will get worse. Also, my Ortho wants me to lose a little more weight before the fusion.
As for the fusion, when could you be back to work? Does is take months to recover? I know that everyone is different, just want an idea.

Cath111
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Hi again

Mud, I'm not going to sugarcoat this one. I've had both a 3-lvl ACDF (anterior cervical fusion) and a 1-lvl TLIF (posterior lumbar fusion) and the lumbar fusion was by far worse than the cervical fusion with regards to recovery.

I think it's been said that cervical surgery is harder for the surgeon but easier on the patient, whereas lumbar fusion is easier for the surgeon but harder on the patient.

Lumbar fusion definitely takes quite a bit of recovery time. But, I do know some members that didn't do too bad and felt pretty good at three months. The docs generally say that you'll feel good at six months and back to normal at 12 months. I'm at about 10 months out from my fusion surgery, and my only problems are standing too long (it varies, but I can stand much longer than pre-op) and carrying anything that's too heavy.

However, with all that said, I'm very happy that I had it done as I'm much, much better than I was before surgery and I consider mine a success. One important thing is that you have 100% confidence in your surgeon if you do end up having surgery.

As for going back to work, I've been unemployed so I don't really know. I'm sure it will depend on many factors - how well your recovery goes, what kind of job you do, etc. Check out both the Surgery and Recovery sections of the forums and I think you'll get a better idea of what kind of time frame is average to get back to work after a lumbar fusion. You can even post a question about it there to get more responses to that specific question.

Oh, and I'd suggest that rather than asking your doc for facet injections, ask him if he thinks it will help - let him make the decision. He'll know best if that's going to be something that is worth doing. There's also the possibility that your insurance will require other conservative measures before they'll approve paying for surgery, so that might also come into play for you.

Well, that's probably TMI for now. I really wish you luck on your conservative measures. Unfortunately, the facet injections and nerve blocks didn't work for me, but I'm hoping that anything your doc tries works for you. We'd all tell you that trying all conservative measures before going under the knife is imperative, but as you can see, it doesn't always work and sometimes surgery is the only answer.

Take care Mud and feel free to PM me if you need anything.

Cathie

inchworm
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Welcome to Spine-Health

Hi Mud,

Welcome to the Spine-Health support forum! You've already been told how great the support and information is here so I won't go into that. Just jump right into the topics and start sharing your experiences and/or giving help to someone else.

I can totally sympathize with the issue of pain on standing for any length of time. I've had that problem for many years--have had to shift my weight back and forth to help prevent the pain. We didn't talk about this before my fusion surgery but I'm hoping that problem will go away. I know I had stenosis, just don't know the degree. I'm 4 weeks post-op 2-level fusion and standing is still a no-no, but I'm very early in my recovery. I hope you find a solution to your pain problem. Keep posting and sharing. Smile

Linda

  • 2009 Foraminotomy C6-7
  • 2010 PLIF L4-S1
  • Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar inj
  • Laminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17
  • Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Aviatrix36440
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    Mudfootball

    Howdy and welcome to Spine Health!! My issues are disk related and as such my 'standing' time is less than 5-10 minutes now, and sitting only helps my legs stop hurting so bad. The back is constant, well actually if I lay down on a soft surface with my legs elevated, it helps. I now use a cane to get a little more bang for the standing/walking buck! (G)

    Also if I arch back a little bit, that seems to help, but if I am not smooth and careful on straightening up, holy yows! Bending forward, I won't go there! (G) Actually, very painful say for washing dishes, loading the bottom of the dishwasher, loading a side by side laundry..argh! Sitting of late I have found myself sticking my stomach out to stretch my back. If I sit 'straight' I have to move as the pain is similar to standing anymore - not sure why, but that is me - bouncing of MetalNecks comments as Cathie posted, I am a neuro issues causing neuro issues type!

    I hope you have answers soon. Again, Welcome aboard!!

    Brenda

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

    TracyLynne
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    Brenda...

    Sorry to sidetrack this post, but what does (G) mean in a post? I'm a little distanced from "forum talk"!

    Thanks.

    Tracy

    Cath111
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    Tracy

    (G) means Grin or Grins (I only know because this was asked once before a while back).

    I think we need a sticky on some of the new icons used in this forum. My biggest hope is that these forums don't eventually get to abbreviated form like when some text message. Example:

    I luv u 2 b/c ur the best.
    (Translation: I love you too because you're the best.)

    Grin

    OK, time to carry on with Mud's post.

    PollyR
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    Hello Mud and Welcome to

    Hello Mud and Welcome to Spine-Health!! You have come to the right forum....this site has saved my sanity more than once!! LOL

    I really do understand the "not being able to stand...".....I had a multi-level PLIF over 2 and a half years ago and I still cant stand in one spot with out it hurting SOO bad it almost brings me to my knees!! * I am not saying anything bad or negative about spinal fusions, its just mine didnt work.

    So now other upper levels are going bad so on a day to day basis...the pain is in differant areas...:)

    Please keep us updated on how you are doing!!!

    patwhite101
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    Welcome to Spine Health

    Hi, and welcome to Spine Health.
    I believe that most of us "spiny's" have the same problem when standing more than a few minutes. I know I still do and my lumbar fusion(L4$L5) was in 1995.
    Another member, JHowie, posted about this same problem when standing, a few weeks ago and everyone who commented said they had the same problem.

    When I stand in one spot for just a few minutes the pain starts and gets worse the longer I stand. I have difficulty moving again then it takes several hours before the pain really settles down.

    I do wish I had an answer for you but I do not.
    Best to you and please keep us posted on how you are doing.
    Cheers :H
    Patsy W

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