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Newbie Here

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi all! This isn't the first time I've stumbled across this site in my quest for more information about my back "adventures", but it's the first time I realized that there is a message board here. Although I've always know I'm not alone dealing with back pain (paternal grandmother, father and brother all in the same boat, too), it's been nice to read the support here on this site.

I am 35 years old and have been dealing with pain in my lower back and legs/feet for about three years. I had a discectomy and laminectomy at levels L3 /L4 nearly two years ago and while the surgery did alleviate the drop foot that I was experiencing in the right leg and somewhat help with the pain in that foot, I herniated the discs above and below the surgical site within six months of surgery and am now dealing with pain and numbness in the left leg and foot, respectively.

I have done physical therapy, prior to surgery I had three epidural injections that gave me relief for about three weeks (but oh, what a glorious three weeks!), physical therapy after surgery, have been on too many medications (have taken myself off just out of stubbornness before because I got tired of taking pills), and now, after having re-established in a new city (I moved a year ago from Arizona to Texas) am going back through the process of epidural injections, hopefully to get some relief so I can go back to physical therapy.

Up until three years ago I was very active and physically fit. Since my back started I have gained 30 pounds because my activity level is limited. I feel like I'm back at square one and it's depressing. I broke down in my pain management doctor's office out of sheer frustration, crying about how I just can't live like this anymore. I just don't feel like I'm present in my life and I constantly feel guilty about not being available for my family. I know that they understand, but I want my life back and I want to be physically back in theirs.

(I know I'm rambling... sorry). So, I have been diagnosed (at 35) with degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis (born with it), and herniated discs from L3 to S1. (if I'm not being medically correct with my information, I apologize. I usually have to ask doctors to explain things as simply as possible for me to understand so I tend to explain it as simply as possible as well.) I saw a surgeon about three months ago, but as I'm a little leery of having surgery again, opted to see another PM doctor. I had an epidural a week ago today to address my left leg and three days after the procedure had a little relief. However, it's not been enough to come off of pain medicine which is my first goal. I have a follow up appointment next Friday when we will discuss further injections.

My third biggest frustration, aside from pain and poor quality of life, is that at when I have an appointment with a doctor I feel like I'm not being heard. I tell them I have horrible back pain and leg/foot pain and numbness. I try to explain exactly where pain is and how I'm limited, but sometimes what I say gets lost in translation. I know that the doctors aren't perfect and that they do their best, but, for example, right now the doctor is focusing solely on my leg pain and not my back pain (which is also significant). Also, I find myself subconsciously minimizing my reaction to pain as a rule, and especially at the doctor's office which, in turn, makes me feel like they don't take me seriously. I'm generally very positive and jovial and not very likely to complain ... but my fiance gets upset when I am like that with the doctor. (Ok... rambling again)

Anyway ... I'm sure I was all over the place with this post. I guess I'm just a little excited to finally find a place where people understand and I can talk about this without feeling like I'm whining about what's going on .. as well as feel like I can gain wisdom through some of your posts.

Thanks for being here ... and ... thanks in advance for the welcome! :)


  • Welcome to spine-health...
  • for you. It is extremely important to find a doc that listens to you! Maybe you should keep a pain journal logging what causes the pain, what the pain is like and what if anything relieves the pain. That way you will have written facts to show a new doc and they may pay more attention. Good luck and please keep us posted.
    BTW - Do not take it for granted that all docs are created equal. Some are good and some are bad. Are you seeing a spine specialists?
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  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. you do need to be serious with your doctor. it is easy to go in and have that fake smile on when we are really down in the dumps!! maybe keeping a record is a good idea!! please make yourself at home and know we are here for laughs =)) as well as those days of tears!! good luck in your quest for pain relief! Jenny :)
  • Hi and welcome to Spine Health.

    One of the very first things I was told by a NS, is that they are concerned with radiculopathy more than back pain. The radiculopathy generally indicates nerve compression whereas the back pain can be a multitude of things, and many of which they don't or can't correct surgically.

    So you might want to ask your doc if that is the case. It might open up a new dialogue for you with your doc.

  • I appreciate the welcome and the suggestions. Great idea re: writing down questions. I do feel like I've finally found a doctor willing to listen so I should definitely take advantage of that and make certain I am asking everything that runs through my head before I actually get to my appointments. thanks!

    Have a great Sunday everyone!!!!

    Thanks again!
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  • I am seeing a spine specialist. My surgery was done by a doctor in Phoenix specializing in the spine. The doctors I've seen here also specialize spine. The doctors here, though, seem a little behind the times. It's a small town. Anyone here who has had anything done has gone to the bigger cities in this state, however, the two doctors (surgeon and pain management) that I see aren't from this town (or state for that matter) so I feel comfortable with them so far. I don't want to make it seem like I'm judging the doctors from this town, but I just know that they've seemed hesitant to treat me and more than happy to keep passing me off or shoving pills down my throat.
    thanks for asking! :)
  • but I just had to laugh. You sound like me. I just moved from a large city to a very small town a few years back and I say the same thing about the docs and medical care. Some of the docs that gravitate to these small towns are scary. I always think that most of them landed here because they could not get a job anywhere else.
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