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!