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Continue on pain meds & hope for the best or call neurosurgeon?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I was wondering if anyone could give me some input. I had a laminectomy in 2003, laminectomy in 2004, L3-4 spinal fusion in October of 2006, and an L4-5 spinal fusion in March of 2008. I was virtually pain-free by last summer, 4 months out from surgery, I was weaning off the narcotics, almost down to 1 per day, jogging on treadmill, etc… In late November/early December I started with symptoms again; mainly low back pain, mostly left sided with one spot over and down from incision site that is like a stabbing, and left leg pain in outer side of calf. I have burning pain in my left posterior hip area. I had an MRI (2 weeks ago) which showed everything from surgeries to be stable. It shows severe degenerative disk at L5-S1 (he mentioned central to left side) actually when looking at the film you cannot even see anything where nucleus is supposed to be. He also said endplate erosion, osteophytes, etc. Pain Clinic doctor told me that yes I have bone-on-bone, which can cause pain, but he thinks it may just be a flare, perhaps some stress fractures at site of bone grafts. I don’t think that is the case.

I guess I just wanted someone else who has been through all of this stuff to give me some input. I think my pain is coming from the lower disk where it is bone touching bone, but would that give me leg symptoms? Meanwhile I am back up on my pain meds, which to say the least is the most frustrating part for me, as my goal all along was to rid myself of these. Does anyone have an opinion on whether it would be reasonable to ask my neurosurgeon to look at the MRI and give me his opinion on where he thinks my pain may be emanating from?

I feel cornered. I reiterated to the doctor that I don’t want to take pain meds for the rest of my life, would rather fix the problem. What stinks is that I had a taste of normalcy and now I feel like I have taken four steps backwards. He said with time the flare up should go down. when I called for my medication refill the nurse told me we are going to start weaning again, which is fine but I need to get rid of the pain before the meds because how am I going to carry on my daily activities. I work full time, have 4 children, 3 dogs, and a husband. Maybe I should just hope for the best and with time it will dissipate. Any thoughts? I greatly appreciate any advice, support, similar stories, etc. This has gone on for years and I have had enough. I never did anything to injure my back. I have never been overweight and have always been very active. It doesn’t make any sense.


  • Lillypad and welcome to the forum. You have come to the right place for support and understanding. I can understand the position you are in even though my problems are with my cervical and thoracic area...I am on meds that I don't want to be on but I am not quite ready to undergo surgery again either so I am kind of in a holding pattern for now.....waiting to see what will happen next. Have you thought about getting a second opinion on your case? A lot of our members have done that when they have been in the type of situation that you find yourself in....just something to think about I guess. I am sure that there will be more members popping in with suggestions and advice that will have a little more insight on lumbar issues.

    Btw , spinal problems and the pain that go with it don't care if you are young or old , healthy or unhealthy , active or not....it will always take whom ever it can get....but at least we all have each other and don't have to go through all of this alone. All my best to you and if there is anything at all that I can help you with then please just let me know. Please keep us posted as to how you are doing and what you decide....take care....Miki
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