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Spondy III with Severe Spinal Stenosis and Severe disc desiccation

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:34 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello all,
I discovered I had grade 3 spondy 16 years ago, after the birth of my second child. Ended up at Mayo Clinic for consultation...absoluted a fabulous facility, I see why they are ranked #1 in the country for Neuro and Spine. They suggested a conservative approach (extensive PT and TLSO brace). It worked for 16 years. I took on a new job (not a desk position)....retail which required bending, lifting, etc and now my spondy is back full force. I am unable to work now due to pain and weakness.

My current MRI shows a grade III spondy with severe spinal and bilateral foraminal stenosis and severe disc degenerative changes with desiccation and complete loss of disc height at L5-S1 with compression of the exiting L5 nerve roots.

My current doctor has me on Darvocet and it just doesn't work to relieve pain...I don't want to start depending on pains meds forever, but I do sometimes need medicine that will give me a break from the shooting pain that I'm experiencing now. I am also taking Naprosyn, but after a few days of that, I find my stomach is upset. I'd like to know what medicines help others in this condition.

I am scheduled for PT starting next week. My current Neuro surgeon wants to approach this conseratively and said that surgery while he could do it, would be a "Big Surgery"....front and back and the outcome couldn't be guaranteed. Meaning, pain free and without losing some functional capabilities.

Any thoughts? Thank you and I look forward to meeting you guys and learning more about this forum.


  • hi rose...youve done well to keep moving with your troubles.
    if the pain meds are now your only way to continue i would recommend you have your dr look into possibly trying either NEURONTIN OR LYRICA. they can be very effective in helping you combat the shooting pains. they are not narcotic.
    i would also have him consider changing the darvocet to another narcotic. the stomach problems you experience are a known side effect of darvocet.
    good luck...pete
  • I guess you can look at it as having 16 good years before truly facing the possibility of fusion.

    Normally I always suggest getting several opinions, but in your case, the surgery that is being suggested is probably the only way to approach your problem. When you have severe stenosis in addition to the spondy, there really are not other ways to correct it other than fusion.

    I would just be very sure of your surgeon's abilities before making a decision, and whether he is someone you can easily relate to.

    The type of surgery that is being suggested to you is a BIG surgery and it takes a long time to recover fully. I think most patients are told to count on three to six months and it can take much longer to be fully fused and back to feeling somewhat normal. It is important to take the time and let the body heal. There is no rushing the process.

    There are no guarantees with spine surgery. All they can give you are the odds of successful outcomes...and even then you have to figure out what they mean by successful.

    I had a grade 1 spondy and a one level fusion 19 months ago. My surgery was textbook perfect. I healed quickly and well. My fusion was complete; the hardware is in place and where it should be...and yet I still have almost the same amount of nerve pain that I had prior to surgery and no one can figure out where it is coming from or what to do about it. My story is not all that unusual.

    Also, unlike other surgeries for something like an appendectomy where the patient has the surgery, recovers from the surgical process, and is "back to normal," this is NOT the case with back surgery. Back surgery will not restore the patient to the way he/she was prior to the onset of injury or pain. It might come close, but you will never be "the same." Many people do not understand this going in, and, as a result, are disappointed in their outcome.

    There is a board for "Back and Neck Surgeries" under the Treatment section. You can read about people's various experiences with fusion, should you be interested.

    Look forward to reading more of your posts. Good luck making your decision.

    xx Gwennie

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  • Thanks for your input. I know that I'm not alone and it is great to have support. What exactly is NEURONTIN OR LYRICA and how can it help? My doctor is very conservative when it comes to meds and when I tell him that the Darvocet doesnt for more than 40 minutes, he says to take aleve. What have you found to help you with the pain. I am not big on taking any meds, but when you having shooting, sharp pain, you do want some relieve sometimes. It is ashame that I feel that I have to defend my request for a pain killer. I have learned to live with alot of the discomforts of spondy, but it gets to be a bit much at times.

    Thanks for your input and I sure would like to hear about NEURONTIN OR LYRICA and how it can help.
  • Neurontin, or its generic cousin, gabapentin are used to treat nerve pain. Lyrica is a newer variation that is supposed to have fewer side effects. It is the only medicine approved to treat fibromyalgia.

    These drugs were originally developed to treat epilepsy but have but used for some time for the treatment of neurolgia.

    It has been found that the opiod class of drugs ("pain pills" such as oxycontin, etc.) have little or no effect on nerve pain.

    So, many people with spinal problems that involve nerve compression are prescribed Neurontin or Lyrica. Some people find relief, and others do not. I fall into the latter category!
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. try all you can before you decide to go for surgery. your doctor is right about that!! =D> you will find lots of advice here, but it is only advice!! i would suggest a good pm to help you with your pain meds and maybe some other ideas.. =D> good luck as you seek pain relief! :D Jenny :)
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