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8 weeks since injury. No improvement...

JennyfooJJennyfoo Posts: 81
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:35 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I herniated my T12-L1 8 weeks ago now. It took 4 weeks due to my dr. Not including my MRI with my referral to the neuro, to get in and find out what exactly the prroblem was. Before that, I had an ESI in the wrong location which only aggrevated my back and nerves that were damaged in my surgery last year. My neuro told me to go home, lie flat on my back for 4 weeks, only getting up to use the bathroom and shower. He told me he'd call my pain mgmt dr. the next day, after he reviewed my films, and instruct them where to do an ESI. 4 weeks have gone by now and I'm no better off, in fact I'm probably worse. My neuro didn't follow up with the pain mgmt dr. Until more than a week after my appt, after I called his office to check up on things since pain mgmt hadn't heard from him. I just finally scheduled the ESI for the 22nd. Am I the only one who thinks this is ridiculous? I'm in severe pain whenever I move, I haveso much inflammation in my back, that it feels like I'm laying on top of one of my son's matchbox cars or something. I feel like I'm laying on a lump. I have lost feeling in both thighs, my abdomen, and groin/upper thighs. I have problems emptying my bladder too. Some days, the pain radiated into my abdomen, just under the edge of my ribs. I've got severe pain in my upper thighs, shooting down my legs on the sides. I can barely walk.

After 8 weeks, I'm pretty hopeless that is going to heal on it's own. My neuro said he won't do surgery unless I'm at serious risk of paralysis and/or serious bladder or bowel dysfunction. I can't continue to live like this! My house is falling apart, my kids are suffering, my husband is completely overstressed, about at his wits end. I'm about ready to go insane, I'm so stir crazy.



  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    My heart goes out to you. Have you considered a second opinion from another surgeon? I know my surgeon would not operate until I exhausted all known treatments. Injections, physical therapy,traction and even a few things I called vodoo medicine. LOL. Have you talked to your surgeon about your quality of life? Or perhaps pain management doc could at least make you more comfortable. I found myself recently in drastic need of relief and from very good advise from someone on SH
    I spoke to PM doc and now have the relief I needed. I had to be aggresive with the physician (which is not my personality at all) but had I not spoke up I would still be suffering. I will say a prayer that you find the relief that you are seeking.
    Good luck,
  • a second opinion is needed. your surgeon doesnt want to operate unless your condition is very bad but your condition sounds bad now. to be safe get 2nd opinion....pete
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  • I called my regular dr. mid-week last week and explained what was going on, and asked for a referral to a different neurosurgeon. I'll check up on that after the holiday weekend.

    I told my mom on the phone last night that I'm more than ready to face the complications of the surgery. At this point, I'd rather suffer from complete paralysis in my legs than live like this. I could live a much more productive life and take better care of myself and my children if I were confined to a wheelchair rather than a bed.

    My pain level is tolerable except when I get up, move wrong, or have to go anywhere. I'm on Soma and Oxycontin 40,and I really don't want to be on anything stronger unless I can't stand the pain more of the time
  • Dear Jenny,

    Welcome to Spine-Health. :H

    I love the picture you have posted. I miss watching The Muppet Show! The chef was hilarious. I remember the song he used to sing and the "... bork, bork, bork" words at the end of the song. Cute show.

    I can very much empathize with the various pains you are experiencing. Unfortunately, it takes quite a while for thoracic injuries to heal. There is no quick fix. As difficult as it is to lay flat on your back, day after day, it is the best thing you can do for yourself right now. Using a heating pad while you rest, is also something that helps. Whatever pain medication your doctor prescribes for you, be sure to take it. If you can do little leg stretches while laying in bed, it helps to alleviate the tingling and numbness sensations.

    I have been told that thoracic pain is always a major problem and it is the most difficult to treat.

    Not many doctors are willing to go into the thoracic spine, because of the risks involved. The thoracic spine is a very tight area. There is not much movement in the thoracic area which makes it much different and more difficult to treat versus the neck and lower back. The thoracic area is comprised of many nerves for our vital organs which, if compromised, can cause a number of other problems.

    The following statement is from our administrator, Ron Dilauro:

    "I can easily state that thoracic problems are the most difficult to take care of.
    Most standard treatments do nothing to really take care of the pain and discomfort. Anyone that has suffered from any thoracic pain, fully understand just how uncomfortable it can be. You cant find a position that makes you feel ok, sleeping is non-existent and the pain stays with you every minute of the day."

    It helped me to read through all of the thoracic posts on Spine-Health, as it's hard to find others who can relate to what you are going through. What your surgeon has said about not wanting to operate unless you are at risk of paralysis and/or bladder and bowel dysfunction... is pretty much what others are told, too. It never hurts to get a second or third opinion, for your peace of mind.

    Do you have any friends or relatives that can help you with your children and maybe some housework, while you are down? I really do understand the stress you and your family are experiencing with this and my heart goes out to you. It's a tough situation to deal with, but you can do it and we will support you all the way.

    Please feel free to PM me, Jenny. I will gladly offer any advice and support to you that I can.

    Take it real easy,

  • Thanks Tammy. It's beena frustrating and painful 8 weeks for sure. No, we don't have any family close by who can help, and we don't have ant friends to speak of that could either. We are introverts to the core. In fact, my 11 y/o DD and I both have diagnoses of High Functioning Autism, most likely Asperger's, and my hubby has many traits of autism as well. Our kids are youg, only 11, 7, 6, and 22 months. The younger 3 were adopted through Foster Care and have special needs due to prenatal drug and alcohol abuse ranging from Sensory Integration Disorder to massive ADHD and my 7 y/o is mentally retarded. My kids are a full time job themselves and I've been a SAHM since the first was born. If I'd been in the work force, we'd have disabilty benefits to draw from to help us get through this. We have hired a senior at the local HS to come 2 afternoons a week and do housework and she helps with the kids too. We can't afford her, but can't afford not to have her. I actually resorted to calling my credit card company and requested to be placed on a temporary hardship program, to help out with the expenses. They were awesome and lowered our interest to 0% for 6 months. That will help a lot, but I certainly better be doing a LOT better in 6 months, especially because we're wanting to put in a pool so that I can get aquatherapy in my own backyard. My co-pays for it would be over $250 a month and I'd rather put that toward my own pool. My pain mgmt Dr. and Rheumatologist both want me in aquatherapy.
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  • After the latest screw-up, I'd had it! I got my paperwork to sign and return for my ESI in the mail, and it said I was scheduled for a Lumbar ESI in the same location as last time- the one that made things worse and isn't where the problem is. AAAUUUGGHH!

    I found out about Sutter Neuroscience Center located in Sacramento- about 40 mins from me. I found info on this website. LOL! After some calling around and checking on things, I called my insurance and switched my personal care physician to one who's affiliated with Sutter, and whom the receptionist said refers readily to the Neuroscience center. She's also a D.O. and does spinal manipulations and acupuncture- heck, I'm willing to try anything now. She's just downstairs from my pain mgmt Dr. who is also affiliated with Sutter and my old group, as is my rheumatologist. So I won't lose my specialists in this change. YAY! I have a request in for an appt. at the Sutter Neuroscience Center already, trying to line it up so I can go as soon as the insurance change takes affect on the 1st. I have my first appt. with my new Dr. on the 2nd. I actually have some hope that I will finally get some treatment.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,347
    You havent had this condition that long so hopefully no permanent damage was done. T12/L1 is surely not one of your more common disc situations that has problems. In terms of surgery, I would tend to agree with your doctor. If Thoracic surgery can be avoided, avoid it and L1 is basically so high up. Since its really a Lumbar disc, someone, somehow started those ESI procedures for you and the word Lumbar kept coming back to them.
    Many times when surgery is not the option, there are plenty of other alternatives.
    Besides the standard Physical Therapy, the ones that really seem to work for Thoracic discs is Aqua Therapy and Acupuncture. I also did have very good luck with Osteopathic doctors (DO) who did very mild spine manipulation. (To the point, I could not even feel any hand movement)
    I know it might sound strange, but in a few years, you will be able to look back at this current time as a 'bad down' time, but better times will be there. Just keep working towards that. Always try to remember, that its really in your hands to make the long term positive gains. The medical field will do their job and then the other is yours to do
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Oh, I agree with my Dr. in terms of not doing surgery, but I certainly don't agree with his forgetting to follow through and call pain mgmt to explain where I need the injection, not following my case at all, and basically ignoring me. My injury is extremely risky, since the herniation is pushing in toward my spinal chord. I've done a lot of reading and found many spine center web pages online, where treatment options and follow-up care of thoracic patients is explained. They followed up with weekly appts due to the risk of spinal chord injury, to make sure things were remaining stable, or getting better, they did multiple MRIs over time for the same purpose. My doctor saw me 4 weeks ago, said he'd order an ESI and I should get in ASAP, then didn't put in a referral for it for 16 days. I've left numerous messages with his office, telling them about worsening radiculopathy, about the bladder retention, and about the kidney infection. He never called me back. I've not heard from him or his staff(except when I called to check up on the ESI and to tell them things) for 4 weeks. He also refused to call pain mgmt and ask if they could work me in sooner due to worsening mobility and radiculopathy, despite him sitting on my referral for over 2 weeks. So while I agree with his decision not to operate, I'm pissed about the lack of treatment I've received from him since my appt.
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