I know many of you are suffering far worse and for much longer than I. I’m truly sorry for your pain. If you spend half as much time on your back as I do, with a laptop on your belly, searching for a cure or magic pill, then you understand where I'm coming from.
09/09 - Minor butt and leg pain started
11/09 - Pain was worsening and a chiropractor diagnosed me with DDD. I tried chiro adjustments, decompression therapy, heat, ice, massage, resting, Po Sum On. The only things that brought ANY relief were ice and rest.
12/09 - Pain was excruciating. I think chiropractor adjustments made my condition worse. Although I never missed a day of work or a wink of sleep, I was in constant pain (burning pain in my buttock, hamstring) unless I was lying down. I made an appointment with Physiatrist.
01/10 - MRI confirmed herniated/fragmented L5/S1 disc compressing right S1 nerve root. Scrip for 6-day oral steroid pack and Gabapentin. Doc ordered ESI and reco that I talk with surgical team, claiming that I could risk permanent nerve damage if I waited. WTH! Yes, I have burning, excruciating nerve pain, but I can walk on my heels and toes with strength, muscles are working fine, and I have no numbness. I immediately started doing PT exercises and kept up my ice and rest routine. Mid-January started with a holistic practitioner/chiropractor.
Gabapentin is really helping with the burning nerve pain and I’m on a low dose. However, I’m feeling some other kind of pain in my back that Gabapentin is not helping with. When I take 800Mg of ibuprofen it really helps and I can almost function like a regular person!
At this point, I’m refusing to even consider surgery, and although I have an ESI scheduled (that I keep putting off), I want to go the distance and let my body heal naturally. Or at least give it one heck of a shot. I have the patience and grit! Research shows long-term outcomes with and without surgery are the practically the same. After writing this, I’m PO that my doc even suggested surgery. Why have surgery or ESI when such low doses of meds help? I’ve read some of your stories - one back surgery after another, tons of narcotics just to get you through the day!
Since, obviously, I’m not a good patient from a revenue standpoint, because I don’t want ESI or surgery. Should I even talk to my Physiatrist about pain management or just go it on my own with my bag of tricks? I mean seriously, is my doc going to laugh when I say, “Ibuprofen is helping me, should I get a Rx for something else?” My main concern is if I need to take ibuprofen or acetaminophen long term, should I then consider taking some other medicine?
I'm going with the "no question is a dumb question" rule here.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Herniated/fragmented L5/S1 disc compressing right S1 nerve root
Meds/supplements I take religiously: multivitamin, 2000 IU Vitamin D, fish oil, calcium, glucosamine/MSM, ginger root, bromelain, an occasional B6 vitamin, Gabapentin 300Mg 3x/day. I drink gelatin three times per week. Gag!