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Severe Pain

ldavis2333lldavis2333 Posts: 108
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:42 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I am new here and my first time posting. I had a posterior cervical fusion c3-c7 with rods and screws in Sept. 08. When the sugery was done, I was in severe pain and barely walking. I had balance issues, numbness, tingling down both arms to hands. The symptoms began to improve for a about 6 months or so. I ended up losing my job 2 months after returning from surgery. I began to notice the getting worst instead of better. I think being unemployed sort of slowed the progression a little. All of my symptoms have returned and some are worst. Balance is terrible, severe headaches. I have pain and burning going down both arms to hands. When I am not in pain, I have almost no sensation in arms and legs. Legs are very numb. I can't feel my feet hit the ground. I fell down the stairs yesterday and jarred my back again. I've also had a lumbar fusion L4-L6 with cages. All of my Dr.'s refuse to give me any pain medication. If I don't have anywhere I have to go, I am ususalluy in bed with the pain and heating pad. I started at a pain clinic about a month ago. The first injection didn't work because I have too much scar tissue. The second one higher up has helped a little bit with the headache on the right. I still have it on the left. I'm going for 2 mri's tomorrow with contrast and a 3rd injedtion on Wednesday. I used to work at a Spine Ctr. I have experienced their total disregard for the patient. The majority of patients were not abusers but, everybody is paying for it now. I am very upset with my PCP's attitude after being her patient for 10 years and been through multiple very painful surgeries. We are all guilty until proven innocent. I believe that for the many posts I have seen here and myself that some of it is unnecessary suffering. Being on prozac has made the whole situation even worse I've been on my medications for years. I haven't abused drugs but have been told I have potential to abuse WTF. This post is way too long. My main reason for posting is that I am very scared at this point. I've had to start using a cane because of my balance. I don't think I have ever read a post here that anyone has been satisfied with their treatment. I am very angry now and know I will have to keep it to myself. I just can not understand why these Dr's disregard what the patient has to say. Finally, has anyone else presented with similar issues. It scares me to think where I go to from here. I work at maintaining a positive attitude. I know I will never be pain free but, the thought of suffering like this for the rest of my life honestly makes me sick. Something has to be going on, it's not my imagination.


  • Welcome to Spine Health. Sorry that you have had such a tough go of things. There's many many folks here who can relate to that unfortunately. Hopefully the doc can help get things sorted out for you once the MRI's are done.

    I understand being angry, but please keep in mind that anger if left unchecked, can increase our pain and discomfort. It's important to rise above the level at which some of these folks try to treat chronic pain sufferers at. Unfortunately we have the "burden of proof" whereas they just sit back and try to pick us apart. I think that a chronic pain patient has the ability to learn to focus so much more than others. Kind of like how a blind person can develop other senses to a higher level, I think a CP patient develops a higher level of focus on life and tolerance for mental, emotional and physical discomfort.

    There are a lot of positive stories on Spine Health. Unfortunately there are a lot of negative ones too. You have to weed through them to see the underlying cause of the issue. Plus many people, once they feel better, just sort of fade away into the dust, so you never hear their success story.

    Well hang in there and keep us posted.

  • A good pain Dr. will gvive you pain meds and will mike all the diffrence. I have had two great on in Indiana.

    A very minimal conave deformity of the inderior endplate of T7 which ia chronic and benign. There are disc degenerative changes noted at T7-T8 where there is loss of disc space height and disc desiccation observed. Disc degenerative changes anteriorly at T8-T9 with marrow endplate changes are notedas well.A posterior desiccated disc extrusion centrally is noted at T7-T8 with mild dural sac compression and no direct cord impingement. a small left paracentral extrusion is present at T10-T11 without cord impingement. At T11-T12 a right paracentral extrusion is noted. This desiccated extrusion extend slightly above the disc space measuring 2 to 3 mm in size with mild right dural sac compression and mild anterior right cord flattening without canal stenosis

    Lower Back
    There is a grade 1 anterolisthesis of L4 on L5, less then 5mm. the rest of the lumbar spine is well aligned, Vertebral bodies are intact without destructive lesionsor compression fractures. Marrow signal is normal.
    Conus medullaris termiunates at L1.
    T12-L1, L1-L2, L2-L3, and L3-L4 have patent spinal canal and neural foramina
    L4- L5 has a disc bulge. There are degenerative changes in the facet and ligamentum flavum. Spinal canal and neural foramina are patent. There is degeneratve sclerosis billaterally in the pars interarticularis without a clear spondylolysis.
    l5-S1 has patent spinal canal and neural foramina. There are degenerative changes in thefacet and ligamentum flavum. Impression
    1. No Spinal Canal or neural foraminal stenosis.
    2. Multilevel degenerative changes, worse at L4-L5 with stable grade 1 spondylolisthesis

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  • I went for the MRI's Tuesday and another facet injection yesterday. They are going to do the radiofrequency ablation on the right side next week. It has helped with the headache on the right. Also got officially denied for SSDI. I know I have a lot of documentation together to appeal it. The technician let me take a look at the pictures and it is a hard pill to swallow. There is definitely nerve root impingement at C7-T1 which I had expected. What I did not expect is that I have at least 2 or 3 herniated discs at L1 going up., L3 to L5 have been fused. That explains all of the numbness in my legs and balance issues. I have been looking at my own MRI's for a few years and know what to look for. I will get the report in the mail and see surgeon next week. Going to start pain medication Monday. I am praying they can give me something that helps. I can't get out of bed anymore unless I have to. This is no way to live. I am still hoping for relief. Does anyone have any suggetions or experience with SSDI in this type of case?
  • The truth is that when most of us are having good results, either with docs or treatment, we stop writing because we don't need help. So yes most of what you read will be "bad".

    There is a seperate forum area for people dealing with SSDI. If you click on all forums you will see if about half way down. There is lots of info on there. Being turned down once seems to be common. The other option is to hire an attorney. They only get paid after they get you approved and then it comes out of your back payments.Not sure how much this really costs but it might be worth looking into.

    Having worked in a spine center you know how things work from the other side. Now you can see the frustration that a patient deals with. The truth is that many patients are addicted to prescription meds and docs are afraid of making it worse. Also many patients are looking for a magic pill instead of the longer routes for healing. There is no guage on your forehead that tells the doc what you are feeling.

    And you know that with two fusions already you are more likely to have the dominoe effect of continued problems. This is why they want young patients to wait as long as possible before surgery.

    You talk about PM docs. What about a neurologist? Often we get off track with these doctors and they don't want to lose the patient so they say they can treat you. I think you need to get a few opinions on where to go from here. And as I tell my kids always follow the money trail. WHen you listen to what the doctor says keep in your mind who is going to make money on what they recommend.

    Good Luck and let us know how it goes next week.
  • I do agree with you about the money trail. When I told the Pain Clinic that I already had a Surgeon that I intend on staying with, They told me that they had Surgeons they refer to. I like the Dr. I am seeing now at the PC. I am going with the program so far. Seems I get the same attitude wherever I go. I also need the documentation for SSDI. I understand that I will never be pain free. I am careful with narcotics because I know it is very easy to build up a tolerance and then they don't work at all. I don't know what is out there.
    I did see a neurologist and I will follow up with him. He also refused any medication. The neurologist didn't seem to have much to offer. That's why I went to the PC. What can a neurologist do? I made an appointment with SS for Monday. Thank You for your quick reply.
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  • Love the avatar, it's so cool B).

    I'm sorry that your pain hasn't been treated at all. I find it shocking since it's all there for everyone to see on your MRI's. Is there a high rate of prescription abuse in your area? That would explain why the doctors refuse to prescribe pain meds, but their approach is like killing a fly with a machine gun. They shouldn't lump everyone together and should differentiate between a legitimate pain patient and a drug seeker.

    I hope they give you something that will help you function and get around better. You already know that there is no one single pain med that will take all the pain away. I know this too and I have been on several like Fentanyl patches, Ms Contin, Oxycontin, Methadone as well as short acing meds like oxycodone. I still am in pain but at least I'm not bedridden. It helps me to do some things but I had to learn to do them differently. I also have a pain pump which has allowed me to go back to water therapy.

    Please let us know how it goes and I hope things work out for you. Take care
  • Hi ldavis,

    Sorry you are going thru so much but I do know how it feels. It took my family doctor almost two years to prescribe percocets to me. A pain management doctor is who I think you need to see. I am in a Chronic Pain Clinic and they can't give me anything more then shots. That is why I think you need more then what you are seeing. Maybe even a physiatrist could help you more too. I hope you get some help and fast.

    Good luck,
  • I really appreciate your reply's. It does make a difference coming from people who unfortunately KNOW how I feel. I have a few questions maybe someone can answer. I have heard of the duragesic patch and fentynal patch. I am hoping to find something that won't just knock me out. I am thinking that I could probably get by with 4-6 percocet a day. I just hate that itchy nose. My PCP gave me Ultram, didn't feel a thing. I would be very surprised if the surgeon tells me I don't need surgery. Of course. I hope he does. I am also concerned about the progression of the degeneration. I am going to a pain clinic. I've had 2 facet injections at C2 and having the radiofrequency ablation Wednesday on the right. This past injection has made me light headed the past few days. The pain clinic will be writing my scripts starting Monday. I also have an appointment with SSDI. Have a nice holiday. The weather in Boston is awesome today. Going to sit out for a while.
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