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Whiny Introduction

brokenchickbbrokenchick Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Spinal Stenosis
:sick: ~X( Hello everyone

I am sorry to be here...but sorry that you are here too.

My name is Brie and I live in Oregon. I am 36, a single mom of a 15 & 16 year old..the most amazing people I know. I am currently employed FT }} not sure if I will be able to continue another 3 months on that one and I have two yappy purse dogs which I love dearly.

Short(ish)summation of pain/diagnosis: L)
First back episode occured at age 17. I was in full spasm and unable to walk or stand on my own. I was placed in the hospital in traction and diagnosed with Degenerative Disk Disease.

Over many years, I have had at least 3-4 actue episodes a year. I have usually just laid in bed for a while-a few days to a week or more-taking muscle relaxers/pain killers.

Three years ago, my back went out very badly for over a month. I had to call an ambulance to extract me from my car because I had slumped to the side and fallen across the passenger seat and was not able to move due to pain and the contortion my body was in. I damn near lost my job. Since that episode, I have never been the same. I developed chronic pain through my back and hips which never went away.
A few more acute episodes have followed this one.

In May of this year, another acute episode. I waited and waited for this one to go away and finally went to the MD in August. My MD sent me through the rounds of testing, MRI, PT, and NEURO and PMD. My current diagnosis per the NEURO report:

SEVERE SPINAL STENOSIS DUE TO LIGAMENTOUS AND FACET HYPERTROPHY MULTI-LEVEL (L3-4 & L4-5)DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE (L3-4; L4-5; L5-S1)HYPOACTIVE REFLEXES BILATERAL. I also have bulding discs, but he did not feel that they were the primary cause of the stenosis (|:

Through the years, I have been through PT, worn support belts, chiropractic work; traction; TENS; MEDS; Swimming therapy; modified activities etc.

So currently, I am using a walker/cane 24/7. My activities and ADL's are significantly reduced. I lay in bed when I am not required to do anything because that is where I find the most releief from pain. Stenosis is usually categorized by relief with sitting and pain with walking; people also lean forward...so I felt good that I would be able to continue to work, except I have a desk jockey job and I am MISERABLE sitting. I can't take any drugs at work because of my job.

Walking and standing are definately the worse, but sitting produces terrible sciatica, numbness in butt and thighs, terrible burning sensations in both legs as well as very uncomfortable tingling in back of thighs, down the legs and sides of calves into tops of both feet and first four toes on each foot.

I take pain meds only when absolutely crippled in bed. I know==bizarre...but I hate meds. I do take muscle relaxers regularly...but only 1/2 of th prescription they have given me.

I have an irrational fear of being an addict and I have some bizarre fear that if I take the meds I will die in my sleep. I know, I know... I am honestly very positive and sane with a respectable job, I am just a freak about meds.

8} The neuro wants to do a decompression surgery bilaterally on the two levels. The pain management doc wants to do the steroid injections.

I am opting to not do either of them. I am not doing the surgery because it will not solve the problem...it may relieve some of the pain and due to my age (36) and condition of my back, the neuro said that I will continue to suffer from ongoing and chronic issues and I would most likely require further surgery later on for stablization or another decompression. Apparently the hypertrophy (arthritis and growth changes) are very common for people in their 60's and older. The neuro says my back is that of an 85 year old and that my spinal canal is completely compressed. A second opinion was also in agreement with this one.

I have opted not to do the spinal injections at this time because I do not trust the PMD at all. I am currently looking for another one.

Anyway, sorry for the long winded drama laden intro. I guess my original plan for a shortish one was lost! Thank you all for reading and welcoming me.

I hope for less pain for you and supportively offer HUGS to each of you!



  • Welcome to Spine Health Brie. I am originally from Eugene. Now I live in Anchorage.

    I could have written your post 3 years ago. What tests have you had done other than the MRI? Have you considered getting another opinion from either a NS or OS?

    The PLIF I had done literally saved me at that time. My world had gotten so small- I couldn't walk for more than a few minutes, constant sciatic pain (17 months documented),10 years or more of LBP. Many episodes like yours where I would end of in bed or at the hospital getting a pain shot and sleeping it off for a couple days.

    My low back feels sooooo much better. I went through 3 sets of Selective Nerve Root injections from a PM/ Pain Intervention guy who also does Micro D's... Just so you know not all MD's are cut from the same cloth. This guy said we'll do the micro discectomy if this doesn't work.... If you looked at my MRIs you would see that I had no disc left so that was ridicules :??

    What my wonderful NS found out through the simple flexion/extension x-rays was that I had retrololistis (instability) not to mention the herniations and DDD etc- :P it wasn't noted in the x-ray report either BTW.

    Some times the nerve root blocks work at least temporary and also help the doctors find the problem spots. I hate the side effects- and in reality they probably are a waste (there is more than one way to skin a cat if you know what I mean). My NS isn't big on them at all.

    My first one was awesome- I felt so good I re-did the front entry floors by myself :O . The second one I did one of the bathroom floors.... the 3rd one hit the nerve :''( and I never recovered till after surgery.

    If you have good insurance you might want to consider trying one of the injections at least for short term pain relief.

    About 3 months ago I begged my NS for a referral for a nerve root injection on my upper back. I was so bad (like I am now) that I was willing to go through "roid rage" just for a break. It worked for that pain for a few weeks. The ESI I had last didn't do anything but give me side effects.

    Try to be stay positive >:D< good luck,

  • You have come to the right place for support. I am nowhere near as experienced in offering advice as many other members here who have been doing so for a long time.

    I wanted to let you know that I do not read "whiny" anywhere in your post. Navigating through years of spine pain, conservative treatments, diagnostics alone can be overwhelming. Having a full time job and raising a family on top of navigating through years of having spine issues in my opinion is truly amazing.

    You are on the right track coming to this sight and posting in a clear, concise manner what your spine issues are and your questions surrounding what approach to take for treatment. I hope that you are able to find some direction and some relief.

    I was reluctant to try the most recently recommended treatment, the spinal cord stimulator, and put it off for over a year. I was simply afraid to have an electrical lead implanted in my spine. Now that I have tried it, and found that it helped most of my pain, I feel liberated emotionally and hopeful for the first time in years. Now that I have experienced this, there is a question of whether I can have a permanent implant because of stenosis. I think it can be implanted with a partial laminectomy but am not certain yet.

    Take good care Brie.


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  • I am new here, too. I completely understand. You are not whiny.
    Like me, you are scared and frustrated and confused and just need someone to tell you that they will support and help you.
    Spine issues are so scary, and so hard to understand.
  • I am new here, too. I completely understand. You are not whiny.
    Like me, you are scared and frustrated and confused and just need someone to tell you that they will support and help you.
    Spine issues are so scary, and so hard to understand.

    sorry, pushed the button twice!!
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