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dianeddiane Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in New Member Introductions
I'm a 32 year old female. I hurt my lower back at work (CNA at a nursing home) 8 months ago. At the time, it felt like a pop and minor burning but the morning after, I couldn't get out of bed, literally. Any little movement brought me to tears. Since then I've learned to function through pain but my life seems to revolve around my next batch of pills and when I can get a heat pack on next.

Since that time I have had physical therapy for many months but that only seemed to make the pain worse. I have had 2 epidural steroid injections that did nothing at all and 3 median branch blocks (the 2nd one did wonders for the pain but the results could not be replicated again). The MRI showed a herniated disc at L4/L5. For whatever reason, the doctor kept "lumbar sprain" as the official diagnosis.

I have a very low tolerance for most pain meds, in that either I become so nauseous that I can't keep them down or they make me so spacey/tired that I cannot function while on them. Vicodin cannot be used for that reason, neither can tramadol. I had been taking propoxyphene and while it only alleviated the pain slightly (say maybe knocking the pain from a 9 to a 6 or 7 on a scale of 1 to 10) I could take it and function still at work (as the doctor refused to take me off work completely). However that is no longer available. I've been taking ibuprofen (1000mg) multiple times a day and tramadol( 50mg q6h) if I know I won't be having to drive. Using a borrowed TENS unit but that does not seem to help. Taking cyclobenzaprine 10mg every night at bedtime as well.

I went to a spinal surgeon on the 4th of December and he wanted to perform surgery. At this point I would roll around in cabbage leaves while chanting if I thought it would help. He diagnosed me with herniated disc at L4/L5 with radiculopathy.He was also the first doctor who actually seemed to listen when I went through my list of problems/pain. I have an EMG test schedule for January 4th. As of now, I have the surgery scheduled for March 15, a Lumbar Interbody Fusion with Spineology, right side.

I guess I'm just thrilled that there will (hopefully) be people here who know what I'm taking about, who have gone through this and can offer advice or just listen. Any information is always welcome as well.


  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,745
    Diane. And welcome to s.h. forums. This is the right place to get info. And to have people listen. We've all been through some kind of spinal issue.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Howdy Diane!!!

    A Hearty Welcome to Spine Heath!!! Like Jim, said most of us are spine patients or care givers. You've found a great site!!!

    Like you, most "pain meds" make me loopy and in sleep mode. I actually use that to judge when I will use them! The key is this.... Is it nerve pain, or mechanical pain causing the pain? That can make a HUGE difference in what they prescribe... Just my thoughts there. Welcome aboard!!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can.so glad you stopped by!please be sure and get more than one opinion when it comes to your surgery! the more confirmation you have, the better for you! please be sure and stop by the "Back and Neck surgery forum" for more input. good luck to you! and keep us informed! Jenny :)
  • Welcome to Spine-Health. You'll find a lot of informative articles and videos regarding your upcoming surgery and symptoms, and the members of the forum are always very supportive and knowledgeable. You're right - you've found a place where people understand what you're going through.

    I had a TLIF almost a year ago (I'm not sure what a Lumbar Interbody Fusion with Spineology is), but it sounds close to what I had (note: sounds like). I understand how difficult dealing with unbearable pain is like and happy to be having surgery, just for the chance to feel better.

    Do you have complete confidence in this surgeon? Is he fellowship-trained and only works on spines? Is he ortho or neuro?

    I'm just curious, but having 100% confidence in your surgeon is imperative.

    We'll be here to answer your questions leading up to surgery and during your recovery as well. So don't be afraid to "speak up" and ask whatever you need to ask or even just vent to those who understand.

    Take care,
  • I wanted to welcome you here to the site as well! Sorry that you need to be here and about your accident at work. I also injured myself in the health care field 7 months ago and am awaiting an interbody spinal fusion for l5/s1 maybe l4/l5.
    There is so much support and informative members here. That is so helpful. Wishing you all the best!
    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
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  • I was curious, why is your surgeon jumping automatically to a fusion? Is there a reason a discectomy is not on the table for the herniated disc? It couldn't hurt to get a second opinion to verify the findings and course of action of your current surgeon.

  • In my case I have had two opinions. My disc space is totally collapsed on l5/s1 and getting there at l4/l5. The disc at l5/s1 is impingeing on the cord. Do you think that a different surgery(discectomy) would help?
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • My question wasn't designed to throw doubt or criticize anyone. I just get red flags going off in my head when I read fusion as the first surgery. It would really be unfair for me to speculate as to what is best for you, that would be best left to your doctor, not to mention I have zero qualifications in determining what is best for you. On the forum we lack the full picture , i.e. you already have a second opinion. It sounds like you're doing your due diligence with your doctor. You can always pose the question to your doctor to elicit his feed back.

  • I will ask my doctor about it when I see him next to see if this would be an option. I agree...I would much rather have something else done other than a fusion first. My husband had a discectomy/laminectomy by the second doctor that I
    saw (unfortunately it was failed back syndrome) He then went to see another doctor to see about a fusion after the failed discectomy but they didn't want to attempt it. So he is now 5 years later stuck with chronic pain. :( The third doctor that I am going to see to do my fusion is the same doctor that turned down my husband.
    Sorry for taking over your thread Diane ! I wish you all the best.
    Thanks again Dave...it will give me something to ponder.
    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
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