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Lost in pain and differing diagnosis

cazjaxccazjax Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:50 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have posted a couple of times and found the advice offered very helpful and certainly welcome. Attempting to keep this as brief as I can I would like to offer my experiences and hopefully gather some insight as to which direction to go. For the better part of a decade I had pain in my middle/upper back, more to the right side. Until even a few years ago I was extremely active despite the discomfort. At times where it was at it's worse it felt like a pulled muscle. Rest, ice, ibuprofen, heating pads, massage you name it I attempted it. The pain progressed to something I can only describe as a pain being caused by a buildup of pressure, basically it felt like I needed to crack my back. On the rare occassion I could crack my back in that area it brought a few seconds of relief before returning to that same feeling. Over years it became more consistant to a constant painful discomfort. I had visited my primary care dozens of times and prescribed a dozen or so 5mg percocets, the occassional x-ray (always showing nothing of signifance I was told), and told to take it easy for a few days. Told by my primary care doc that insurance companies do not do mri's for just anyone he had me referred to a physical therapist. Two months, no improvement. I saw a chiropractor as well and was led down yet another path of disappointment. Years went by with the same routine. Finally Oct. 09 my PC referred me to a "Spine and Sport Injury" specialists. Ever the optomist, I was excited something would be done. The first visit they called for an mri and prescribed more percocets, which did help initially. The mri showed to herniations, c5-c6 &c6-c7. After 3 or 4 more visits the only thing that continued to change was the dosage of percocet, starting at 5mg going up to 30mg. On a december visit and another attempt to increase my dosage I inquired into what I can expect to "fix" my problem. The reaction bordered on indifference. I was told I can do more PT, have injections to reduce the inflammation, or surgery. That Jan. 2010 I had the injections. Weeks past with no change in my condition other than I now had a tingling/numbness in my right hand fingers. Determined not to be on pain killers for the rest of my life I stopped taking them. After a terrible few days I felt like I was where I started only dozens of co-pays later with a now consistant pain, inability to sleep soundly, and for the first time a realization that I would probably be living with this pain forever. Through a friend who himself suffered similar symptoms I went to see a neurosurgeon. A brilliant man with no people skills at all, which is fine with me if he can make this pain stop. My first appointment was in November I believe. Our 30 second session led him to have another mri done. That was done the beginning of Dec. and my next visit was not until the beginning of Jan 2011. In an appointment that could not have lasted more than 3 minutes I was told it had deteriorated and he suggested a fusion of c5-c6 and just call him when I was ready for the surgery. No mri review, no opportunity to ask questions, no explanation of the surgery except it would be a fusion of my cervical spine. Honest to God, I left thinking my only way out of this pain was to have my neck in a permanent posistion. It was not until I did my own research I learned more about it. Luckily, through a family friend I was able to see another neurosurgeon. They had me in for an appointment within 3 days. In the 45 minutes this incredible doctor spent with me he reviewed my new mri which showed herniations in each disc from c2 down to t1. As he actually conversed with me, inquiring about my symptoms he also suggest ACDF but of C6-c7. He explained using the mri the causes of my back pain as well as the newer burning/tingling/numbness like feelings I had in my right arm. Sorry to provide such a rambling background but I wanted to give some sort of understanding to my current situation. Has anyone ever had two doctors suggest the same surgery but at different locations? If so, am I destined to have more fusions in the future? Most important has anyone experienced that back pain/pressure feeling prior to having ACDF and was it alleviated? Finally, i have not taken any narcotic pain medicine since I stopped over a year ago. I have told this doctor I did not want anything like that but needed something as the pain is now unbearable, I can't do anything including sleep without this constant pain. He prescribed Flexeril but it has offered no relief. I wouldn't mind going back to the percocets but will never forget how tough it was for those 4 days or so and do not want to go through it again. Has anyone taken them for an extended period of time, stopped, and then started again for some reason or another? Did you experience similar withdrawals? Are there any other medications someone can suggest that may help? Any info and advice is extremely appreciated as well as your patience in enduring the explanation of my story. Thanks again.
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