I'm just popping in to introduce myself. I'm 56 and have been experiencing increasing back pain for the last few years. Briefly, I have had burning, numbness, and a deep pain not only in my lower back, but also radiating into my buttocks. Just to make things interesting, the intensity and type of pain would change almost moment to moment (no rhyme or reason). The intensity would range from a 2|10 to a 6|10 with an average of 4|10.
In 2009 I talked with my GP about this and he had me go through a round of PT. At that time I declined any pain meds as I didn't want to risk any dependency issues. PT didn't really help so I just grinned and hung on for the rest of the year. Later in 2009 I did break down and ask for Vicodins. Then in early 2010 I went back to my GP and told him that my back was killing me. He gave me some more Vicodin, had me undergo an MRI, and go through a second round of PT. The Vicodins helped a bit with the pain, but not as much as I would have liked.
The MRI showed several minimal disk bulges and "minimal anterolisthesis". I took a copy of the report to the PT facility (same as the first time in 2009). They took one look and said, "Oh, back pain. We'll give you some stretches and exercises to perform." They didn't give the MRI results a second glance. You can guess that after a second dose of 'more of the same' my back didn't show any real improvement.
Finally I had had enough. Late last year I contacted a neurosurgeon's office for an appointment. However, my insurance company balked; I had to go a Physical Medicine physician first. That brings me to the present. I've seen the Physical Medicine doc and the first thing she did was to tell me that I have spondylysthesis. That was news to me. Nobody before had discussed my back in any meaningful way. Long story short, she set me up with PT at her facility (different from the first two, and sent me for an epidural.
The epidural eliminated the pain radiating into my bottom, but my lower spine began to hurt even more. I saw the Physical Medicine doc after the epidural and she gave me meloxicam 15mg. The meloxicam doesn't seem to help any but I haven't had a chence to get back to her about this yet.
After the epidural the Pain Medicine doc set me up to return tomorrow for an encore. In the meantime, the Physical Medicine doc decided that since the epi worked on some of the pain that perhaps I should get facet injections tomorrow instead of an epidural.
At this point, all I can do is wait and see how things shake out. Thanks for allowing me to tell my long-winded story. When it comes to back problems, it seems that there really are *no* quick versions of the whole story.