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7 Years back pain, 2 back surgery, spinal cord stimulator and.....

EricEEric Posts: 89
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Lower Back Pain
That's right you read it correctly. Been dealing with back pain for 7 going on 8 years now, had 2 back surgeries, spinal cord stimulator, and now they want me to have another back surgery. This is because the Fusion in the L4, L5s1 failed twice. I been on medication for 8yrs, steroids injections, specialist after specialist.
Dont know what to do or with a 4th surgery is worth it when the other three has failed. Trying to find someone who understands what you are going through and been where i have been is like trying to find a four leaf clover in a field of thorned roses.
Well that is the very short story and it sums it up just a bit.


  • How have you done it? I have only been dealing with my pain since 2008, only 1 discectomy 2008 that made matters worse and there are days when I just feel so overwhelmed by it all. Honestly, sometimes the only way I do get by is realizing there are people out there that are so much worse off then I will ever be and usally that will snap me out of a funk for a while. But how do you cope? I hate Drs. I hate meds. I want my old life back even though that is not going to happen. One day I accept things as they are and the next day I am bummed out. I am glad winter is about over. That will help. It has been a long, long, long, winter. I hate to use you, but..... you made me feel a little better tonight. The pain I am feeling can't be near what you are enduring or have been enduring for this length of time. I am sorry that you have not found relief yet. I hope that you find that Dr with the golden hands that can perform some miracles on you. I have decided no one will touch me again unless it comes down to being paralyzed if I don't get surgery. That is my criteria now. I trusted the Dr who told me "Oh, I will fix you up, and no more pain" Yeah, right...He didn't own up to not fixing me and giving me more pain than what I had. Nice guy until after the surgery. But hey, you been at this for 7 years. You know how this works. Does it ever get easier? After 3 years I still have trouble accepting it. Not working, being on meds, not being active, not doing things I used to love. You would think by now I would just get over it. How long did it take you to accept the life change?
  • Well I have had back pain for about 16 years now and finally they operated in 09, i had a pinched nerve, slipped disc and disc bulging and 2 cracks in my spine and I am only 33 :(. well they fused my L-4,L5 and S1, and well my L5-S1 didn't take and my legs still go numb from time to time. I can not do much of anything without pain and i hate it! So I am going in for my second operation on may 9th , the doc said it should work he is going to add more metal from my L3-L4 and put some stuff to help my bones fuse together. Not really sure what to think about this. I want to be normal again ,I want to pick my neice up with out throwing my back out . I undertsand your pain and i hope if you get the next surgery it helps you .
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  • i dont know if it get easier. I have fallen in to deep depression more than once. I am only 28 yrs old and this will be the 8th year dealing with this back horror come may 12 this year. Cope...interesting word...not sure if it;s the right now to use yet. I have 4 kids and cannot play with any of them they way i want to or use to. Though i try my best not to let it, but pain kinda determines how my day will go. I too am sick as hell of medication, i am sick of having to have this spinal cord stimulator (2nd surgery) charged up like i am some damn robot and turn on, i am sick of pain, i am sick or doctors as well! But....i cannot give up and nor can you. None of us can give up. If we give up and give in then we well be in worst pain and lost than we ever had been in. That's how i get through. As far as surgeries goes....well i been told why i am still in some much pain and that's because my fusion failed TWICE! The discectomy looks fine along with the cages but the fusion failed. So i was told straight forward (which i respect this doctor more than any other cause he give it to me straight) have the surgery and let us try to make you feel better, or dont and stay in current pain and maybe worst pain when you get older. So what do you do? this will be my fourth surgery if i accept it. Do i give up or keep trying ...hoping that some day this will get better. I believe we have to keep trying. IF there is hope of making us better then what do we have to lose? I mean really we are screwed (lol since we all really do have screws in us) now anyway. I have learned to understand that no matter what could happen or cannot happen...i will never get back to how i used to be. Now all i can plan is how to get close as possible and live with the condition i have. It is hard, really really hard. I agree with you, the rain, the winter....damn...i am glad it is over too. But sad because just in another 6 months or so , it will start all over. So take your meds when need to, dont make yourself go through more pain than we have too because all that does is make us more depressed than we already are. It is nice really nice to talk to someone who understands us.
  • Erick, I feel for you being soo young and going through this. I've had chronic pain for years but nothing like you or my dad. My Dad has had 8 disc removed from his back and his backbone is wired together. This happened when he was 34 and six kids. He went into a deep depression and started drinking heavy. He became an alcoholic and didn't stop until he had lost everyone in his life. He has been sober now for over 20 years and he is in horrible pain every day. I am trying to learn from his experience and make sure I don't follow the same path. I have accepted I will never feel or be normal again. I have also accepted my new normal and now need to find solutions to the pain I can get relieved and methods to cope with the pain that will be with me, my new friend for life, my new reality.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • Eric I hope you and your family can figure out what is best for you. I also hope that what ever you decide to do, you will find some relief. These days it is very hard to make a decision to have yet another surgery/injection when each time either brings on more pain or leaves you right where you started. :/ I will say a prayer for you.

    I have had 2 back surgeries and spinal cord stimulator just as you have. Mine all started from a car accident in Nov. 2000. I did get some relief from each of my procedures for a limited amount of time. However, I get the feeling that my doctors have given up on me. They wanted me to go on disability back in 2009 but I couldn't fathom doing that because I couldn't imagine my family surviving on that kind of income. I am 36 years old and I have two teenage daughters that are very active and into everything they can get their hands on.

    Well, I fell at work Feb. 11th of this year and being that my back is so fragile, I have been in drastic pain ever since. I have been off of work as well because I can't bear the spasms.

    So now, like you, I am left with a decision to make. Should I rethink going on disability or should I continue to get injections and take more meds in order just get by? (BTW I am an elementary teacher, a bad back and meds don't mix well with small children.)

    I am praying for guidance and I am hoping that you and I will both have the answers we are seeking soon.

    Davrunner- I wanted to thank you for your insight. You have inspired me and I plan to do my very best to think of life in this new way. Thank you!

    God Bless each of you and yours,
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  • I too get limited relief from injection and from the procedures. I am sorry to hear that all of you, all of us, are still dealing with pain everyday. You are not alone when you feel that the doctors have given up on you. Now i have one that seems to be in my corner and what i will say to you is get another doctors opinion. Someone fresh to look at your case, someone who would be interested in what you been through and optimistic about getting you better and in return you will get the feeling....a little more hopeful.
    Depression is a demon of a thing...and i too turned to heavy drinking.....locked myself in the room and drink everyday for about 8 months. I was lucky that one day i said i will not drink anymore, had a strong family support. It is rare and close to none when i drink and if i do i will have a beer or two. I cannot tell you the last time i drank because i have to plan. Meaning i have to stop my meds 24hours before and then not think for 18hr after. Tired it once and it was hell...to the point i have not done it again. Not worth being in pain for a drink.
  • Hi,
    I too have been dealing with some pretty severe pain for 4 almost 5 years. I have had two surgeries for herniated discs. Unfortunately I have had very little relief. I am miserbable. I take pain medication religiously and now I am looking at a third surgery to fuse. I am not sure if it will work but I am so desperate to get to some point of normalcy. Hang in there and know you arent alone.
  • So if there is one thing i have learned from all this and found to be very true is that if we stay negative then our pain will only get worst. It is 100% true that if our mental status is negative then we will feel more pain and continue to be miserable.
    Positive speaking will not allow our pain completely go away, however it will help us to get manage our pain better. It is really great to express our deep feelings and fears about our life affected situation, but lets also try to help each other out by sharing what does give us some relief and what doesn't.
    Lets start with what medications has worked for us vs what medication ( or combinations).

    Gabapentin 800mgs 4x day: I take this for the burning, sharp pain, needle, stabbing pain that radiates across my back and up and down my leg. This medication does really work. NO it does not make the burning go away but it lightens the strength of the burning and others about 25-35%. It takes about 1-2 weeks for this medication to really work. I have gotten off this medication and cried for 3 days when it got out my system but hey at least i know it worked.The only thing i do not like about this medication is that it and other medication i will list make me gain massive weight. Plus this medication you have to take slowly and increase it up to the dosage you need it to be. The same thing for getting off this medication...you cannot just stop...you have to bring yourself down slowly and it takes about 2 weeks either way.

    Trazodone 150mgs 1x day: This is mainly used for depression but is commonly used for chronic back pain as well. I know that some people dont believe in depression medication and nor did i, but this really did help with my depression and gave me some back relief. Please my friends understand that depression will not only make our back pain worst but physically make us even more sicker. This has been proven. Once again the only thing i dont like about this medication is like all anti-depressants its very common for weight gain.

    Baclofen 20mg 2x day works for spasms a lot better than felixeril or any other medication.

    Atenolol 50mg 1x day: This is a blood pressure medication. Now i have never had a history or high blood pressure until this back pain started. It was told to my after a echo and stress test that it was due to body continuously being in pain. The on the good days my blood pressure was normal and on the more frequent bad days in pain...my blood pressure shot sky high.

    Oxycontin 20mgs 3-4x day: Now this is a toughie because i often have to swap medication to avoid addiction (I fear it and it is my choice not doctors). This seems to work best because it is a slow release vs the other medication like vicodin, TL3, lortab, etc. Now i often swap between this and Opana every 3-4 months. This is due to the body building a tolerance. My doctors often tell me they want to increase the mgs and because of my fear i endure a lot more pain than i need to. But i read some much that these pain pills people often get hook fast and bad. I dont need anymore problems. So i choose to swap them. Unfortunately i cannot just not take them as i will not be able to work without some medication that helps with the pain. This helps with the pressure in my back, sharp pain, stabbing pain, aches and throbbing in leg and back.

    Nexium 75mg 2x day: This is for acid reflex. All these medication causes acid feflex bad so i have to take medication for that. This really does help!

    some type of steroid cannnot find the bottle cause i have a medication suspensor
    Sitting and relaxing helps with pain. Summer time is great cause after the first shock of the pool, it really does help with the pressure and pain.

    What doesn't work for me:

    cymbalta, amitriptyline: Did not work at all. In fact cymbalta with Gabapentin cause urinary retention for 3 weeks ( i had to wear a catheter for 3 weeks)

    Heating pads does nothing but piss me off as well as ice packs. Cold weather makes me wanna stab myself in the back with a knife and bite my leg off.

    Lifting (or trying to over do it) makes things worst

    Walking and standing too long will increase back pain and burning.

    So i hope this bit of information is useful and helpful to us all.

  • 16 years is a long time to deal with back pain and i am sorry you have to deal with it for so long. I believe you willl make the best choice for you. Sometimes we have to accept things temporary until we are in a better condition when we dont need things a certain way anymore. The reason i have not accepted the 4th surgery is 60% because of my family finical needs.
  • So my doctor as given me new medication called Fentanyl. I take 75 mg patch for 72 hours. I am getting more relief than i was Oxycontin. Just wanted to know if anyone has or are taking this and what they think?
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