Hello, everybody. I'm a 51 year old who has had chronic low back pain for nine years (see sig line below). My whole lumbar spine is degenerated (except L5-S1) to 20% of normal. I've been to quite a few surgeons, and no one thinks any kind of surgery will help, so I'm trying to deal as best I can. My back hurts pretty much all the time, with flare ups from overuse (mainly housework, but anything heavy on bending or any kind of repetitive use makes it flare). I had a surgery in 2008 to open up the right foramina at L4-L5. It's clear according to the MRI, but my pain remains.
My pain is mainly on the right, but the left side often flares with muscle spasms due to the recruitment of the muscles on that side since my right side is weak. The rest of my back hurts often, too, due to right side weakness. I do regular strengthening exercises given to me by my PT. Not sure they are helping, but they might, so I do them pretty regularly. I do have osteoarthritis, also, so that makes me more achy. A wrist I sprained 10 years ago is really starting to get cranky!
I have had two 3 level RFA's (one on both sides), and the first one helped, but the second one didn't, so I'm stopping those. I'm just trying to deal as best I can. Luckily, I am self-employed as a writer, so I can set my own schedule. Not sure how I would deal with trying to work for someone else.
I do see a pain management doctor. I take a lot of Ibuprofen, and some Norco 5/325's (about 4 a week), but try to keep them to a minimum. I also take Skelaxin sometimes if the muscles in my back start talking.
Anyway, just wanted to introduce myself. Sometimes the mental part of dealing with chronic pain just overwhelms me, and it helps to come to this site and surf, just to know I'm not alone. It's a game dealing with pain, and often I'm tired of playing. I'm sure you all understand that!
DDD, L1-L5--all discs 20% of normal
Back pain since 2003
Foraminotomy, discectomy, L4-L5, 9/08
Multiple ESI's, RFA's, PT for 3 years
Pain hovers at at a steady 3- 4, spikes to 7-8 with overuse