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Failed Back Syndrome and all failed treatments. What now?

Hello all. I'm new here, having found you through my quest for information.
My husband is 45 years old and has had DDD for 18 years. He was diagnosed with FBS a couple of years ago.
He's been unable to work for the past 2 1/2 years, though he has been denied disability, and we are awaiting his third appeal.

We are at a total loss at this point and do not know where to turn. He has had several failed surgeries, at least 8 rounds of PT, steroid injections, blocks, radiofrequency ablations, epidural injections. The next step was to be a trial spinal cord stimulator, and if that failed, then a pain pump.

He went to the pain physician in December to discuss the SPC and he was told that the spinal cord stimulator would not help him, nor would the pain pump. He's again recommending PT. (which has never helped before). This doctor refuses to give him any pain medication stronger than tramadol and he will not discuss any further treatments. No other doctors will treat him nor will they prescribe anything for pain.

When is it considered the end of the line as far as treatment goes for FBS? I asked the physician if this was it for him and he would not answer me. He wouldn't even look at me.

I really don't know where to turn right now, but I can't do nothing because my husband is in constant pain. He uses a cane and a walker to get around. I have to find him some help.

I'm also wondering why, if we seem to be at the end of his options for treatment, then why are we still fighting for him to be considered disabled???

I would GREATLY appreciate any advice or help anyone has to offer.
Thanks so much,


  • edited 01/28/2013 - 4:04 PM
    I just want yo tell you that my hubby has almost the same story. First of all, almost no one gets disability until the administrative law judge. Try not to take it personal, its just a very stupid system. We did get 6 months taken off our wait for his court appeal (2 years 8 months total) since we provided proof of imminent foreclosure on our farm. It was not in time to help, but thats life. As for no pain meds we had to go out of state for them 3 hours away. His doctors will not consider either the stimulator or pump because they cost "more.than we could pay". Hubby was told to get a library card and enjoy the few times he can get out fishing. Wish he could get more help to reduce pain but this state has high prescription drug abuse, and the out of state Dr is nervous about giving too much. Hubby is not willing to give up, but sometimes he has to take breaks from the doctor merry go round. Try to stay posotove and look for chronic pain therapist. It helps accept the situation better.
  • i was living in san francisco, and getting my pain meds from my physiatrist. we are in phoenix permanently now, but own a home in maine where i went after my california disability ran out, and i was released from PT. NO ONE would prescribe my meds. i twice flew to san francisco to get them- cross country.

    try a spine center who has a physiatrist/ pain management person on staff. mine worked really well with me.

    i just scheduled my upcoming L4-L5 fusion for march 4th. i go to the neurosurgeon's office friday for pain management with the pain doc. i only hope it goes smoothly... they make you feel like a felon for wanting to be comfortable.

    best of luck to you with the disability and pain control. i wish your husband rapid relief.

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  • alexhurtingaalexhurting Posts: 1,991
    edited 01/29/2013 - 2:24 AM
    I myself suffer with failed back surgery from 2004 Multiple surgery after the 1 st and had pain pump trial which caused spinal leak for the full 7 day trial so i was simply happy just to pull the plug and have them remove and stop the leak,
    These doctors can put a person through a lot of suffering just to try to find releif,

    This past year i finaly give in and agreed to have the spine stimulater implanted after had 3 rd trial in the last 8 years,
    After a few months of adjustments playing around reps trying to fine tune the scs i give up on it,
    Its simply not doing much for the nerve pain,

    I am not sure i could deal with this without meds, If doctors dont want to give out pain medication to your husband ask the doctor who are they saving it for ! Nobody wants to take these meds by choice after a surgery ,
    After all reason most of us went in for surgery is to stop the pain and never have to touch any pain medication again as long as we live,

    Its not our failure that brough us to a pain specialists office ! Often its our doctor who failed us,
    Most already know after surgery if surgery did not resolve your problem and your doctor has no other answer why you are now worse and has to send you back to your pain specialist means = Meds .Injections for life,

    So how the hell can they not give meds to who pain meds were intended for ? Are they saving it for the crack heads ?
    The idea is try to deal with this on smallest dose of pain medication as posible and avoid further surgery of any kind even the spine stimulater implant and the pain pump, Especialy the pain pump ! After all pain pump will be filled with morphine and such and at the end of the day you are on morphine drip for life,

    The idea is to avoid that if posible if a person can manage with oral medications, If any doctor pushing the pain pump before trying oral meds 1 st he is simply in it for the money,

    Best of luck to you and your husband, I am sure his ssdi will kick in as soon as they review his condition and that will be 1 less worry, Geting denied is normal by ssi the 2 times , 3 rd time should do it with the right paper work filled out from the doctors,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
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