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how did your back pain start?

i am just curious because there are a lot of people out there who have chronic back pain. i am just curious or nosey or both but just to understand others and where they are coming from, maybe a short story about how your back problems started. i know a lot of you had accidents but specifically what caused the problem ie car wreck, fell, wife hit me on the head with a rolling pin? i used to be very active and i ran 10 miles a day for 10 years and played tennis. i got married and my wife and i ran and played tennis all of the time. i was running one day and noticed a pain in my back i never felt before. i laid down on some grass and tried to stretch it out. it did not work so i ran home with the pain. it went away and then after a couple of months playing tennis, same pain, tried to stretch and went away. then after a year or so, the pain got worse, then all of a sudden the pain started in my butt down my right leg and i could hardly walk. it came and went. i had a mri and they saw herniated disc whiich i decided to have surgery physically i am not built for long distance running. i am short and a bit stocky so my physical build caused the stress on my back.
I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.


  • Jon, good post, I have to admit, I get curious as well. So i'll start off with myself. I didn't have any defining moments really. I've had back pain ever since I can remember, when i was a kid even. Back then mom gave me children's Tylenol. as I got older Advil worked just fine. Over the last two to three years it just got worse. One day at work i was getting up from my desk and it hurt so bad i couldn't straighten out, so i finally had enough, went to the doctor, he told me I had to get an x-ray before I could get MRI because Insurance. So I got the x-ray and that was when my issues were finally known. He sent me straight to pain management. He said he had never heard of Bertolotti syndrome and he has been practicing for a very LONG time (he is 87ish). So went to pain doctor, he explained that the bertolotti is probably what accelerated the DDD in l3/l4 and l4/l5. (Which is severe, its almost literally bone on bone) and severe facet arthritis, sclerosis of the end plates and severe bone spurs in those same levels.

    So he asked me if I wanted him to take over my medications or If i wanted my regular doctor to do it. he said think about it and we'll discuss it next month. He did give me baclofen right there though. I took my urinalysis and was on my way. Next appointment I told him I prefer that he manage my meds. He said OK, gave me a contract to sign and my first prescription. Which was 10/325 percocet 3x a day. Its been a year and a half and I'm on the same dose, it still works good for me. For flair ups I use other things because I like to keep my tolerance down and so far so good. I have been having some strange symptoms lately, but that's for another day. 8-)
  • what is bertolotti syndrome? it sounds like an italian painter. just joking, but seriously i never heard of it. there are so many back issues that i can't keep track of them. all of these initials, sst, ddt, bfd, mouse, iep, depp. one needs a playbook to keep up. half of the time i hear of these from posters, i have to look them up. i give the moderators credit because a lot of them seem to know what they stand for. i just have fusions, and stenosis at one time.
    thanks for posting and keep in touch. by the way i take it you are from ohio. i live in california but i am a mid western guy at heart, i am from iowa. so is it go bucks or another team?

    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
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  • Mine started after a motorcycle wreck on a major interstate, after hitting a deer t-bone style. I was thrown from the motorcycle, over my husband's head, and through the air some 75-100 feet before I impacted and rolled another 50 feet or so down the highway. I was 4 months pregnant at the time, and curled into a ball to try to protect my baby, so the brunt of the impact was to my spine, and to my buttocks- skinned buttocks is not pretty!
    Thankfully, my baby was okay, not me however. The accident resulted in a dislocated shoulder and arm, torn apart knees, road rash that was pretty severe down my legs, and some minor head trauma, thank god for helmets, but the majority of the damage was to my spine. Over the next months, leading to the next 15 years, my back problems would flare up, mostly for a month or so, but going to the chiro helped to keep me on my feet for the most part........then in 2005, I did something that led to a weird pop and pain that was unlike the other times. I figured that I would wait a month or so, then go to the chiro like always. He always seemed to get me back up and running.....This time was different though, I started having trouble walking properly, tripping over my feet, the back pain would have me sobbing at night in my sleep, was sent for my first MRI, which showed herniations at three levels, some nerve root impingement and foraminal stenosis, as well as some ligature thickening and unfortunately for me, my chiro had hurt his shoulder and gotten a new partner- this guy was told NOT to do any adjustments until the flare up eased a bit, but instead, he did one one day, and when I say that I felt pain unlike anything that I had experienced so far, I am not kidding.....I tried to stand up after, but my legs wouldn't stay under me......I knew by the way they were spasming that something was seriously wrong and I had to hold myself up to get to my car.....the next morning I was at the surgeon's office, seeing the physiatrist, who then sent me for the MRI films, and had me seeing the surgeon as soon as I got back. I could no longer sit or stand for more than a few minutes, and it was truly excruticating to try to manage..I got sent for two more MRI's , the first myelogram, emgs, times two, and and two CT scans, and was scheduled for surgery within 10 days...
    I sadly developed post op Cauda Equina syndrome from all of the post op swelling and bleeding, and what was a small patch on my left leg that was numb prior to the surgery became bilateral numbness, bilateral total foot drop, and damage to my bladder and bowels, as well as other areas of my lower body...I failed to fuse, as time went on, I increasingly wound up loosing more and more of my ability to hold myself up, my legs got progressively weaker as time went on , and finally I was told that I would spend the rest of my life in motorized wheelchairs.......I got fed up with being told that it could take up to two years before I would know how the surgery was turning out, and sought out three other opinions. I KNEW that what happened post op was not right , although I also wasn't sure what happened, I knew that something did and I saw several other surgeons, one of which finally decided to explain to me what happened.My original surgeon, whom I saw many times during the first 18 months post op, lied to my face, over and over, telling me that things would improve, all the whille things were getting worse and worse as time went on.......
    I finally consulted with a neurosurgeon who was willing to take a chance to try to preserve my ability to stay on my own two feet, but he told me that it was strictly a salvage operation.......no guarantees, whatsoever. He added bmp to the failed fusion, replaced two screws that had backed out of the vertebre, added a cross link, and we held our breaths...little by little, mostly through some serious determination that I was NOT going to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, I got a little more able to manage to stay on my feet, although it has taken me since 2008 to get here......however, there are new problems now , the bmp has caused the dura to adhere to three levels in my lumbar spine and there still is no fusion, but due to the extensiveness of the dura being stuck, and the severity of the central canal stenosis ( 3.14 mm diameter at last check), it has caused a second case of cauda equiina at a higher level than previously, a moderate to borderline severe spondylolythesis of L3, so the game plan is to wait until I again loose the ability to walk or stand, since any surgery will result in a substantial dural tear that will take some weeks or months to heal, and the risk at this point is too great........so that's where I am for now........sorry for the length of this, but you guys asked.......LOL
  • for me i believe just all the physically demanding jobs that i have done for the last 27 years. i was a manual silkscreen printer for 11 years at one job, i know that did not help. i have had back pain forever, but my sciatic nerve pain showed up one day when i took my mower over to my mothers house to mow her lawn, i lifted out of my truck, and thats what set it off. the mower was not even heavy, a bit akward. i will never do that again, although i will lift heavier things daily.
  • My back pain came about when I was working as a nursing assistant about ten years ago. All lifting of patients by myself didn't help it at all. Just like any other place of work we were always short handed and pressed for time. At first I just went to chiro's for help, but that didn't last long. My back would have spells of hurting rather badly then it would be fine for a while. I did go to my PCP at the time and he just told me I was fat and prescribed me some lyrica for the nerve pain in my leg. I knew something other than being fat was wrong. I switched PCPs and he sent to me to physical therapy. My leg pain became so terrible that my doc finally sent me for an MRI. I had herniated L4-5 and L3-4 was bulged. I had an open discectomy, and laminectomy. They also removed a large bone spur. That was the beginning of my down hill spiral of my back problems. I have had 2 discectomies, 2 fusions and a staph infection in my incision. I go the NS surgeon next Wednesday, I am going to ask him if there is a possibility that I can have a SCS trial. Like many people here on the forum I have tried everything to help with the pain.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
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  • terror8396tterror8396 Posts: 1,832
    edited 05/29/2013 - 7:11 PM
    some of these are truly horrendous accidents. some are major and some minor things that cause major back issues. i think by knowing what has happened to us with respect to our back problems helps us bond and patients and posters on this site. we get a better understanding of what is going on with others and we can be thankful that the major accidents did not happen to us. mine was a minor problem, running around which caused the herniation while some like sandi went through major accidents and issues. i think this will make us closer and more understanding of what others are going through liek what was said in to kill a mockingbird, we can't understand what is going on with others until we walk with their shoes on.
    thanks for the inpuys and gives me pause to think
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Actually an Osteopath which is a Chiropractor with an MD. I went to him with a pinched nerve in my neck. He adjusted me where they lift you back to back and crack your spine. I couldn't get out of bed the next day. Like a fool I went back to him and he cracked me again. Fast forward a few years and I had an artificial disk at L5 S1. It helped a lot but I'm in pain again. I'm having a Discogram next month to try and pinpoint the pain generator.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • scinmyheartsscinmyheart Posts: 207
    edited 05/30/2013 - 2:23 AM
    I had worked for a few years in a job moving some furniture and such, so I'm guessing my back was "on alert" for any triggers. I was helping a friend move out of his apartment and was carrying a couch out going backwards. He pushed me into the stair railing at the top of the stairs, and the railing hit right on the bone (where the dimple is at the small of your back) right at the bottom of my back. It hurt, but it was not bad enough to quit for the day. I was pretty sore that night, but come the next morning...it took a crane to get me out of bed. This was in 2000. I went to my PCP who said that it was probably just a bruise. He had his assistant come in and put me in a Rik Flair suplex move to" adjust" everything...to this day I wonder if he made things worse...no x-rays or anything else. Fast forward six months, and I was still having flare ups...x-ray at that time showed a slightly bulging disk at L5-S1...on to PT....nothing really changed for the better with that. Finally had an MRI which showed the bulging disk and minor DDD. I ended up being referred to pain management as the PCP didn't want to deal with my pain. Over the years, things just seemed to progressively go downhill. By 2006, my DDD had progressed to the L2-L5 with the L4-L5 being the worse. That disk ended up tearing with nothing much left but crumbles...ended up with a L4-L5 fusion in January 2009 for that disk while having nerve compression because of it...the neurosurgeon said after six months of right leg acting up that if something was not done, then permanent nerve damage would occur. Now, there's moderate DDD from L2-L5, facet arthropathy at L5-S1, and L3-L4/L5-S1 bulging. That bone on the right side that was initially hit is still sore to the touch. There's really nothing that is correctable at this time (have tried PT, etc to try to get the bulges down) , so I guess I'll just wait around for the next disk to blow out and go from there.
  • Jon, the way it was explained to me was the L5 and the S1 are unnaturally partially fused together on the left. I guess I was born that way. On the internet its called "sacralization of the 5th lumbar vertebrae". And yep, I'm a Bucks girl. 8-)

    Sandy, I can't imagine the scare of that accident and being pregnant on top of it.

    I agree completely that knowing more about each other like things like this, helps create a special bond. It also helps us understands our moods a little better as well. At least I think. I went back and re-read some of my posts and man, I must have been having a bad day on some of them because I was grouchy and it showed. 8-)
  • terror8396tterror8396 Posts: 1,832
    edited 05/30/2013 - 5:07 AM
    with all of the posts going back and forth, it is remarkable that we as chronic pain people know little about how we became chronic pain patients. i'v heard i've had back pain for years and i have chronic pain, but it is remarkable that we know little about each other. getting to know each other and our reason's for chronic pain should help us when it comes to relating to each other and to helping others. also the people that i have gotten to know over the years helps me with knowing the reason for our pain and how we have been treated and coped with over the years.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
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