I have been lurking here on and off for some time..finally decided to come aboard! I am a young 51 yr old that has been dealing with chronic back pain for most of my adult life. While in college, after suffering very strange symptoms, I was diagnosed with auto-immune condition Sjogrens Syndrome. When I began experiencing low back pain in my late 20's my then primary Dr took X-rays , told me they were negative " so there is nothing wrong with your back". And basically told me to suck it up....which I did. I always assumed all my aches and pains were a symptom of my Sjogren's.
In my 40's my pain and stiffness had increased significantly despite staying active and fit. I went back to a rheumatologist, who diagnosed Fibromyalgia along with the Sjogrens ...I had trigger point injections and PT around that time. I basically resigned myself to the fact that I had to live like this....until 2 yrs ago
2 years ago my low back pain had progressed significantly to the point where it was really effecting my quality of life. I began PT again and also chiropractic care....until I woke up Nov 2011 and couldn't move due to the excruciating sciatic pain in my leg...literally unbearable. My Dr sent me to a pain management center for a consult..nurse couldn't believe my BP was 169/105...all due to pain...consult became a procedure...Dr decided a facet joint injection was warranted rather than epidural, as I had a history of osteoarthritis. Did the injection and sent me home...I was in such a state I didn't think to ask for any pain meds. Well after suffering through the weekend, barely able to move to make it to the bathroom and waiting for the injection to kick in..I called his office to request meds. You would think I had asked for a lifetime supply of morphine....after several calls with the nurse she said he agreed to prescribe me enough Vicodin until the steroid kicked in. Dear hubby picked up the script for me....I opened it up to find 12 pills...seriously?? Needless to say the injection did not work, so after 7 days I called back and was scheduled for a follow up appointment...at which time I would get an epidural. In the mean time I called my primary Dr, explained the situation and she was kind enough to prescribe me pain meds to hold me over.
Hubby brings me in for my follow up..I had been counting the days, hours, minutes to get relief...Dr tells me that he guesses we should have done an epidural not facet but. " unfortunately we can't do it today because it has to be 6 wks from your last injection, so come back in 2 weeks". What????? I was beyond stunned, beside myself with pain and left in tears.
Sorry this is so long...guess I needed to vent! Anyway after that I got the name of another Dr that had helped a friend. Had to wait several weeks, but my primary understood and helped with pain meds. This Dr examined, started to order an MRI, but rather than have to suffer while we waited for insurance authorization..he picked up the phone, called down to radiology and told them he had a patient in extreme pain and needed an epidural today. Within 1.5 hrs I got my injection.
The epidural worked great and I was able to resume most of my normal activities....I still had back pain, but the debilitating sciatic pain was down to a 1 or 2. Each time it would start to creep back up I went for another injection.
Fast forward to August 2013... Went for epidural and mentioned I had been having hip and groin pain which was recent development...did the injection along with a facet joint injection in hope that would help the hip. Hip continued to get worse, now radiating to thigh...Dr ordered lumbar MRI ...first one since all this began 2 yrs ago....and the results are basically annular tear at L3/4 with spondylolithesis, herniation and tear at L4/L5 with nerve compression and spondylolithesis and herniation at L5/S1 with nerve root compression. Those are just the highlights lol....
Dr says I can try a nerve root block or see a surgeon.
I don't know what to do?? My PT friend thinks surgeon will recommend fusion because of the spondy at 2 levels.
I've been reading as much as I can but still torn over my next step. All I know is I am tired of dealing with feeling like this all the time. Hoping I can get some answers, advice and support here.
If you made it to the end of this long winded post..THANK YOU!
Peace and Gentle Hugs,