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New and Looking for Friends/Support

Hi everyone!

I stumbled upon this site while doing some research and I just had to join. I read through the forums and I really like that there is a place where I can go and read about others who struggle with the same problems that I do and offer my support and encouragement and also get some of the same in return.

What brings me here is that I am 24 year old who suffers from a severely herniated L5 disc. My troubles began a few years ago with intermittent pain that was excruciating and difficult to suffer through. It was not until 2012 when I got my first job out of college and was able to finally get insurance that I was able to go to the doctor, receive an MRI and learn of my severe herniation. At first I read as much as I could on the condition when I heard what I had and I had hope that the disc would reabsorb or heal on its own-after seeing the MRI however and noting the severity of the disc, things were looking a little bleak. I decided to undergo my first cortisone shot which will be the only one I will ever get. It did help for quite a while and I don't really regret getting it but it was insanely expensive even with insurance and after reading up on them I just can't volunteer to undergo more of them-I just feel it would be a bad choice for myself personally. Luckily, my pain is fairly intermittent. I have even had a majority of the past couple years pass with relatively little or no pain. However, last month I suffered a very bad relapse/flair up and this month it is happening as well and I find myself a little terrified. The pain is back in full force (luckily it is on a come and go basis and not constant) but it radiates up my spine and through my body in horrible shockwaves and causes my torso to tilt, making an unsightly posture for myself that is both embarrassing and awkward and at times it even makes it difficult to walk.

Sadly, surgery is not an option available to me in the near future. I have a nice pile of medical debt from initial treatments and findings and my financial situation-while stable is not ideal. In the short term I treat the condition with tramadol my doctor prescribed for me on an as needed basis-but as many people who suffer from this sort of pain may know, the sharp stabbing electric shock like pain isn't dulled by drugs-at least none of the ones I've been on.

So I come here looking for tips and tricks. How can I lessen my pain? How can I make the most of a bad situation? How can I learn to live with and manage my pain? What thoughts, sayings, writings, readings do you use to get through it all and still keep your sanity? The fact is, I really appreciate finding others who know what it is to have pain like this because when I come into contact with people who know nothing of it, they are sympathetic but have no idea how it feels-its always better to talk to people who have "been there, done that".

I look forward to meeting and speaking with as many people as I can and learning from what there is to be said and making new friends. Thank you for reading!
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Comments

  • Hi,
    I am new to this forum and I hope I will get the required information from this forum on health topics.
    Thank You
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  • SAndrusSSAndrus Posts: 5
    edited 06/02/2014 - 9:29 PM
    I am also a new member but share your pain! :)- I'm the type of person who believes that if you don't laugh you will cry! I hope you find the answer's and support you are looking for.
    Trust in The Lord! If God is with you, Who can be against?
  • I have a couple tips to help lessen pain, but it helps with my pain, I don't know if it will help you. I use ice to numb the area from pain, and if that doesn't work I use a heating pad. I sleep with a pillow under my legs, and try to stay on my back. If I do lay on my side, I put the pillow in between my knees. Distraction helps with my pain- reading, music, TV, whatever I can find. I also come on this site a lot, and that helps distract me from my pain. I have been where you are (losing my sanity), and that still happens sometimes. I think it will always happen, but then I have to turn to my distractions, or coping skills.
    This may sound silly, but my cats help a lot. They are there all the time, and seem to know when I need them. Another idea is trying to see if there is a support group in your area. It really helps me to talk with others who have been through similar things.
    About your medical debt- what is going on with it, like does it prevent you from getting more treatment you need now? Do you have insurance now for when you see your doctor? If not, have you tried to get insurance at low to no cost? I know how complicated insurance is- it seems like dealing with them is a full time job. How often are you taking the Tramadol? Have you been on other meds before? I know you said you wouldn't be doing the cortisone shot again, is that just because of the cost?
    I've been on this website for about two months, and I have found lots of people that have really helped me at this awful time. I hope it is the same for you.
    :)
    2000- spinal fusion, complete spine due to scoliosis
    2012- pain began, started treatment for chronic pain
    2013- install of pain pump, procedures to address complications
    2014-blood patch, spinal fluid leak
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  • Lmr106 said:
    I have a couple tips to help lessen pain, but it helps with my pain, I don't know if it will help you. I use ice to numb the area from pain, and if that doesn't work I use a heating pad. I sleep with a pillow under my legs, and try to stay on my back. If I do lay on my side, I put the pillow in between my knees. Distraction helps with my pain- reading, music, TV, whatever I can find. I also come on this site a lot, and that helps distract me from my pain. I have been where you are (losing my sanity), and that still happens sometimes. I think it will always happen, but then I have to turn to my distractions, or coping skills.


    This may sound silly, but my cats help a lot. They are there all the time, and seem to know when I need them. Another idea is trying to see if there is a support group in your area. It really helps me to talk with others who have been through similar things.
    About your medical debt- what is going on with it, like does it prevent you from getting more treatment you need now? Do you have insurance now for when you see your doctor? If not, have you tried to get insurance at low to no cost? I know how complicated insurance is- it seems like dealing with them is a full time job. How often are you taking the Tramadol? Have you been on other meds before? I know you said you wouldn't be doing the cortisone shot again, is that just because of the cost?
    I've been on this website for about two months, and I have found lots of people that have really helped me at this awful time. I hope it is the same for you.
    :)
    Hi LMR106! Thanks for the post/advice. I have often heard that ice is really good but have oddly enough not tried it yet-I will have to do that! Heating pads are never a bad idea and when I'm having a flair up I often have the heated seats on in my car on my commute to work. I bought a special pillow to go between my knees for spinal support but for some reason my back doesn't like that-it responds less than favorably when I place the pillow!!

    Luckily my flair ups last 3 days minimum with longer stretches if its really bad. I went long periods of time without pain within the last year or so but last month I had bad pain and this month it showed up again so at this point I"m just trying to make sure its not going to be a monthly problem.

    Animals are great therapy! I would love to have one but my apartment complex charges extra rent for them and I just can't spare the expense now-but one day I'll get a cat or a dog!

    With my medical debt-when I graduated from college I had a job with insurance and I was able to get my initial MRI done and have the cortisone shot done. While I paid all the co-pays and the insurance paid their portion-the ever overcharging doctors still gave me huge bills and at the time I was not making a lot at all. I make more now but I still support myself and at 24 I don't have the type of financial security yet to pay off several $500 + bills that have accumulated (given how my generation is faring out there-financial security may not be a reality anymore). The medical debt has put me into a position where I have no desire to see a doctor ever again unless I absolutely have to-I think they are worse than lawyers! With my latest pain I was almost unable to walk for one day and my mother was visiting and became very concerned. She wanted to take me to the ER but I protested-all they would do is give me pain pills and charge me an arm and a leg to occupy space while they did so. I have the tramadol my primary care doctor gave me-its just as good. So I kind of just grin and bear it. After I left my first job out of college, I lost my insurance with them (cobra was too expensive to opt in to). My next job offered to reimburse me for my personal insurance plan but as soon as the insurance companies caught wind that I had a herniated disc they stamped me as a "pre-existing condition" patient and I was turned away. I moved jobs again this March and they do offer an insurance plan and with the ACA I won't be turned away anyway-hopefully I will be covered as of this month. It's certainly been a journey! The downside is that even if I wanted to see a doctor-most specialists (at least where I live in St. Louis) won't even see you once if you aren't insured (hence my comment that they are just like lawyers-unfortunately I see them as more money grubbing than caring).

    With the tramadol I take it on an as needed basis only. I have 50mg tablets. On a pain day where I can almost feel my bones scraping together with those shockwave pains that are near disabling in nature I take up to 6 tablets throughout the day-as my pain decreases so does my need for the tramadol. Today for example I barely had any pain and have not taken any at all-I try my best to take the minimum that I need and not take any if I don't absolutely need it-it makes me groggy which makes for a complicated work day. The only other med I've taken for it is oxy which is great for eliminating the pain but they give it to me sparingly (which I understand and don't begrudge)-I only take that when the tramadol isn't doing the trick or the pain is so bad I can't sleep. As far as the cortisone shot goes-I don't want to do it again because of the cost mostly but I keep reading negative things about it and I just can't see the good outweighing the bad for me personally-I'd rather try to one day get surgery-which is one of the reasons I'm here-to research and gather information about what procedures are available and what is best. The ONLY good thing about dealing with this at such a young age is that time is on my side-I can heal and take the pain better at this age than if I were older-but that will only last for so long-surgery is likely my best long term option-if I can just find the right one.

    Sorry for the short novel! I think I just like to type :)
  • I have had 3 epidurals and 3 trigger point injections. They have helped my L5/S1 whichI was supposed to have a fusion but I had to have a 4 level cervical fusion. I of course am 60 but at this point as long as I lay on my back I'm okay. I did anything to avoid surgery. I have a niece who is a golfer in college and she received 2 cortisone epidurals and helped her except for getting up from a sitting position. Do your research and get different opinions. I have a pain management dr that treats flare ups with norco and butrans patch. None of those make mr groggy but my body is probably use to the pain meds. My advise would be to research and if you can't get relief from therapy get the surgery to fix. Chronic pain plays havoc with your body and mind. There are success stories.
    Vicki
  • Hi Ashley,,I'm a newbie here.. After 2 1/2 years of fighting My companies Workers Comp Ins Co. I was approved for surgery today! I too lost 2 discs during the wait,, Now am scheduled for a Micro Discectomy and a Lumbar Laminectomy...I figured out over the last few months that certain movements,,including twisting and bending in awkward positions brought intense pain for the next 5 to 8 days..Meds were of little help...Try to remember what you did the day before it flares up..Hope this helps!
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