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Husband is 7 wks post-op laminectomy on L5-S1. Pain is getting worse, desperate.

i'm very worried about him. he had lost function of his right foot and was in severe foot and back pain. for the first few weeks after surgery he seemed to be getting better, but now it is getting much worse. his left foot is losing function and he has severe pain in both feet, but now especially the left. a new mri shows a slipped disc, but the surgeon says it's fairly mild and wouldn't normally cause great pain. he says surgically the only other option is a fusion, which we hope to avoid.

the surgeon said an epidural steriod shot may help, and at our request, recommended a doctor who could do that and is also a pain specialist. we are trying to get in to see her but her office is an hour away.

my husband does ok in the morning, but the pain increases throughout the day. he's 65 years old and takes maximum doses of gabapentin, morphine sulfate, tramadol, and percocet. the meds no longer last six hours, so he's taking them more frequently out of desperation. (he was on hydrocodone previously for a different condition, which may have decreased the opiods' effectiveness now.) we can't go on like this. i'm worried about his (and my) psychological state. each night for the last week he seems to reach a new low in desperation.

has anyone recovered from something like this? recommendations on how to proceed? i'm not sure he'll be able to tolerate an hour's drive to the pain specialist recommended. should we see somoene closer to home who can get him in sooner for an epidural?

any advice is greatly appreciated.

welcome to spine-health

one of the most important things that members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. it is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. this is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding and your thread is more effective.

so many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. the more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, the fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

here are some questions that you should answer:
  • - when did this first start? . year, your age, etc
- was it the result of an accident or trauma?
- are there others in your family with similar medication conditions?
- what doctors have you seen? (orthopedic, neurosurgeon, spine specialist, etc)
  • . which doctor did you start with? ie primary care physician . who are you currently seeing?
- what conservative treatments have you had? which ones?
  • . physical therapy . ultrasound / tens unit . spinal injections . acupuncture . massage therapy
- what diagnostic tests have you had? and their results (mri, ctscan, xray, emg, etc)
  • . summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them . how many different tests have you had over the years? similar results?
- what medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)
  • . name of medication . how long have you been using this? . results
- has surgery been discussed as an option? (if so, what kind)
- is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
- what is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

please take a look at our forum rules: forum rules

i also strongly suggest that you take a look at our faq (frequently asked questions) which can be found at the top of the forum menu tab or by going to faq there you will find much information that will
  • - help you better utilize the spine-health system- provide pointers on how to make your threads / posts- tips on how to create your avatar (your picture), posting images, etc- general pieces of valuable information

please remember that no one at spine-health is a formally trained medical professional.
everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
as such, no member is permitted to provide
  • - analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie mri, ctscan, xray, etc)- medical advice of any kind- recommendations in terms of medications, treatments, exercises, etc

what could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
you should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

it is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). it is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are

i’ve had this for years, it hurts, i cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should i get?

diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. in many ways it’s like a game of clue. especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. the doctor is like a detective. they need clues to help them move along. so, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. that is like it is here. without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

specific comments :

personal opinion, not medical advice :

--- ron dilauro, spine-health system moderator : 08/03/15 13:02est



  • Your story is not unique. I've heard these many times. My neighbor went thru a "cage" type back surgery and says he is doing good, but come to think of it I have not seen him in a while. Initially one can feel some relief and then the healing and adjustment takes over. I deal with a botched hip replacement and it's 5 yrs soon. For 5 months post op I thought I was doing good. Then things went downhill. I had high hopes, after I let go of my fears....and now deal with too many complications.

    I have a pretty miserable back but do all I do to keep moving...never out of total pain, but learned acceptance, had to.

    I talked my 72 yr old brother out of a fusion/lam surgery earlier this year. He has golfed all his life and he needed to work with more PT and daily exercises....to get thru his late life. Once the surgery is done, that's it.. Maybe with more time things will improve for your husband....Sorry to hear all this.
    Bodywide OA, Fibro and complications from Hip Replacement.
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