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my 6th back surgery
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An_249138 posted:
I am new to this board and would like to thank you each and every one oof you first off for all the of interesting reading that I have just read. After reading your comments I figured I would join up and allow you to read my story:

I am 40 years and my first back surgery was when I was 12 for double curvature of the spine at the Dupont Children's Hospital in Wilmington DE with this surgery originially they were supposed to put in rods but didnt because I ended up having two curves so they did spinal fusion. Everything was fine with me after that until I got into my 20's and ended up having a herniated disk in my lower lumber region had a back surgery, and then a few years later the same thing happened back surgery number 3, and then a few years later the same thing back surgery number 4 where he put in a fusion cage and a bunch of screws and stuff and I went about 5 years with pain and discomfort before I found the spine surgeon specialist that I have now and was diagnosed with so many different things you could write a book on it ended up being that I have severe spinal stenosis and after back surgery number 5 I only had two vertabrae that do not have anything done with them and they are no showing massive signs of deteroirating and stenosis themselves and that section of my spine is going to the right and I have a hump on that side as well plus I have severe pain in my hips because they are off center its affecting my sleep and if I stand for to long my feet and toes go numb and my left leg doesnt function all that well and when I walk I lean forward. I stay in 24/7 pain level of 10 and currently seeing a pain mgmt specialist. I just want to be fixed period end of discussion.
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bj1208 responded:
hi and welcome to the support group -

WOW!! that's a lot of back surgeries especially starting at such a young age.

I would like to offer some suggestions -

first - see if your pain management specialist will do a 2 part test checking for nerve damage - EMG and Nerve Conduction Test. since you are having some numbness etc in toes feet and leg and also pain in hips. I have nerve damage in both legs and I take Neurontin (Gabapentin is generic) and this has helped quite a bit. the dose is started at a low dosage and slowly increased until you reach a therapeutic dose. Lyrica is also approved for this too and have spoke with several members who have taken it with great results.

second - are you seeing a physical therapist or chiropractor? I think they would be able to assist you with some of the issues with the hump, hip pain, back pains etc.

you may already know this but those of us who suffer with back pains use lots of pillows while sleeping - between the knees when sleeping on side or under knees when sleeping on back. this does help keep the spine more straight. also sleeping in a recliner chair has good results for a lot of us.

I too live with severe chronic pains 24/7. we know where you are coming from and understand what you are going thru.

most of us have written a bio where you can click on our names or picture and read about us.

I hope you stay around as I do believe you can offer support for others in similar situations.

again, welcome to the support group - please keep us posted as to how u are doing -
~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

~~ Joy ~~
 
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Adamski replied to bj1208's response:
I second everything Joy said. I especially agree with her about the pillows. Also, I found that switching to a memory foam mattress was really good for my back. Its about finding the right combination of support and comfort. Good luck! Keep us updated.
 
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trs1960 responded:
The rods you describe when you were 12 are called Harrington rods or a Harrington brace. Understand that they're just another means of physically transferring the forces of your spine to a ti prostethis. They would have likely fused some vertavrae at that time.
When I was 40 I was crushed by a tree and after recovering from surgery and just glad to be alive with nine crushed vertabrae I asked the doc, "bet you don't use rods that long very often?"
He said "yeah, in children with sever spinal desease we re shape the spine and put the Harrington rods in place to hold it together."
I still remember the pit in my stomache grasping the concept of being born with such a challenge and never knowing normalcy.

So you are one of those people and my heart pours out to you and I wish you the best.

You are forty and I was forty when I was hurt. That was twelve years ago and you were twelve when first diagnosed...Asimov would have something to say about that!

Tim
 
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countrygal1972 responded:
I cant have a chiropractor because of all the fusion I have. I have tried one before and even with him knowing before hand that I had fusion he still proceeded with me and dislocated a vertabrae and put me worse off than I already was.
 
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countrygal1972 replied to Adamski's response:
I have gone through the nerve test and it came up negative plus they said they really couldnt do it all that well because of all the metal in my back. I have tried sleeping with a bunch of pillows but after awhile that doesnt work either and unless I win the lottery my husband and I cant afford a memory foam mattress plus it would have to be only on my side cause hubby has to have a really firm mattress where I prefer softer mattress.
 
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countrygal1972 replied to trs1960's response:
Yeah they were going to use the Harrington Rods when I only had one curve but once they opened me up and saw that I had two curves they went with spinal fusion instead...I have no rods in me at this time. Every time I go into the docs they are always amazed at my spine and everything I have gone through.
 
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bj1208 replied to countrygal1972's response:
Hi Countrygal1972 -

I just wanted to add something about the memory foam mattress - Wal-Mart sells ones that you put on top of your mattress and if you want one for just your side you could get one that is a twin size - be sure it's at least 2 inches thick as that will provide the best support for you - this way the memory foam will not be on hubby's side.

What type of doctor did you see for the EMG & Nerve conduction Test? I don't understand why they can't do this as the test is done in the legs and shouldn't inter fear with the rods as those are in your back.

I would suggest that you see a PHYSIATRIST Pain Specialist as they will have the professional physician to do the EMG & Nerve Conduction Test.

http://www.spineuniverse.com/treatments/what-physiatrist

they also go deeper into pain management control based on patients' needs. I have been seeing one for almost 5 yrs know and they have been really good at my treatment options.

I have a single fusion in my L5-S1 with plate, 4 screws and a cage and I have permanent nerve damage in both legs. I have the EMG & Nerve Conduction Test done each year to check for either improvement or if it's getting worse. They can also tell which disc(s) are causing more damage.

Also, getting a couple of opinions from both Orthopedic Spine Specialist and Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist will let you know what exactly is going on - be sure they have knowledge of curvature of the spines.

Sometimes I will sleep in our recliner as this does give me some relief. or I will prop pillows behind my back and under my legs in bed so it feels like I'm in a recliner.

hope this helps ~~ please keep us posted what yo find out~~
~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

~~ Joy ~~
 
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trs1960 replied to countrygal1972's response:
Don't you love being a guinnea pig. When I would tell docs I crushed my spine 3 1/2 inches down and had a subdural hematoma ...blah blah. the docs always start squeezing my feet and pushing on my toes etc.
I'm really lucky to have no nerve damage with such severe structural damage to my spinal column.
Sounds like you are well informed and I wish you the best of luck in all your quests.

Tim
 
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countrygal1972 replied to bj1208's response:
Hi bj1208 thanks for replying to my post. I am sorry it has taken so long to get back to you on this I just had back surgery number 7 and hopefully this will be my last. I am now totally fused with bone fusion from my neck down to my tailbone and I also have ALOT of rods screws nuts and bolts in me as well. This last surgery had to be done because when I got done with surgery 6 I noticed that my left shoulder was about 6 inches shorter than my right shoulder and it kept getting worse and I could feel my right side against my arm. After surgery 7, to correct the above problem when I was able to get out of the hospital bed and go in the bathroom I noticed in the mirror that my right side was now lopsided and I walk like I am leaning to the right and when I try to stand up straight I have to bend my left knee....funny thing is when I went in for my post op appt doc said "oh everything looks good on x rays I just think your right leg is 2 inches shorter than your left and your just now noticing it" I am like okay doc yeah I think I would have noticed something like that way before now.
 
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bj1208 replied to countrygal1972's response:
Hi Countrygal -

WOW! I can't imagine what all you have been thru. but I think it's time that you get another opinion - from both Orthopedic Spine Specialist and Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist. You may get some resistance from a Neurosurgeon doc as they don't like to step on other doc's feet.

It would be good to get an opinion so you can make sure this doc did everything right.

let us know what you find out~~
~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

~~ Joy ~~
 
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countrygal1972 replied to bj1208's response:
I am sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to yall but I have been tormented by my pcp who started becoming a pain in the rear doc and would only prescribe Tramadol for my severe chronic pain so I finally switched doc's and that one wasn't much better but as she stated "I can see and tell that your in tremendous pain" so I said fewy on you and I switched again and I found a WONDERFUL doc who prescribed me MS Contin until he could get me into pain management which actually happened very quickly I see them on 6/19 and in August he wants me to go see a Neurosurgeon to get a second opinion about my back and if this spine doc agrees that there is absolutely nothing else left surgically that they can do on my back then I will be a patient who is on chronic narcotic pain meds the rest of my life.
 
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Sephroth replied to countrygal1972's response:
As far as mattress go you could try the iComfort from serta. It is a memory foam mattress and they have a firm version. My wife and I have it because she needs a firm mattress and I have had 6 back surgeries and like it better than spring mattresses. We both are teachers and cannot afford a lot ourselves. I hope this helps.


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