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Am I alone?
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An_250929 posted:
Have any of you experienced lumbar radiculopathy after surgery, particularly chronic pain that gets worse the longer you sit/stand/walk?

I find this so very frustrating. In 2011 I had "minimally invasive surgery", two laminectomies at L4-L5 and L5-S1. I was practically bed ridden for 7 months afterward. I've been in chronic pain ever since. I tried to return to work in November 2011 after I was told that if I didn't I'd lose my job. I made a real effort. I found a physical trainer who designed an exercise program for me (she was kind enough to tie my shoes - which I couldn't do - after the workout and we spent the first four months doing pool exercises eventually progressing to land exercises), I lost weight, went off wheat, etc., but the pain never went away. I've stayed on Nucynta ER, Neurontin, and Zanaflex ever since. Eventually, I was let go from work due to the pain (and depression), so I'm unemployed now and pursuing disability. I used to make a six figure salary, now I can't do anything. I've had to move in with my mom. I can no longer afford the Nucynta. So, I spend my days mostly prone, unable to even enjoy a trip to the restaurant. My doctor wants me to see a psychologist, but the thought of making that trip, waiting in the waiting room, and seeing the counselor is something I'm dreading. i think my mom is starting to think I'm malingering and I know I'm a burden on her. I just want to know, am I alone? Is there anyone else going through what I'm going through?
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trs1960 responded:
A few problematic discs can be as painful as a dozen. I'm sorry to hear about your employer or ex employer. That is upsetting.

As for a trip to the psychologist I think you will find it invaluable. I spent years with pain managment meds and therapy and finally when things got darkest I saw a psychologist for nuero therapy. It was one of the best things I've done. I learned so much about how the brain interacts with pain as nuerotransmitters fire and you can fall in to deep depression which in turn increases your pain.

Please do everything you can to see a pain psychologist. I think it will be worth it.

Tim
 
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findingme responded:
I was told that L4, L5 are so bad in me that a Laminectomy was pointless, I have so much pain from my shoulder blades down through both hips, down my right leg and into my foot. L1, L2,L3 are not far behind, I get head aches from gritting my teeth so hard all day. you are not alone Honey, I used to be a dancer (just for fun) and I used to work in a very high paying, demanding job that I loved. I had to redefine and reorganize my life.
In other news, Please know that usually it take 3 denials with hearings before most people get disability. So have a hearing over the phone with every denial letter you get because that hearing will usually start the application process over again.
You are no alone, L4, L5 is the point of the spine where all the pressure of your body weight is carried, that's why laying down feel best. When other people see you laying down all the time there is a stigma. Right? So what! it takes one year for any trauma to the central nervous system to fully heal. 2 if the trauma is severe. So lay down, cry, take something for the pain, talk to us any time you need too. do what you can. give it time. I know it sounds awful but you need to be good to yourself. You are not alone.
 
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trs1960 replied to findingme's response:
Yeah, 2-3 denials without an attorney or normal. They love to say no.
I don't quite understand the shoulderblade pain from lumbar damage. Muscles do funny things though and a change in your posture can do strange things. On the good side. I know pleanty of people with 3-4 fused lumbar discs wuth great results. Naybe just going in and making sure the nerves have clearance at the facet joints and just throwing in some hardware iwll put you in a better place.
By the time you get to L3-L4 and below there's no spinal chord left and just some nerves (sciatic) that supply your hip and legs this is called the horses tail ( in latin though) and it is just the attachment from your spinal chord to your tail bone. It develops in the womb and just stretches as you grow. It's pretty amazing.

Pain in the shoulder blades sounds like cervical problems. Have you had cervical MRIs?

And my last surgeory took almost 2 years to heal.

Tim
 
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aprilrose9 responded:
Dear 250929, I don't have much to add to the discussion, but your story is emotional and many of us can relate to many of the issues in our own lives.

People have little understanding of how an injury to the spine can have an imact on most, if not all areas of our lives. How is it the rest of the world forgets what they learned at a young age in school? It is called a CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM for a reason. Why do people understand the importance of the brain in your health, but think the spine is inconsequential in the picture.

If we don't walk in a physicians office with our abdomen split open, dragging our intestines behind us through the door, we are deemed to be healthy. Even if we are fortunate to find a knowledgable and caring health care provider, we then must deal with family and friends and their perception of us post injury. One thing I learned from a wise psychologist, our family and the role we had in the family prior to the struggle with chronic pain, does not change after the injury. They always tend to see us the same way.

The people on this site are very kind and caring. It has been extremely helpful to me the last couple of months. Many of the monitors (I am clearly not one of them), have extensive knowledge and can point you in a good direction.

My sister is a psychologist who did a two year post doctoral fellowship in health psychology and she feels finding a good cognitive therapist is as difficult as it is to find a good physician. Dealing with pain, financial worry, grieving the loss of your profession, isolation, loneliness and the change in relationships is a very huge loss many of us have had to face after we have had an injury. I understand your reticence to have to make it to someones office. Maybe, check to see if someone will have a phone or skype appointment, once you have explained your situation.

I don't know how old you are and what kind of support system you have, but I would encourage you to take your mother to your doctors appointments, in the hope she will gain a greater understanding of the complex nature of your spine injury. Many feel surgery is a "cure all". I have heard many rude comments about my chronic pain over the years.

I feel for you and your situation. I have had three spine surgeries and a SCS placed without much success. I wanted desperately to return to work and had far too many surgeries for my own good. I have been in pain every day since my injury. I am the anti surgery person on this site, due to my personal poor experience with the outcome of surgical intervention. I believe in trying consevative measures first and only trying surgery as a last resort. Of course, some injuries must be tx surgically or risk paralysis. I do not like the non reversal nature of surgery. The scar tissue can take time to occur, the nerves change and the anatomy of the spine is different post op.

Well, as always for someone who claims they do not have much to add to the discussion, I end up rambling on and on.

Take care, and remember to reach out to the kind people on this site.
Aprilrose9
 
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trs1960 replied to aprilrose9's response:
As usual,your knowledge is invaluable April
 
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newstartonlife responded:
You are not alone. A few changes to your story. My operation was in 2010, not only did I feel like a burden to my mom, dad, husband, but also my ten year old daughter who was now taking care of me. I lost my job, my friends, and my house. Somehow I have not lost my husband.
The main difference in our stories is a year after my operation I checked myself into a mental institution. I was so embarrassed then but I just could not handle the pain and depression. Now I see a psychiatrist and a psychologist. It was just confirmed for me this month that the back pain is not ever going to go away. So I will continue to use those that help me deal with that, I hope u will too.
 
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terrye responded:
VERY SORRY TO HEAR YOUR RESULTS SO FAR.
I HAVE THE SAME L4-L5,L5-SI ,PLUS DEGENATIVE
DISC,FACET, SACROILIAC.
I HAVE BE FIGHTING WITH MYSELF FOR TWO YEARS TO
GET THE SURGERY DONE. EVERY TIME I GET CLOSE I HEAR "YOUR STORY" OR JUST THE 50-50 OUTCOMES
AND I DO NOT GET THE SURGERY.
SO TILL I WORK UP THE NERVE,IT WILL BE ON MORPHINE
AND VICODIN TO LEAD A HAFT WAY NORMAL LIFE.
I SURE HOPE YOUR FIND BETTER RESULTS IN THE FUTURE.
 
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trs1960 replied to terrye's response:
Smart. If you can get by without surgery that's good as long as you can tolerate the pain. While spine surgery is about 50/50 sometimes you have to stop future degeneration. It sucks either way and I agree with you. I'm just saying that if it does get to the point that you can't tolerate the pain make sure you have a good doc and keep being smart like you are.

T


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