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Help! Chronic Back Pain, Herniated discs, Bone Spurs, DDD, and Arthritis.
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msllevans posted:
I have four herniated discs: T11, T12, L4, L5; bone spurs, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis since May 2005. I received 80 mg Depo-Medrol injections every month for two years (2006 - 2008), and have been receiving epidural injections every three months for the last year and a half (since 2008). I take Ultram, Norco, Skelaxin, Lyrica, and Ibuprofen daily for the pain and Phenergan to control the nausea that the pain medications cause. I cannot sit for long periods; cannot stand for more than five minutes with out pain, and cannot walk long distances. I live on heating pads, massage pads, and a TENS unit. I am currently taking physical therapy three times a week for three weeks. I saw a neurosurgeon in 2008 that said surgery would do more harm than good (I'm not sure if I believe this because the day I saw him his attitude was very smug, as if he didn't have time to "deal" with me. Maybe because now I am, since 2008, on disability and receive Medicare and Medicaid).

I can't even put in words how sick I am of pain, medications that don't work, and treatments that are not helping. I feel as though I am just being medicated instead of anyone trying to fix the problem. In the year of 2010 surely there is something that can help this.

Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi Msllevans,

I am sure others will be responding with their experience and ideas (though it could slow down over the weekend) but, in the meantime, I wanted to welcome you to this community. You'll find a lot of support, insight and information here.

I'm sorry you're dealing with so much ongoing pain.
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you'll help them to become what they are capable of becoming. ~Goethe
 
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annette030 responded:
If all those injections and oral meds are not working, why take them? i would ask the doctor some pointed questions about what works and what seems not to. Although, you may find that if you stop some meds, you will then really notice more pain. But the only way I know of to find out, is to try tapering off under the doctor's supervision and see what happens.

I would not suggest surgery for so many bad discs either, not at this time anyway. But, you might get a second opinion and see what someone else says.

Take care, Annette
 
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msllevans replied to Caprice_WebMD_Staff's response:
Thank you.
 
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Geradine4733 responded:
Welcome to this friendly board. Annette and your surgeon are right. With that many discs involved and with a progressive disease like arthritis, surgery is probably not going to fix anything.

I had major back surgery 8 years ago, and it made everything worse. Sorry that the meds are not working and are making you sick. The surgeons are really back in the horse and buggy age when it comes to spine surgery with arthritis involved.

If I were you, I would keep after the doctor to try some different meds. Your best hope is to find a med that does not make you sick and helps your pain. Best wishes.
 
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davedsel57 responded:
Hello.

You have already been given some excellent advice. I just wanted to share my story and a bit of my experience.

I have been managing moderate to severe chronic pain levels for over 30 years. Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my whole story. You may think it sounds familiar as I have many of the same degenerative spinal conditions that you do.

I have tried all prescription medications and they all either cause severe hives or do not work. i am down to a muscle relaxer and enteric coated aspirin as my only choices. My wife and I invested in a Sleep Number bed and a hot tub last year, and both of those have proven to be very wise investments in our health.

Keep doing your research keep as active as possible and keep a positive attitude. Stop doing what does not work and find things and health care professionals that will help you manage your pain.
Blessings, -Dave
 
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GeorgiaDawg1980 responded:
Hello im Joey, I was going threw some of the same pain and issues you describe.My pain was all lower back,16 months of epidural shots with no good results.Three weeks ago I went in for a differant procedure called radio lesioning.Very uncomfortable they dont put you to sleep as they need you to talk to them as they strike certain nerves then burn them.So far my pain is getting less and less.I can pick up my children again and feel so much better.They tell me its not a perm fix,I may get 16 months out of it.But to have this much relief,Thank God!! Best of luck to you.
 
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pre05 responded:
Hello,

I have tried many of the same medications, Skelaxin, Celebrex, Vioxx, Lyrica, Cymbalta, "living on heat pads, massage pads, and TENS units." Other: 8-9 rounds of PT, MRI's, ice, heat, massage, acupuncture, ultrasound, nerve blocks, trigger point injections, botox injections, cortisteroids, and other things we have probably long since forgotten thanksfully! = >

For me, it is not the acute injury that is more difficult to deal. I always think of myself as an optimist, and so the acute stage is probably where I did not give a thought to the idea that years in the future, a spine/neck/back injury could seriously affect quality of life.

I think with chronic pain, the difficulty often comes when you start to realize that you have tried x/y/z medicine, without a resolution. And also, that life has indeed changed and then a doubt starts to work its way into thoughts. Instead of asking myself questions for example (like, can I play division 1 sports), you might ask yourself now things like (can I make it through the next 20 minutes? Can I drive? Work? What the heck type of friend/spouse/etc will I be if this issue is not resolved.

I think that if you feel your doctor is not listening, as you mentioned, this is red flag. Neon flashing sign! Find a doctor that takes you seriously and take serious notes, with a solid reputation, understands spine and pain management, etc. Do not settle for average. Find a someone that you are comfortable with (emphasis on honest/blunt/realistic) that will tackle it your back pain a multi-mode approach and leave no stone unturned, to use a cliché. But in all honesty, I do hope that you keep trying and stick with it = >

Best of luck. Be aggressive. Stay optimistic. Regards - C
 
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msllevans replied to Geradine4733's response:
Thank you.
 
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msllevans replied to davedsel57's response:
Thank you.
 
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msllevans replied to GeorgiaDawg1980's response:
Thank you for the info. I will check into it.
 
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msllevans replied to pre05's response:
Thank you so much.

I never give up; I am always in search of the right doctor. However, I live in a very rural area and I am limited to the number of doctors available. However since my original post, I have made an appointment with a neurosurgeon about five hours from my home. He is in a larger city and at a university hospital. I am in hopes that he will have an aggressive approach towards my situation.
 
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David Maine, MD responded:
I am sorry to here you have had such a struggle. I think you are correct - there should be a treatment that can help! First - I assume your last imaging was in 2008. If things have progressed, it might be time to get a new MRI. I would also seek another opinion from either a dedicated pain specialist and/or a neurosurgeon. It sounds like your prior experience was less than satisfactory. I am glad that you are no longer receiving the monthly depo-medrol injections. The risk with repeated injections (steroid exposure) is simply not worth the benefit. As for the epidurals - if these help you and allow you to spare some of your medications then I think it is a reasonable idea. If you really have no functional change then I would look for an alternative treatment. You should also try to limit your injection to 3-4/year.

I think you need a fresh unbiased look at your clinical situation. Perhaps then you can get a treatment plan that works better for you. Good luck.
 
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lorieeg responded:
I have had chronic back pain for 10 years and have tried a variety of treatments. I am now on my 3rd Pain Management Doctor, who believes in various combined treatments. In her office are located an acupuncturist, physical therapist, and psychologist. For me. the most effective and long-lasting treatment is RADIO FREQUENCY LESIONIING (RFL). Other doctors had tried this, but she has given me the most relief, lasting 6 months to 2 years, and it is drug-free and out-patient. I'm also on patches and pills.

Overall, I would suggest you look for a pain clinic that offers multiple treatment options and a doctor with an open mind.
 
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Janiceofohio responded:
Hello, I have everything you have. Did you know that every epidural you have causes scar tissue? It can be very painful. Also with every surgery? I didn't, and now I have a disease called ARACHNOIDITIS, which is caused from the medication these Drs. are injecting you with. Do you have a recent MRI? You can look up all the words that the laymen can't understan and finally KNOW exactly what you have. If indeed you have "failed back surgery or arachnoiditis, don,t expect your Dr. to tell you. They know that they caused this condition and are afraid of law suits etc... The mri site is... adriaanliebenberg terminology. Also look up Arachnoiditis, or go to COFWA and read ALL about it. I'm guessing this is what you may have. I didn't find out I had it tii I went to my Dr. that gave the epidurls. He never rewad my mri. he just gave me the shots according to what my PMR Dr. said. When I asked him if he could shoot me up somewhere else cause they weren't working, he then pulled up the mri on the computor. Mind you, I was getting ready to be wheeled back to the surgery room. He turned to me with such a red face, and angry as hell, turned to me and sais, I can't give you this shot, you have arachnoiditis. That's how I found out, here I had it for over 2 years! Good luck to you. My symptoms are severe aching pain in my lower back, sciatic nerve pain in the right side of hip, butt, leg, numbness in left leg and foot, and I am on methadone for the pain. Again, good luck and I hope you don't have this.


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