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    Starting Pain Management
    cardfan69 posted:
    The past year for me has been a living hell and I am at the end of my rope. Following two back surgeries in the past six months I still find myself in chronic unbearable daily pain and am starting to wonder if I will ever be "normal" again.

    Here is a quick recap of my story. Back in 2005 I had a bad fall that resulted in a severely ruptured disc at L5S1. Following three months of SEVERE pain and all the usual methods to correct it (physical therapy, spinal injections, steroids, pain meds, etc) my surgeon recommended a bilateral discectomy that was performed in December of 2005. This surgery was a huge success and I had almost immediate relief from my pain. Although I would have occasional flare ups over the next several years, I lived relatively pain free until the beginning of 2012 when I managed to re-injure my back after starting a new exercise program (I guess that's what I get for trying to get in shape...ha ha).

    Anyway, I went through the normal attempts to calm things down again (spinal injections, physical therapy, medications) with no success until it go to the point that it was simply unbearable so my doctor recommended an anterior fusion which was performed in July of 2012. This surgery did NOT go well and not only did I experience no relief I think things got worse if that is even possible. Following almost 4 months of no noticeable improvement my doctor recommended another back surgery to "tighten things up and prevent movement that was causing me pain", so he performed a posterior fusion in November of 2012. This surgery was slightly more successful and I did experience some relief for a brief period but beginning in about March of this year things started going south once again.

    So currently I live in pain 24X7 with no apparent relief in site and I'm not sure how much more I can take. Mornings are the worst and some mornings I quite literally can't get out of bed (however I have to get out of bed because laying down too long also causes pain and has resulted in many a sleepless night). The only thing that seems to help and make life tolerable has been steroids (which I've already received my maximum dose for the month so I can't have any more for a while) and 7.5 Norco's which I take 3 times a day. These do not provide complete relief but they definitely take the edge off and allow me to function as a semi-normal human being.

    I think my back doctor has given up on me as yesterday he told me that at this point he would like to refer me to a pain management specialist. I'm not sure exactly what this means but I hope to meet with them in the coming weeks. I've been doing a lot of research on the web and there seems to be mixed responses to what people think of their pain management docs so I thought I would post a message here and ask what to expect? Anything I should do in preparation? What are the odds of them keeping things in check and making life bearable? Basically, any advice, suggestions or comments will be appreciated.

    I will say the only saving grace through all of this is that I have an unbelievably supportive wife of 25 years that is my rock and is the only reason I continue to fight through this. I also am fortunate to work for a GREAT company that has been very flexible throughout all of this, allowing me to work from home whenever necessary so I can stay close to an ice pack and recline in a more comfortable position and avoid some of things that make the pain worse such as sitting in one position to long, stairs, etc).

    Appreciate any thoughts, comments, smart remarks you may have.

    God bless
    ctbeth responded:
    Hi from Connecticut,

    I'm sorry that you're pain management is not adequate.

    Your MD who is referring you to pain management is doing you a good service.

    Pain management is, indeed, a specialty. Pain management doctors (PMD) treat your pain, not the underlying problem that causes pain.

    Your PC (primary care) MD and your surgeon's offices both should fax your medical and surgical notes. You'll have to sign releases for those, whether before your initial evaluation or once you are seen by the PMD.

    If you have any MRIs, CATs, x-rays, whether on disc or film, you may wish to take these to the appt.

    I can tell you about my PMD's initial eval/ consult, but this may or may not be what your PMD does.

    Honestly, relax, answer all of the PMD's questions, have your questions in a list- either mental or written- although many say that a written list is more efficient.

    The "odds", as you wrote, of a PMD helping reduce your pain to tolerable levels are favourable.

    May I ask, what is your pain syndrome called? I'm guessing that it's failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS).

    Your situation is not unlike many who participate in this community.

    The weekends can be minimal for replies, just so you know.

    Meanwhile, you might like to peruse the discussions of the community; I think you'll find many of your concerns shared and addressed by others.

    You can also make a little profile that is visible by this group only. You can write your med/ surg history in the profile. It's called, "My Story".

    I really appreciate the "My Story". It enables me to know a bit about members issues, and it also frees us from writing our histories over-and-over.

    If you click on my screen name or "mug shot", you can read about me. Once you write yours, it will be available pretty straight away for others to read.

    Good wishes, and I am pleased that you found us.


    77grace responded:
    Hi cardfan69,
    I really think I underssand where your at !!!
    I also suffer from chronic pain in my neck and back and have gfor more than 20 yrs.
    I remember years ago my Nuerolgist wanted me to see a pain management Dr. because he did'nt think he could do anymore than he had!At first I did'nt like the ides because I really liked this Dr. but ,then I went and it all worked out for he better!AS it turned out I needed dstronger meds and the PM did that!
    PAUSE 77grace
    77grace responded:
    Hi again,
    Sometimes I don't type fast enough and I was afraid this would not go through!So,snywaY MY POINT IS SOMETIMES WE need the pain Dr.s because they know more about medication and usually presxribe a long acting med and if needed a break through one !
    That's of course if medication is the way to go!There are many ways to treat pain as you will find out !
    God Bless YOU,77grace
    suz1catz responded:
    I had a cervical fusion in Feb.2011 I was in a neck brace for 9 months. Today is April 2013 I know that surgery of any fusion takes 2 years to heal. Your body had to adjust and basicly regroup. I have all plastic disc in my neck. I have gone back to my surgeon several times because I get numbness and pain in my arms and hands.My surgeon ignores the problems and he sends me to a PMD.I have gone through PT for my neck so I take what I have learned from physical therapy and do those exercises every day.Just because PT has stopped we need to do those exercises everyday.I do find that shots help with my headaches I only take 1 pain medicine.I have attacked my pain emotionally by going to a counselor.I find by talking about my pain doing my PT therapy helps me. We need to do our share doctors are not miracle workers.

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