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    Pain Management
    Nana_of_spa posted:
    I have been to a few different Dr.'s about the pain in my back. After a surgery, it did start to feel a bit better...for awhile. But now the pain is back, but different. It's not the electric shock, shooting down my leg, type of pain.
    My problem is that the different Dr.'s I see look at the X-rays and say "well your, ____________, is kind of mild, or moderate and shouldn't be causing that much pain." The thing is there are 3 things wrong with my back spondylolisthesis, osteoarthritis, and a herniated disc. Each of the Dr.'s I have seen specialize in one or two of those things, so when they look at the X-ray or MRI, they only see their part. They don't see all 3 things together in the same area working together to cause the pain.
    I can't sleep well as the pain keeps me from getting to sleep and wakes me up all night long. I can't sit too long, walk too long, stand too long, etc. I have fallen twice, because of the pain. Driving my car, shopping, housework, yard work etc. are all painful.
    One of my Dr.'s is finally sending me to a Pain Management Center. I was happy about that. When the center called though, they asked a lot of questions and said now they were going to talk about me and decide if they could help me. If they thought they could they would call me to make an appointment. When they called back the only appointment they had was 5 weeks away. It's so long. But I want my life back so I took it and I am waiting.
    The thing is that I am nervous about going to the Pain Center as I don't really know what they do at one and what to expect. I just know, I want to be able to play with my grandchildren again, pick stuff up off the floor by myself, get in and out of my car with out pain. And go back to work some day.
    peskypain responded:
    Sorry for your pain issues...

    The one Dr. who handles all your issues is either a Board Certified Neurosurgeon or BC Orthopedic surgeon. So not sure what 3 Drs. you saw?

    You say that you already had a surgery....what type was this and what Dr. performed this?

    Then if it's not surgical...they can work with the Pain Center for the treatments like Physical therapy, traction, aqua therapy, injections, massage (regular and ultrasound), TENS unit, acupuncture, etc.

    And then there are medications/supplements to help with your Osteoarthritis (NSAIDs or Tylenol) as well as the nerve pain for the Spondy and Disc issues. Nerve pain meds include Lyrica, Cymbalta, or Neurontin.

    Not sure why you are nervous about the Pain Center? They are there to help you with your pain issues so that is a good thing:)

    There are also things that you can do that they will expect from you as well. Hopefully you don't smoke as that is now proven to be a cause of disc dehydration as well as can cause bone loss. (Among the obvious health dangers)

    Eating well and maintaining a health weight is important for spine issues and overall well being. There are also foods to avoid that can cause inflammation so you can research this online.

    Daily exercise is very important...Even if it's just walking for 30-45 minutes a day.

    And then doing things to keep yourself healthy emotionally with reducing stress, biofeedback, even counseling or medication.

    I have 3 herniated discs along with Spondy and other spine issues and use as many modalities as I can to help with my pain levels. That is really the key as there is not one single magic pill or potion..LOL...It's doing everything possible each day to lessen that pain to a manageable level.

    Hopefully this Pain Center will work with your Drs. to help you..

    Keep us posted..
    Nana_of_spa replied to peskypain's response:
    I quit smoking over 7 years ago because of something my grandson said. I had lost a lot of weight, but because of the pain and not being able to move like I use to I've gained a bit of it back. I do have a pretty good home gym in my basement that I use for at least 30 minutes every other day- just starting out.
    An orthopedic Dr did my surgery. He ended up just carving out a piece of the bone so that the nerve was no longer being pinched. He was to take out the herniated disc but said it was in good shape, so he left it and did what he did. Which is o.k. I don't have the "electric shocks" going down my leg any more.
    As for the different medicines, my Dr had me on Etodalac and Tylenol 3 for quite awhile, and it worked great for a long time. Then it slowly stopped working. Then he tried changing it like three times and those medicines are not working.
    The thing about the Pain Center is just that I've heard good things about them, and I've heard bad things about them. I think that mostly I'm thinking they are my last hope. If they can't help me. I'm done.
    cweinbl replied to Nana_of_spa's response:
    What kind of surgery did you have? Was it a discectomy or a laminectomy? Why did your surgeon leave a herniated disc in, when it could have easily been removed? As more and more pieces of that disc break apart, there is a chance that one of them will impinge a spinal nerve root, leading to at least as much pain as you had before.
    I can drop my pain by about 20% with biofeedback alone. Some people have good results with TENS, acupuncture, PT, kinesiotherapy, injections, etc. Just one medication added 9 wonderful years to my career. A pain management center makes sense, as long as it is not an injection mill. If they seem to only prefer to offer you shots, request a referral to a different, more comprehensive program. If nothing there helps, at least you will have tried, rather spend the rest of your life unable to manage your pain and wondering if it might have helped.
    You are taking the most mild possible pain medication. If your pain is as bad as it sounds, there are many low-risk opioids that will wipe out much of your pain. Did you discuss this with your family physician? Never ask a surgeon for pain medication after you go home from the hospital. Surgeons will almost never prescribe the kind of meds that you may well require for the rest of your life. They only give you enough for two weeks. That is for the PM doctor or your family physician or internist. One medication added 9 years to my career. Yes, it's powerful. But I needed it. I could eat your current Pain medication like candy all day and experience no relief at all.
    You might wish to discuss using Etodolac with your family doctor or PM physician. First, it's only a NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory). You can't find anything less potent for pain. It was designed to treat mild pain, not moderate to severe pain. More importantly, Etodolac has some significant potential cardiovascular implications. If you have any form of heart disease, the side effects may be troublesome. At any rate, if I were you, having as much pain as you describe, I would want something much more powerful than Tylenol with codeine and a NSAID. You mentioned that the Tylenol 3 used to work, but it "slowly stopped working." That is called, "tolerance." We all become tolerant to medications over time. All you need to do is switch to a chemically different pain drug for 2-3 months. You can then return to the original drug (Tylenol 3) and it will work as well as when you first started using it. I understand that you rotated to a different drug three times. Sometimes you need to try a dozen alternatives before you find one that helps. My doctor and I tried about twenty different combinations of medication, until we found the right one for my unique body chemistry. And I emphasize the work COMBINATION of drugs. Chronic pain patients benefit the most from using two opioids simultaneously. A long-acting medication (ex. Oxycontin, Fentanyl Transdermal, Kadian) is the mainstay. Then a short-acting opioid (ex. Oxycodone, Codeine 3, Hydrocodone) can be employed for breakthrough pain. I would also accept it as an axiom that everyone with chronic pain should be using an anti-depressant (ex. Cymbalta, Paxil, Amitriptyline) because they inhibit the uptake of Seratonin (one of the body's natural pain fighting chemicals) in the bloodstream. The dosage can be much lower than that used for psychiatric purposes. That's in addition to the two opioids. Addiction is not a concern unless you have a history of addiction disorder. The rate of addiction among chronic pain patients is under 2% (see and .
    Finally, for the most comprehensive recent research on all forms of spinal interventions, read this terrific research report:;12;699-802.pdf . Good luck.
    chopperz2000 responded:
    hey nana, ihope u feel better soon,
    my name is grant and i tottlaly understand the hopelesses your feeling. as a guy young man of 48 the had a terible accident 15 years which i suffered a broken vertabre and herniated disck in my neck,three compresion vertabre in my middle back ,and finally two ruppured disc at the bottom of my spine ,

    i have had multiple surgerys over th last 10 yrs and i will tell you this the outcme of anhy surgey in depentant on the surgeons ability.
    some o mine worked great and some did no,hell i had two surgureys from same nerosurgon one wasgreat and the other turned outwort case sinario. so what i will do for you is give you my addy and youcan e-mail me becouse to tell you about it on here would take longer tha i can sit at one time,,,
    so i will try and help ad i will stay onhere as well.

    just put spinal in the subjet box, as tisis how i know it is someone frm what i call my support group.
    and the other people onhere are mostly crrect, when u go to the pain clinic just be honest and tell the as much as you can ,,afterall the more they know the more they can help .
    and try not to think about it i kow it's always there, and jst try hard to know your limits and try super hard to not due the things that make it worst, i know easier said than one.

    hang in there and kep your had up,,it will hep your posture.
    Nana_of_spa replied to cweinbl's response:
    The Dr. that did the back surgery said he just carved part of the bone away from the nerve to keep it from being pinched and didn't take out the disc that was pinching it, because the disc looked to be is good shape. I thought it was odd as it wasn't where it was suppose to be so why leave it there, but he is suppose to be a spine specialist.
    I was on Etodolac with the Tylenol 3 for well over a year. When I told the Dr. that I was finding myself in pain a lot more often, he took me off both of those and changed them to something else I don't remember, that didn't work at all and Norco 5mg. Now I take something else, Amytriptalene (forgive the spelling) and Norco 7.5. He wont raise the Norco to 10mg. But before he told me to try to take two of the 5mg. and see how that worked. So frustrating sometimes.
    I started this whole thing with my family Dr. She sent me to a Rhuematologist and a spine specialist/orthopedic surgeon.
    I just know, I'm starting to look forward to November 5th so I can see what the Pain Center says.
    1cbrigg responded:
    I have alot of the same three things wrong woth my spine, plus some big name others, I go to a pain mamagement clinic an I couldnt go through life without him. I do take some heavy duty drugs, butluckily they dont effect anything but the pain. I was pparlized during a surgery in my left leg over 11 years ago, stupid me I went back to same docand let him "try" to fix it 3 more times. Ha, finally after calling again one afternood an his nurse said that after 25 back surgeries I should know therer is discomfort, yeah like a million bees stinging my leg and the muscle atrophing to the size of my wrist. When she called me a drug addict, that was it. I hack sawed body cast off, found anotherdoc who said first doc put pedicle screw right on topof nerve, hmmm not crazy, plus I had a spinal fluid leak. So every since then I have gone to this pain doc, after 1 sx, in which a neuro surgeon and ortho cut the screw an rod, got use of leg but pain never went way. Thanks to drugs I work in my yard, play with my dogs and grandchildren. It is well worth the time to find a good pain doctor, one who listens! I am 57, female and I do okay. Alwasy will be bad days, but notlike it was. Good luck
    tuloud54 responded:
    You got some nerve taking my story and calling it your own lol.You are so in the right place. After having a broken neck in 1990,2 laminectomies and pretty much all your symptoms or I mean mine, I guarantee nothing will get done without YOU! Demand help and if they don't,find another doctor now. My neck has always felt like I slept on it wrong. Fast forward to 2007 my left hand got cold,painfully cold.1 year later it moved to my shoulder. May 18,2008 was the last day I worked. Ssdi has helped but tired of feeling like I just exist and no quality of life. I am scheduled for a pain pump in Nov. Moral of the story? I was so proud of not even taking aspirin for 20 years of neck pain until my hand and arm hurt so bad I wanted to amputate it.My mistake was sticking with my last Dr too long. He believed no one is in as much pain as I let on. Did not want to dr shop and this was my first pain mgmt dr.Now have dr who can literally feel my pain. Remember that my feeling empathy and my favorite line/somebody has it worse will not make your pain any less.You deserve treatment for your disease. Treat it as your life depends on it because it does. I don't appreciate you stealing my story lol. You will get some good advice here but please interview the dr and he works for you.If he is not getting the job done,fire his a$$. Talk soon.God bless you and yours. Sorry to ramble but it is what I do best
    tuloud54 replied to tuloud54's response:
    Sorry,please read the posters histories and most have posted their stories before I have learned more from this board and do regret not finding it sooner. No need for you to waste a year or two and one more day then you have to.
    Nana_of_spa replied to 1cbrigg's response:
    Oh, I would so love to be able to get in my mom's memorial flower garden and make it look like I still care. And to PLAY with my grandchildren! All I do now, is pop in a movie. What a fun Nana. Yippy!!! This morning I woke up and turned on the heating pad (that I sleep on) and lay there and cried for awhile. I finally managed to stretch a little bit, enough to were I could sit up on the bed to be able to take my medicine. I am up and moving around now, but using the stupid, tho cute cane my husband bought me. My husband has been telling me for awhile to find a new Dr for this. But I just keep thinking....again? But the Dr did it for me by sending me to the Pain Center.
    I understand the "bad days" thing. I have an occasional "o.k." day. But I've had it for this month. lol
    Nana_of_spa replied to tuloud54's response:
    LOL. Sorry about taking your story. That's exactly how I feel!!!! Like the Dr thinks there is no way I can be feeling as much pain as I do!!!! It's like, "You jerk, have you EVER had a back ache, let alone this?!" I am nervous about going to the pain center mostly because I'm afraid I'll get more of the same of what I've had. Which is what I don't want.
    And that somebody has it worse line, my Dr has actually said that to me!!!! I couldn't believe it! I am looking for another Dr right now.
    I don't mind the ramble. I do a good job of it myself at times.
    From your other post......I've been like this since July 4th 2011. I'm very ready for it to stop.
    Have a good day.
    cweinbl replied to Nana_of_spa's response:

    I would never EVER allow anyone who is not a spine surgeon touch me. A spine surgeon is a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon who has completed a fellowship in spine surgery. Such physicians are light years ahead of every other surgeon in knowledge, experience, technique and talent. Only the very best surgeons are allowed into a spine surgery fellowship and only the very best, brightest and most physically talented will make it to the end of the fellowship. These few spine surgeons have more knowledge and talent in their little fingers than all of the rest of those neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons have in total. They know the very latest in technology, including disc replacement surgery and grafting. They use the most sophisticated and proven hardware.

    Fellowship-trained spine surgeons can be located at or near large teaching hospitals. The one I found in Cleveland (about 100 miles away) possessed grafting and surgical instrumental techniques that almost no one else understood or were aware of. I found another fellowship-trained spine surgeon in Ann Arbor. When I told him about the other fellowship-trained surgeon that I was seeing in Cleveland, his response was, "Wow, you are lucky! I tried to get into his fellowship program and I was not admitted." You really have no idea how far ahead these spine surgeons are until you begin to do the research.

    Nothing is more important than your health. Why trust it to a minor league orthopedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon without a fellowship? These are people who repair broken bones and damaged nerves. But they know little or nothing about the latest spine surgery techniques, hardware and instrumentation. Isn't your health worth it? Find a fellowship-trained spine surgeon. You deserve it!
    chopperz2000 replied to Nana_of_spa's response:
    hey nana, when i had mt surgery ,i had moved from Utah to Illinois for better medical care . because the best pain management in utah treatment was here's another bottle of morphine sulfate and it will get better as it heals.
    i had some steroid injections done by them and it was all bad when they injected it down my forminal root canal at c6-c7. and i was paralyzed right side of head and sown my right shoulder and arm.

    so in chicago the doctor 'the is\was the best spinal Dr in the country' i basically interviewed 8 surgeons and every one of them said if had a chance for giesler to do my surgery's that i should cuz he's the best.
    so on aug 27,2007 they did a on level fusion at c6-c7 , they removed the disc and used a cadaver bone and then installed a plate with 2 screws in both vertebrae'when they removed the disc they also cleaned all\any disc material out of the root canal', which is the area that pinches the nerve.
    and then on Oct 31,2007(yes Halloween day and 2 months after my neck ).
    they did a 3 level fusion at l3-l4,l4-l5,l5-s1, the removed all three disc and replaced them with titanium cages(filled with ground up bone from my hip) when they did this they could not get all the dics out of the root canal at l4-l5,l5-s1 . and then they installed 4 titanium rods with connections to the front and sides of all three vertabrea.

    now, because they failed to remove all the disc from the forminal root canal this is considered a "botched surgery".
    and because of this i still have all the pain and problems that i had before. and i have severe pain and neuropathy from them digging in that canal, also becouse they waited 7 years to finally do the surgerys the disc material went so far down the nerve root canal that they will never be able to get all of out ever.
    and when the did my neck they were able to get all the disc out of the nerve canal and my neck,shoulder,arm,and hand is good as new i have no pain and numbness for the most part, i have a lil tiny pain sometimes but it's from the fusion itself and not from the nerve,
    so like i said in previous post surgery's depend on the dr's ability and there passion to do the job right.
    i told you this so that you realize this is probably whats causing most of your pain ,it sounds to me that they failed to clean out your nerve canal.....
    you can go to the hospital and request your medical records and tell them that you need all records,,(they have to give them to you by law) read to surgery report and in there you will see if they had difficultty cleaning the canal out , if they even tried.
    Nana_of_spa replied to cweinbl's response:
    Thank you so much. I had no idea. I will start looking right away, because yes my health is worth it. I want my back, back. lol. I want to be able to work again, and to play with my grandchildren, and so much more. Again thank you.
    Nana_of_spa replied to chopperz2000's response:
    I know the Dr that did my "surgery" said he did not take out the slipped/herniated disc, because it looked to be in pretty good shape, just out of place. So he carved the bone instead so the nerve wasn't being pinched any more. At first I thought cool that's fine, the pain is gone. But now, I think, if the disc keeps slipping, it's just going to keep hitting that nerve and causing pain again. With the other things that are causing pain, I don't want the nerve pain too. That one was horrible. Like an electrical shock shooting down my leg almost constantly. Now it comes and goes once in a great while.
    I will go to the hospital and ask for my records. I think it's a good idea to have them anyway, with all that's going on with the Dr.'s I've seen, not being able to do anything, to fix this.

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