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Excruciating SHARP, ELECTRIC Pain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,000
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Spinal Stenosis
I am new to this forum and want to know if others are experiencing the same horrific pain I am. I'm 100% sure I am NOT alone.
I have lumbar spinal stenosis and turning my head creates very sharp, electric (quick) pain as does opening my mouth to put food in, or brushing my teeth, or putting my head back to put eye drops in, bending forward and turning my head slightly to the left or right...All these create such horrible pain I cry out loudly and then I cry....literally.
I am in pain 24/7 like most of you here, and it really wears you down. I am not on any pain meds (don't like drugs in general) even though I did try percocet and vicodan...didn't even touch this pain, so I am assuming there isn't much out there that would help, but I truly do not want to be on drugs and spaced out all the time.
I am seeing an Osteopath. Saw him just once and he gave me this exercise to do: I get on all 4's and arch my back with my butt poking out and head up, then head down and back rounded. I think this is a yoga move, but it HURTS me and he wants me to do it several times a day for 10 minutes. Are you kidding????? TEN MINUTES???? SO, I am not doing them because it creates more pain and I don't believe in the "No pain, No gain" theory.
I don't want to overwhelm everyone with all my stuff, so I am going to try to go to bed now and pray I can sleep, because with this degree of pain, it is just impossible.
I have been sitting way too long so when I do this and try to get up and walk, I am in tears. I do have this handy-dandy, very pretty cane which does help.
Thanks for listening and I will be checking back tomorrow~
Lynda Pearl


  • I am so sorry you are going through that. I have the electric pains but in my leg which I think would be way more bearable than yours. Did you see a neurosurgeon? Cant they do anything for you? I wish you the best of luck. Dont give up. We are all with you.
  • I have had 5 surgerys spinal fusion L5,L4 infections in back 2, I am on 120mpg of oxycotton and nothing helps, infact it is getting worse. managment dr. and all they do is give you more pain meds. its a never ending cycle, my suggestion is to Pray to God and ask him to help you indure the pain until you die. Sorry that is the way i feel about it. I originally was diagonsed with a pars defect, i have gone to 3 great surgerons and nothing has helped. I think i have a nerve compression.

    Post edited, inappropriate discussion regarding doctors
    Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health Administrator 08/11/09
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    Sorry that you are in pain.

    You will find lots of fellow sufferers here and lots of real subjective opinions from those who are going through similar stuff to you.

    It sounds to me like you need to see a doctor who can give you a detailed diagnosis of your pain like a Neurosurgeon or an orthopedic spine specialist.

    Who told you in any event that you have Lumbar spinal stenosis?

    In cases like yours I do not believe in Osteopaths. I was once given the same exercises as you by an Osteopath and I could not do them either and as it turned out it was completely the wrong thing to do for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis anyhow. In fact at this stage I would avoid such doctors like the plague and get a proper diagnosis by a qualified medcal practitioner as I mentioned above and initially having an MRI which is the only way for you to go forward.

    Also the way that you describe that your pain occurs does not sound like Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, so you really do need to get a consultation and a proper diagnosis.

    After that you can be given suitable pain care which should work.

    Please come back and let us know how you get on.

    Take Care

    John B
  • Hi Lynda,

    I agree 100% with the above post. It sounds more like a neck problem to me. If this exercise is hurting you, don't do it!!

    Best wishes to you. Keep us posted. This is a great site for support.

  • Hello Everyone, and thanks so much for your kind responses.
    I was diagnosed with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis in February of this year. Had an MRI after going to a Pain Clinic. Then I tried steroid epidural injections at this clinic, and after the 3rd one I was still in so much pain and this doctor who was going to give me a 4th shot said it wouldn't help and there's nothing more he could do. Geez....OK...Plan I asked him about surgery and he told me I am not a good candidate, plus I would NEVER have any kind of back surgery...period!
    Here is what I've tried: Accupuncture: This guy did cupping and I thought I was going to pass out and was in tears the whole time because of the pressure on my buttocks/tailbone, which is where the pain is bad....even the slightest touch and I am screaming in pain. Same with my hips and buttock area. Then I tried the Chiro route. This guy did more harm than good at the tune of $160, and now this osteopath who has given me this *exercise* which creates more pain, especially in my neck, which I am 99.9% sure part, if not most of the pain is from the neck and jets down to buttocks, hips & legs causing that sharp, electrical pain with every....and I mean EVERY movement of my body. Also...I breathe shallow because it hurts to inhale and, electric-type pain right to my tailbone, hips & buttocks & down both legs. Bending over is a HUGE challenge and I find IF I put my hands on top of my legs and press hard then hold my breath while I'm bending down to pick something up, the pain is minimal. I just don't get this and I NEED to find someone who can help me or direct me to someone who can. There are times when I think I cannot stand this any longer and just truly want to die!
    The quality of my life is basically gone. I use to travel to California every year to see my dear friend of 43 years, but now it is impossible. I feel my life has ended.....literally.
    I also have a rare disease called: Dercum's Disease in that I have hundreds of Lipomas and many are attatched to nerves which also create horrific pain because like the stenosis it is pressing on nerves.
    Geez......I feel like a basket case....sitting in a corner rocking back & forth & sucking my thumb!!!
    I have to agree with John B in regard to the Osteopath and I don't even have a desire to see him again.
    So...Plan C....??????? You know....I KNOW my body better than any doctor and some of them seem to think THEY know my body and what's going on. How arrogant!!
    I don't care for mainstream medicine and would prefer to go the Naturopathic route, but unfortunately my insurance doesn't cover N.P'S.
    Sorry this is so lengthy. Had to get it ALL out tonight!
    Thanks to all who read this~Take care~L.P.
    (I am sure I'm forgetting something but I have to get up and move a bit....I'll think of it after I send this post)
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  • I am absolutely certain I have the same Preoperative Diagnosis as you do, although I am certainly not a doctor, I do tons of research in the medical arena so I am armed with knowledge.
    Were these procedures you had invasive and what was your recovery like? I live alone and IF I ever did have any surgery (highly unlikely) I would have no one to help, and I assume after these types of surgery, you need help.
    I am so happy you are pain free!!! What a wonderful feeling that must be. I have days where in the afternoons I don't have as much pain as in the morning and at night. This is when I do my crying/weeping/screaming out!
    My poor cats know *something* is wrong especially when I'm crying.

    Take good care Mary Anne~L.P.
  • Ok. Now you have explained your situation more fully, I understand where you are at.

    I am so sorry that you are going through so much pain.

    I know that you seem to have turned your back on mainstream medicine, but before you close your eyes to that route completely you may consider, if you live in the USA,the possibility of visiting one of the leading pain management departments that exist at some of the major medical institutions in this country. I know for a fact that they would consider you as a very special case and probably a challenge their incredible ability. I myself have only ever been treated with pain management in such institutions and I have to speak as I find, in that I have always had the finest of medical treatment by the incredibly advanced knowledge that exists in such learned institutions. You see what they do is not seemingly measured against money or financial rewards. In my experience, they will go a very long way to find solutions in difficult cases merely for the sake of the medical challenge and furthering their cause of knowledge in their special field. Most specifically I went to a very large and world renowned pain management department in a Major hospital in Cleveland Ohio where they have a brilliant team of fellowship trained doctors who practice under the auspices of one of the greatest professors in the field of Pain Management. There are a few major hospitals just like this one in the USA where they have fellowship trained staff and they are all excellent.

    I would suggest that you might at least avail yourself of such caring and helpful doctors for a simple consultation and maybe you will be able to find the way to a solution that may be acceptable to you. I would also mention that they are also not averse to the use of homeopathic ideas either and that in itself is a breath of fresh air from the mainstream medical profession these days.

    Bottom line is that you need to get out of pain and this is the best suggestion that I can think of making to you in your special circumstances.

    I wish you pain free and very soon.

    Take care

    John B
  • What I don't understand, is why the Osteopathic doc isn't helping you more. A D.O. Doctor of Osteopathic medicine, is as close to a naturepathic doctor as you will probably find. D.O.'s are like the family doctor of yesteryear. The ones who would make house calls and take chicken or pie in return for payment. They are trained to take in the body and person as a whole.

    The exercise/stretching maneuver you have described is a very common one used to stretch out the back and many core muscles. It won't cure spinal stenosis, but it is a very common thing for docs/PT's to suggest. I wouldn't blame your doc for trying to make things worse.

    We have to work with our docs in our own pain management. There are very good surgical options to relieve stenosis and there are plenty of non-western medicine things you can do to try and manage your pain.

    One thing that I found out, is that our friends can be really awesome when we need help. My husband was out of the country when I was getting ready to have my first lumbar surgery. A dear friend of mine came over and stayed with me in my home and cooked and even cleaned while I rested. I didn't ask her to, she just told me she was coming and I couldn't say no.

    My mom died a horrible death because she didn't believe in western medicine. The images of that are seared into my soul forever. She waited until she was beyond hope, before she allowed herself to be taken to a hospital. Her pride and beliefs killed her. Don't throw away a great chance of regaining control of your life just because you have an aversion to the type of medical practice and ideology.

    Hang in there and keep us posted.

  • Hi Linda,
    First let me say welcome to spine-health. I am a bit confused though. You say you have lumbar spinal stenosis but yet have pain in your upper body and opening your mouth causes such sharp pains. To my knowledge the spine effects the areas below the area. So for example if you have neck issues will get your arms and and down. If you have lumbar issues more than likely it is messing with your legs. I have never heard of the issues traveling back up the spine. So I think as the others have said you need to get a good doctor to find the causes of the pain. It sounds to me as you have some different issues going on. I am a cervical patient and have had many surgeries but never had any issues opening my mouth. Maybe if I would have would have helped me when i couldn't get around not to put as much weight But i think seeking a good nuerologist and find out what is causing that pain in your face as i seriously doubt that is something from your lumbar issues. Once again welcome to spine health.
  • Again...Thank you all for your support and suggestions. I need to clarify one thing however. I am not against mainstream medicine, and given my situation I feel this is the route I need to take and am trying to take.
    In the last 2 days, my right knee hurts like the devil to flex it and walking has become another challenge. When I go to get up like from a sitting posistion, I have NO strength and the I have to lean on something or grab my cain just to stand. I think I may need a knee replacement (sigh), so I made an appt. with my primary doc to get references to an ortho or neuro doc. The appt isn't until Aug 18th and this pain, along with all the others are wearing me down to the point of not being all.
    John B, you mentioned a pain management institution. Are you referring to a Pain Management Clinic? That is where I went right after I had my MRI and it was there I was given the steroid injections. Could you clarify what kind of clinic? I live in Seattle, Washington and I am on the eastside and there are a ga-zillion specialty doctors in my area alone.
    To TamTam: My legs are affected and are getting weaker, and now this knee thing with debilitating pain. I am thinking I perhaps have nerve damage, and once you have that, it is irreversable. The opening my mouth thing is THE worst because if I lean forward and have my head down by my plate, and open my mouth even slightly just to put my food in that sharp, jolt of pain that goes right to my buttocks, hips & legs. Also if I lean forward or back or even the slightest rocking brings that jolt of sharp pain. If I sit straight up (which is painful) and try to eat that way, the pain is still there. And I mentioned inhaling and exhaling...VERY I breathe VERY shallow. Maybe I should go on that show: Mystery Diagnosis...I just feel I am going nowhere and the pain gets more intenese everyday I don't connect with a physician that can help me or at least refer me to someone who can. I know one thing for sure, and that is I need either a cervical MRI or X-Ray. Also: When I went to this pain management clinic for the injections, they did a nerve conduction study (test), but I don't remember the results.
    Oh....when I cough or bear down, turn my head left to right, up and down....those electrical sharp pains are right there. affect,just moving my body creates horrific pain. When I'm sleeping(or rather TRYING to anyway)if I try to lift my butt up to turn over to my other side, those sharp pains make me scream out in pain. Also when I try to lift my body up when I'm lying down...again sharp pain in my neck, then to my hips, buttocks & legs.
    MAJOR PET PEEVE: the doctors only have 15-30 minutes with each patient and I'm talking fast trying to tell him/her just what's going on just like I am here. They are always rushed and I sometimes think they just don't *care* or want to deal with me.....This really frustrates me, and then stresses me out and again....this creates even MORE PAIN.
    I cancelled my appt with the Ortho guy. Maybe he could've helped....maybe not, but the exercise he gave me (a basic yoga move)was just too painful, and getting on my hands and knees with this really bad knee was too much.
    All these *things*(making appts, seeing different doc's, online research, etc) take TIME....and I feel my time is running out and before I know it, I am in a wheelchair at the local nursing home. I am only 61 and like I always say: I'm too old to be young....and too young to be old.
    Thanks EVERYONE for your responses. I hope I'm not being too redundant in my postings. I am trying my best to explain what is going on.
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