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New to site Terrible neck pain, Buldging discs, Degenerative Disc Disease, Stenosis

I have been reading site posts for over a year. I am mid 40's and troubles started in late 30's. Doctors diagnosed my chronic pain in 2008 degenerative disc disease, several buldging disc, cervical stenosis. After therapy, multiple epidurals, steroids, massage 3 times week, tens unit, chiropractor- neurosurgeon performed C 5-6 fusion. Pain reduced and responded to pain meds for almost 3 years.
The nightmare started all over again early last summer. The tests all started over, including a MRI of shoulder which indicated 2 rotator cuff tears. I was not happy about surgery but found myself thinking THANK GOODNESS I'M NOT CRAZY. Which I have been thinking when pain got worse and worse. Orthopedic performed surgery August 2013, once surgery started surgeon discovered my rotator cuff was ruptured due to severe arthritis shredding my rotator cufff. He and my neurosurgeon thought after this surgery, therapy, recovery life will turn around and be more bearable. Well thats not the case. After 4 months of therapy, finally I was thankful I could return to my administrative secretary position work, employed at same company for almost 25 years. Honestly feared bc of two surgeries in past 3 years they will be looking for a reason to LAY ME OFF! I have seen this happen to others over the years. (Haven't been out of work since I delivered my last child 21 years ago)
I never say a word to anyone about the pain I am in, they can tell by my face but I dont complain and plan my appts around my 1 weekday off during the week.
Needless to say im in the same boat again. Right side of my neck is horrible and nothing seems to help me. Painful shoulders, bicep muscle burns and throb. Bicep pain is new over last few months, wasn't present prior to shoulder surgery. Life SUCKS! I have a very supportive husband but surely he misses the life we had. If I do 2 hours of housework or gardening will pay for it for a couple days. But I just don't want to GIVE INTO THIS DEMON "PAIN" AND ITS at its WORST EVERY DAY.

Joined group with hopes someone may have some advise that my make just a few hours a day bearable.
Thank you in advance,


  • LizLiz Posts: 9,699
    edited 06/08/2014 - 4:43 AM


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • edited 06/09/2014 - 8:57 PM
    I feel your pain!!! So, with a bit of humor to cut the pain: I am male, I have no kids, I am older than you, I am guessing I have been more physically active than you (no kids, no wife; why not?) :-) Seriously, when the diagnosis was Reiter's Syndrome in 1972, I told myself that I HAD TO KEEP ACTIVE or the consequences would be worse than I could imagine then. I believe I was right. A few years ago, after yet another attack, I asked my neuro why my rheumy said I was in the best shape of any of his patients. The neuro said simply and quietly: "because they give up". It both pleased and hurt me; personal accomplishment, someone else's (public) loss.

    I have proselytized to arthritics about the need to stay in as good a shape as possible. I had gone to several support groups in the 1970s and early 1980s. I saw mostly overweight women (no different even today when I talk publicly (randomly, as in a parking lot) with women who are in obvious pain. We quickly discuss common threads before we go our separate ways. I am so thankful I am in a better place than they are. On the other hand, I wonder what type of effort it would take for an unknown women to "shape up"?

    I am writing this stuff at 2:00 AM. I will assume that most will consider most of it a rant and quite unfocused, rambling. GUILTY AS CHARGED .... :-) Besides arthritis, I am ADD/HD. In six hours, I can take my daily meds and be back to "normal" again. Although, I did have some Expreso Coffee at Starbucks because I "won" the points necessary for a freebie. It was really, really good! :-)

    Anyway, I only have to walk by a news-stand or sit in a doctor's office to notice that most of the "literature" has women as the primary audience. After all, men focus on women and you know the rest of the story. Yet, both women and men in the mags are not like us! Do you really think that Dorothy Hamil (who was in adverts for Vioxx) or the pro golfer (he just started Enbrel) and can continue with their respective careers and avocations? Is that type of advertising indicative of a drug that has failed after mass use? Does that indicate that Big Pharma has to hold another carrot for the masses before a newer concoction steals market share?

    Somehow, after all the revelations that athletes, bankers, advisers, politicians, and other success models, were basically scoundrels! We still don't get IT! They live in a Pay to Play society that focuses on those who fit an ideal (the one that emphasizes success that "guarantees" easy living for those who know how to play (abuse) the system. They get the bennies. They get the better health care. We get to pay while they play. Those of us who can not pay, can not play.

    Some like to use the metaphor of tides. The Bible uses a tide to save the People of Israel from the nasty Pharoah. Today's messiahs say that a rising tide lifts all boats, but according to the colonial practice in Boston Harbor, drowns the criminal tied to the stake (so he only has a few inches over his head). Painful, right? Tell me it is no different today!

    I am really scared. I know what it is like to have to crawl on my hands and knees to get breakfast. I know what it is like to eat day old cereal because the pain is too great to make a fresh meal. I know THAT I AM NOT ALONE!!!

    Is it time, underlying preconditions (physical, emotional, etc.) that makes life miserable for us? After all, not everyone is a good athlete, good provider, good spouse, etc. I failed as a spouse (well, I never really tried). Again, referring to the magazines. Have you noticed how many of the "patients" in those ads are women, or older men and older women? I remember some of the TV ads that showed grandma and grandpa walking in pain. But, after taking two aspiring, or enhanced bufferin, etc. fifteen minutes later they are enjoying life.

    So as not to focus on the ladies in our happy bunch I see men (though fewer in number) with similar problems. One common thread I used to assume (based on conversations in and out of groups) was the ability of some docs to throw the label "doctor hopper" on those that honestly wanted to see another provider hopefully for a better lead, a better solution, (g*d damn it), a better future for them and those close to them. Why live alone in pain? It hurts you and makes those around you uncomfortable, I believe, at the very least. I knew one woman I dated who actually got frustrated with me as we were playing tennis. She could not understand why I was so non-focused (did she equate the game with the relationship?). Maybe. I can still understand her frustration.

    I encountered many men who had divorced. They had no sex life (me, me, me). Have other men experienced that, especially after being on MTX? When I went off MTX around 2000 (sadly until 2010; I should have stayed on), it took about six months before I noticed that my hair was starting to grow ... real fast. I did not think that my dosage was that high as to thin my hair. About a month later, I woke up a few hours with a lot of pain. I thought it was just another kidney stone. Well, it was the hardest priapism I have ever remembered. Guys, forget VIAGRA. Take MTX for ten years. I, "Dr. Johnson", here, will guarantee you'll be the "life" of someone's life for a few weeks. My next door neighbor's wife thought that was really funny! It felt good to be around someone who understood and shared your pain, your pride, your passion.

    I have discovered through reading and watching some scientific lectures that humans have a built-in sensory system to identify those who make a good mate. It sure made sense in the forest and in the caves. You can google for the studies. Explore on your own. I don't think I need to explain the sad details and frustrations. Oh, my gawd, it's 2:30 AM. I need to sleep! Or, maybe some, after reading this note, will say otherwise. :-)

    Post Edited by Liz for political and inappropriate content
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  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,571
    i can understand the pain you are going through. i am a bit surprised about the diagnostic testing. normally, when shoulder problems exist, both mris and x-rays are done. one thing doctor look for is arthritis and to what degree it is.

    i had shoulder pain for several years and the steroid injections helped reduce the pain for a while. but after 2 years of injections, i had reached the safety limit of steroids. at that time, the only option was complete shoulder replacements.
    i had both of my shoulders replaced in 2010 due to advanced arthritis.

    it seems that when you surgeon started working on your rotator cuff and saw the arthritis they should have realized the root of your problem. the rotator cuff surgery is not a walk in the park. but now they you are recovering, i wonder how much of your current pain is due to the arthritis? the bone on bone situation can cause a lot of pain.

    i also wonder that when you see your doctors again and they do more diagnostic work,, x-ray, how far along is your arthritis? take a look at shoulder pain and surgery - arthritis
    that is spine-health's sister site and is devoted to arthritis.

    if you will need a complete shoulder replacement with implants, they will have to cut your rotator cuff along with other tendons. i am not sure how surgeons approach rotator cuffs that were already surgical repaired and now need to be severed.
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