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Looking for advice

MrsGKRMMrsGKR Posts: 2
edited 10/10/2014 - 8:42 PM in Chronic Pain
In Dec 2011 I started having lower back pain. I saw an orthopedic surgeon who said I was fine, that I should just ice it and stretch more. I did, but the pain got worse over time. In November 2012 I went back to the orthopedic surgeon. This time he suggested I see a chiropractor. In April 2013 I began chiropractic treatment. By October the pain was so bad I saw a different orthopedic surgeon. This one sent me to get an MRI. It showed degenerative disc loss at L4-L5 and L5-S1 with bulges at both locations, neither distorting the nerve. This one sent me to physical therapy. By January 2014 I could barely handle the pain. I was sent back for another MRI. This one showed the same, except now L5-S1 is distorting the nerve root and L4-L5 has a slight tear. I'm sent back to the chiropractor, but it was suggested I also try acupuncture. Did both, still no help. I dropped acupuncture and tried massage therapy. Nope, still no good but now I've developed sciatica. I'm sent to a neurosurgeon. He sends me to get shots, I have 2, which don't help. Then I'm put on Neurontin, which also doesn't help. A slew of other short term pain meds, which only accomplish putting me to sleep. Now the neurosurgeon suggests surgery. My insurance denied it. He says he can no longer help. I see another neurosurgeon who sends me for a nerve study, which shows definite nerve damage at the S1 level. He says I don't need surgery, to just deal with the pain. I'm sent to pain management and put on Gabapentin. The only accomplishment there is severe migraines. I'm taken off and sent to yet another neurosurgeon. This one says I need surgery, but try one more shot.

I'm 46 years old, unable to work and using a walker. I can't sit for more than a few minutes (I've taken 5 breaks just typing this). I can't stand long and I can't walk without assistance. From what I've read on this site and others, I've done everything I can to help myself get better. I'm at a complete loss as to what I can try next.


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  • I'm really sorry. It must be terrible when your MRI's don't show the damage that's causing the pain. An MRI is just a snap shot in time. Probably the disc that's pressing on the nerve only did that when you were in certain positions to begin with. At least now you have a diagnosis & you can move on. I know it sounds terrible when a specialist says "you can have surgery or learn to live with the pain" but that's a situation many find themselves in.
    Most medications that can help you will make you feel really sleepy at the start. For most people that goes away after the first week or 2. Sadly it's trial & error finding the best combination of meds for you. In my experience nothing is going to take all the pain away. I had to combine meds, physical therapy, massage, prescription topical creams & a variety of coping 'tricks' before I got a handle on my pain. I'm still in pain 24/7 but it's manageable.
    It's strange, how we perceive pain changes over time.

    I just wanted you to know that it will get better. The surgeons you've seen don't seem to think surgery is needed yet. That's your choice. Sometimes they find more once they're operating on you. Sometimes you have surgery & everything's great. Sometimes it starts you on the road of more surgeries until you reach fusion. The injections can be really helpful for some.

    I'm sorry. It sucks being a spine patient. It's not like most things. There aren't easy answers for most of us.

    Please stay away from chiropractors now you know there's physical damage in your spine. Their 'adjustments' can cause serious damage.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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