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First time on back pain forum...

Hi everyone,

I figured that I'd start off by answering the checklist of suggested info that was posted.  I've been suffering intensely for the last 4 years.  As a result I am now getting very depressed and my pain is getting worse... i guess that's why I am here.  I am terrified of surgery as the 3 docs I've seen all said the surgery is risky and cannot guarantee relief from pain... so why would I do it?

When did this first start

  • At what age?  I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 13, no pain, just an inoperable curve.
  • Was it a result of an accident or trauma?  At the age of 22, I got into a car accident and broke L3 in 3 places.
  • Are there others in your family with similar medical
    conditions? My older brother has scoliosis, but had a full spinal fusion at 14 years old.
  • Are there others in your family with similar medication
    conditions?  No
  • What doctors have you seen (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon,
    Spine Specialist, etc)  I've seen orthos, spinal surgeons, pain mgmt 
  • Which doctor did you start with? (Primary Care
    Physician, Orthopedic, ? Primary care sent me to ortho, who sent me to pain mgmt.
  • What kind of doctor are you currently seeing> Pain mgmt
  • What kind of treatments have you had? Conservative or
    Aggressive ?
    • Physical Therapy - YES
    • Spinal Injections - YES
    • Ultrasound/Tens unit - YES
    • Acupuncture - NO
    • Massage Therapy - YES

What kind of diagnostic tests have
you had and what were the results

  • MRIs several of them, and xrays too

Summarize the results, please do not
post all details, we cannot analyze them. How many different tests have you had
over the years?  I've had 3 MRIs over the last 4 years.  I have grade 2 spondylolisthesis  (sp?), scoliosis, pars defect, degenerative disc disease, arthritis, and probably more I can't think of right now.

I'd rather not post my meds, but I am taking pain meds.  

Has surgery been discussed as an option? If so, what kind)  Two spinal surgeons recommended a complete spinal fusion using anterior and posterior approaches.  

  • Is there any nerve pain/damage associated? YES
  • What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you? Surgery... alternate option is PT and pain management until I can't wait any longer or my situation progresses



  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,480
    Hi momma_in_pain
    I'm sorry it's been a long time in pain for you!  Chronic pain is awful, and so difficult to live with.  For me, it seems to eat a little bit of me away every day.....wondering how long those "little bits" last.  I have chronic pain myself, and am actually going to have surgery in a little over a week (yes, i'm terrified, but it needs doing), I hope it helps in my case, I couldn't imagine trying to live like this for much longer.  If nothing else, I can lend an ear, and listen!!!! I'm not much help in having any suggestions etc, but  happy to listen!  What kind of surgery has been offered (if any)?  Is your pain management plan working for you?  Please, tell us more....for me surgery won't "cure" my pain, but will hopefully stop things from getting worse and will hopefully help the pain be a little less.  and honestly, at this point, i will take any decrease as a good decrease in pain!
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,443
    Hey momma, I am so sorry you are having to go through all of this. Being in constant pain is bad enough but also weighing the  option of surgery puts a lot on you.
    None of us really don't want to have surgery. But if it will relieve some of the pain, would it be worth it? And, by putting it off will it cause more damage? Would your quality of life improve with surgery? Or is pain management going to be able to keep your level of pain down? This are all questions only you and maybe your doctor's can answer.
    I have scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, 4 bulging disc, 2 fractured vertebrae and several other spinal issues. I was offered surgery a few weeks ago but declined. A lot had to do with my age and my health. If I was in better health I would have jumped on it. But that is me. I wanted a better quality of life in less pain. So I am going to get a pain pump and take my chances.
    Depression and chronic pain go hand in hand. I've been down that hole and really don't want to go back. My PM doctor sent me to a psychologist, he deals with chronic pain. I've been seeing him for over 2 yrs and has helped me so much.
    We are here to listen and talk, this forum has made a difference for me. Hope to hear from you again.
    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical Story  
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  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 991
    edited 12/09/2016 - 3:07 AM


    I wouldn't be so afraid of the surgery... of course no doctor will guarantee perfect results... but you can't go on living as you are for the next 30-40 years... and for sure your back issues and nerve damage will only get worse with time.  Study up on your condition (this site is a good source of practical info... Wikipedia is also a good source) and learn the basics of the different treatment options... you don't have to be an expert... just knowledgeable... and then find a doctor that you can have confidence in that will listen and honestly work you.  This is key...

    The surgery recovery won't be a cake walk and will likely take a number of months... and a lot of hard work and patience... with various ups and downs... but it will give you a very good shot at leading a near 100% pain free life... without all the pain meds and misery you are in now.  You may not be able to do all the wild and back stressing activities you did when you were 20 or 25 years old... but you will certainly be able to lead an active life... and be a good and most importantly a happy mother to your children.

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,212
    edited 12/19/2016 - 9:17 AM
    hello momma_in_pain !

    please click on link for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,212
    For decisions and general awareness of any of your may benefit from using search, upper right on page.
    You may be led to current or older discussions.
    You may be led to medical side with articles and videos. Very informative!

    You may also find it helpful to click on FAQs, on right side of page, and under...Medical Information...there are suggestions re questions for doctor and how to otherwise prepare for appointments.
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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