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Hy Lisa...just back from a real hard session at the gym....its a 50-50 physio gym (50% of the people have back/neck problems and 50% are very fit ladies) ...but we still go for it like bats out off hell...well i understand the pain...mine is getting worse but my finger nails are growing....also because this gym is like 180 euros or 200$ plus for 3 months...I have asked my neurologists to give me a note to go to the gym...then its free...because as he put it...its a bitter-sweet pill Jim...but they stabbed your spine when putting in the epidurals..the doc got very angry as I bent one of his massive needles...anyway I am going to sue them not for the money....more for peace of mind as I cannot walk more than 10 mins now...but I am working on that...also I have the union on my side...as you know the epidural only takes 10 mins...mine was 30 mins with 2 hours with an oxygen masks on...so someone messed up...we are only human of flesh and blood are made....mistakes can be made...people just need the courage to own up to them...as for me...nah it wont get me down....strange nothing does..I will come in from the sun...swinging low...they wont know what hits them....on my way to 15 mg's...good luck to you Lisa...for Monday....All the Best Jim
Three weeks ago I underwent a second lumbar fusion on my back at the same location as the first. I've been in low-back hell since 1990, seen at least 40 medical care givers: neurosurgeons, orthopedists, chiropractors, occupational therapists, acupuncturists, faith healers, voodoo doers, VAX-D operators, psychiatrists, pain management physicians, primary care doctors, nutritionists, sports specialists, podiatrists, oncologists, veterinarians, childhood friends, and a few unconventional practitioners as well. It took 14 years before my current neurosurgeon Dx'ed the problem and corrected it in 2004. The fix was a fusion of L5-S1 plus the removal of a facet joint that was encroaching upon a neural foramina.
That first procedure was quite successful, allowing me to play pain-free golf at a very high level until Spring of 2007. Then it gradually begin to hurt more and more and initiated the chain of events that enabled me to get to know so many wonderful people in this and other detox forums. I was able to unplug from the pain med socket in October of last year but my back wasn't the least bit impressed.
Between August and March, I had 10 or so epidural injections and three RFA's(radio frequency ablation, aka nerve block). The first RFA helped considerably but the nerves regenerated after about 6 months and a repeat of the procedure did nothing. Finally, in mid-May, after having in the interim spent what seemed like half of my life on top of, inside or underneath MRI's, X-Ray machines, fluoroscopes, CAT scans, and examining tables, the neurosurgeon finally discovered the source of my misery - I had somehow cracked the original fusion joint mass and the instability caused by the fracture was, to use the highly technical medical term, "causing my back to hurt like a mofo."
The re-fusion was performed via an anterior approach which required a thoracic surgeon to cut a big damn slit in my abdomen and move the intestines and other glop out of the way so the neurosurgeon had clear access to the area of the spine he wanted to repair. The upside to the anterior approach was more room to work so the neuro could install a larger fusion cage and pedicle screws; he removed the old titanium cage and replaced it with a sturdier version made of the latest in spinal fusion fashion - poly-ether-ether-ketone aka PEEK. The anterior method also meant that the band of muscles encircling the waist didn't have to be cut as they were last time and the healing time is quicker.
The downside to coming in from the anterior was a higher chance of dying in the OR or later from internal bleeding complications. I had long reached the point where the level of pain and uselessness had reduced my self-worth to about a dime on the dollar so it took roughly 5 nanoseconds for me to approve that method. Apparently I didn't suffer the dirt-nap side effect so I'm available to offer opinions and experience for almost any question regarding back pain. There [u]are</u> solutions, from injections to microdiscectomies to major surgery, but you need to hear your options from someone who has no professional or financial stake in what you choose to do. Hopefully I can help you because I have an extensive amount of layman knowledge and personal experience with the lumbar spine but don't know of any possible way to make money off your pain.
Hy Lisa...yes we are one of the few people...who just dont get caught in the Tramadol webb no matter how high the dose....we can go in and out of it like spiderman-woman...it doesnt bother us....guess what Lisa...just got this morning a prescription from my neurologists....I think he can write in hyroglyphics as I can only just make out that he has sent me to the medi-fitness...so they will give me my 200$ back...also indirectly he is saying they made a mistake when attempting to place the pain pump with the epidurals...so my case is growing against the pain hospital...but you dont need to worry about that...I will be rooting and think of you when Pumping Iron on Monday...
all the Best and good luck Jim
My first suggestion would be to find a neurosurgeon to work with. Orthopedists are primarily trained to handle broken bones, ligaments, and joint pain issues. Fixing problems involving the spinal column are what neurosurgeons have been educated for.
In a way, consider yourself fortunate. The source(s) of your pain are obvious from the standard diagnostic tool set; you just have to decide how to proceed. Dessication and degeneration of the discs by definition shrinks the width of the intervertebral space. Reducing the size of a vertebral spacer allows too much motion(i.e. instability) in that joint and spinal instability usually directly correlates to pain at that location.
Based upon my research and experience and your description, I don't think traditional pain management techniques are going to be a viable solution here although I'd always recommend first trying the least harmful treatment that has a chance of helping. If your films show the condition consistently worsening, then some out-of-balance force is being applied to the spine and must be dealt with. Greatly simplified, your choices are to reinforce the spine or to remove the body parts and pieces that are causing the instability to generate pain.
About the only option for the first choice is a 3-level fusion to stabilize L3-S1. Fusions are major surgery but will definitely solve the instability problem provided that was [u]the</u> source of the pain.
Less serious approaches are microdiscectomies, laminectomies, nerve blocks, and an assortment of treatments that may be only partially successful or last only 6 months or so before needing to be repeated. The primary advantage to these options is a minimal downside should they fail.
"...only 60% of fusions actually "work". Meaning, many times they are done when the source of pain was from something else." That was what I meant by saying, "Fusions are major surgery but will definitely solve the instability problem provided that was [u]the</u> source of the pain." Back pain can be confoundingly difficult to resolve because the effects of the variables differ so greatly between individuals. Almost every Dr. who has seen my films has alluded to this fact by commenting, "I've seen people present with this identical condition and they are unable to walk and other patients, same symptoms, who play tennis and golf and have no pain whatsoever."
In this last ordeal, the MRI's and X-rays did not offer the slightest clue as to what was generating so much pain but the neurosurgeon used logical deduction and ordered a CAT scan to look for a source that might be hidden from conventional films - hairline fractures; that view scored a direct hit. There is always a reason we're undergoing the pain but the Dr.'s may need to be detectives as well as physicians to apprehend the true perpetrator.
I will get the book you recommended - I'm very interested in the physiology of the spine(almost to the point of it being a hobby) because it has affected my life so much and the more I know, the better I'm equipped to deal with it. I'm sure you've researched enough to know that when it involves the spinal cord, the area your pain manifests is rarely the same as where it derives. Impingement upon a spinal nerve registers in the brain as a problem in the location served by that nerve. That's referred pain and explains why you can have pain in your butt extending down the leg even though the true pain maker is located inside the lumbar spine.
I live near Augusta, GA and had my operations performed at MCG - The Medical College Of Georgia. My neurosurgeon is Haroon Choudhri, the Chief of Adult Neurosurgery for the university.
I've worked with HC for almost 5 years and he and his staff are my unchallenged favorite of all times. It's hard to believe a surgeon this skilled and esteemed is also so compassionate and responsive. I frequently send him e-mails and get a response within a few minutes, always within 24 hours and the answers clearly show he took the time to fully read and understand my inquiries. Thursday I sent an e-mail to his Physician's Assistant about the problems I was having managing my pain level; ten minutes later Dr. C called from his car and talked to me for 20 minutes to make sure I fully understood his plan and answer my follow-up questions. I thought that type of truly caring doctorship disappeared in the 1950's but the person HC is and his profession are intertwined. Clearly, being a neurosurgeon defines him as a person and dramatically improving lives though his handiwork gives him great joy and is what he most loves to do.
In regards to having a fusion performed, Dr. C has [u]always</u> told me, "You are the only one who can make that decision. Unless you are tripping over a drop-foot or pooping your pants, the determining factor is... how much pain can you withstand." But if I could eliminate 80-90% of my back pain by undergoing a fusion every 15 years, I wouldn't hesitate to sign up. Sure, it's dangerous and [u]very</u> major surgery but sharing my personal space with strong, chronic back pain is not much of a life. Still, I do understand your not wanting to have a fusion but there are a couple of options you didn't mention having tried or considered - RFA's and microdiscectomies.
The fact that you have received [u]some</u> measure of relief from the epidurals makes you a good candidate for an RFA - radio frequency ablation. It's a procedure performed very much like the epidural, fluoroscope and all, but instead of anesthetizing the area, the pain-referring nerves are
Hy Lisa...sorry to hear its not an upstate day for you...I have phonned my Neurologists to ask for my medical documents...also would he write down what he told me the last time i.e. its a bitter pill but they punctured your spine with the epidurals...hence the no movement in your toes..My union said when we get the files...then leave it with them as you have enough to worry about...still cant walk for more than 10 mins...try as hard as I can...pain is a ***** but who cares about that...but for what its worth...I started out limping and then after my first opperation everything was bright and golden....so I am hoping the same for you...Take Care Jim
Hy Lisa...all you need is another brick in the wall....dont worry I am sure there are a lot of good neurosurgeons out there....I agree with the Tramadol Highway...there weird pills...my guy wasnt just new...he was downright rude....he swore when he stabbed me in the back...et tu Brutus....I know I have asked you before but have you thought of tai chi...as it helps ot only in movement but mentally....roughly translated it means meditation in motion....that with your boy staying off school it will give you real energy...mind you i fell over the other day...split my knee...but its only like a cow...grazing....so i will be back with a vengence...Lisa...choose carefully...all the Best Jim
Hy Lisa....my nutty professor...didnt give me anything at first...as he wanted me awake...but when i said au...he sneered "whats wrong now" i said my right leg is on fire...then i shouted au again... this time i said my left leg was on fire...he then gave a secret sign...as i felt about 4 needles entering my shoulders and lower back and I saw one in my fist even the male nurse said take that one out as it was still half full....the next moment he swore and he then said the nurse will stitch you wound up...I thought you have already done that you arrogant fool....
Yoga is great...mind over matter....but i do advanced taoists tai chi (6 years)...now that stretches muscles you never thought you had....glad you like my posts...i will contant that janna as I cannot get on benzos.....have a great day Lisa....all the best Jim
You did sign up again on the other site? You have to re-register and can use your same name/password as this one but until you actually go thru the register process, the site wont allow you to post. Heading down to the beach - on the east end today. nice day - feeling good!
Information in this forum is not monitored or provided by a medical professional. The information reflects member opinions only. Do not act on advice from these forums without first consulting a qualified medical professional. All content is copyrighted and protected by Aelius Group.