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Scoliosis, Arthritis, and PAIN, oh my! Do I have a puzzle for you!

Started by SashaK74 on 08/27/2010 2:41pm

From severe childhood Scoliosis 20 years ago treated first with 2 years of the huge corset brace followed by the Harrington Rod surgery and years of chronic pain thereafter...I managed the back pain, myself, by staying fit, active, limber, and thin until 2005-2006 when I had 3 knee surgeries on my right knee (meniscus, osteotomy, removal of metal plate), each more complex than the last.. I was on forced bed rest due to the complications of my knee surgeries for 9 months out of 2 years. I was also on heavy duty painkillers for my knee and didn't realize how acute, severe, and chronic my back pain had become during that time. Besides needing painkillers on a regular basis from that day forward which I HATE, I have been diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in both my knees and back, an Autoimmune disorder that causes muscle and joint pain, and degenerative disk disease. Over the past few years, I've had injections, both Epidural and otherwise, had a tens unit I wore around my back every day, went through Prolotherapy,and Rolfing, not to mention several attempts at physical therapy, and even got regular massages when I could afford them. I'm a teacher, and about a year ago, I was put out on medical leave for frequent absences, as well as visible limitations caused by my pain. My teaching contract was not renewed and I have been sitting on my couch or laying in my bed pretty much since then - with breaks only for visits to doctors, specialists of all kinds, medical tests, and even an inconclusive trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. It hurts so badly, in so many different areas, and so chronically, that doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists don't even agree on what I should do, what I can do, or ANYTHING. Over the past couple of months since my trip to Mayo, I decided to take it into my own hands with gentle stretching, soaks in hot water, weight loss of the first 20 of 60 pounds I'd put on, occasional swimming and walking whenever I am up to it which is not very often and was trudging along until last week, I was hit with Sciatica pain that I'd heard about but never experienced before. It was SO severe, I couldn't lay down, sit down, or do anything. It was crippling. I couldn't put any weight on it at all, and it lasted 3-4 days before it went away. But it did go away, so I was relieved and thought it was a fluke but I got another bite this week that was so bad, I was crying nonstop, involuntarily, caused solely by the pain, because I, who had endured the world of chronic pain since I was in high school, and had been hit with so many setbacks along the way, was never going to give up no matter what. The Sciatica pain was the final straw, though...every intervention besides taking anti-inflammatory medicine for Sciatica pain seemed to increase my pain level dramatically for everything and everywhere else in my back. My attempts to finally become slightly more active, and a little bit stronger were thwarted. Yes, I'm on anti-depressants, and yes, I see a therapist, so please don't say it's my attitude that's the problem. My problem is: what can I do as a universal positive for my back issues that won't work for one and exacerbate another? I am laying here watching my muscles atrophy, and there don't seem to be any solutions. I live in DC, so if there's a specialist of the specialists you think I should see, recommendations are welcome, but chances are, I've already seen them...I desperately need some advice from the spinal community...could you please help? I would really appreciate it...

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Hi Sasha, My heart goes out to you....and your in my prayers, I to have many complicated back issues and also am in constant pain but for Sciatica I am taking 600mgs 0f Gabepentin, Have you seen a Neuroligist ? or have you had a nerve conduction test. This nerve conduction test proved vital to my diagnosis. Also, I have gotten to be my own patient advocate, and have told the Dr's that If i cannot have any quality of life, I want to sign up for medical EustHinacea(sic) I live in Washington state where we have that right!! This got the Dr's. attention and they fiannaly started seeking out all options for me, I fianally am going to see a Neurosurgeon and hopefully they can remove all the osteobytes that are pinching on my sciatic nerves and get me some relief. There are many thigs you can research on-line ( if you can sit that long) Believe me I am sick of the insurance motivated health care system we have today in the USA....One Orthopedic surgeon wanted to fuse 7 vertebrae in my back I researched it and said absolutely NO. I would have no ROM. so dont stop untill you fiannally get relief....living in constant Chronic pain is depressing and extremely debilitating. Good Luck to you

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