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New to the forum and a long intro :-)

Started by Superduck on 09/06/2010 5:02pm

Hi everyone...
I am searching the web much more these days (thanks to my pain) and am joining support groups and forums to educate myself and offer/receive support.

My current MRI from 8/10:
Findings by level:
L3-4 Broad based disc bulge with paracentral focal protrusion with facet osteophytes result in a severe canal stenosis. There is a medically projecting synovium bilaterally of approximately 8 mm. There are mild to moderate bilateral foraminal stenoses.
L4-5 Broad based disc bulge with facet osteophytes result in a severe canal stenosis. There is a medially projecting synovium bilaterally at this level as well bilaterally measuring approximately 5 mm. There are mild bilateral formainal stenoses.
L5-S1 Broad based dsic bulge with facet osteophytes result in a mild canal stenosis. There are mild to moderate bilateral formainal stenoses.
Impression:
1. L3-4 Severe canal stenosis with moderate bilateral foraminal stenoses.
2. L4-5 Severe canal stenosis. Please see comments above

History:
First acute back issue, twisted body, unable to ambulate and hospitalized in 50 lbs of traction at age 15. First medications as well, Hydrocodene and Cyclobenzaprine (flexeril). Several acute episodes each year and many, many visits to my MD. PT as well.
After 2 completed pregnancies at age 20 and 21, more acute episodes which were longer and more severe in duration. More MD visits, continued pain relief medications PRN and another round of PT at age 25.
I work at a desk job, have for many years. Three years ago, my back went out in another acute episode. When I am acute, my entire body twists up. I lean almost 90 degrees over, my legs are significantly bent, my left hip juts far over and up and I cannot move without assitance. Usually, my back would go out and I would go to bed for a few days and be able to get up and slowly heal to "normal"...not this time. My back was out for over a month, I almost lost my job. Since then, I have been in daily, chronic pain including hips, thighs, sciatica, low back and far more tired easily, inability to just roll over in bed and inability to walk without leaning over on the shopping cart or my walker...I was ok around the office and the home unless suffering from an acute attack.
On May 17 of this year, another acute episdoe and I have not recovered. The daily pain is very challenging. I am using a cane or walker 24/7, even around my home. I don't go anywhere but work and that is extremely difficult and painful. If I have to go out or attempt to go out, I have to use a store scooter. If the store does not have one available, I sit in the car. I don't walk to the mail box even because of the pain. I feel weak in my legs, particularly the left and I have fallen a few times. I have burning and aching pain in my thighs, again particularly the left and terrible spasms/shooting pain on the tops of both feet and in my toes on both feet. I have all day spasms in my low back and pain across my hips and the sides/tops of both hips ache very badly. I take daily muscle relaxers and pain killers which I absolutely hate.
I have been to the PT again and worked everything he told me to...I am no longer going as he did not feel that I was going to improve due to my limited mobility and high pain...but he was very nice and complimentary that I was completely compliant with all activities :-) , I have seen the neurosurgeon who wanted to preform a Foraminotomy and Laminectomy? but only to releive the pain and he stated that it would not fix the problem. He also felt it was very likely that, due to the condition and length of time, I would mostly likey have following surgeries to stabilize my spine. I am starting with a PMD (pain management doctor) soon as my PHP would like someone more specialized to deal with ongoing chronic pain meds...which I respect and understand...but I hate to have to go one more place and explain my story one more time and deal with someone who may treat me like a drug seeking whiny ass.
Over the years, I have tried heat/ice; massage; yoga; swimming; NSAIDS; TENS Unit; opiates; PT and support belts. Now, the only things that feel ok, not great, but ok is to lay down or be in the hot tub.
Currently I am 36, I have two teenagers and I am still working. I am trying to remain positive and become more educated. I am still doing my PT exercises and I am hoping and praying to stay positive and maintain a sense of self.
Anyway, thank you all for reading my opus and I look forward to getting to know each of you.

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Hi Superduck,
Welcome to the boards. I'm sorry for all of your pain. Are you considering surgery at this point?From what I understand, the longer we let these things go, the worse they get. On the other had, surgery doesn't sound like a fix-all either. It sounds like you would be a good candidate for disability, but it takes awhile to get approved.
My ailments aren't nearly as serious as yours & I feel like my life is on hold. I've had to cut my work day back to 5 hours a day. I have an initial consult with a neurosurgeon on the 20th, so I'm thinking of taking my leave a week prior, because I can't even handle the 5 hours anymore. My job is also a desk job, but by the time I get home, I'm in agony, laying on my right side on the couch. I do absolutely nothing else.
These back problems are so debilitating, it amazes me.
Hope you feel much better soon. Nice to "meet" you.

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Hi Juva...Thank you for your welcome

I am not considering surgery at this time...I don't think I would consider it at all unless there was an emergency situation only.

From all my research and many, many people I have talked to...surgery to fix pain is opening up the wrong lid. My understanding is there would most likey be more surgeries to follow in time to continue to stablize the spine and it may or may not relieve the pain. Also, I understand that scar tissue can build up and also impede the canal and nerves which would require further surgery.

I am not happy about the situation I am in. I would not wish this pain on my worst enemy. However, I would rather deal with the known issues then spend a ton of money, recovery time and surgical pain on something that most likely will not last and would definately not solve the problem.

I am sorry for your pain and your issues...it's nice to have people who understand and who can empathize with you. I have not really talked about it in all these years...but now, I guess, I am holding onto daily life by threads while trying to maintain positivity and some sense of normalcy.

take care

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Wow,
You are a brave woman. I guess I'm searching for just about any relief that can be offered & just hope for the best. Probably not the wisest choice. I think I'll see what the surgeon says & see just how invasive a surgery we are talking about. The recovery from fusions sounds horrible.
It may be worth your while to see a pain specialist & go through an explanation once again. If you're like me, the more pain you're in, the more likely you are to tell somebody to kiss your arse.
Hang in there, stay strong. Please keep us posted.

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I can totally understand your pain and where you're coming from. When I had my own back injury 3 years ago, I was only 18 then. I felt very frustrated and annoyed with the pain my body was going through, especially at such a young age. My doctor sent me for physiotherapy sessions and asked me to wear a corset-like back brace to provide extra back support. I found a really good website that sells a wide array of back braces and supports. they even have products that can help with your SI joint condition. I bought my back brace from this websitehttp://www.braceability.com/back-braces-back-supports-lumbar-belts-lumbar-supports

I hope this helps and that you find relief from your back condition.

BraceAbility.com

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