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Spinal Cord Stimulator and/or Spinal Fusion?

Started by 102079995626502... on 11/18/2015 5:12pm

Hi, I'm pretty desperate and need some good old fashion guidance. I'm 45 yrs old, mother/wife, healthy on accounts other than a terribly bad back. In 2011, I had a sequestered L4-5 laminectomy, discectomy. With in 11 months, had another sequestered disc of L5-S1. All while having aggressive and severe radiating right leg pain/numbness, pain on top/bottom of my foot/toes with numbness, foot drop and weakness. I after dealing with two surgery recoveries, PT, countless epidurals and consults, I finally found a doctor that realized I had right peroneal nerve compression. Had that decompressed exactly one year ago and the foot drop got slightly better.
I did not have an injury, per say. I did have back pain throughout my 20s/30's and would just deal with. Then it would knock me to my knees and I would simply go to an Urgicare for flexeril here and the until I felt better. And the cycle continued until my spine had finally had enough fooling around.
This spring, out of the blue, my left leg began with severe radiating pain but hasn't crossed over the foot....yet.
In the meantime, I am on 3000mg Gralise (nope, not a typo, that's the terribly high dose I'm on). Vicodin several times/day, Zanaflex , Fentanyl 12mcg patch 27/7. With all of this nonsense, I'm still in pain.

I am literally at my wits end. The pain is awful ALL the time. Not a minute of relief and my pain med doctor is entertaining the idea of spinal cord stimulator.
I'm seeing my neurosurgeon tomorrow to review my Standing MRI from last month.....which I have since worsened IMO.
It shows a moderate herniation on the left and a tear on the right of disc L5-S1. Which only has 40% left of the disc.
So, people, what's do you prefer or what are your thoughts?
I'm losing precious and valuable time with my family. I am not active, like I used to be. I constantly complain and this is really dragging me down. I avoid social time with friends and family. I modify my gait and need to lay down to relive the pain. I know I run through bouts of depression because this isn't living, it's coping.

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3 Responses


I should add that my neurosurgeon wanted a standing MRI to see the nitty gritty of my spine but mentioned a fusion may be the answer. He also stated it might not relieve my back and leg pain. (But this was mentioned before he has reviewed and consulted me about my most recent MRI. I see him tomorrow, Nov 19, 2015.


What did your neuro say?


First, let me say that my heart goes out to you. I, too, have very advanced degenerative disc disease that effects my lower spine with sciatica. I had a three level, 360, spine fusion in the summer of 2008. I can directly relate to all of your concerns that you listed and I think that, besides the horrible pain, the emotional impact is devastating. Still, I want to encourage you not to yield to those feelings of hopelessness and/or despair because you are important to many more people than you can imagine. Here is a short list of the things I have tried that have helped me to endure the past several years: 1.) Don't be afraid or ashamed to be honest, especially on this discussion site as the act of venting your feelings, concerns, fears, etc. can be very beneficial for you. 2.)Keep the lines of communication open with those who are nearest and dearest to you as you need their love and support; but, I'm sure that you know that quite well. But I have also shared my feelings, especially with my wife and adult children, that I am getting on their nerves by complaining/always talking about my pain. And the truth is that I have progressed to the point that I'm not complaining nearly as much as I used to. 3.) By all means take care of yourself by lying down to rest, etc. We can't help that we can't do what we have been able to do before this tormenting pain attacked! 4.)I have a friend who was injured in an automobile accident while commuting between his home and college where he was (ironically) preparing to be a nurse. He has had the spine stimulator for many years now and he swears that it is the best thing that has happened to him since the car crash he was in almost ended his life. I'd definitely go for the stimulator. 5.)You should consider seeing a qualified mental health therapist, too. I have been an outpatient mental health therapist AND I have been the client of other such mental health professionals. Therapy can be very, very helpful no matter what anyone else says. You must do what is best for yourself. I'd be willing to bet that you are the kind of person who has busied yourself taking care of others; putting their needs before your own; am I right? Well, now is your turn to take care of your own needs. Have you tried chiropractic care? It does help some people while others don't even feel any difference. Best of luck to you. Oh, one more thing: "Prayer helps, too"