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Feeling hopeless

Started by Coloradospondy on 04/12/2016 1:04am

I'm new to the site but not new to back pain. When I was around 10 years old (I'm 53 now) I went off a jump on a sled and landed in a sitting position. Initially my legs felt numb but my brother went and got my dad and by the time he got their the feeling had returned. That was the beginning of my back pain and it has never completely stopped. I never saw a doctor or had a diagnosis until I was 19 and was in a car accident. The chiropractor did xrays and told me I had a spondy. Growing up I beat my back up, snowmobile and motorcycle crashes. When I was 19 they told me at some point I would need a fusion. I've had every other type of treatment. Physical therapy, started getting shots in 1996, multiple types of nerve blocks, traction and I've been treated by chiropractors and osteopathic doctors.

I have finally reached the point where the only thing that helps is narcotic pain meds laying down. There are times when if that doesn't help anymore. Especially after my knee replacement. My knee didn't hurt but from them wrenching on my leg during surgery my back was really screwed up.

I finally saw a surgeon that was willing to do a fusion but my medical insurance changed so I had to find a new one. I had an appointment with a PA who went over everything and said I needed a l4-l5 and l5-s1 fusion done. She sent me to get a new MRI. In the mean time she and the surgeon left the practice so I had to see someone new again.

He walked into the room and the first thing he said is "I don't understand why you are in so much pain". I have DDD and a spondy and all of the pain and other symptoms that go along with it. I burst out in tears. Two other surgeons completely understood what the problem was but this guy talked to me like I was an idiot and the pain was all in my head.

I've dealt with the pain for 43 years. I've always worked no matter how bad the pain was up until 6 months ago when I finally reached the point where I couldn't anymore. I can't stand up straight, I can only sit for 15 minutes before the pain is terrible, and can't walk more than 1/2 a block.

The surgeon didn't offer any suggestions for helping me, other than loosing weight (which I know I need to) but it's tough when you can hardly move. I see a new surgeon next week so hopefully he is more helpful.

Has anyone else run into a doctor like that? The physical pain is bad enough but it is also wearing on me mentally. I need to get back to work. My husband has congested heart failure so he can't work. I applied for SSDI but who knows how long that will take to get approved or if it will be approved. I know it will be a long recovery from the surgery so it will be quite a while before I would be able to return to work.

Just feeling hopeless.

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4 Responses


Back pain from any condition no matter if a doctor thinks it or not is painful. How can anyone look at you on the outside and say why are you in pain? It is there job to dig deeper and find the problem. They take an oath to do more good then harm but its harmful to be unsympathetic to someone in pain whos looking to them for help. I really feel for you as I too am in pain and cant seem to get help. You have been suffering much longer than I but I understand how depressing and hopeless the situation feels.

I hope you dont give up the fight. There has to be a few good docs left in this world. Hang in there. I keep telling myself the bad lucks gotta run out soon because good luck always does.


Thanks tinpain. I saw my osteopathic doctor yesterday and he was very upset with how the surgeon responded. He has been telling me for a few years that I need to have surgery. When I first saw him 4 years ago he couldn't believe that I was still working considering how bad my back was. Not working wasn't an option, bills had to be paid. I haven't worked since August now and my savings have run out. I can't get any assistance and I'm stuck waiting on social security to make a decision. It's just been a bad year. Lost my mom last June. In the process of dealing with mom's health failing my nephew that has lived with her and helped take care of her ended up in the hospital for 3 weeks and almost died. His medical issues haven't improved, blood clots, and now his liver is failing. As bad as my pain is I think about him and all he is going thru and I realize that I'm lucky. Pain is one thing but what he has could kill him.


Hello Feeling Hopeless,
That is the worst feeling in the world and I have read you post and I have been able to relate to a lot of the same feeling you have had and the same pain. I am 45 years old. I have a 100% slippage of spondylolisthesis. I can tell you from experience and from talking to many many others that also have spondylolisthesis that it doesn't matter what grade spondylolisthesis someone might have... someone could have a grade 1 and be in terrible pain, have tingling, numbness, radiating pain anywhere from the waist down, it can come and go and sometimes be constant, there are all different ways someone can be effected by having spondylolisthesis. With me the only reason I have a complete slippage is because mine happened so slowly over the course of my life that I never knew it was happening....until one day at the age of 32 I was at work and I bent over to pickup a super heavy box...had i known I had this condition I would have NEVER done this but when I did I felt a "POP" in my lower back and instant pain set in...and was getting worse day after day...finally a month later and X-rays taken..I was told I had severe spondylolisthesis and would need surgery ASAP....I had a spinal fusion in 2002. It was the best thing I could have done, I don't regret it and I feel my surgeons are my heros. I am so thankful found them and they were able to help me...I want others NOT to feel hopeless and this is why I am reaching out to you! PLEASE feel free to email me at pennie92@aol.com...(and that goes to anyone that has spondylolisthesis) My goal is to spread awareness of our condition, to hopefully be support for others that are on this journey to NEVER feel hopeless and alone as I felt in 2002 when my life was turned upside down from this. There was no Facebook back then..I had no one to talk to. In 2012 I came across a Facebook group that had just been created by a woman that also had severe spondylolisthesis and after a few months she asked me to help her with the group and be an administrator on the group....there were 200 members then...NOW we have over 2,000 members in this support group and it means very much to us...I would like to invite you to join the group. So if you are interested..just let me know in an email. Also....I wanted to tell you that yes, too many times people on the group constantly over and over go to doctors that diagnose them and then say "I don't know why you are in so much pain". when a doctor says that I don't think they are seeing the "Whole" picture and they don't quite know then very much about spondylolisthesis. I think this is a "RED FLAG" and means you need to search for a more experienced orthopedic or neurosurgeon that specializes in spondhlolithesis. I am very happy that you are going to be seeing another surgeon next week and hoping he will be more helpful. I would like to hear how that appointment goes and what they tell you. Hope to hear from you soon:) Dena Marie:) Gentle Hugs......and Never Give Up Hope


Update: the surgeon I saw on May 19th was awesome. Now I can see why he left the practice with the surgeon who was a jerk and started a new one.

He completely understood why I was having pain. I am scheduled for a fusion on May 19th. L5-S1 for sure and probably L4-L5. He said he won't know for sure about that level until he is able to look at it during surgery.

I'm excited and nervous to finally be getting it done. My main worry is because of the pain and recovery time after surgery. I had a knee replacement done in 2012. The knee part went great with not much knee pain. My back was another issue. I had terrible back pain after my knee surgery and percocet did nothing for the pain. I was in bed curled up in a ball crying because it was so bad.

I'm trying to get the house prepared and pick up the things I will need after the surgery. I already have a shower chair because I need it now. I had to go buy a small step stool/ladder so I can get into my truck after surgery. It's the only vehicle we have so I have to get up into it.

I'm hopeful the surgery will be a success!