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Lower Back Pain, (sacroiliac pain??) HELP!

Started by CARYLZ on 08/10/2011 12:53am

I am a 57 year old woman suffering from TERRIBLE lower back pain. After getting 4 NEEDLESS hip injections, for pain radiating down my left leg, finally I was sent for MRI's of BOTH the lower back & left hip. Well, my lower back is really MESSED up-L3 thru L-5 crushed disc, bulging discs, stenosis--you name it my lower back has it. The Orthopedic I was seeing turned 'ashen' when he saw my MRI & immediatey told me to see a "spine specialist". His best opinion was, I was in PAIN!!! Dahhhh... he said I'd need back surgery, SOON. Long story--shorter--went to the NS who did a 3 level fusion on my neck 3 yrs ago... he saw the MRIs & said get a Sacroiliac Joint injection. "Your Back is screwed up, but I'll bet anything, that the pain in coming from the "sacroiliac joint'. Has anyone OUT there ever had this injection?? Does it work?? I really do NOT wish to have any back surgery, if possible. THanks alot. I look forward to reading your input. fondly, Caryl

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I would suggest you find another doctor. The shot may give relief, it may not. I went through 5 different doctors before I found a surgeon who saw my MRI's and knew surgery was the way to help me keep walking. I had 3 shots. 1st helped 1 month, 2nd & 3 rd, no help. I had stenosis and spondylolythesis(? spelling) . He fused L4-5; I did need L3 & S1 fused 1 1/2 years later. I hate the lack of movement in that area, BUT I do not regret the surgeries. I was headed permanantly to a wheel chair. Instead, I do so much now.

I just spent 7 weeks painting 2 bedrooms and the bathroom, including moving every stitch of furniture and clothes myself. I tore out the medicine cabinet and the big mirror off the wall. I framed, sheet rocked, taped, mudded , textured and painted, and mounted a new medicine cabinet and mirror ALL myself. I also tore out the carpet from 2 bedrooms. Then I drove from WI to WA to pick up my family who bicycled 2500 miles to the Pacific Ocean, and brought them home. Now I'm back to finishing up those rooms, and have to get painting the last bedroom and the pantry. Ya, I'm tired, but happy with all the work I CAN and AM doing.

The point is, I was you. I was 47 and walked with a cane and suffered so much pain. I am now 55 and I am so happy I can do all that and more. And yes, I am a woman doing all of this.

I wish you all the best in this journey of yours. I hope you have success with the shots, if not, I hope you have or find a doctor who will give you all your options. The surgery didn't scare me nearly as much as continuing to live in so much pain. I felt the risk was worth it to get a better life. For me, it worked.

I am also a breast cancer survivor of 2 years. I guess I am choosing to live life, so it might as well look pretty and feel good too.

Please, believe in yourself. Fight for you. Do what you have to, to improve your life, then continue to live it.

Bless you.

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@ Dee 2225

WOW!!! You are Wonder Woman!! I am very impressed and jealous of your abilities.

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rn2006,
Thanks, but I really hope I don't sound like I am bragging (though I am really proud of myself for all I've done and continue to do). What I hope I am sounding is encouraging to CARYLZ and to others I have posted this to. It breaks my heart to read the desperate stories of so many suffering so much with so little help. There are doctors out there who know what these people need, the wonderful folks like CARYLZ do need to fight for themselves, as I am sure they all are, to find the right doctor for themselves. I know how long it took and how desperate I felt as I would be walking out of yet another new doctors office knowing "he doesn't get it, he is only bragging HIS talents up, he only want to BLAH BLAH BLAH". When I finally found my wonderful surgeon, I didn't even know it at first. He seemed brash, all business, a bit scarry. But then, he talked to me like I mattered. He understood my pain and he knew what he needed to do to fix it. He was honest with me, let me know it was not going to be easy, but how difficult it would be was up to me. If I did what I was told I needed to do, WALK, WALK, and WALK some more, not lift more than 10 LBS. wear the brace, eat right; and since I HAD to quit smoking or he would not even do the surgery, if I started again, he warned me, I would NOT heal. Believe me, I listened, I did everything I was told and then some. Most of all, I still am smoke free, 8 1/2 years later. And because he knew how hard I worked to heal, when more symptoms began 6 months after the first surgery, he really listened. It took a full year before the second surgery. But now, I can do all I do thanks to a great surgeon and my persistance. I hope anyone who reads this and is suffering, will be inspired to continue to fight for themselves. To all who fear not being able to bend over for 6 months after a surgery, you just need to think outside of the box. Don't bend, squat. Do whatever, but don't end up in a wheelchair permanently because you fear the healing process. Choose to aim for living a fuller life, and that starts with looking inside yourself for the strength you don't yet know you really have.
God Bless All Who Suffer

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Hi Caryl,

I had L4, L5 and S1 fused in Dec. 2005, after having similar problems, and in June 2007 I had total right hip replacement. Injections only help some people, and the relief is temporary. When people have repeated injections, the time of relief between injections gets shorter. I'm 58 now, and am glad I had the surgery rather than spend a year or two suffering in order to avoid surgery. I don't think anything short of surgery takes care of it. I didn't want surgery, either, but my doctor told me to "come back when it becomes unbearable."

It does not sound as though you have confidence in your doctors. Maybe you should see an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the spine. I think it's normal for a physician to try conservative treatment first. I'm assuming you've already been through physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, pain meds, etc. Whatever you decide, I think it's important to find a doctor you have confidence in, and then do what he recommends instead of second guessing him. Just my opinion. I hope everything goes well for you!

Regards,
Jackie

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I want to thank Jftortorella & Dee2255 for your very kind sentiments &suggestions to me. It meant ALOT to know that there are others 'out there' with similar problems! My pain is sooo very intense that I feel that life is passing me by as I lay in bed day after day, because walking, bending, doing anything, brings on such agonizing pain. Next Tuesday I am scheduled for the SI injection. I am praying that this injection can get me OUT of bed. I used to be an Elementary School Teacher. I am the mother of 2 sons who are successful attorneys. It depresses me to have them come visit me. I used to be sooo very ALIVE & full of life. I'm sorry this is such a downer. I am sooo very afraid of any type of back surgery. I've already gone thru a 3 level fusion in my neck, which was to have cured my left arm pain....guess what??? "its BACK"!! The left arm pain is slowly creeping back into my life. Oh well. Again, I apologize. Thank you again. Wish me luck on Tuesday, the 23rd.. Fondly, Caryl

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Carly, I didn't mention before that at least the injection may relieve your pain enough to be able to start some physical therapy and/or exercises. By strengthening your abdominal muscles, you take some strain off your lower back. The back brace is very helpful for pain relief and to prevent injury. I have a couple post-surgical ones that cost several hundred dollars, but I also have an Ace bandage from Walgreens that was $40, and it's thin enough to wear under my clothing. The Ace bandage can be pulled very tightly. Sometimes I even put that one on when I'm just stretching out on the couch, if my lower back is giving me trouble. It sort of quiets down the pain.

You mentioned your arm pain coming back. Unfortunately, it seems that when you have a degenerative spine and joints, it does progress. I now have a very painful L3 (the disc right above the 3 that were fused) and I'm considered a good candidate for a spinal stimulator. I'll probably end up with one soon, but first I want to get another opinion to see whether some other surgery might help.

I'll keep you in my prayers for your August 23 procedure. I sure hope it alleviates your pain.

Regards,
Jackie

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Hi Caryl,
I agree with Jackie, if the shot gives you enough relief to get some PT that would also be a good idea to check out. All those muscles not being used may be making the pain worse. I know it was hard for me to keep going, but letting my muscles atrophy made my pain worse.

Another thing you may want to look into is a Pain Management Program. I did a 6 week program after my second car accident; this was way before the back surgery issues even came up. I spent so much time passed out from pain meds and muscle relaxers that my muscles all were so weak. That program worked on all my issues, pain, weakness, fear of what I could and could not do, EVERTHING. I will forever be indebted to all the people of that program. They gave me my life back. That may be part of why I worked so hard after the back surgeries and the breast cancer. I didn't want to feel that weak and helpless again. I don't know if something like that is a possability for you, if so, I hope you look into if it could be good for you.

First, the injection, I hope it helps. Please believe in your inner strength to help you. It is there, you just have to look for it. You are in my prayers. I look forward to hearing the outcome.

Best Reguards,
Dee

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@Carylz.What is a spine stimulator? Is it like a bone growth stimulator? After having a laminectomy L3,4,5in May of 2009.I had to have the screws removed,as they were loose at L4,5,in April 2010.No alternative methods helped to heal that area.So,Oct.2010 I had an anterior intrabody lumbar fusion L4,5.Beginning the middle of Aug.I started experiencing severe back pain again. After a X-ray,and CT scan,my ortho.said I the bone growth was not healing on the lower side,and hes me to start wearing a bone growth stimulator,which I hope to be fitted for this week. I am hoping this will help with the pain as well. All my MD would give me for pain is Vicodan,which doesn't do much but make me sleepy!?

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Well, I had the Epidural & SI injections for all the pain I was suffering from. My lower back is a MESS, I believe that was the 'technical' term used by my Pain Maneagement Dr, & my Ortho Doc. The Pain Mangmet Doc gave me injections for the L3thru L5 along with SI. It is now 2 weeks after the injections, my leg pain is NOT worse, NOT totally better, buttt better than before. Also my lower back is only at a level 6 or 7--which is better than the 10!! Because the moron who gave me the IV did NOT listen to me when I told him that I had 'rolling veins'--he managed to BURST veins in both my arms trying to get the darn thing into me. He is luck that while I was screaming, 'take that needle out of me" that I didn't GRAB his....well... once my arms heal from the IV's Im going to go in for the 2nd in a series of 3 of these types of injections. Everyone's prayers are WELCOME!! I really do NOT want Back surgery!! For my pain I use 'lidoderm patches'-- 2 on the back, one on the leg. I also take Lyrica & Percocet for the pain. Aside from all of that... I am ONE healthy person, you think?? I read EVERYTHING that all of you write, and it makes me feel like I am NOT alone---and that is a blessing in itself. I thank you for all of you being out there!! Very Fondly, Caryl.

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Prayer are sent...seem like that's all we have!

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Hi i have had the sacroiliac injections, They worked for a few days then the pain come back. The specialist told me that I will be needing surgery as this confirmed problems with the sacral joint. I'm having spinal surgery next week so fingers crossed this reliefs all my symptoms.
Good luck

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to "caryl" ... and any *others who are being told they need *back Surgery :

during *initial consultation with ANY surgeon , was the *highly probable issue
of having to live with *CHRONIC BACK PAIN *after Back surgery > was it ever
brought up by the doctor ? it should be .

always , *ask to have a Mylogram done , it shows better than a MRI to pinpoint
the problem area . contrary to popular belief , MRI's are not the end-all .

when Surgeon finally gets around to telling you to go see a Pain Management
Doctor for your post surgical pain , its because he doesn't want to deal with it any
longer .

remember , each time there is more surgery the chance of Chronic pain / other
issues , is higher . its just the reality .

Don't be afraid to ask pointed questions of concern . And always , *get two or more
opinions . if the 1st. two aren't in agreement , go to a 3rd. It's *your Back .

good luck , and best wishes for you .

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Hi Carylz:

Many people with SI problems end up having unnecessary back surgery on the WRONG spot when the problem is the SI joint. Sometimes they fuse L5 and S1 and then the person still has pain due to SI joint problems and sometimes the SI acts up after fusion.

With an SI diagnostic injection, the rule is that if you obtain 75% pain relief from the injection, typically done with fluoroscopic imaging, then the SI joint is your pain generator. If the SI joint is a problem the goal is to do the injection to see if the pain goes completely away. The injection is not a permanent fix. It's just diagnostic.

Sometimes the sciatic nerve (pain down your leg) is entrapped in the SI area. Do you have any groin pain?

Good luck,
Linda

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Hey Arlie
I don't agree with you at all and actually you are completey wrong for what you said. People need back surgery usually because they have a disc that is collapsing. It can be a bulge, torn disc or whatever. A Myleogram HURTS LIKE HELL. I agree with Jackie, Trust your Dr. and quit second guessing him. Also Arlie, you go to a Pain Clinic because surgery is not going to take all the pain away from a injured nerve right away. It takes time for it to heal and unfortunately nerves heal very slowly. If your one of the lucky few you can be in a lot less pain. The main reason for the surgery is to stop more damage and return some space around where the nerve goes through your spine. Sorry I don't know all the correct terms but I'm not a Dr. But I have been through a few back surgery's. I have 4 fusions in my neck at the c3-c4-c5-c6-c7, and in my lower back at the l4-l5-s1. I have DDD, Spondylolisthesis,arthrosis,scoliosis and whatever else. after the surgery my pain wasn't going down much but it wasn't going up either. I ended up getting a pain pump and I halfway have a life now. I have Morphine, Baclofen, Clonidine ( I think is the name ) and something else going into my spine. It bathes the pain receptors inside the spine and you don't feel too much pain at all really with it. You also don't feel the effects of the medicine. It only takes 1/300th as much as orally to handle the pain. Anyway I'm going on here. What I am trying to say is sooner or later you are going to have to have surgery. Why be in agonizing pain till then, and a harder recovery from more damage done from the waiting. If you don't. You could end up in a wheelchair if too much damage is done. The choice is yours but I would advise getting the surgery.

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I'm BACK!! After having another set of back epidurals & the SI joint injection in Oct....most of you were right.. Those d--m injections did NOTHiNG except add to my medical bills! Finally after going to 3 more ortho surgeons & spine specialists each time clutching my left hip & complaining that the pain is soon bad that at 58 I just don't want to go on! I have a pain magmt doc but the meds make me tired & listless without the meds the pain is unbearable...buttt I do have some good news I finally got sent to a doc who specializes in arthroscopic surgery & long story short I'm scheduled for an FAI hip surgical procedure. The labral in my hip is torn. Help.. Does anyone out there know anything about this type of surgery or condition?? I am very scared & nervous. Thank you for reading this long "mishigos". I look forward to reading anything you all have to offer. Wish me good luck. Very fondly, Caryl

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