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Posted in: Spondylolisthesis.

What do i do...about my pain

Started by shelleymast on 04/21/2010 7:31pm

I just recently finished the last of the shots (epidural steroid) and have yet to get some relief form the pain. I am in constant pain and have very limited physical activity. I have to see my spine surgeon and pain management drs. next month but i was wandering if i should try surgery or therapy. I think therapy is just temporary fix or surgery more better in the long run..I am so confused as to what to do..I am in constant pain, 24 hours a day..I dont take meds for this cause they thought the shots would work but it didnt...I guess i will have a long discussion with my dr...any suggestions on what might work for me...I thought about trying yoga but that might make it worse...HELP..lol

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4 Responses



You don't say what your diagnosis is, but I can tell you there's a lot of stuff out there. There's the spinal cord stimulator, the pain pump, and various combinations of drugs. After having seen a pain doctor (who said I need a spinal cord stimulator), a neurosurgeon (who said I needed a pain pump), and most recently a neurologist/pain doctor (who put me on drugs that seem to be offering some relief) make sure they tell you about all of the options and not just one. The first pain doctor who was pushing the spinal cord stimulator worked with the company that made them!

Good luck and I wish you freedom from pain!


I was diagnosed with Spondylolistesis and i my spine surgeon wanted to try the shots but they have yet to work..I see him next month and i am going to talk to him about if surgery is a better solution instead of therapy cause i think therapy is just a temp fix and i want to fix the problem now but i have a feeling that i will have to suffer with this pain for the rest of my life and i am only 40. I cant even go outside and play with my kids or even go back to playing volleyball...I am so clueless as to what to do...Thank you


Hi Shelleymast,

Here is my story. I started last June going to PT and then was referred to a spinal surgeon, I had xrays and an MRI and then was sent back to PT. I was referred back to the surgeon because PT helped a little but not much. Then I went for the shots. The first worked great, eliminated 75% of the pain. The second and third didn't do a thing. Within three months after the third shot the pain was back. I went back to the surgeon, who told me surgery was the final option. I hemmed and hawed about it because I am a big chicken. Finally the pain got bad enough that I scheduled the surgery. The decision breaker was how much do I want to modify my lifestyle, it was getting to be a lot of modifications.

I am not sure what you are having done, I had l4-l5 and l5-s1 spinal fusion with instrumentation. One thing that was clear about my issue was twisting and turning were not good for me. I had done yoga but found it increasingly painful to do a lot of the stretches. I was also told not to cross my legs or vacuum, rake,sweep - anything with that motion.

It has now been three weeks since my surgery and I am feeling stronger every day. The pain in my lower back that went down the side of my leg is gone. I am able to sleep on my side for the first time in a year. And I am able to sleep through the night. Something I have not done for a year.

The one thing my doctor had told me was that I could not fix myself. In the beginning, I was convinced if I followed the instructions to a tee, I would make myself better. A year later I came to the conclusion that I could put off the surgery and modify my lifestyle, but I was not going to fix it.

So maybe that is the question to ask your doctor, if you do try alternatives, will it fix it permanently or just postpone the inevitable.


Hi Shelleymast
As you are now aware, spondylolisthesis is when a vertebrae slips or moves and impinges a nerve. What you may not know is the mechanics that cause or allow that and so the possible noninvasive ways to relieve the pain and potentially allow the body to readjust and "heal" itself. Your spine is made up of small parts, all stacked one on top of the other. The rubber like discs are the flexible element and the vertebrae are the rigid, structural elements and all this is held together by muscles. The interesting thing is that muscles don't push, all they can do is pull and in order to hold the unstable stack of discs and vertebrae together is to maintain a slight tension. As your bend and flex muscles tighten up at varying amounts, for example when you bend forward, the muscles on the anterior (the front) tighten to pull the spine forward and the posterior (rear) muscles tighten to counter the weight of the torso that is being bent forward off center. As a result, all bending and flexing action dramatically increases pressure on discs, but if everything is in alignment and your discs are healthy, everything is OK. But, if you have any degree of degenerative disc decease or muscle atrophy there is a risk that a vertebrae could shift and impinge a nerve. Once the vertebrae has shifted the muscles on one side end up loose and the ones on the opposing side end up too tight. Now the body doesn't have an ability on it's own to fix the problem since the muscles can't push the vertebrae back into place (as they only pull) so in a very short time the muscle on the slipped side shorten so they can to pull again and the ones on the reverse side(s) lengthen so they are not over tight. So, what's the fix?. The fix is to hang the spine in such a way that the vertebrae is pulled back into position by gravity and for such a period of time that the impacted muscles can lrealign to their natural positions and lengths. This is not new information and there are a number of modalities and devices that have been created to offer just that combination of treatments. Inversion and traction tables are some stationary treatment devices but they don't allow the patient to flex, bend and move, all of which are beneficial to getting those muscle back to normal. Aquatherapy offers spinal unloading and exersise, so it is far better than the stationary traction devices, but you are only getting treatment when you are in the pool, which is problematic if you actually hav to go to work. There is however a new device that offers, mobility, flexibility and comfortable long duration spinal unloading and it is the Trekke Lumbar Lift, it may be able to alleviate your pain and provide some degree of rejuvination of your spine.