This is my first post. All comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
I am 36 years old and have recently had an "episode" of back pain that has utterly ended the life I had.
I have suffered with periodic back pain ranging from minor to severe for 20 years. My initial back pain began after a serious auto accident and has slowly but steadily gotten worse despite my active nature and general good health and core strength. Five months ago I injured myself resulting in my being bed-ridden and urinating in a jar for 3 weeks (the toilet 5 feet away was unreachable). In the past when I suffered an episode I was able to work my way through the pain with a combination of stretching, exercise and OTC pain meds. This last episode was exponentially worse. I recently had an MRI and have been diagnosed with severe stenosis, severe arthritis (radiologist said it looked like an 80 year old not a 36 year old), sclerosis (this does not run in my family and was not present at the time of my initial accident), a herniated disc resulting in ciatica, disc degeneration and more than my fair share of scar tissue.
I recently began treatment at a spinal pain specialists office. Per my request we've began a conservative course of treatment that does not involve pain meds. My initial treatment began with steroidal injections. Since then I've suffered from severe night sweats, insomnia, lethargy, GI problems, headaches and a general feeling of "icky ness" that I can't shake. I was told these were possible side effects and it seems I hit the side effect jack pot . It's been a month since the injection and the side effects aren't letting go, however the little pain relief I did receive are all but gone.
My designed course of treatment calls for surgery as a last resort ( it's highly unlikely I would choose to undergo major surgery unless paralysis was in the cards). Injections first followed by non evasive electro stimulation, if that doesn't work then Radiofrequency discal nucleoplasty to follow.
Thoughts? Experiences? Suggestions?
I'm very reluctant to take pain meds. I lost a sibling to opioid dependence/abuse. I have never had any problems with addiction myself. I've spent time reading many of the threads here and keep running into the opinion that a lifetime on meds is better than a lifetime in pain. I am wholly unconvinced that this is a prudent course of action given my siblings death.