I know it's been a long time (2yrs) but if you're still on here, I have recently had some additional back problems. From my 8 back surgeries I now have overgrown bone from the fusions hitting some nerve root. I have noticed that the increase in pain directly effects the level of tinnitus.
I try to occupy my sedentary time with social media and reading. After all, when you can't stand or walk long your options are limited. My wife and I are thinking about buying a ranch home to remove stairs and possibly get a scooter. Being a collegiate wrestler my pride is getting in my way. I keep thinking it will improve. After over 8 yrs, I think it's time to face facts.
I have posted many times my situation, at the risk of sounding like a broken record I will summarize. I've had 8 back surgeries (2 fusions that fused my lower 3 vertebrae+ a bunch of dissect omits! lame necrosis! etched..) I have a spinal stimulator for right leg nerve pain. I was doing great from my last surgery of Sept 2011- lost 80 lbs I gained while laying on couch for 4years and could be on my feet all day. Then about April of 2013 the pain began to increase. At first steady until about Sept when it really got bad. I had a Myelogram done on January 3 2014 and I finally get to see my surgeon this morning to translate the results. I was told via phone call it is arthritis and there is nothing to be done. The Myelogram shows a possible recurrent disc bulge on the L5S1 level. This change occurred after my last surgery because I had a myelogram done post 8th surgery and this new. Myelogram shows several changes. I'm told that it can't be disc material because of the fusion. The increase in pain in my right leg has me doubting this. I live in Chicago and wonder if a climate change to the South West might help. I am now on my recliner 90% of my day. Simple activity like making my kids sandwiches for lunch in the morning raises the level of pain drastically. I then sit on the recliner the rest of the day.
I guess I will find out soon enough if the weather plays this much of a factor when this Chicago weather starts to change. I gave my Myelogram report to a Laser based treatment facility and based on initial review they believe there is a couple possible minimally invasive procedures that mIght help. I say minimally invasive as opposed to the open back surgeries I have always had. I want to be careful and not look for the "magic answer" from a pill or procedure and I am wondering if anyone has had any experience with laser surgery after having open back surgery and what the results were for you. I understand everyone is different and reacts to treatment differently, just trying to get some info on laser surgery. My pain Dr believes she can relieve some of the pain with a radio frequency procedure but the insurance company has denied paying for this. I am currently taking 120 mg of Oxycotin per day with 2mg of Dilaudid 4X a day. Dilaudid is supposedly for breakthrough pain but this pain doesn't exactly breakthrough--it's more constant. Managing my meds has become a challenge since the pain far exceeds the pills. I do not want to give up my drivers license again though so I don't want to raise the meds.
I know many of you face worse pain and problems than mine. I hope everyone can find some relief and peace with their daily struggles.View Thread
Annette030- I like to think of myself as a optimistic realist. At this point success for me would be to minimize my pain by any measure. I realize with so trauma to my lumbar I will never go back to the things I once enjoyed. But I have created a whole new life based on more sedentary activity. I manage several fb pages, a wrestling website, I sponsor young athletes to compete in National events and help high school female wrestlers get noticed by college coaches for possible scholarships, I own 2 apparel lines that sell online sports themed clothing (part owners of one and Illinois distributor for the other). I really enjoy coaching my sons soccer team and daughters softball team but I have several asst coaches and parents that are aware of my condition and help out to a fantastic degree. While off work my wife and I have purchased and remodeled 4 foreclosed homes and rent 3 sold one. So I still keep moving and no matter what condition I may end up have a responsibility to my wife and family to contribute to their needs. I just sometimes have to be creative in how I accomplish that. So I may never be fully content with any outcome but should anyone? Shouldn't we always strive for better and keep hoping and be optimistic that our condition today may be vastly different than our condition tomorrow, next week or next year?
If I ever gave any impression that I will not accept anything other than zero pain and perfect function, that was not my intent. That ship has long sailed. I'd be happy with sleeping in my bed as opposed to my recliner, or maybe more than 2 hours of sleep at any stretch, or maybe be able to coach a 45 minute soccer game and not have to rush out afterward to get home and get horizontal. I'd seek any improvement as success at this point.View Thread
I had a EMG done last Fall 2013 and it showed L5S1 nerve being affected. I had a spinal stimulator placed in Jan 2011 and my Dr feels that should take care of it. I just saw my neurosurgeon yesterday morning (I typed this original post prior to seeing him). My myelogram of Jan 3, 2014 shows bone overgrowth from the fusion impacting the L5S1 nerve. I knew this a long time ago as my right leg has increased dramatically in pain since last Spring. I'm sure readers will agree, when you are in so much pain you notice every new area or any slight increases, right?
This myelogram shows several changes since my last myelogram that was done shortly after my 8th surgery in Sept 2011. Foramen narrowing due to arthritis, scar tissue and bone overgrowth as well as nerve being affected and a new bulge in disc at the level above where my fusion stops (fusion stops at L3-4, bulge at L2-3). This bulge may not be the source of anything but due to increase in pain in right hip, groin, thigh and front of knee my pain dr believes the nerve is being affected here too. She (pain dr) wants to do some diagnostic testing at several levels to determine which is the worse and attack them from there. My work comp has refused her request twice so far. Since my neurosurgeon agreed yesterday that this makes sense I've scheduled this myself and for $500 will get some answers next week--insurance or not.
My neurosurgeon is almost 70 years old. A great dr (I thought) and that's why I've used him for over 14 years and chose him to do 7 of my 8 operations. Yesterday I lost all faith in him. After reviewing my myelogram, EMG and physical exam and listening to my pain complaints he agreed I should be off work until this is figured out. I've been off of full time work since Dec 19, 2005 due to this work accident. Then the insurance nurse came into the room and said he had previously wrote back to work at light duty (based on old information). He abruptly changed his tune and ordered me back to work. I was devastated at this. I've been working since very young. Started going to work with my Father at around 8-9 years old and washed his semi truck tires every Saturday, cleaned his cab, vacuumed his floors every summer for years. Did this for some quarters. Then sold perfume and cologne door to door at middle school age at neighborhood beauty salons. Great experience for a shy boy. Got my license and moved on to McDonalds. I'm not lazy or want to live off of the Govt. I now started a web site and blog about wrestling and sell wrestling themed shirts online. But now the insurance will have me physically filling out applications for work everyone knows that I just can't do. For my family's sake, I will jump through these hoops and try to keep a smile on my face but it didn't have to be this way.
My neurosurgeon did write me a referral to see Drs at Rush hospital in Chicago and admitted they have procedures that he just hasn't kept up with. My dr does traditional open back surgery only. When I asked him about lasers, he dismissed it and laughed and told me to be careful of watching too many ads on TV. Along with writing the referral to Rush, my Dr has also relinquished control of my case to my pain dr. She is much more understanding of my condition and since I see her every 30 days I believe she will be a better advocate on my behalf--at least I hope so. My pain dr instructed me to be careful about taking my medicine and driving. Yet my neurosurgeon didn't even consider this.
This system is broken, I know I'm preaching to the choir here. My vocational therapist once told me last year that the divorce rate of work comp patients was something like 80-90%. Seems caregivers don't take the family dynamic into consideration a whole lot.
I have also contacted a laser based medical facility and they have written me a plan of medical treatment based on the new myelogram report. Of course that plan is subject to change based on a physical exam and medical chart review.View Thread
Cweinbl--tough to be in pain. I just love this post you made. I have learned that reading is a great escape for me as well as meditation. I still try to do light stretching every day. I too feel most sorry for my wife, four children and extended family members that I would like to see more and interact with. There are other family members I'm quite glad don't come around. (Have to keep a sense of humor too).
I adopt a similar perspective that it can always be worse in part because it really can. I have found some hobbies that excite me a great deal. I was a collegiate wrestler and I now manage several fb pages and a web site to promote my great sport. The Olympic fight last year kept me quite busy. I now sponsor young wrestlers that couldn't afford to compete in national level tournaments to be able to participate. I have my first 3 female wrestlers competing at the end of this month and although I can't be there one stipulation of my giving them funding is they have to record there matches so I can watch later.
Don't spend so much time and effort looking for the snake oil. After 8 back surgeries I'm tired of hearing how the one dr I haven't seen is the one that promises to be able to help. I think I'll manage my pain medicine the best I can, expand on my sedentary hobbies and build my mind to deal with the circumstances life has brought me. All the while with a smile on my face. My 14 year old nephew once said to me, "Uncle Mike, my Dad says you're always in pain. How come you don't look like it." I said "I choose to smile". I understand this may sound impossible to some of you but trust me, your mind is more adaptable than you give it credit. My once insane tinnitus is now manageable and not by medical intervention or a cochlear implant that was suggested but by the power of persuasion. I direct my mind to not focus on that--it works most of the time.
Good luck and find your inner strength--it's there.View Thread
AN_255317--I totally understand what you are going through. Unfortunately at every turn us chronic pain sufferers are being judged and always seem to be on the defensive when it comes to our meds. I have been on narcotic pain medicine since Nov 2005 due to a work accident. I've had 8 back surgeries and my meds can fluctuate from month to month. I've learned to tune people out and I know how much pain I'm in and how much I need the medicine.
Your Dr prescribes the meds for you to use, not to see how much you can bring back to "prove" you are a good patient. If anything, I would be more skeptical of you bringing any extra meds back to me--I would question how much you really need it then. The pain medicine is there for you to try to live more comfortable. Use it. If Dr prescribes one a day, then take one a day and hopefully that will take the edge off.
My family Dr once told me that pain causes higher blood pressure. This means your heart is working harder than it should. If by taking a pill that is prescribed you can relieve some pain it just may make your blood pressure better as well. I never thought of unintended consequences prior to this injury I suffered but there are many things to think about when addressing one health problem. Side note-pain meds cause dry mouth. Use Biotene mouth spray, toothpaste and mouthwash. I got 12 cavities one year due to dry mouth from my narcotic pain meds.
Use the medicine, take some pain away. If you're worried that your Dr will not like this then ask why it's prescribed in the first place. One mistake I made early on was to not talk to my Dr open enough. I "thought" my Dr was feeling one way but in reality, after being very open and honest--I found out just how much she was on my side and wanted to do the best for me. I think once we start taking pain meds it's almost inherit in us to start feeling judged by others and even start having to go overboard trying to prove to others our true character. I say to heck with everyone else, until they live one day in my excruciating pain--they have no right and I won't give them the privilege of judging me.
Hope you get some relief.View Thread
I agree with all the other responses so far. I have had 8 back surgeries and 6 of them have been within the last 8 years. Your last surgery is still pretty recent. Usually it takes up to about one year for all the healing to be truly realized from a spine surgery. Some faster than one year but this is usually sufficient time. 2 surgeries in such a short period of time is pretty unusual. I'm wondering if the second surgery was a result of getting hurt at therapy while recovering from the first surgery? This happened to me.
There are a lot of things that your continued pain can be. Inflammation is probably the biggest cause. Remember that after any surgery the muscle tissue is damaged by cutting through it and the scar tissue that replaces it does not allow for the same blood flow that is critical for healing. Depending on how long your nerve was being compressed, you may have developed scarring on the nerve which is a permanent condition. I have a spinal stimulator to help with my permanent nerve pain in my right leg.
The biggest advice I can give you is research everything, make sure you keep a notebook and track your daily events and pain complaints. This will help you develop a pattern of what may be causing you additional discomfort. I'm not familiar with your current meds but again I would ask to be referred to a pain management Dr. as they have more tools and expertise in this area. I have been with the same pain Dr. for almost 14 years. The most important thing is keeping a positive attitude. I suffer with pain every single second of every day and it fluctuates very easily with the rise of simple activity. But it could always be worse and I have changed my hobbies and activities to include more sedentary things. Somebody put a quote on here some time ago "you must let go of the life we knew to make room for the one that awaits us"~Unknown.View Thread
I'm in IL and had a Boston Scientific spinal stimulator placed in Jan 2010 and yes I had to have a psych evaluation prior. I was told this is an industry standard. Because you already have one though, this sounds redundant.
Why have a trial if you have had positive results for the last 8 years? Are you switching companies for a specific reason?View Thread
I have had 8 back surgeries total. 2 fusions. I have L2-3 to L5S1 fused. I have spinal stimulator for leg pain and I lost my hearing in right ear during 1st fusion in 2006. I now have extreme Tinnitus in deaf ear. But I am doing fantastic. I have adjusted my daily activity to include getting my small children on the bus. Then I go for a walk with my new Rottweiler service puppy. I do some reading, light house work and get ready for my kids to return home. I now coach wrestling (I was a collegiate wrestler- best thing ever) for my kids and do only the things that do not cause too much pain. This means I had to give up Construction Management which I did for last 20 years. I collect SSD and I am writing a motivational book to help people like you. I gained 80 lbs at my worst and now lost 60 of those. Life will get better if that is what you want. Surround yourself with positive people. It has taken me long time to come to terms with my limitations but I am here, alive and now instead of skydiving to get a thrill, my kids smiling after a wrestling match means so much more to me. You must let go of the life you knew to embrace the one that awaits you. If you need surgery, get the surgery. Every day do something that will make you feel even a touch better. Over time, hopefully you will feel well enough that you wont even remember the really bad days today.View Thread