This is my story. I hurt my back 2 years ago while lifting. I went to my family Doctor who dismissed the injury with a comment of , ďIíve seen worse Ē and a prescription of flexeril Öno mri , no x-ray nothing else.
My back got better but never great. The next year, my back problems intensified. I had extreme pain and discomfort. I returned to the same doctorís office and this time had a mri done. The mri showed a central disc herniation to the right of midline L5-S1. The doctor recommended conservative treatment..rest and anti-inflammatory medication. I suffered for months. Finally I was talked into getting an epidural by an orthopedic.. This did not help me . I think It made me worse. In addition, afterwards, the orthopedic prescribed a double dosage of bextra, which ended up giving me problems with nose bleeds and pain.
The Orthopedic said that surgery is not required in my case.
I was also having pain in my tailbone which seems to become intense and them dissipate. I went to another orthopedic and he did a bone scan and a mri of the tailbone. Those tests did not show anything to indicate a definitive problem.
Meanwhile, my back pain is omnipresent. I am taking a single dose of bextra, ultracet and Naproxen in order to make it through the day. I cannot sleep through the night.
I am trying to find a doctor who will help me. This seems to be a big problem.
I walk everyday. I was a runner before this. I have been pushing myself to run (moderate pace and distance) even with the pain but I have stopped for now. I am in decent physical condition. I am not overweight and still have good muscle tone.
I use a small pillow between my legs now. The bextra seems to help with the pain.
People here say that I am a negative person but the truth of it is, sometimes there is no relief, even with surgery, that is why people keep looking for answers and doctors end up doing surgery. and then, we usually find a lot of people back on the boards looking for additional relief.
What you don't want is fusion if you can help it.
If the Bextra is working for the pain then you have something mechanical that is causing inflammation. That needs to be fixed. I was looking at surgery for my L5/SI. I balked and did the Prolotherapy. It doesn't work for everyone, but in my situation, worked for me. I just talked to another woman at the hair dresser's yesterday who had the same thing and it worked for her. We used the same doc.
Going through something very similar myself - central disc prolapse at L5-S1, combined with degenerative disc disease. Just had my third epidural injection on Wednesday - I have had some pain relief from the previous two but have been unable to work since March. My consultant doesn't feel that surgery is an option as the location of the prolapse (bulge) lowers the odds of it being successful. Apparently surgery is far more straightforward when it is a lateral bulge.
I have tried chiropracters, osteopaths, physio, acupuncture but have found that the best relief has come from rehabilitative pilates (building up core muscle strength), walking, not stressing out (easier said than done!) improving my diet (cutting out carbs, coffee and sugars - all of which cause inflammation) and celebrex (NSAID) combined with Tylex (paracetomol and codeine). I have learnt how to minimise my pain but still find sitting difficult, driving impossible and sleep very elusive.
Likewise I'm nervous about what I can do next if this injection doesn't work. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that disc bulges do resolve themselves with time. I have learnt from doing a lot of research that surgery is not always the solution and can lead to worse problems down the line.
It is not easy staying positive - I have had a rough couple of days. But I would recommend a book called 'Healing Back Pain Naturally' by Art Brownstein. It has a lot of good common sense and takes some of the panic out of the pain.
Given the large city you live in, I'm surprised you're having such a hard time finding a doc. Try doing a web search for spinal institutes in your area. Or call a few hospitals and see if anyone knows of a ortho/neuro group that specializes in spinal disorders. That's my best advice for looking.
Sorry you're in pain, good luck finding some relief.
APLIF T4-S1 on july 19, 2004
Harrington rod T5 - T12 1982
I'd try another doctor. One which has an Ortho background. My primary care physician was clueless. I basicly had to do the research and take care of finding who I wanted to see and then just got a referral and took the primary care out of the loop, more or less. I can tell you that you'd be better off with an Orthopeodic Doctor than a Primary Care.
Depending on your insurance situation, you usually have to start with a primary and the get a referral. If it is work related then you have to get permission all along the way and it takes months. If it is on your personal insurance, things go much more smoothly, although most insurance companies require referrals and then prior approvals. Sometimes the insurance co doesn't require it, but the specialist does. If it is on the state, then you, believe it or not, are better off. There seems to be less paperwork.
The process that I used was time consuming but well worth it. I found a specialist and then researched him, spoke to patients of his and then went from there. Each time that you are told of possibilites, don't just go with it, go home and research what they are suggesting. This will save you pain down the line.
We only get one back.
To me, it is like teeth or eyes, ya gotta have them so you have to take care of them. It takes peope a long time to come to this conclusion.
I started a web search on google and then went from there. I looked up every term and cut and pasted it in and then read all of the links of the sites that I went to.
You have to really educate yourself on this as the doctors won't.
I was watching a program one night that involved local doctors. They were on a panel. They were incensed that people had access to medical information on the net and were questioning them on techniques and procedures.
It's easy to loose faith in the doctors. They ask you if you have any questions all the time, but when you ask, many doctors act like you are challanging their skills and ability. I have run into this more often than not. The internet is a wonderful tool for educating yourself as to your condition before you go to the doctor. Arming yourself with as much knowledge as possible will help you to be able to judge whether or not the doctor you are seeing is the same that you want to have his hands in your back making repairs. Better safe than sorry, because once the damage is done, there's no going back.
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I have a wonderful doc at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. I travel from D.C. to see him. His name is Dr. Jason Liftshutz. He is a neurosurgeon. If you feel like traveling, he is well worth it. His # is 410-328-6148. Good Luck