Hi! I just found this board. I am 24 and have had back pain for almost 10 years now. I have a couple of bulged disks and a ruptured disk at L4-L5. I also have DDD.
I've seen a neurosurgeon and a ortho doc several times over the years. They have both told me they don't want to do surgery because I am so young. I've been through three rounds of PT and have had traction a couple of times. Neither of which gave me much relief. I've had a mylegram, which I will NEVER do again, and a discogram. The ortho wanted to do shots in my back, but I've read there is a small chance of getting a spinal leak so that is out of the question. I leaked for 5 days after my mylegram before they would do a blood patch. I'm not really sure what to do now. On one hand I don't want them torturing me anymore with crap that doesn't work, but on the other hand I can't take it anymore. 10 years is long enough, I am SO tired of this.
My back has hurt constantly since June without one day of relief. Usually I get some kind of break every once in a while. I have muscle spasms pretty bad - I've had them so bad before that an ambulance had to take me to the hospital. It was 14 hours before they relaxed enough for me to walk again. It felt like the muscles had wrapped around my spine and it was going to snap in half. It feels like my bones are rubbing together. My hip hurts so bad sometimes that I wonder if it's broken or something. I have a really hard time rolling over in bed and getting up after sitting. Sometimes it feels like me hip is going to "give out". I have some tingling in my legs and sometimes I can feel a nerve get pinched and it shoots all the way down my legs. Putting on my shoes is a chore. Driving has become painful. And don't get me started on sneezing.
I am still able to work because I sit at a desk all day. I don't want surgery, but at the same time I want to do what another member said:
"I'd like to replace the frick'n thing, and ask the doctor to save it for me so I could taunt it and wildly stomp on it post-surgery."
At this point, I just don't think surgery is that bad of an option. Is it? I just don't know what to do.
HI,WELCOME TO THE BOARDS!
You have def, came to the right place for info,and support,The peolpe here are wonderful!
Have you had a 2nd. op. yet?Sometimes that is the best place to start.
Are you with a pain managment doc, yet?The right meds,can make a big diff. in how you feel.We all know how you feel, so don't worry about venting we all do it.I just did it a few min. ago.Ican't answer your questions about having surgery, only you and your docs can answer that one but find as much info, as you can,the more informed you are the better!Please don't let are stories scare you there are plenty on here that have wonderful succsess. We all hope to be in that position soon.
Hang in there,We are here for you and don't be afraid to ask us anything we will help anyway we can!
Agree with previous post that surgery is a decision between you and your doctor. My ortho surgeon always told me that surgery is the last resort. I did PT for about 3 years and eventually got better.
If you have had symptoms like those you describe for 10 YEARS, I can definitely understand that you would want surgery. You have to weigh the risks against the rewards. If nothing else has worked, and you are in so much pain that you feel you can't live a normal life, maybe surgery is the right way to go. I'm not sure about the "too young" comment your doctor made, unless there are degenerative concerns post-surgery I don't know about. Other people could probably inform you better in this regard.
For me, strengthening abdominal & side muscles, stretching, losing weight, and massage therapy all worked. But it was a slow process; again it was 3 years.
I wish only the best for you! Keep a positive attitude...you'll beat this thing.
Welcome to the boards, although I'm sorry you have to be here. I understand where you're coming from- I am also 24 years old and had some pretty severe disc issues. From what you've said, it sounds like you need to see a different doctor. When was the last time you had an MRI done? If it's more than 6 months ago, you should probably get another one to see what's going on now. As the others have said, surgery is a decision that only you and your doctor can make. I'm not sure age is really a huge factor in reference to surgery. I had a discectomy done in March '04 and I am now 3 weeks post-op from a 2 level fusion (which has taken away all of my pain). My surgeries were performed by two different surgeons, and both were done because of nerve compression and concerns about permanent damage. Yes, I am rather young to have had all of these issues, but the fact remains that I did have them and something needed to be done. Do you have leg pain as well as back pain?
If you have any questions at all, or just need to vent, let us know! I think you'll find some amazing support and info here. Good luck!
The ortho was a second opinion for me. I do think I need different meds. Maybe I should just ask for some and see if that helps any. Although I don't take them like the bottle says to. I only take one (either pain med or muscle relaxant, depending on how I feel) at night because I have to be awake enough during the day to drive and make it through work. I'm sure it would help if I could take them the way it says, but I can't just pop pills all day long.
I do have leg pain. Sometimes my legs (and hips) ache really bad, all the way down to the bone and other times it's the pinched nerve feeling. Luckily the pinched nerve doesn't last long, I can usually readjust my position and it stops.
The last MRI I had was few months ago. It showed the same thing its always shown. I don't think there has been much change.
I do have an opinion about surgery though I have never had surgery for any reason. I do believe it is a last resort. I am only 20 now and have the SAME EXACT problem that you have (it was erie reading the beginning your post) however I have only been dealing with this for three years now. I've been through PT (no help), medications (no help) and finally they've introduced me to the injections. I had an ESI but that provided no relief so now we're doing something called radiofrequency nerve lesioning since one injection I did have prove successful in getting rid of the bulk of the pain. It is a slow process however I am getting better. I have read from more than one source a statistic about people that get surgery and those that stick with the conservative stuff. They both have the same results after a certain period of time. Conservative takes so long that if you had surgery today, then years from now you might be better finally or have some kind of successful outcome because of the surgery. Also you must think about the recovery process. Once that's all done, when you compare that amount of time with how long conservative treatment might take they are both virtually the same. The only difference is that you may spend more time recovering from surgery or you may spend more time in pain doing the conservative stuff. I think it's all a quality of life issue. If you can't stand it and it's taken control of your entire life, then surgery is definitely an opinion that would be good for you. It's all a matter of if you believe it's worth it to have surgery. I'd be for surgery myself, however I do understand that because of my age they might not want to do it. The way I see it, how can it be the best thing for those that might not necessarily need surgery, for doctors to go into your body, take something out that your body produces, and possibly even put something in there. That's why recovery is so hard. But if that's what you're willing to do then good luck! I know surgery is successful and for those that do it I'm glad they are feeling better. As for me, I'm just sticking to the conservative stuff for now. If it gets worse I'll deal with it accordingly...
my two cents: I had my first surgery for a bulge at L5-S1 when I was 24. I am now 27 and just had my two level spinal fusion of L4-S1 for DDD, anterior/posterior with hardware, two bulges, spondylosis and a tear. I have issues in my cervical spine too. The first surgeon I had wouldn't touch me with a ten foot pole because of my age. I found a second opinon and basically told that dr that living with this was not an option for me as I had too many goals in life that will not happen if this isn't taken care of. My first doctor gave me the option of surgery or live with pain and I took surgery (that was the one I had when I was 24 for a bulge, I had a microd). SO, you have the right to push for this treatment and no dr can truly say you are too young, it is your body. SO, keep searching til you find one, if this is what you want. DDD does not get better, the bulges can. So can the tear. Have you had any epideral injections? How about traction? Steroid packs? A disogram. The discogram will determin if the discs are the issue or not. I hope some of this helped, please don't give up on your body! Ps, I am NOT an advocate for surgery unless all other treatments have been explored. I so far am happy that I had all of mine.
Don't get me wrong. I don't necessarily want surgery, but what else is there? They just seem to think that PT and pills will make it all better, even though it hasn't in the past. It makes me wonder if surgery is THAT dangerous or if they really just think they can make it go away conservatively after all these years. I don't know. I go back and forth about it all the time.
I've been on meds off and on for 10 years and I've done three rounds of 3days/week for 6weeks PT. I've had traction too. The first time I had that, I actually felt pretty good. The last time (a few months ago) it hurt so I didn't go back. It made me feel worse for a few days after. I have enough pain on my own, I don't need help making anymore. I've been wondering what it is about PT that helps. Unless the disk pokes itself back in where it belongs, it's not gonna stop touching stuff and irritating stuff. At least it didn't for me.
Can anyone tell me more about the shots? I have considered that, but they really scare me. I don't know why, but they just don't sit well with me. Do they hurt? Where do they do it? Has anyone leaked spinal fluid after one?
I think Iv'e tried just about everything out there, have you tied accupuncter it did not work for me but my hubby had 3 bulged disk and it worked wonders for him! It might be worth a shot.We all know what you mean by living with it it's no fun.
As far as meds. go there are not as effective if you let them wear out of your system,have you tried chopping them up into 1/4 or 1/2 and then take them on sched.? I know when I was still able to work,I did 1/4 to start and then of course tylonal and ibuprophin.H
I've been thinking about the acupuncture too. For some reason, it seems like tiny needles sticking in my back would feel good. Chopping my legs off or drilling holes in my bones sound good sometimes too.
I know exactly how you feel.
The needles don't hurt once in awhile you feel kind of a stinging sensation but it does't really hurt,more like a suprise, I hate needles and it didn't bother me.
My hubby said it was the best thing he ever did and would recomend it to anyone.
Like anything though you do need a good doc. I know it does take a few sesions b ut my hubby had relief right away it just didn't last for more than 2 days.he only went 2 after that and hasn't been back since. that was about 5 yrs ago.