Hi everyone! I just found this site yesterday and am very impressed with the answers. This is my problem: I herniated L4/L5 last summer after painting a room (stupidly moved some furniture). I am a teacher so I had some time off. I went on vicodin and ibuprofen and rest. Soon I started physical therapy, and did that three times a week for three months. Then I joined Curves. I am a very active person with three grandkids, four horses and several other animals. I live for my summers when I actually have time to spend with those whom I love. I was feeling quite well by the end of March; going horsebackriding every Saturday, babysitting the kids once or twice a week, and going to church every Sunday. I babied my back, and didn't do things like any kind of lifting (exception of grandkids - no choice getting them out of car seats. I'd be a little sore, but didn't think it was a big deal).My husband went out of town for two weeks in April. I had to carry the hay out to the horses 2X/day and doctor the foot of one who went lame. I could feel soreness returning in my lower back, so I went back to my GP who increased my dose of vicodine from 1 pill(at that time) a day to 2. I continued going to Curves and riding on Sat. In April, after a 7 hour drive (with plenty of stops) the pain got worse. Gp upped vicodin to 3 a day and gave me a muscle relaxor. I got slowly better, in fact felt great last week. I had a thermal ablation on Thursday and felt fine. On Sunday, I only had 1 pill. I went to church, lunch, took a nap and visted with the neighbors. I had a few beers. When I woke up Monday morning, I couldn't move. I have bruises from my husband pulling me out of bed. I am in such severe pain. Was in the emergency room Monday night (screaming pain trying to lie down). Got a pain shot and some prednisone. Saw GP on Wed who gave me more vicodine and a referral for an epidural injection which I had yesterday. I still am in screaming pain. The shot guy gave me oxycodin which takes the edge off the pain for about 1 1/2 hrs, then I slowly walk around till I can take another pill. I only sleep an hour or two at a time, then literally crawl to the the pills, stand still for a half hour, then slowly walk back to the couch. I'm sorry to sound like such a whiner with a long post. I know many of you are in much worse shape. I just can't believe this happened again (and feels worse). So here are my questions: Should I not have done anything (horses/kids/exersize) when my back felt well? How long should I do nothing after I feel OK? Did drinking beer help bring it on? (I often feel sorer after drinking, and I only have a beer if I'm nottaking pain meds.)I again have ruined my summer. I am so depressed with the severe pain and not being able to do anything but slowly wander around the house. I'm scared that I won't ever be able to do the things I enjoy again. It has only been 6 days since the severe pain, but it is not getting any better. Can it take days for the injection to work. The sciatica is unbearable. What is normal? Is it too soon to see a surgeon? I have to be back to work on 8/1.Thank you so much for any input. Again sorry for being so longwinded.
epidurals can takes several days to kick in, and they can even increase the pain for those first few days until the cortizone is absorbed.
unfortunately it can take a while and many tests to see what is causing the pain. until then you should take it easy. thats hard to do as many things will cause the pain to increase but you usually dont find out till after. youll do something, its seems fine then but then later you pay for days..
an activity and pain log may help you figure out what aggrivates it worse, and it may help the doc.
I know from personal experience that some things that trigger severe pain can take up to a week to finally die down.
your doc may order some more tests, shots or PT to try and pinpoint the cause of the pain. a surgeon is usually your last stop.
back surgery in JUN 06 - two level ALIF (L3-4-5) with cages and BMP - SUCCESSFUL!
sorry to hear your story. I know exactly how you feel. In January I helped my husband move a futon to paint and that was the "beginning of my end"--my life is changed now. Not to sound grim, cuz I have a lot going on in my back that you may not have.
My suggestion is to see a spine specialist not just a GP. My first stop was to my GP who, although I love her as a GP, she gave me muscle relaxers and pain meds...not intil I went to a spine ortho dr, did I have the x-ray and MRI that showed exactly what was going on, and was told what I could and could not do, and what my options were. I've learned through trial and error, what works for me.
Ice is helpful and stretching and ibuprophen. I am afraid of heavy narcs like vicodin. They are masking the pain, and you are then doing stuff that may be hurting your back further I'm thinking.
I am not a doctor obviously, just someone who's been there and knows what it feels like and hope that you can get to a specialist who can home in on the problem more closely and give you some direction and guidance.
good luck to you.
Im sorry you are in all that pain and I know exactly how it feels, including the frustration and depression. In my own experience I have tended to overdo things when my back was feeling fairly well and I always end up paying for it. This was before I had MRIS and found out why my back pain was getting progressively worse and got a diagnosis. Back in January when I had some pain relief, I thought I might actually be able to go to a mall with my sis and do some shopping. It was a big outlet mall so required quite a bit of walking around. By the end of the day (after about 5 hours) I felt a little stiffness and pressure in my back but nothing like it was before this particular treatment. It seemed like I would be okay. Then the next day it snowed only several inches and I merely stood straight and was able to push some snow off the driveway. I didnt even bend wrong or lift, the snow was so fluffy i was able to just push it to the side. So to me, none of this seemed like I overdid anything but when I woke up the next morning.....I was in the most agony i'd ever been. Needless to say, I saw my doc who ordered an MRI. Little did I know what had been progressing inside me. I learned that I had a herniated disc, a torn disc, (both caused sciatica down to my feet) degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, thickening of my ligamentum flavum(some ligament along the spine) and severe lumbar stenosis due to bone spurs, calcifying of the bones around my spinal canal, and the disc problems.
After talking with my doc about it, doing research, asking questions on this board.....I have forced myself NOT to do many things anymore that I might have thought nothing of before. In April and May I had a series of epidural steroid injections which did help the nauseating sciatica pains down my legs and helped okay with the rest of the pains in my back. So during that time I was still sooo careful of what I did and how I moved because I was told that these shots for me would basically be some pain relief for how ever long it lasted (for me they only lasted one month). It was not a cure for the underlying problems. I have gone thru being mad, asking why me, getting depressed because im 37 and thought MY GOD if im like this now, what on earth will i be like in older age?? I couldnt stand feeling that anymore, so I just keep thinking that eventually something might help and I've accepted my limitations.
Please don't give up, make sure to try to find out exactly what is wrong and why. It is possible that the shots could give you total relief or you may need further treatments. Please also keep us updated on how you are feeling.
I'm so sorry to hear you are in so much pain. Please do not feel like you are a "whiner with a long post". It takes a long post to tell our stories and give all the information.
You didn't say if your GP had done any X-Rays, MRI's, etc., but if he hasn't, I think you should probably go that direction and make sure nothing is seriously wrong. Zeroman is right when he said it can take many tests to find out what is causing the pain (I won't bore you with how many it took for me). You might want to consider asking your GP for a referral to a spine specialist. The epidural's can take a few days to kick in and when I had mine I remember being in increased pain for a few days after having them.
Good luck, take care and keep us posted on how you are doing!
Thanks Charliecat. I had an MRI last July when I herniated L4/L5 (terrible sciatica on left side) and one 8 years ago when I tore L5/S1(siatica/numbness on right side). Both showed up on last year's MRI. The first injury took years to heal and I still have numbness in the back of my right leg. The GP seems to think that this is a reinjury of L4/L5 - same side, same pain. The pain doctor gave me the injection at S1 because he said that's where sciatca stems from. I am no better, maybe even worse. I dread afternoons and nights when it hurts so bad I have to take something (vicodin, oxycodin, and/or ibuprofen) every three hours. I have no idea how you brave folks get through this without narcotics. I really am not a pain baby, but this gets unbearable! I sure hope that this shot kicks in soon. Anyone hear of sciatica only coming from S1? And if mine is coming from L4/L5, will the steroids eventually get there? Thanks again, and God Bless you all.
Oh, and I did see a spine surgeon last summer who told me that since I was improving he would not do surgery, that 80% of herniated disks get better on their own. This guy has a great reputation and I know several people who have been cured by his special kind of surgery. I believe he invented a tool which pushes mucsles aside instead of cutting, and recovery is very quick. But he wouldn't touch me, and here I am again.
If you have a herniated disc with symptoms for greater than 6-9 months, you do greatly increase your chances of suffering permanent pain and disability. I would see a neurosurgeon asap, with all your films, to get another opinion. No one should have to live in that kind of pain. No one wants to rush to surgery, but you are clearly getting worse over time.
I had a L5-S1 herniation 4 years ago and had a microdiscectomy that was VERY succesfull, and i've been able to work full time at a stressful active job since then. Unfortunately, I think I've either reherniated or have a different herniation at another level. I'm slowly improving so just holding status quo for now.
I can tell you that I have disc herniations (and a tear) my L3-L4 and L4-L5 as per my MRI report. One type of pain I had (sharp, shooting, electric like pain) went all the way down my rear and left leg to my foot as well as partly down the back of my right leg. My rheumy, PM, and PT all said that was sciatic pain from my discs. And my L5-S1 (so far) show no disc disease or bulging. My PT told me that depeding on where on your limbs to the feet the pain is will usually correspond to certain disc levels. Like say if you get pain down your leg and across the top front of your foot, it's probably coming from L5 area. So yes, sciatica can stem from other levels.
I recently read somewhere that sometimes docs will give the injection right below the affected disc. The steroids flow up and down the epidural space and coat the nerves and have an anti inflammatory response. To me, for my shots, it looked like he went in from the side and at or close to where my pain stemmed from. Ok, forgive me if i made no sense and cut it short. I am soo tired I have to before I fall asleep at keyboard.
Hi There Sorry To Here Your So Bad, But If Its Any Consolation I've Been There To, I Suffered For Ten Years On And Off Before I Had The Op, In A Case Of Hind Sight You've Got To Put The Boot In So To Speak, And Demand Somebody Do Something And You Aint Leaving Till You Get Some Answers, And Lay It On Thick, Its The Only Way.
Also Tell Them That You Demand A Mri Scan, Its The Only Way You'll Get A Proper Diagnosis.
I've Now Been Post Op For 2 Weeks Now And All Numbness, Pins And Needles Have Gone, Along With The Acute Pain, Only Thing I Have I Guess Is Healing Pains To Early To Tell If There's Any Legacies Left Behind Yet, But It Sure Beats The Never Ending Burning.
I cannot tell you all how blessed I am by this site. You people are wonderful!
Zeroman, I hope you are right and my shot kicks in soon. I had it on Friday, and yes, the pain is worse. And Wit, I will DEMAND a new MRI if I'm not better in a few days.
When I first posted I was really on the pittypot about ruining my summer, ect. I am a VERY active person - always outside with my horses, running around with friends, at church - and this has really sidelined me. I feel like I'm in TV hell (is there anything good on TV ???).
Now I'm getting worried, as I'm not getting any better and actually feel worse. I'm very concerned about all the meds, and this is why: I come from an adictive family. My younger sister died last March from an OD of her presciption meds. She had had 4 back surgeries as well as a severe burn and had never found relief.
My brother, who has RA, is trying to get off vicodin and alcohol. At least he quit smoking.
This is what I'm taking, and I'm still in constant pain. Mind you, this has only been going on for a week. This is what I took yesterday.
4:30 am oxycodone (7.5-325) and ibuprofen 600 mg
(felt pretty well, had my mom drive me to get cat food)
10:30 am vicodine 5/500
(guess car ride was not such a good idea)
12:20 pm oxycodone
3:00 Vicodine and 600mg ibuprofen
8:30 chlorzoxazone 500mg (muscle relaxor-getting ready for the nightly torture)
1:30 am vicodine
5:00 am (this morning) I decided to sleep in my own bed last night, instead of the couch (which is easier to roll off of) so I took an oxycodone and 600 mg ibuprofen then layed there for 20 minutes, then had my wonderful husband pull me out of bed.
I'm trying not to take too much of the same stuff in one day, but what actually is in oxycodone? If it's codine, I'm fooling myself.
again, thank you so much for your encouragement and advise, you people are really a godsend. God bless, (Che is my cockatiel's name
I don't want to scare you or anything and believe me, i know how excruciating the pain is and ya get to the point where you don't care what you are taking; all you want is pain relief. But im worried that you may be taking too many different meds at the same time (especially being that 2 are narcotics)
Vicodin contains acetominophen (tylenol) PLUS hydrocodone (narcotic). The Oxycodone is ALSO a narcotic pain reliever. Both are similar to Codeine. Plus you are taking all that Ibuprofen and muscle relaxants. Please at least do a search on the web for drug interactions and/or look up each of the drugs you are taking to read up on them & see what they are all about. You can end up damaging your liver or kidneys by taking too many of the same type of drug or something worse.
when you said oxycodone 7.5-350 are you sure thats right? oxycodone has just oxycodone, nothing else (I take it, mine are just 5 mg oxycodone). what is the other 325 mg?
oxycodone and hydrocodone (whats in vicoden) are very similar, so you are on a fairly high dose of narcotic (43.5 mg of it that day if I added it right). for comparison Im on 60 mg oxy a day (10 mg 6 times a day) but am just under 3 weeks post op.
people can take very high doses of narcotic with no damage [b]under close doctor supervision [/b] but thats high enough to possibly notice withdrawl symptoms if you stop suddenly. BUT you need to have a doc figure your doses, you have to get acclimated to high doses. take too much too soon and you can wind up in the hospital with respiratory problems as it slows your breathing down. make sure your doc knows what doses you are taking!
on the other hand, acetominophen can be bad in high doses.. acetominophen can harm your liver when youre over the max daily dose. the max dose is 4000 mg per day and youre at just over 1/2 that.. so be careful that you dont overdo the vicodin. if the other 325 mg of stuff you say is in the oxycodone is acetominophen you are now close the the max daily dose.
not sure what the interactions of the other stuff is but as baybreeze said read up on it or call a pharmacy and ask them.
are all those meds from the same doc? is that his dosage schedule?
PS and No, there isnt anything good on TV
back surgery in JUN 06 - two level ALIF (L3-4-5) with cages and BMP - SUCCESSFUL!
Hi again Holly!
Just thought I'd check and see how you are feeling today. I too am a little concerned about the meds you are taking. Did one doc. prescribe everything? I know what you mean about just wanting to get some pain relief. Have you tried ice? A topical pain cream? Sometimes they can take a little bit of the edge off combined with your meds - they don't really take away the pain, but give your brain another sensation to notice.
I hope today is better for you and that you get some permanent relief soon.
P.S. This might be a little personal, but be careful taking all these meds and constipation. It's the last thing you need to deal with right now. I have an ongoing issue with this problem from all the meds I take so I make sure to keep track of when I go and when I take my laxatives, etc. Sorry if it's TMI
Dee (charlie is my cat - keep him away from your bird