I'm just curious when everyone says they have lived with lower back pain for however long....what would you rate as your average pain level?
FOr me, I've had intense back spasms and pain off/on for over 2 years. The past few months has been constant discomfort (about 3-4 level) whether I am lying down, sitting, standing. Whenever I try to do something active like walking around the block, running, kicking the ball etc. spasms hit me and I'm at a 7-8.
I'm 39 with two young kids. I've tried everything and none of it works. Surgery is the last option and as much as I dread the whole process, I'm ready to be active for my kids. For those of you that have had surgery (or scheduled), what has been your pain levels, and for how long?
I have had back pain for a little over 17 years now. Not always extreme but bad pain. I had my first back surgery in 1991 when I was 18 and then I was able to tolerate the pain until 2006 when they did a second diskectomy and now I am getting ready to have a 2 level fusion on my lower back. I am scheduled to have the surgery on Dec 29,2008. I am a little nervous, but with the constant pain and I am on Hydrocodone 1000 mg a day and sometimes that does not even touch it. I can understand where you are coming from and believe me I know pain. I exahausted all of my resources from injections, pain meds, physical therapy, etc. I hope you find answers and if you decide surgery make sure you ask lots of questions. I have 3 girls and a loving husband and I have always tried to be active with them even through the pain. I have gotten to a point where it is almost unbearable (the pain). My family needs me to be 100% and at this moment I am not. That is one of the reasons that I made the decision to have the fusion. I need to do it for myself as well as them.
Everyones perception of pain is different from one another as well as their interpretation to the pain scale. What I consider a 3/4 may be a 1 to you or a 6. Also how one is able to handle the pain differs from person to person. I use a variety of methods to help reudce my pain such as: accupuncture, relaxation tapes, pool, spa, heat, ice, biofeedback, tens unit, etc. which allows me to cope with my pain a little more.
Personally, I think there is no average pain level individuals are to achieve or meet before going ahead with surgery.
I think, my own intrepretation, you need to look instead at what it is that you can't do because of the pain and then decide if in your opinion this justifies surgery to you -- not your spouse or doctor -- but you. You are the one missing out on life or some activity and suffering the aftermath of pain.
Then - please don't take this wrong or negatively - realize that surgery is a risk. It is a big move. Sometimes with spine surgery things turn out wonderful. I had my first surgery at 17 and I lived well over 20 years with zero problems. I was able to ride roller coasters, run, lift weights, move heavy items - you might say I totally forgot about my back completely until one day in 2004 when I was playing with my children and felt a big pop.
To make a long story short, after dealing with pain for two years I had one surgery, laminectomy, which worked temporarily until I blew it out completely. Then I had another surgery - a fusion. It failed and I had to have a revision surgery and now my pain is 5x worse and I am facing another surgery.
I am sharing this with you not to scare you, not to belittle your pain, not to say that your surgery will fail, and most of all to be negative in anyway. You see, I have had successful surgery and unsuccessful surgery. I have seen and lived both sides. You need to look deep inside and ask yourself if surgery is worth the risk of it working or not working out. Can you live with you pain as it is today or can you imagine it being worse or better?
Just another way to think about things. I pray things go well for you whichever way you decide to move forward. I want you to know that I am here to support you and wanted you to think about things a little differently. Also to say that I am a believer in surgery....although it may not sound like it from my post.
For me a "1" is discomfort-nagging little pain but you keep going as usual.
2-3 is taking motrin or tylenol and an icepack-rest a bit and keep going.
4-6 is keping me from doing what I need to and I am on narcotics (vicodin) and probably and muscle relaxer.
7-8 and I am in bed with Pizza Hut on speed dial. Narcotics and follow up with doctor
9-10 was pre and post surgery-about two weeks on either side of it. My pain before surgery was really more in my legs then lower back due to sciatica. I was taking the maximum dosage recommended of hydrocodone7.5/750. I had to stop working and could barely get around to take care of myself adn family.
I live at a 3-4. I had scar tissue wrap around the nerve root. If I do too much I can end up at a 7-8 where it hurts too much to sleep. MOST days-85% of the time I feel really good and have resumed life as normal before surgery. I would do the fusion again in a second.
PS-Tami-1000 mgs? Are you sure? When i was taking the max it was about 60-70 mgs in a 24hour period. I think 1000 would be toxic. Let me know-I am kind of worried about you!
My scale is close to what atwork said......I stay close to the 3/5 range but I handle pain without meds fairly well and this has caused doctors to think I was hurting less than I told them.....One doctor said here is another script for pain meds and I said nahhhh I still have plenty.....he was puzzled.....Ive learned to just take the script and shut up....lol.....then we get somewhere.
I take aleve and it does ease pain along with all the crazy standing on your head, hot showers,etc to help pain.....lol I just hate the loopy feeling more than the pain....last thing I want is to hurt and be loopy. Can anyone relate to that? Ive always had a healthy back with strong muscles and all....since the car wreck my life has changed dramatically......I fight for my life back on a daily basis....my wife and son are very dependant of me and this surgery is taking its toll on them already.....its hard for me to leave them for the recovery time......so I feel like the surgery must be done to stop the pain so my life with hope can ressume.
My pain wont let me live the quality life I once knew so it needs to change....if it gets worse I still live in the same boat as now.I can only gain.