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Old 02-10-2009, 12:33 PM   #1
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new to board and in a lot of pain!

hi there,

I am glad I found this board. Just to introduce myself, I'm a 33 year old female, live in Chicago, just relocated from NYC a year ago. Two years ago I had sudden back pain in my lower back and found out I have spondy at L5-S1. I saw a chiro, and eventually with patience and PT I felt better. I also saw a neurologist but didn't find much relief, only enough to help me sleep at night. I liked the Lidocaine patches but that was really it. I finally got back up to running again and ran a few races. I was running up to 35-40 miles a week and when stretching after a long run, got stuck. I felt pain in the same spot, but it started to go away after a few days and moist heat/ice. 4 days later I was in a severe car accident. My husband and I were rear-ended on our way to the commuter train. We were hit by an idiot who was on the phone and speeding on icy roads in a left turn lane. He made no attempt to stop. We were hit at 40-45 mph. My husband was driving and made the split-second decision to pull the emergency brake so we wouldn’t be pushed into oncoming traffic. As a result, our car was totaled and I'm left in a LOT of pain. We both have whiplash symptoms still. The accident was on 1/15. We are seeing a chiropractor to help with the stiffness and pain in our neck/shoulder/jaw. My back has better days but then days where I have excruciating nerve pain in both legs. I sit at a desk all day which doesn't help. I miss being active. I was training for the marathon and now it hurts to play with my puppy or stand and cook dinner. I'm dealing with so much stress, anxiety, frustration but really want to feel some relief. I am making an appointment with an orthopedic dr as well. We're not suing, yet. But all my bills are being sent to his insurance. So I may as well pursue the best care possible. I want relief!! I hate this. We had mild weather in Chicago last Sat and I just needed some fresh air so I took my puppy for a short walk. he doesn't pull me, he walks very nicely. I got home and about 15 mins later I could barely stand up. I just want to cry. I miss running because it's my release from the stress/anxiety in life and right now I'm dealing with a LOT. Sorry, guess I just needed to vent. I had an MRI last week so I'll see how that goes. My chiro thinks I have a bulging disc, and I don’t know what the difference is between bulging or ruptured or if there is any. I just know that it feels much worse than it did initially after my run. That was more of a stiffness, a knot. This is pain all down my legs and in my feet. I can't even walk to the train station after work I have to pay for a taxi most days. I never feel up to going out after work. I feel like I've aged 40 years in a month. any other suggestions, help, feedback would be helpful.

Thanks,
Amy

 
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Old 02-10-2009, 01:00 PM   #2
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Re: new to board and in a lot of pain!

Hi and welcome!

Sorry you are in so much pain. Do you know what grade of spondy you have? You and I are similiar. I am 27, married, and have a toddler. My pain started out of no where 9 months ago. I have grade 1 spondy of L5 on S1, and 2 herniated discs at L4-L5 and L5-S1. When will you get your MRI results? It will be interesting to see how things have progressed after your accident.
Your Dr. will probably have you try an epidural steroid injection to help with your pain. I have had 2, and neither one helped me at all, but they do work for a lot of people. They may also want you to try physical therapy. They will try every treatment possible before doing surgery. Unfortunately PT hasn't been working for me, it is making the pain so much worse. I have an appointment with my surgeon on Thursday and I think he is going to schedule my fusion surgery.
The pain is so hard to deal with. I to used to be very active and energetic. I have already lost my job as a result of all this. I also want to have more babies, but I cannot imagine being pregnant with the pain I have right now. Ice really helps me, and even though they say heat will make inflammation worse, it helps with my leg pain. Good luck and let me know if I can answer any more questions!

 
Old 02-10-2009, 01:18 PM   #3
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Re: new to board and in a lot of pain!

hi, and thanks!

well i haven't started PT yet. my body is in so much pain. I have the whiplash and it affects my neck, head, shoulders, upper back…I get stiffness in my jaw and earaches. I try to do mild stretching and it's very minimal. 2 years ago I had an epidural and it made me feel a million times worse. I'm not sure if it was the doctor or if it just aggravated my inflamed back but it hurt so much - I had to take a taxi home from uptown manhattan to brooklyn because I couldn't stand to get on the subway. my husband had to carry me inside and I was unable to get up w/o help for 2 days.

I'm wondering what the MRI shows and if the ortho will help? I know there are a LOT of people who are anti-chiropractor but for now she has helped because she's not doing any adjustments, just heat, massage, stim, ultrasound. this has helped my upper body. ice helps me a lot. I get home and just lie flat and ice for 15 mins an hour. I also have a portable TENS unit which she gave me which for some reason makes me feel worse sometimes but I keep using it in hopes it will help.

Ahh the frustration. I have no idea when we can settle with this idiot who hit us but I'm not settling until I'm back to myself. 100%

 
Old 02-10-2009, 08:49 PM   #4
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Re: new to board and in a lot of pain!

Any chance you are in the north suburbs? I highly recommend Dr. Jack Perlmutter in Barrington. He did my spinal surgery eons ago and I have a friend who is a PT in the area and still raves about him.
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Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 02-11-2009, 06:28 AM   #5
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Re: new to board and in a lot of pain!

hey, i am actually in palatine, funny you should mention. i work downtown so i'll be seeing an orthopedic doc at northwestern, dr. michael haak (not sure if you've heard of him). i like my chiro for helping treat the neck stiffness, pain and i will eventually do pt, but right now i dont think my body can handle it. i do basic stretches and feel like i'm going to die. i should give the doc you recommend a call just because he's so close by but i work 9-5 in chicago, so it's usually easier to see someone in this area.

 
Old 02-11-2009, 02:39 PM   #6
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Re: new to board and in a lot of pain!

Hi Amy...So sorry about your car wreck. I'm in the west suburbs (Riverside)...I have spondy too (grade 2 @ L5-S1). I SO totally feel your frustration about not being able to run. I'm a runner, too (well WAS a runner)...although I hadn't got up to the mileage you were doing. I was maybe doing 20-25mpw...along with working out in the gym daily. I think I blocked a lot of the pain, because I was seeing such great weight loss results with the running. Plus, I figured the added benefit of losing weight had to be better for my back. Then, roughly 2 years ago the pain suddenly got much worse. Along with my normal low back tightness/stiffness, I also had excruiating pain radiating down my right leg. An MRI confirmed a compressed nerve due to severe spinal stenosis. Went to a NS who wasn't much help...he ordered 6 weeks of PT which did not help at all. I decided to take matters into my own hands and bought an inversion table. After 3 months of daily use, I cured my own sciatica...go figure! I'm still using the table everyday as a preventive measure..plus it just plain feels good on my back. Last summer, I tried my hand at triathlon...I completed 2 - a sprint and an olympic distance. Back in October, I signed myself up for a Half Ironman event that is taking place in mid-July. But since then, my back pain has continued to worsen. Running a half-marathon (which I've never done, btw) seems totally out of my reach, at this point. I'm just not sure if my back will allow me to run that kind of distance...and it makes me feel so sad and depressed. My chiro thinks I should stop running altogether. Yesterday, I saw an orthopedic spine doctor for the first time. The visit didn't go well. He didn't tell me anything that I already didn't know. The only options he offered me were injections or surgery. And of course, he said "running is pretty much over" for me. Even was so bold to say that he wouldn't even consider operating on me, if my intentions were to continue doing triathlons. Well gee...THAT was an uplifting comment to make. I walked out of his office on the verge of tears. I really don't know what my next step will be. I guess I'll just take it day-by-day. I want SO badly to finish that Half Ironman...and I'm determined to find a way...even if I have to WALK the entire run portion of the race.

Anyways...I don't really have much advice to offer you, but I wanted you to know that I can certainly relate to your situation. I wish you well and hope you're able to find some answers to heal your pain and get running again!

Linda

 
Old 02-11-2009, 05:54 PM   #7
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Re: new to board and in a lot of pain!

Even if you just see him for a consultation it may help you get a second opinion. And keep in mind, if you were to have surgery you may want a doctor who is closer to your home (that's what I ended up doing. I was working in downtown Chicago but living in Wheeling). But if the doctor you are seeing has good reviews and you like him it can be worth having him downtown.
__________________
Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 02-11-2009, 07:05 PM   #8
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Re: new to board and in a lot of pain!

Hi Amy,
I'm not sure if you had an MRI of both your lumbar area and your cervical spine. My husband and I were rear ended while sitting at a red light in 1997. We heard the guy coming and he was revving the engine instead of hitting the brakes and hit us at an undetermined speed but probably around 40 mph. Our bumper on our truck stopped him and it bent the frame on the truck. When I got out of the vehicle I could not believe who was behind the wheel.....a 93 year old man with cigarette burns in his clothes, motor still running, and didn't know where he was or where he was going when the police arrived. And to beat it all, he was in a rental car that he had just picked up about two hours earlier! I was so amped up at the time that I didn't think I was hurt. WRONG!! I can certainly empathize with you on the whiplash symptoms. Both me and my husband suffered from whiplash for 18 months continuously and still to this day have issues with our neck, husband has TMJ problems. None of this was a problem prior to this accident. An MRI of my neck showed I had two disc bulges in the C5-C7 area and the NS doctor thought I had a small cord contusion based on my symptoms.

The long and short of this is, I would not settle with this until I was content with where I was (for both you and your husband). Don't let anyone tell you that you have a "simple whiplash" injury as there is no such thing. I went to PT also and the thing that helped me the most was the electrical stimulation and heat. I still to this day have to put heat on my neck if I do any activities for prolonged periods of time or anything over my head. Insurance companies will want to settle out of court for a certain amount but just heed my advice and know that you could potentially have problems down the road. Get the treatment you need before you release them of responsibility.

I also have spondylolithesis and have had lumbar disc herniations resulting in a laminectomy/fusion. I'm pretty sure much of my lumbar problems are related to my chosen profession which required turning and transporting folks on gurneys (which I have been forced into retirement due to these issues). Hope you get back on track quickly since you are such a young thing and so active. Just get the care you need to speed you on to that recovery!!
Jan

 
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