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Old 03-31-2011, 08:58 AM   #1
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Medical procedures instead of pills

I've had chronic pain since a car accident in 2004 that caused a lot of back problems (an MRI in 2006 had a pain specialist telling me I had the spine of someone in their 70s and I was 26 at the time). Over the past few years, I've been getting more and more of a tolerance to different pain meds and I would prefer to be off the pills if possible. I've had trigger point injections many times, several steroid injections in parts of my spine, hips, SI joints, etc. and went through PNT treatment at Walter Reed. The PNT treatment worked the best, it's like acupuncture with electricity - needles going in a few CM and being hooked up to a machine that sends electrical impulses through it. Unfortunately, since my divorce, I can't get treatment at a military health facility and I have not found any civilian practitioners that offer it.
I'm looking into possibly getting a nerve block or something else. I was wondering what experiences anyone has with various medical procedures to help control pain. My medical conditions include osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs with impingement on nerve roots, buldging discs, muscle spasms, bone spurs, ulcerative colitis - recently out of remission, migraines, asthma, allergies and GERD.
Any advice and experiences with medical procedures would be greatly appreciated.

 
Old 03-31-2011, 09:44 AM   #2
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Re: Medical procedures instead of pills

Hi, and welcome to the board. I'm sorry you have been thru so much without getting adequate relief. Since you have herniated discs with nerve impingement, most treatment will only give temporary relief.

Are you seeing a spine specialist? That would be either an Orthopedic surgeon with a fellowship who limits his practice to the spine or a neurosurgeon who likewise has the same fellowship and limits his practice, also. These doctors are best equipped and trained to treat your condition.

Unfortunately, when a nerve is "pinched" there isn't much other than surgery that will help....nerves can become permanently damaged when they are trapped too long.

I am limiting my response to basics. I think you would benefit greatly from posting this on the back pain board where there are many people with a lot of experience with your kind of problems. There you can get varied viewpoints and advise that may help you.

Best of luck....

Carol
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medtronic pain pump implanted
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:03 AM   #3
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Re: Medical procedures instead of pills

Hello, and sorry to hear you are having so much pain and at such a young age. I too have been going through the works with DDD, Cervical Fusion, Lumbard discectomy, Severe Stenosis, and Nerve root impengment.

Just to let you know the procedures I have gone through are as follows; Several Trigger point injections, medial branch blocks, steroid injections, and nerve root burning. I have found no relieve from any of them if not but a day or two accept for the "Nerve Root Burning" they did the C2-C7 and at fisrt i noticed nothing but numbness and for about a month the back of my neck felt like I just got a dose of lidacane and could not feel anything. That wore off after about a month though. Nerve pain that I had from my shoulders to my fingers, with the burning, coldness, tingling, lightning bolt attacts and such are gone at that is a big relief. It did not help for the muscle spasms, cramping, and weakness, bone pain and such but to have the relief of the nerve pain was awesome.

Depending on your situation it could do wonders for you and help get off some of the medication. They say it takes about a month for your nerves to grow an inch so depending on the situation you could be pain free for 6 months. It was quick 15 minutes on the table and home in an hour. No real side effects other than the numbness on the back of my neck.

I hope this helps. Good Luck and I hope you find the relief you are looking for. Being in constant pain sucks and you have to fight for your medical right to feel like a human.

Keep me posted as to your progress/decission. Best of luck to you. (please excuse my spelling it is one of my many weaknesses)
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:09 AM   #4
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Re: Medical procedures instead of pills

Oh, and to add to my post. I prescribe a "TENSE Unit" which is similar to what you explained on a smaller scale. You have pads that you place in certain positions and you control the rate of electrical impulses sent. This has worked wonders for me. It allows you to control it and no side effects. you can use it all day/night long. The only problem is that when you stop, in my case anyway, with in 10/15 minutes the pain is back. Some say after a 30-45 minute treatment they are good for hours. Its small fits on your belt or in your pocket and runs on aaa batteries. It is awesome and i would highly recommend it.
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C5-C6 tear/buldge
C6-C7 ACDF
T1 - T5 neuroforaminal, lesions, facet arthropathy
Disectomy L5/S1
Anxiety
PTSD
Chronic Pain

 
Old 03-31-2011, 12:39 PM   #5
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Re: Medical procedures instead of pills

Thanks for the replies so far, I really appreciate it.
A nerve root burning sounds terrifying to me, but the idea of 6 months without pain sound really good. I'm trying to avoid any spinal surgery until I exhaust every other possible option. My Mom underwent cervical spine reconstruction a few years ago and it's helped her, but it's a last resort kind of thing and at 30, I want to explore everything else first.
I have a TENS unit and also a EMS (muscle stimulator, like a TENS unit, but has more options and actually stimulates the muscles) - I've found some relief with it, but even before the daily narcotics I was diagnosed with hyperhydrosis (fancy term for excess sweating) and the medication for it didn't decrease the sweating, but it dried out my skin to the point of being painful- Bethesda Naval offered me Botox to help, but I continue to believe botulism is toxic and it would be on too much of my body, so...I have trouble getting the pads to stay in place for very long. It does provide some relief. The PNT treatment actually had me pain free for a while - I was amazed at what it felt like not to have pain - it's like I was a whole different person. I highly recommend it if anyone can find it- I think it must be expensive since it's hard to find, but it worked better for me than anything else.
I get the steroid injections done at a spine center and at the pain clinic, my physician (I'm usually seen by a nurse practitioner & she consults with him) does specialize in treating back pain, but I'm not sure of his official training. The impingement of the nerve root probably happened in 2004, but I didn't have a lumbar MRI until 2006 which is when it was diagnosed. Subsequent MRIs have shown that my back doesn't seem to be getting worse, so I'm lucky there. I've been through physical therapy/aquatherapy/chiropractic care/massage therapy several times with limited benefit.
Thanks for the replies and advice. I'd really like to be able to get off all the narcotics and have my mind back - I've noticed the meds definitely dumb me down. Also, last October I started having seizures and it seems they were caused by the high dose of Ultram I was on, so that medication is out now as well.

 
Old 03-31-2011, 01:22 PM   #6
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Re: Medical procedures instead of pills

I had the nerve root burn when insurance covered it and I recevied months of relief. Not toally painfree as I have other areas that can't be dealt with this way. But it kept me from having to increase meds strength or amount

 
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