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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board
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Old 02-21-2007, 02:16 AM   #1
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Newbie who is frustrated (sorry its long)

Hi everyone

I am a 44 year old female in the Nashville, TN area who used to be very athletic and active. About a year and a half ago, I came down with pneumonia. The coughing was pretty intense. I woke up one morning shortly after going to the dr for the pneumonia only to hit the floor because my left leg gave out and I had severe back pain. I went to the dr who said you probably just have a pulled muscle. After 2 more visits, they sent me to have an MRI done and then onto a neurosurgeon. I had 2 ruptured discs in my back which according to the MRI created moderate to severe compression of the spinal canal and nerves. Outpatient surgery didn't relieve it, PT didn't relieve it and epidurals didn't relieve it so I had surgery in Feb 2006 to replace and fuse the 2 discs. Because it took 8 months to have surgery after it happened, there is possible permanent nerve damage.

After six months of that, I was telling my dr. about the problems in my arm and shoulder along with severe headaches thinking ok this must just be stemming from the back surgery. An MRI revealed 3 shattered discs (yes not ruptured but shattered), a huge bone spur formation and slivers of the discs basically embedded in the nerve roots. Surgery for this was in October. Still dealing with healing from this and constant pain. I am told that not only was having 3 discs done, alot of "clean up" and my cervical spine was a total mess, that I have a long lean neck which takes longer to heal than say a short musclar neck.

I have been telling the dr basically since November that something isn't right with my back and leg. I get so tired of hearing, things take time to heal, if its not a "different" or worsening pain just give it time.

I am having alot of pain in my hip and leg AGAIN. I can't lay in a bed because I can't walk when I get up for the back pain and add a double whammie that between my neck and back, there is NO comfortable position to sleep sooo I am sleep deprived as well.

My dr. told me last week that I have degenerative disc disease with chronic pain syndrome and that the pain may never completely go away. I know my body and SOMETHING Is wrong and causing it. I shouldn't be in this much pain all the time. Do they just stop listening to us after disc replacement and fusion surgery by chalking it up to "its part of it"?

What could be causing the pain all the time if the discs were removed and replaced to relieve the nerve pressure? How can I get my dr. to take me serious and listen?

Sorry this has been so long but I feel like I am losing it since I have walked the floors for 3 days now in more pain than usual.

Jami in TN

 
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Old 02-21-2007, 09:21 AM   #2
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Re: Newbie who is frustrated (sorry its long)

sorry you don't feel well. it is common for doctors to think your pain is left over from prior problems, because for some people their pain never completely goes away, although it can get better over time, it can also stay pretty strong depending on what damage there was. If you have general degenerative problems, it is reasonable to expect you will alwas have some pain.

If you are taking care of yourself and not doing activities that are aggravating your condition, you can expect some improvement as the months roll by. If you are not getting some improvement and new symptoms are showing, it is important to go back to the doctor and have them evaluated.

Most doctors don't expect a patient to develop new problems so quickly, but fusions can put additional stresses on the levels around where they did prior surgeries. Most expect new problems to not happen for 3-10 years, but me, like a couple other people on this board had new problems happen after only 1 year. Most of the time this is from osteophytes (bone spurs) growing and compressing on nerves or other structures like the facets getting arthritis.

Also, your pain could be from other sources. My sister had some female problems that caused hip and leg pain, so it is always important to follow through until you have an answer.

 
Old 02-21-2007, 11:28 AM   #3
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Re: Newbie who is frustrated (sorry its long)

HI

I can't tell from your post exactly where the levels are you had done... but it sounds like only cervical?? did you have an MRI on your lumbar spine?? I insisted on a lumbar MRI even though the doc was telling me all my problems were from cervical spine, but the MRI showed a L4-5 with spinal cord compression too! So I knew that I was getting compressed from top and bottom..the symptoms you described really sound like lumbar/sciatic..problems...jean

 
Old 02-21-2007, 01:42 PM   #4
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Re: Newbie who is frustrated (sorry its long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdancer View Post
HI

I can't tell from your post exactly where the levels are you had done... but it sounds like only cervical?? did you have an MRI on your lumbar spine?? I insisted on a lumbar MRI even though the doc was telling me all my problems were from cervical spine, but the MRI showed a L4-5 with spinal cord compression too! So I knew that I was getting compressed from top and bottom..the symptoms you described really sound like lumbar/sciatic..problems...jean
I had Lumbar surgery in Feb 2006, L3/4 and L4/5 that were replaced and fused. Cervical, c4/5, c5/6 and c/7 were replaced and fused in October 2006.

I was scheduled for an MRI this morning but have been in so much pain that I coudln't even sleep until around 6 this morning so I have to reschedule. I don't know how I am even going to lay on the table because I can't lay in a bed.

Jami

 
Old 02-22-2007, 06:52 AM   #5
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Re: Newbie who is frustrated (sorry its long)

Dear Jami


I know that it will be hard but you have to bear the MRI because it might show what is going on... sounds like something isn't right in the lumbar area..is it only on one leg?? Maybe a simple xray would show compression area? that would be easier than an MRI and sometimes the position is important for example maybe compression is worse when upright than laying in supine... and an xray would probably be done upright... good luck..jean

 
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