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    Old 06-13-2013, 02:18 PM   #1
    Dave8845
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    Question Lower severe back pain management

    I first broke my back in 1981 and L5 had slipped forward 7.5mm. Now it has slipped over 30mm and continues to move. All 5 L discs are herniated and degenerating. 3 T discs have the same problem. I have Grade III Spondylolisthesis at L5-S1 & Grade II Spondylolisthesis as L2-L3. I also have severe osteoarthritis in my entire back as well as Scoliosis. I have had Scoliosis for 7 years now and my previous doc didn't bother to tell me about it. He told me he didn't care about me and before he left town he implied this to the other doc in the same office whom i am now seeing. Over the past 7 years my back pain has gotten significantly worse. There are times when i cannot find a comfortable position to be in and i start to get suicidal thoughts thinking this is what i have to look forward to for the rest of my life. I have been told by several surgeons that it is too risky to operate on my back.
    Right now i take M-Eslon 30mg (12 hr. time release x 3t per day and 8t of Percocet (5/325mg), 2t every 6 hours. Some of the time these meds work and other times not so well. Does anyone else have any ideas and what has worked for you?? Thanks for your help.

     
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    Old 06-14-2013, 04:06 PM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: Lower severe back pain management

    I'm sorry you are in so much pain and I am sorry no one responded to your post sooner. I read it earlier but didn't have much to offer, so didn't respond.

    Do you think the reason the surgeons do not want to attempt a fusion is because the adjoining vertebrae would be too weak to hold the screws?

    I think you were done a dissservice by not having the scoliosis addressed. That probably has contributed to the problems you now have in your lumbar spine.

    Since you are in Canada I can't tell you my standard suggestion -- to go to another specialist for a "second" opinion. With that amount of spondylolisthesis, and with it continuing to move, I don't know what to tell you if you cannot have a fusion. Have you tried wearing a back brace -- like a custom made hard shell type thing...not just a spandex thing....? I would think you would need something structural to help to hold you together.

    Would you be able to travel to Seattle to see what someone here might be willing to try?

    Regarding medications, have you been on one of the "nerve pain" drugs like gabapentin, (Neurontin) or Lyrica? Might you be a candidate for a neurostimulator to try to block the pain signals to the brain?

     
    Old 06-16-2013, 03:26 PM   #3
    Dave8845
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    Thumbs up Re: Lower severe back pain management

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teteri66 View Post
    I'm sorry you are in so much pain and I am sorry no one responded to your post sooner. I read it earlier but didn't have much to offer, so didn't respond.

    Do you think the reason the surgeons do not want to attempt a fusion is because the adjoining vertebrae would be too weak to hold the screws?

    I think you were done a dissservice by not having the scoliosis addressed. That probably has contributed to the problems you now have in your lumbar spine.

    Since you are in Canada I can't tell you my standard suggestion -- to go to another specialist for a "second" opinion. With that amount of spondylolisthesis, and with it continuing to move, I don't know what to tell you if you cannot have a fusion. Have you tried wearing a back brace -- like a custom made hard shell type thing...not just a spandex thing....? I would think you would need something structural to help to hold you together.

    Would you be able to travel to Seattle to see what someone here might be willing to try?

    Regarding medications, have you been on one of the "nerve pain" drugs like gabapentin, (Neurontin) or Lyrica? Might you be a candidate for a neurostimulator to try to block the pain signals to the brain?
    Hi, Thank you so much for your reply and also for your suggestions. I have always been told to "here take this med and live with it!" I know know that i should have had a L5-S1 fusion in 1981 when i first broke my back. L5 is now displaced forward over 30 mm and it is too far out for any fusion. The disc between L5 & S1 has been squashed absolutely flat and is protruding way out and under where the displaced portion of L5 vertebrae is now. L2 is displaced about 10mm and all L discs are compressed (herniated) and are deteriorating quickly. I also have 3 very bad T discs. I have scoliosis that my doc failed to tell me about and my back can go out in as many as 6 places. I have terrible sciatic pain down both legs with a lot of numbness also and sometimes i also have what is called 'drop foot' from having weak shin muscles. I also have severe osteoarthritis in my entire back. My doctor over the past 13 years had even told me that he didn't care about me. Yes that is God's truth. That is exactly what he said to me on more than one occasion. In 1983 my doc put me on anabolic steroids to help strengthen my lower back which it did and also as a result i put on a huge amount of muscle mass and then for over 20 years i lifted quite crazy heavy weights and by the early 2000's my back really started to deteriorate.
    I have tried to strengthen my lower back & ab muscles but it is difficult. I can ride my recumbent bike for exercise but i also have a great deal of knee pain and i need 2 knee replacements. I can't even walk one block any more. I had always been so very active my entire life and now not being able to do much can be depressing. This isn't good reading is it? For me it is what it is and i have to live with it. No doctor has ever suggested any type of injection or other meds than pain meds or anything else. They just write the prescription for the pain and send me out the door. I have heard of gabapentin and i will suggest it to my doc. My bad doc left town (yay) and i am stuck with another doc in the same clinic who is just seeing me until then can find a new doc to take my old docs place.
    I just try to do what i can each day. I am not the type of person who can just sit or lay around all day. Thanks again.

     
    Old 06-16-2013, 05:43 PM   #4
    gmak
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    Re: Lower severe back pain management

    Sorry, see updated, edited version next post., please!!& severe pain & now even though there is much wrong , no surgeries. I, too, take narcotics to cover the pain because i have arachnoiditis which makes whatever is wrong inoperable. It isnt talked about freely so it took 24 years for someone to tell me, we have traumatic spinal injury neurosurgeons that do fix really bad severe problems but i was told by them to live with it. So, i understand the despair of this situation. I have learned ways to distract myself & this with the meds is how i make it but i also use a TENS unit to "buzz out" the pain. Have you tried a tens unit? It saves me on really bad days. Do you like the clinic where you are seen? Forgive me for not knowing but can you change drs? Just wanted you to know i get it & its hard to face but its your life & receiving all the help, training, educatioh
    on how to live with this severe pain helps me. What all have you tried?

    Last edited by gmak; 06-16-2013 at 05:53 PM. Reason: idk how but posted before i chaged wording, im sorry

     
    Old 06-16-2013, 05:50 PM   #5
    gmak
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    Re: Lower severe back pain management

    Hi dave, I have a long history of lumbar surgeries & severe pain & now even though there is much wrong , no surgeries are allowed. I, too, take narcotics to cover the pain because i have arachnoiditis which makes whatever is wrong inoperable. Arach isnt talked about freely, it took 24 years for someone to tell me, we have traumatic spinal injury neurosurgeons that do fix really severe problems but i was told by them to live with it. So, i understand the despair of this situation. I have learned ways to distract myself & this with the meds is how i make it but i also use a TENS unit to "buzz out" the pain. Have you tried a tens unit? It saves me on really bad days. Forgive me for not knowing but can you see a spinal trauma neurosurgeon? Just wanted you to know i get it & its hard to face but its your life & receiving all the help, training, education on how to live with this severe pain helps me. What all have you tried?

     
    Old 06-17-2013, 01:07 PM   #6
    Dave8845
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    Re: Lower severe back pain management

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gmak View Post
    Sorry, see updated, edited version next post., please!!& severe pain & now even though there is much wrong , no surgeries. I, too, take narcotics to cover the pain because i have arachnoiditis which makes whatever is wrong inoperable. It isnt talked about freely so it took 24 years for someone to tell me, we have traumatic spinal injury neurosurgeons that do fix really bad severe problems but i was told by them to live with it. So, i understand the despair of this situation. I have learned ways to distract myself & this with the meds is how i make it but i also use a TENS unit to "buzz out" the pain. Have you tried a tens unit? It saves me on really bad days. Do you like the clinic where you are seen? Forgive me for not knowing but can you change drs? Just wanted you to know i get it & its hard to face but its your life & receiving all the help, training, educatioh
    on how to live with this severe pain helps me. What all have you tried?
    Thank you very much for your reply. It is quite hard to find a new doctor in my area so i am stuck with the one i have right now. The narcotics do work and just in the past month they re evaluated me and then increased the Percocet from 6 per day to 8 per day to go along with the three M-Eslon 30mg that i also take. I really hate having to rely on these pain meds but i have no choice. The pain is simply unbearable without that relief. I feel like i am tied to watching my clock because i have to time these meds all day every day. Is a tens unit one that sends electricity through areas of your body? I think my Aunt used to use one daily for her shingles. When i see my doc on Friday i am going to ask for an x-ray as well as a referral to a back specialist in Vancouver (450 miles away). Have a good day!

     
    Old 06-17-2013, 01:13 PM   #7
    Dave8845
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    Re: Lower severe back pain management

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gmak View Post
    Sorry, see updated, edited version next post., please!!& severe pain & now even though there is much wrong , no surgeries. I, too, take narcotics to cover the pain because i have arachnoiditis which makes whatever is wrong inoperable. It isnt talked about freely so it took 24 years for someone to tell me, we have traumatic spinal injury neurosurgeons that do fix really bad severe problems but i was told by them to live with it. So, i understand the despair of this situation. I have learned ways to distract myself & this with the meds is how i make it but i also use a TENS unit to "buzz out" the pain. Have you tried a tens unit? It saves me on really bad days. Do you like the clinic where you are seen? Forgive me for not knowing but can you change drs? Just wanted you to know i get it & its hard to face but its your life & receiving all the help, training, educatioh
    on how to live with this severe pain helps me. What all have you tried?
    Hi again,

    As for what i have tried i try to keep my body weight at a lower level and i also try to keep my lower back & abdominal muscles strong. This used to help keep the pain down but my back is so far gone now that it doesn't seem to be working any more. I also try to ride my recumbent bike daily as that gets the endorphins released in my brain which helps to make me feel a bit better. Stretching also helps a little bit and i can decrease the sciatic pain down my left leg by doing this. It doesn't help with the right side sciatic pain.

     
    Old 06-17-2013, 03:02 PM   #8
    gmak
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    Re: Lower severe back pain management

    I couldnt exercise at all now other than walking & stretching but with spondylisthesis strong muscles help support the spine at the level/levels where the slippage occurs but the spinal nerves can be compressed in between the vertebrae & by the protruding disc & the dr especially a spine specialist would know if & which exercises can be continued. Thats really a long way to the dr but if i were you i would want a spine specialist for a severe spine problem. Do you mean a flexion/extension x-ray? TENS stands for transcutaneous neurostimulation which basically means wahat you said. An electrical "buzz" comes from an electrode put on the skin & a battery powered boz but it works for me! I just "buzz" that pain away or just down really. The dr should know about it & alot of gp's send patients to PT to have it applied, they are simple to use. If i were you i would slow down or stop any weight bearing exercise until i cleared it with the dr because any lifting, twisting, bending, stooping, climbing are off limits for me & alot of back patients.

     
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    Old 06-18-2013, 05:35 PM   #9
    Dave8845
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    Re: Lower severe back pain management

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gmak View Post
    I couldnt exercise at all now other than walking & stretching but with spondylisthesis strong muscles help support the spine at the level/levels where the slippage occurs but the spinal nerves can be compressed in between the vertebrae & by the protruding disc & the dr especially a spine specialist would know if & which exercises can be continued. Thats really a long way to the dr but if i were you i would want a spine specialist for a severe spine problem. Do you mean a flexion/extension x-ray? TENS stands for transcutaneous neurostimulation which basically means wahat you said. An electrical "buzz" comes from an electrode put on the skin & a battery powered boz but it works for me! I just "buzz" that pain away or just down really. The dr should know about it & alot of gp's send patients to PT to have it applied, they are simple to use. If i were you i would slow down or stop any weight bearing exercise until i cleared it with the dr because any lifting, twisting, bending, stooping, climbing are off limits for me & alot of back patients.
    Hi, I see my temporary doc on Friday and i am going to ask for more x-rays (just basics x-rays where i am still in one position) as well as a referral to a spine specialist in Vancouver. You also have spondylolisthesis? Above you mentioned spondylisthesis. Same thing? I'm afraid the doc i am seeing now is not much better than my last doc who left town. I pretty much have to tell him what i want done. All he does is keep writing prescriptions for pain meds which do help but still if there is any way i could get more relief from this much pain 24 hrs. a day i am all for it. I am going to ask him about the TENS as well as to what i want to do. I did something not too smart in hindsight today but just a few months ago i could do this activity without the pain increasing. I rode the recumbent bike for 30 min. then i decided to do just one set of seated bicep curls (2 x 45lbs.) for 10 reps and i am so much pain at this moment it is not good at all. The pain level is above what the pain meds can actually help me with so i have spent all afternoon moving around my apt. from place to place about 100 times. Very frustrating. My back has changed a lot even over the past 7 months and now i am seeing big changes from month to month. I have always been an extremely athletic & active person and to not being able to do much right now is not good at all. It's quite difficult to adjust to how everything is now. It's also better for me not to dwell on everything too much and to try and keep busy. Have a Good Night!

     
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