Discussions that mention morphine

Back Problems board


Hi Everyone, I am a “newbie” to the forum, but have been looking through all the postings for a few weeks and I feel that I should fit right in.

My story starts in late 1997. I was trying to lift a heavy bag of trash up and over my head into a dumpster. I twisted to one side and I felt and heard something tear in my lower back. That night I had to go to the hospital because of the pain and stayed for 4 days on Morphine until my muscles would let loose and the pain was somewhat relieved.

After that I had an MRI and the Neurosurgeon found pretty much nothing to see but 2 slight bulges at levels L-3, 4 and at levels L-4, 5. (Probably from previous wear and tear. I am a carpenter by trade). I told the Dr. that the pain was lower but at that stage it was real hard to tell. This was all new to me and I did not have a clue about what I was really in for.

After a couple of months of physical therapy and pain pills I was back at work, but I could no longer carry my weight on the jobsite and was on pain pills just to make it through the day. I had to find out if some kind of surgery could relieve my pain.

Late in 1998 I went back to the Neurosurgeon and she said that she could take care of the pain by having a 2 level discectomy to relieve the pressure on my main nerves. Being new to the game and not knowing much about it, I agreed to have the surgery. I would find out later that this was not the right way to approach my problem. I should have had a Discogram to pinpoint the problem but I did not even now what a Discogram was.

After surgery, as I lay in the hospital the Dr. came in to my room and said I should be feeling a lot better because everything went well. I told her that I still had pain down there but I thought I just needed a little time to heal and all would be better in a few weeks. After 8 weeks I still had the original pain and I was also sore from the surgery. Now I was worse!

6 months passed be and I still had a lot of pain. The Neurosurgeon said that was all she could do and referred me to the Pain Clinic. At that point I was starting to get scared. (No pain relief with out injections? My job? My kids? My home? Etc…)

Early 1999 I started with the epidural and facet injections of Cortisone etc… Series of 3, sometimes 1. These did give me some short term relief but again, it was short term. During this period of time, I had heard that 2 Stanford Drs. had developed a procedure called IDET.

I soon was on my mission to get in to see one of these Drs. But it was like a 3 month wait and by referral only. I found out one of our little league baseball moms was going in to see the Dr. and I went with her acting like her husband. We went to the appointment and she had a bulging disk with leg pain (no IDET for her). The Dr. sent her up stairs for X-rays and this is when I grabbed his ear. I told him my story and he laughed about how I got in to see him. He said I should come back in 6 months and we would go through the routine. (Physical therapy, cortisone, etc...) After a couple of months I was on the way to having my first IDET.

I started by having my first Discogram (youch!!). This test indicated that I had pain at 3 levels. L-5/S-1 and the 2 discs above that. Unfortunately the disks that I had the discectomies on were still very tender and when he did his test, one of those disks actually hurt a little more than L-5/S-1. (It was so hard to tell, being slightly sedated etc.) . He picked L-3/4 and a couple of weeks later I had the IDET.

6 months of recovery, physical therapy etc… and still no relief. Well as most of you could probably figure out, I was now starting to get depressed. I found a new job doing estimating in an office and figured a desk job would be a piece of cake compared to the physical work of being a carpenter. This worked out well in the beginning but sitting at a desk for 8 to 9 hours a day started to bother me. I lasted 1-1/2 years full time and 1/2 year part time, but I no longer could do my job being in constant pain. During this period of time I had cortisone injections every 3 months and was on pain pills almost everyday. Also during this period I had a Rhizotomy at level L-4/ 5 facets (no help).

Now its early 2001, still in pain, I had another discogram and it told us that L-5/S-1 was the disk that was hurting (I should have had this done at the very beginning). I had another IDET at that level and during the procedure the Dr. had a hard time getting the catheter into the disk because it was damaged pretty badly. He tried from the other side with the same result. This treatment did nothing to help but at least we know where the pain is coming from now.

Well here we are February 2003, and since my last IDET I have had a few more cortisone injections but they no longer help and I plan on no more. I have since seen to 2 Orthopedic Drs and 1 other Neurosurgeon. 2 of the Drs. say that a 3 level fusion may be my only option at this point. 1 of the Orthopedic Drs. said we could do a one level fusion and if I can hold out another year maybe a single level artificial disk replacement instead.

That is where I am at today, trying to figure out what to do next (if anything).

I am currently taking 4-6 Vicoprofen 7.5 mg. and 2 Flexeril 10mg per day but this is not cutting it anymore and I worry about taking so much Ibuprofen each day. I am going to ask my Dr for something stronger. This is where I fear it will get tougher. The Drs. do not like to give out stronger meds.

We’ll that is my story and I look forward to communicating with all.