Discussions that mention tylenol

Back Problems board

Hello, everyone!

As a newbie I'll do my best to keep this brief--I need all the help and suggestions I can get.

About fifteen months ago I fell off my back porch, twisted around and landed on my lower back. Ever since then I have been suffering with pain in my lower left lumbar area. I've had X-Rays and a CT Scan performed with a prognosis of degenerative arthritis. Recently, however, I obtained a second opinion from another general practitioner who said I have two slipped discs and "chronic spasms," as well as degenerative arthritis.

I am taking Tylenol #4 (1 tablet 3 times a daily) for the pain, Ibuprofen (800 mgs./3-4 times a day) for inflamation and have tried several different kinds of muscle relaxers, including Flexeril (very expensive and made me feel sick so I do not take it anymore), Baclofen (which did nothing for the spasms) and Soma (another muscle relaxer that did not seem to help at all).

I attempted physical therapy for twelve weeks and ended up in even worse pain than before. I saw a chiropractor twice and, in both cases left the office feeling a little better--then, without fail, an hour later, the pain came raging back...worse than before. My primary physician has even suggested acupuncture: unfortunately the nearest practitioner of acupuncture is about 2 1/2 hours from where I live.

A friend of mine--who is a registered nurse--suggested I talk to my doctor about ordering an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging); she assured me that the procedure is safe and will show far more details regarding my back pain than an X-Ray or a CT Scan.

My quality of life has degenerated significantly since December, 2004 when I fell off the back porch. I am desparate to return to a normal life again. I'm 36 and in otherwise good health. I have a beautiful, supportive wife and three wonderful kids who I'd love to spend more time with. Unfortunately, my back pain limits my activities so much that I have even considered seeking counseling to deal with the emotional depression it causes.

Could anyone please suggest some ideas regarding how I could better manage the pain in my back? Should I consider surgery? Are there alternatives available that I have not considered?

Thank you very much for your responses and suggestions.
Thanks to all of you for your timely advice. I did order (finally--successfully) an MRI. Unfortunately, the day I ordered the MRI I was airlifted to a major hospital with an excellent cardiology unit for several mild heart attacks which began on May 30. Unaware of what the pressure in the center of my chest was, I canned an RN and she suggested it was gas. The pressure in the center of my chest, which continued up into my neck and jaws and down my left arm, took place three more times until, on the 20th of June, I spoke with a receptionist at my local clinic about it.

"That's not gas pain," she said. "Sounds more like a heart-related issue. Let's get you in today to see a real physician."

From there I went to the ER where I saw a cardiologist and--to make a long story short--learned I'd suffered as many as four mild heart attacks over the past thirty days.

That night in Critical Care, I had another mild attack. It turned out to be a long night, indeed, with shots of 40-80 cc.'s of morphine every four hours to keep my back and chest pain under control.

Since my release I have quit smoking and started walking again--albeit a little at a time (I cannot do anything other than light exercises for the next eighty days); my GP has placed me on Tylenol #4 X6 per day +2 during the night if needed for breakthrough. Until my MRI is approved by the State of California I can only wonder what they will find when it is finally complete.

My GP has already informed me that--unfortunately--MediCal and Medicare will not cover a spine specialist and/or a back operation. I may be able to make a plea to the Governor for a TAR to cover these things, however, given my low socioeconomic status such action will probably remain a dream at best.

As long as I take my narcs on time every day, I'm okay. I still struggle with depression sometimes, however, I do have a supportive family network and reaching out to good folks like you also gives me hope.

God bless all of you and thanks again for all you support!