Discussions that mention vicodin

Hernia board

Can I join the 'Elite' Thoracic disk herniation club?? There are very few of us!

I fell off an exercise machine at the gym last year and now know (after over 60 physician visits, therapy appointments, diagnostic tests (3 MRI's, 2 EMG's, 2 discograms), and 7 steroid injections), and a broken foot because of numbness and decreased coordination) that I have a bulging disk at c 5-6, and two herniated thoracic disks (a central herniation at t 10-11 and a herniation that is placing pressure on the right spinal nerve at t 9-10). At the time of my fall, I was running 20-30 miles/wk and worked out at the gym 5 or so times/wk. I felt fit, ran in 5 K races with my husband and kids and could just about do anything (even at age 43!).

Initially I had significant right scapular pain, but could still run. Gradually, I found that sharp pain at the base of my neck on the left side made running impossible. So I started walking, but have done less and less of that since mid-back and right chest wall pain kicked in in April-May. Now I am in constant pain that is only partially relieved by using vicodin and my activity consists of trying to work at my desk job and hanging out in my recliner. My left hand has been numb for over a year and I have intermittant numbness in both my legs, worse since a 4-level discogram last month. My balance/coordination seems to be really off. Lately I had to leave work early one day and work at home on alternate days because of the pain (I am very thankful that I work for a nun!). I'm a QI/Education nurse at a hospice. My symptoms have been worsening gradually and it is getting pretty discouraging.

I have a cervical nucleoplasty scheduled for next Thursday. After all of the steroid injections haven't worked (3 of the injections were cervical), I'm glad to have a minimally-invasive option to correct the bulge. I've seen a neurosurgeon twice to discuss options for my thoracic spine, but he wants to wait to do anything until the neck is done. At my last visit, I got the feeling that he really didn't want to do anything, but the quality of my life has decreased so much. My thoracic spine injury seems to be about 85-90% of my impairment. One of the earlier posts seems to have had a really bad experience with thoracic disk surgery. It is likely that I will need a 2-level diskectomy. Are there other members of the 'Club' that might be willing to describe the type of surgery they have had and their experiences with it?

I am working with three separate docs (physiatrist, microsurgeon and neurosurgeon) at a university-based spine program. They currently don't seem to have an expert in thoracic microsurgery on staff. Can anyone recommend someone? Thank you.