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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 41
   Posted 1/20/2011 2:54 PM (GMT -6)   
2 years ago, I started to have severe pain in my hip and back. Went and saw a chiropractor in June o9'. Chiro did her thing, popping etc, gave me a heel lift for my right shoe. This made things much worse. After a couple more months of agony, I went to see my family practitioner. She had me go in for an MRI.

I followed up with a neurosurgeon who told me that I have mild disc degenerative disease and minor bulges. He said no surgery, and sent me to a spine and pain specialist. I underwent several rounds of epidural shots, and hip injections with no avail, along side physical therapy. Also was put on Neurontin, and Celebrex with no relief. I also was prescribed Tramadol, which seemed to help some, but after 3 months I started showing symptoms of Seratonin Disorder, and was promptly taken off. Pain kept getting worse, now in my nerves radiating down my right side from low back to toes.

MRI with contrast in my hip was done, showing minor labrum tear. I was sent to a joint and bone doctor who said that that my joints and bones were fine. He sent me an orthopedic surgeon who sent me back to the spine and pain doctor. Another epidural, this one a nerve blocker that YEAH finally took away 75% of my pain for an hour! Lyrica precribed, with no relief. MBSR also researched, as I was told this could be psychosomatic. I was also given the research materials to think about a Spinal Stimulator. Another MRI and a couple appointments later, I was devastated.

I was told that I have annular tears in L3, L4, and L5 along with L5/S1 nerves being conjoined. Was informed that I will have to live with the pain for the rest of my life, and that I should seek out pain schooling to teach me how to be normal and ignore the pain. The doctor walked me to the door, shook my hand, and said sorry, there is nothing I can do.

I went back to my family doctor, told her what has been going on, and she referred me to the other spine specialists in the area. I have had 4 appointments, and a pain psych eval, and still have not seen a doctor, only his assistants. Due to my past history of alcoholism (now 8 ½ years sober) they will not do aggressive treatment. Their plan is to redo all the injections, which at this time I am opposed to. As of a couple days ago, I am having weird nerve things in my arms and hands now.

During this time, I have been forced out of my job due to my disability, lost my insurance, and now my pain has spread to my left side as well. I am 31 and seriously contemplating a walker. Ugh. I have a very supportive husband, and two boys ages 10 &11. I have lost so much already, including my usual active way of life.
Does anyone have similar experiences? I am lost in this sea of pain, and am barely keeping my head above water. Pain is the first thing I feel when I wake up, and the last thing I feel when I fall asleep. Help.....

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 1/20/2011 4:34 PM (GMT -6)   
I am so sorry. I've been very angry and depressed lately also, and I'm sure it does feel like you're just running around in circles without any hope sometimes. At least, I suppose, you don't have to be alone in it.

I am skeptical, however, that there is NOTHING that anyone can do for this. Do you live the US? You may be eligible for state coverage based upon the fact that you lack any income, especially if you end up applying for disability. I would say you need to see someone completely unrelated to this doctor, if possible. I know how hard it is to find different doctors though. When it is something this important, you deserve to get a second--third--sixth opinion. This isn't something you can just brush off with a handshake, even if the doctor truly believes he can do nothing to help you.

Anyhow, I really hope you find help and get some relief!

Also, bravo on being sober for more than 8 years as well as raising 2 kids. I have nothing like that and I can't imagine what it would be like to have this level of pain and be unable to do things with them like I used to. With that said, I wouldn't lose all hope that you can't one day find something that works for you. I also would be averse to more injections. And what did they mean by aggressive treatment? Narcotics? Seems sort of odd that they won't help you with that considering they already had you on Tramadol.

Anyhow, keep us posted. Hope you get some help!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 1/20/2011 6:29 PM (GMT -6)   
I agree with Mr K. You just need to find the right pain specialist. Hopefully HelloKitty will come along (I haven't seen her post in a bit, but you can always do a search) as she has been on Subutex; I'm sure others have been on it too. It seems to be the medicine of choice for pain patients who also have addictive tendencies. Also, if you didn't abuse tramadol, then methadone might be an option for you. It's far less likely to cause serotonin syndrome than tramadol.

In addition, there are plenty of non-narcotic medications that can help. You may have needed a higher dose of anti-convulsants like Lyrica & Neurontin. Or you could try something else: NSAID's like Mobic and Celebrex. Anti-depressants like Cymbalta and Nortriptylene & Amitryptilene. Muscle relaxants like Skelaxin & Flexeril. Antispasmodics. Steroids. etc.
There are even super strong meds that can be taken for occasional bt pain -- Toradol works fantastic for me. I wish I could take it all the time instead of narcs, but it's bad for your stomach lining. Still, you can take it once or twice a week and be okay usually (assuming your stomach isn't previously damaged from the alcohol or anything).

There are injections & mechanical treatments (traction, inversion, braces, etc.) and physical therapy or aquatherapy and probably a dozen other things that I've tried and forgotten about. So please don't think that things are hopeless. That is far from the truth.

It is a long journey. I wish I could tell you otherwise. Managing pain involves sometimes trying several dozen medications before finding one or more that are right for you. It involves trying a LOT of non-pharmacological treatments. Sometimes it requires more involved procedures like cryo-/RF nerve ablation (aka: rhizotomy) or a neurostimulator implant or even fusion -- but THERE IS HOPE. It took me 7 years and 2 PM's & 3 neurologists & 2 NS's before I got to the point where I could function reasonably well, but now strangers usually can't tell that I have a disability. Yes, I still have my bad days (or weeks) but most of the time, if I follow my treatment protocol and choose appropriate behaviors (no sitting for long periods of time, no driving longer than 25 minutes except to see my PM, etc) then it's not obvious that I actually live with horrible pain. It's well managed & pain is not that bad when it's well managed. I wish I didn't have to take meds or be so careful, but all things said, it's not that bad to live like this.

So hang in there. Take your doc up on the suggestion to see a pain psychologist. That person can help you learn to modify your behaviors so that you don't exacerbate the pain. They're not the "let's talk about your feelings" like of counselor, they're exactly what your doctor said -- someone who analyzes your behaviors, how those choices impact your pain for the better or worse, and then they make recommendations to you and coach you on how to implement those recommendations. I know it helped me to see a pain psychologist. The PM I was seeing at the time was an idiot & if it weren't for the psych, I probably would have lost my job. I used to like to go for long drives to relax & that was making me worse. I also used to go on 7-8 mile runs to relieve stress & again that was a really bad plan. So he taught me other ways to escape and relieve stress and I'm better off for it.

wishing you luck,

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 62
   Posted 1/23/2011 5:11 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi I am sorry for your pain but can relate. I have had my condition for 4 years and have been back in a horrible flare up of pain. 4 years of 24/7pain to a varying level takes a toll. I agree about finding a pain doctor that works with your condition is very key. I would get another opinion then that one from the doctor who said that. There is always something to better the condition I feel. It may not be a miracle but anything helps right? I went to a pain program at Cleveland Clinic and I could not finish because of pain level but I can't see them saying that to anyone. Have you looked into other treatment such as a spinal cord stimulator or pain pump? I am not saying this is for you but just some thoughts. Alternative treatments as well? Hold to hope. I know it is hard but it just takes the right treatment to have a better quality of life

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16765
   Posted 1/23/2011 2:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello and welcome to Healing Well's chronic pain forum. I am sorry that you have to be here but very glad that you found us. Wow, you have really been put through the wringer so to speak.

By chance have you checked in your area to see if there are any teaching hospitals close by? If not, I would get online and check into finding myself the closest one and contact them to see about getting seen. Many times when people are told to live with it they go to a teaching hospital and find out there are many options for them besides just living with it. No, you must press on and continue to search for help. I know at times you feel like giving up, but you can't, those kiddos need their mom and hubby needs his wife. Your need for them is as real as their need for you, you are very important to them. Kudos to you and your sobriety, excellent work on your part. That alone says a tremendous amount about you.

Anyway, I wanted to pop on and tell you welcome aboard and give you my 2 cents for what they are worth, lol. Take care and keep us posted on how you are doing.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 1/23/2011 5:46 PM (GMT -6)   
There are other things that can be done other than just injections, like radio frequency ablations
RFA, sometimes these help when the injections don't, so try to find a doctor
that is more willing to help, they can be found, don't give up hope, they are always doing things
in medical science to help.
Well wishes and healing hugz being sent your ways.
nice to meet you sure wish it was under better circumstance than chronic pain...
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

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