Hard to copeTHe

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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 12/11/2011 2:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello everyone,

I have had a hard time with my condition lately. I really have no one to talk to as all of my friends and family are not going through what I am. I am hoping by sharing my story with you that I may find someone who may be able to relate in some way to what I'm going through. Any replies would be appreciated.

Last December, I slipped down a small set of very icy metal stairs (0nly 3 steps big). I landed in such a way that my back hit on the corner of each step. I felt fine at first and only had 3 bruises along my spine. about 2 days later I woke up and had trouble getting up. When I final was able to raise myself up and get to the edge of the bed to stand, my right leg went numb and I fell down. I was rushed to the ER in an immense amount of pain not knowing if I was going to be paralyzed or not. The doctor there injected me with something and the pain subsided greatly. I was sent for an MRI and while laying in the machine I regained feeling in my leg. The results showed a disc bulge in my L5-S1, disc bulge in my L3-L4, and a moderate herniation in my T15-L1. In July I had another MRI showing the two bulging discs are herniated. The last was in November all three are now showing major herniation. They are pressing on multiple nerves causing my legs to go numb from time to time, my tailbone hurts so bad after sitting for a few minutes, I feel pins and needles all the way down my lower body. I can no longer work and am currently trying to get on disability but since I am only 24 it has become a nightmare battle. I have not been wanting to eat, I am always tired, I haven't laughed in so long. I have no idea how or what I am supposed to do now. I am on medications but they only take the edge off for a while the pain is never relieved. I feel like I'm whinny but I have no one to talk to. I'm a 24 year old with a master's degree I should be looking forward to the future, instead all I see is more of this.

If any of you have any tips or advice, please share. I can't tell you how much I appreciate any replies. Also, please excuse the grammar and spelling errors. I have not had a lot of sleep and am quite delirious.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 615
   Posted 12/11/2011 3:03 AM (GMT -6)   
BuccPride....Have they said what they are going to do about these herniated discs? As far as for the pain I would see if I could get an appointment with a pain management doctor, they can help with the proper pain meds and make you a little more comfortable. In the meantime make sure you take care of yourself and not to over due it,

Keep posting there many members and I am sure there will be more advice for you. I just notice you are new to the forum so I would like to say welcome and i am sure you will find the members very helpful and encouraging.

Bless you, Amy
Chronic Pain(nerve), fibro, mild depression and a few others

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 12/11/2011 11:15 AM (GMT -6)   

You will find a way to build a life despite what has happened. There are many medical options. Let me list a few.
1) a home inversion table. Given the location of the bulges, it may offer some help. I know a few people with lower back disk issues who it helps. It can stretch your spine and take some of the pressure off -- also with the possibility of the bulging disks to drift back. You can buy an adequate one from ebay for about $130.

2) Traction at a physical therapist or chiropractor for the same purpose as above.

3) find a good pain management doctor who can work out the appropriate regimen of meds that deal with the pain and don't interfere with your ability to concentrate. Also, sleep is very important and if you are having trouble, discuss with a doctor something to help: either time release ambien or a benzodiazepine.

4) epidural or other spinal injections

5) more invasive spinal surgery to correct the damage.

On a different note -- in 2004 I was in a car accident that damaged by right knee, hip, sacroiliac and caused some disk bulges. I could not sit for the better part of 3 years. I had tons of PT, hip surgery, and injections into my sacroiliac. I had to take a lot of time off work and for the first 6 months after the surgery, was mostly in bed. With treatment, I improved. It took years, but my hip and lower back did get better. I still have chronic pain from it, but I can sit. It hurts, but I can do it. I couldn't walk without crutches or a cane for years as well, but eventually, was able to walk again on my own. I was 36 when the accident occurred. At your age, your body can recover (maybe with some more aggressive medical help). It may take more time, but don't assume it won't get better.
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs), RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident. Also, pectus excavatum, supraventricular tacycardia and mitral valve prolapse syndrome.
Current meds: Ultram ER 300mg daily, breakthrough - hydrocodone 10-15mg, or oxycodone 5-7.5mg. .25-.5mg ativan as needed for sleep, Verapamil 240mg SR (for tachycardia). [/gray

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Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 2265
   Posted 12/11/2011 7:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi BuccPride Welcome to the chronic pain forum. I'm so sorry that this happened to you, and that you are in so much pain. You have gotten some good advise. I have chronic pain in my back, so I can sympathize with you. I wish you all the best. Take care.

Dx: osteoarthritis, bursitis in left hip, Osteoarthrits in right hip, compression fracture in thoracic spine due to falling on frozen ground March 2001 , ddd, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, osteoarthritis in spine, osteoarthritis in both knees
Meds: Fentanyl patch, oxycodone, otc: BenGay, Tylenol Arthritis on occasion

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2024
   Posted 12/11/2011 9:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Nice to meet you and welcome to our chronic pain forum. I'm glad you found us but sorry that you are having so much pain. Keep posting with us as you will find the members very understanding and caring. More members will come along that will have more advice for you.

Hang in there one day at a time.


Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 12/14/2011 2:43 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you guys for replying and welcoming me. As far as treatments are concerned, I have been putting myself through grad school so money to pay for them is in short supply. I have insurance but can only afford going to the doctor for my pain medication every month. In January I will be starting the process of having surgery. All the herniated discs have callused and have not broken off and absorbed into the body like they are supposed to. I've had a hip replacement a few years back. I was hit by a drunk driver while leaving a football game. The vehicle shattered my hip and broke my femur. So I'm no stranger to immense pain or surgery. It's the constant feeling of pain day to day that gets me.


Thank you for your tips. I have tried the inversion table but I can only stay upside down for so long until my hip won't allow it. Both my neurologist and GP have told me not to consider a chiropractor as they do not want to risk me developing Cauda Equina Syndrome (think that's what it's called) as I already have frequent foot drop and leg weakness. As for a pain management doctor the only clinic is 4 hours away so my GP takes care of all my medications. Surgery seems to be my only solution and it's not something that I take lightly, but I'll endure the increase in pain as long as I'm on the road to recovery. As far as getting sleep I take 75mg amitriptyline at bed time. It helps relieve the horrible nerve pain I have when I wake up but I've start having a pardoxical reaction to the sedation effects of the medication. It now just makes me stay up. I will talk with me GP about an alternative Friday. I haven't yet because of what it has done for the morning pain.

I cannot tell you guys how much I appreciate your replies. This is the only forum that people actually cared to post on. Life is too hard to go at it alone. Add pain and depression and it feels nearly impossible. Family and friends can only help you so much. Having support from individuals with a similar problem helps enormously.


Post Edited (BuccPride) : 12/14/2011 4:29:42 AM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 12/15/2011 6:32 AM (GMT -6)   
Dear BuccPride, I understand your pain and your loneliness. I too hurt my back at a young age, I was 27 with a 2 and 3 year old running around. I dropped a patient out of a hoyer lift in a nursing home, she was about 300lbs. This fractured my back at L5-S1. I had my first fusion in Jan 96. By May of 96 the transverse connector rod either broke or became dislodged. So they took out all the hardware and just left the bone grafts. It never fused. But surgery has come a long way since the 90's. I had my 3rd fusion 4/2008, front and back of L1-S1. It was a very long 15 hour surgery. Recovery was very painful and long. Good news, my back is stablized, Bad News-pain is just as bad if not worse than before surgery. I think your surgery will help to a point. I will hold you in my thoughts that you have a great outcome. You will just have to roll with life, you may or may not beable to do what you went to school for, but you will find something that will satisfy your life. I know what it is like not to have anyone to talk too, family just don't get what it is like to be in pain 24/7. Welcome here, there are lots of great people to talk too and I would look into a support group in your area that you can go meet people face to face and hopefully come away with a good friend or two. Best wishes. Cheryl
DX: spinal fracture L5/S1, fusion 1/96, Spondylolethsis, DDD, nerve damage to both legs and bladder, 4/2007 anterior & posterior fusion L1-S1, 4 Bladder surgeries w/cystocele and rectocele. Partial Hysterectomy 2002 (pre-cancer), Ovaries removed 4/2009, Multipe injections, depression, PTSD, medical induced menopause Meds: MS Contin 60mg a.m, 45mg p.m, oxycodone 30mg tid

Post Edited (Lulicious) : 12/18/2011 2:19:37 AM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 12/15/2011 7:37 AM (GMT -6)   
As of last week I have a masters in theatrical direction and I also have a bachelors in music with a minor in history. My goal is to become a professor. I recently received a job offer to teach online classes for a local community college this spring. So technically I already am a professor just not on the level I'd like to be. I plan to continue with my doctrine this fall but I felt I needed to take off this spring. I'm glad to hear your back is stabilized but am terribly sorry your still in pain. From what I've read I'm more likely to do the same or become worse after surgery. But if there is a slime chance of becoming better I'll take it. I'm at the point where if surgery isn't done I can become paralyzed so in a way I have no choice. Thank you for the advice I will look into a support group. I live in a college town at the moment so I'm not sure if there are any for chronic pain sufferers.
Femoral hip stem replacement. Rheumatoid arthritis in jaw. Depression. Failed mastoidectomy, hearing loss, tinnitus, and recurring ear infections. Major Herniated disc in T15-L1, L3-L4, and L5-S1.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 52
   Posted 12/15/2011 8:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Sam,
Wow, you've had a tough road so early in life. One thing, in time, you'll be a stronger person for having lived through such trauma and your compassion towards others will be increased. Some people go through life with blinders and people who have had trauma have a better connection to living in the moment and enjoying small pleasures. It's probably not so much consoling now, but hang on to the though that surviving this experience will make you stronger.

I think it's good to take a look at, if you haven't already, alternatives before deciding on surgery. If you see an orthopedic surgeon, that's all that's in his bag of tricks, like seeing a pain management doctor, one will leave with a prescription. Effective non-surgical treatments in addition to pain medications are chiropractic care, physical therapy and supplements to help repair and rebuild your discs. After such a fall, your spine is likely out of line, and the narrow spaces will cause your discs to become damaged, your nerves to become pinched. I had a problem in my lower back, and seeing a chiro for 6 months fixed me up. Your problem is serious, so I would get the best chiro to give you a prognosis, as surgery may be the only answer. A poster called spinal soldier recently gave me a link to a chronic pain doctor, his guide was extremely helpful in explaining medications and the psychology of pain. Here's his site http://foresttennant.com/pain_management_patient_self_help.html.

It's normal to get depressed being in such pain. You'll be able to apply your education better once you've found a solution, be it alternative therapy or surgery. Keep the faith as it does take time, and you have many years of working left. (to try to get a perspective, you have 35 more years of working, if you spend the next two years getting better, what will be the impact long term?) Keeping a pain journal may help you get through the days.

Also, amitriptyline is an anti-depressant. The medical community has found anti-depressants have an effect on nerve pain. It's also known that they stop working for some people (a lot of people actually). You'll want to ask for a narcotic which will help you sleep and at the same time relieve pain. I use the Fentanyl patch, and it works great. I've read the patch is often prescribed for people with your severe back pain. I'm not a doctor so it's best to ask that question to your specialist. Other advice.... focus on doing stuff to calm the nervous system, like not drinking coffee after lunch, not eating excitotoxins like msg and aspartame (diet pop), and eating well.

Here's a site for alternative ideas,

Post Edited (Sue123) : 1/13/2012 3:44:27 PM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 12/16/2011 2:00 AM (GMT -6)   

Thank you for your reply. Your first paragraph reminded me of something I told my sister years ago. She was only 16 at the time and came to me crying and saying she was depressed. I told her, "Every number that get's tacked to our age is directly attributed to the increase of our ability to handle problems. I know it seems bad now, but when you look back it will seem as no big deal." I'd never say this to someone who is clinically depressed, but she was a normal 16 year old going through normal 16 year old things and was fine a week later. What I didn't really understand when I said it is maturity isn't defined by age. I now believe experiences defines maturity. I know I will be better for it once I got out of this dark tunnel. I certainly was after getting through my hip surgery. I know I'll never fully recover physically from it, but I had a great outlook on life. That is until I fell. I know there is light down the road. It's finding some here that I'm having trouble with.

I have tried physical therapy but my back became to bad for it. My neurologist strongly advised me not to see a chiropractor. He tells me all of the herniated discs are as bad as they can be without paralysis, and spinal manipulation would worsen them. As far as herbal or any non prescription supplements go. I am on quite a tight budget. I have enough for doctor bills, rent, and food. My new job may perhaps help provide more income to try this option.

I am on norco, soma, and neurotin at the moment but the first two no longer provide sufficient relief. Neurotin does work to a certian point, but when the sciatica really gets going there is no stopping it. Since I am very young I'm afraid to ask my doctor for an increase in pain medication as I don't want to be labeled a drug seeker. It's clearly provable on an MRI image I need them. So clear I no nothing about MRI's and can see the damage. Yet, all the DEA horror stories out there have me terrified that if I ask I could loose any relief I might get. I've also known all my doctors since I moved here for college, and am quite comfortable with them. I have previously decided to ask tomorrow when I see him, but that doesn't make any less nerve racking. The nearest pm clinic is 4 hours away so that is not an option. I know my GP back home wouldn't hesitate. he's known my entire family for 30 years. I don't have that advantage here. If you or perhaps anyone reading has any suggestions, I'm open.

I have been on neurotin since my first injury for neurological pain. I can't say for sure if this is causing or contributing to my depression, but until now it has been a life saver. I do think I need to replace amytirp also. I started at 25, 50, and now 75. I don't want to go any higher on that. Thank you for your advice. It comes very much appreciated.

Betsey Ross
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1056
   Posted 12/16/2011 8:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to our forum!

Please keep us informed on how you are doing

Im sorry you have alot of pain. It is nice to meet you

crushed lower knee and vertical fx of tibia/external fixator placed/plates and screws and tried to place big pieces of cartiledge under knee cap/tremendous pain in affected leg continously without improving/allergic to metal in left leg/leg isnt straight/ metal removed in July//then total knee replacement/straighten out leg/more phsyxical therapy/take oxycontin,flexeril,cymbalta,vicadin for BT

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 52
   Posted 12/16/2011 7:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Sam, I see you've found support in the depression forum, too. Speaking from personal experience, the level of pain will cause one to withdraw and be depressed. I went for therapy for years, and tried several anti-depressants until I hit upon on psychiatrist who noticed my mood got better when I had some measure of pain relief, and, said it is completely tied to that, that's why anti-depressants and most talk therapy have not worked for me. It sounds like your doctor is receptive to increasing your pain medication. Why not give it a try first before embarking down the road of anti-depressants especially as the psychiatrist you saw wasn't much help? Well, something to think about. You'll get support from these forums no matter what path you choose. Please read Dr. Tennant's IP instruction manual, that will help you with the confidence to ask for more meds.

Post Edited (Neurodreamz) : 12/19/2011 1:37:59 AM (GMT-7)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1276
   Posted 12/16/2011 8:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Sam,

My apologies for not having welcomed you already. I'm so sorry that you're going through such pain at your age - I'll be 27 in a fortnight and I'm no stranger to pain either - I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and more recently added to my problems with multiple compression fractures in my thoracic spine and bulging discs at L3/L4, L4/L5 and L5/S1. My problem is that nobody can quite confirm what is going on - I have excruciating pain, periodic weakness and numbess while sitting, yet CT scans show no sign of any cord or nerve root compression.

I'm on Oxycontin and Topamax for my CRPS pain - I'm sure that it also provides some relief with my back. I was also on cortisone and increased NSAIDs a couple of weeks ago after having my wisdom teeth removed and found that to help my back quite a lot.

Please keep in touch and let us know how you're going. Also never feel that you are whining. Whatever the cause, severe pain is something we all have in common and we're all here to listen and support each other whenever it is needed.

Take care of yourself!

Moderator - Chronic Pain Forum

Full body CRPS with spasms, dystonia & contractures, gastroparesis, orthostatic hypotension,bradycardia/tachycardia, bursitis, CTS, osteoporosis, multiple compression fx, disc bulges.

Oxycodone ER/IR, Topamax, Mobic, Somac, Cipramil, Midodrine, Vit D & C, SCS, baclofen/bupivacaine pump

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16779
   Posted 12/17/2011 2:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Buc, I have been reading alot of the posts here and not been doing much posting lately. I can only sit for so long then have to get up and get away from the computer. I see you are getting things in order for a pending surgery. By chance are you seeing a neurosurgeon and is this the dr that will be doing your surgery? I sure hope so. I have seen lots and lots of spinal surgeries over the years and always saw better outcomes when a neurosurgeon was doing the surgery. No one likes to think of having back surgery, but that is an area that has come a long way over the years with improvement. You seem to have your head on straight about the surgery and that is about half of the battle. having a good attitude about it goes a very long way. I have seen people that did not have a decent attitude towards the surgery and guess what, they did not do well afterwards mainly because they had already made their mind up they were not going to do well. There is a lot of credence to the mental makeup of a person when having surgery.

Stay off that inversion table, a friend of our bought one and he had been using it and ended up making things worse. He just had a 3 level fusion done and is still recovering. He is still having a lot of leg pain from the pinched nerve and has taken a couple of spills. His dr had a fit when he found out he had been using the inversion table. Those things may be good for someone with just a muscle type problem but when there are disc problems involved not a very good idea.

I know many of us here at the forum are on antidepressants and suffer with depression. Chronic pain and depression seem to go hand in hand. While medication can help some it may not help others. Its a very individualized thing, just like our pain medications. What may help me may not help you at all. I also sought profession help and saw a psychologist and she was very helpful to me. I just became so overwhelmed with multiple health problems that I truly did not know which direction to take. It seemed like something was always nipping at my heels, I could not get a handle on a single thing. Well, this just nearly did me in because I am someone that has to be in control of herself and man, I was way out of control, lol.I have been on & off antidepressants for many years and never viewed them as a miracle pill nor have I ever heard anyone on them at this forum call them a miracle pill. For some they are necessary.

Keep us posted on how you are coming along and take care of yourself.

You seem to be very motivated and that is awesome considering what you have battled at a young age. I have no doubt that you will see your dream materialize, you want it bad enough, you will do it. You should be commended for that. Keep that attitude going and you will go a very long way in this life.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 12/18/2011 4:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Bucca....I had my surgery to prevent paraylsis as well. I was told NEVER to let a chiropracter touch me because it would make me worse off and possibly paraylized. Chance I didn''t want to take. You probably will end up with good stability and unfortunately pain, hopefully less than what your having now. I am very happy to hear that you are teaching, might not be in they way you wanted too, but its a start, who know what options will be opened up for you after surgery. If there are no chronic pain support groups, you live in a college town, start your own. Find a space, usually churches will let you use some space for free. Put up flyers around the area and hopefully people will show up and you can make friends with people who understand what your going thru. Also don't forget we will be here for you!!!! Gentle Hugs
DX: spinal fracture L5/S1, fusion 1/96, Spondylolethsis, DDD, nerve damage to both legs and bladder, 4/2007 anterior & posterior fusion L1-S1, 4 Bladder surgeries w/cystocele and rectocele. Partial Hysterectomy 2002 (pre-cancer), Ovaries removed 4/2009, Multipe injections, depression, PTSD, medical induced menopause Meds: MS Contin 60mg a.m, 45mg p.m, oxycodone 30mg tid
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