Chronic Back Pain for Years

Posted by jlfisher56 @jlfisher56, May 2, 2017

6 back surgeries (extensive cervical and lumbar fusions) with neurological complications. Left with chronic pain. Accident happened in Nursing career 1992 and worked with first fusions until 1999 (failed fusions). At my age, and as a former nurse educator, I never wanted to had to rely on medication/s for the severe pain. Having thoroughly exhausted exploring sites using non-pharmaceutical methods, using psychological methods, biofeedback, trying to accept my limitations, i.e., I still believe somewhere…out there…is hope. The strong medicine has caused gastroparesis, further complicating my health problems. They are too numerous to write and I will not focus on them. I am looking for “help” and guidance. If I can be of assistance to anyone throughout their trials, (perhaps similar to some of what I have gone through), I will.

@jimhd

@polygons

I learned a few months ago that I had severe spinal stenosis at L3-L4, and L4-L5, with no sign of a disc in that area. Ten days ago I had surgery for the stenosis. It was keeping a tight squeeze on the nerves going through the canal. The neurosurgeon said that it's possible that dealing with the stenosis could reduce the neuropathy pain in my feet and ankles, which it did for a few days, but now it's back to the level of pain before surgery. I'm trying to remain hopeful that I'll have some level of pain relief after my back has a bit more time to heal, but it's not looking good at this point.

The surgeon didn't seem to be concerned about the disc. I'm going to ask her about it at my appointment this Thursday.

Jim

Jump to this post

Hi Jim,
I had an X-LIFT FUSION on L3/L4 three years ago.
Although it took care of my pain, it did nothing for my neuropathy.
I was told that it depends on WHY you have the neuropathy.
Did you have it before the surgery?
Could the damage be permanent?
Do you have diabetes?
There are many reasons for the neuropathy.
Best of luck in your recovery process!
Ronnie

REPLY
@lorettabl

i have had two radio frequency procedures on my back but they didnt last long. are there other avenues i can take for the pain. the doctors say i have osteoarthritis.

Jump to this post

Hi!
I had the radio frequency, too. I found it useless.
Good luck!
Ronnie

REPLY

Hi All!
For many years, I suffered from back pain and later on pain from my shoulder blade to my fingers. On the advice of my orthopedic surgeon, I went to see a pain management doctor.
I went to several pain management doctors for over 10 years. I went through so many different things in order to get relief. All sorts of shots, radio frequency, chiropractors, cupping, PT, etc. I did finally find a pain doc who was able to help me and for about 4 years, he would get me comfortable for about 3-4 weeks at a time. This was huge for me. However, after a few years, all his efforts stopped working. Against his advice, I decided I could not take it any more. I had no quality of life.
I researched and researched and decided to see a neurosurgeon. I decided to take my chances with surgery. After lots of tests, we found my spine to be a mess from top to bottom. The surgeon had to narrow down where to start. He decided on C5/6 and L3/4.
First, I had my discs at C5/6 replaced. The surgery went well (out patient) and the recovery was easy.
Six months later I had an X-LIFT FUSION on L3/4. That surgery went well, too, but recovery was HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!! It took over 5 weeks for the horrible pain to subside. I hate pain killers so I only took them at night in order to sleep.
It's been about just over 3 years and I can happily say that the pain that I had is gone. I do sometimes need a shot on my cervical spine, but that is because there are still issues there, but not bad enough for me to want to get surgery.
The BIGGEST come away…..
1, I know many people who have gone through back surgery and said it failed. After conversations, I realized that it was not the surgery that failed, but the patient.
2. It takes approximately 18 months for 2 years for the internal healing to be COMPLETE.
3. Although it has been years since my surgeries, I STILL baby my back as if I just had surgery. I do NOT do anything to strain my back. I DO NOT make any quick moves, lift anything heavy, over-extend my body bending or stretching, I exercise regularly.
4. I listen to my body and when I am having pain or discomfort, I rest. I do not push through the pain.
I hope this helps someone and I wish everyone good health and a painfree life!
Ronnie

REPLY
@grandmar

Hi All!
For many years, I suffered from back pain and later on pain from my shoulder blade to my fingers. On the advice of my orthopedic surgeon, I went to see a pain management doctor.
I went to several pain management doctors for over 10 years. I went through so many different things in order to get relief. All sorts of shots, radio frequency, chiropractors, cupping, PT, etc. I did finally find a pain doc who was able to help me and for about 4 years, he would get me comfortable for about 3-4 weeks at a time. This was huge for me. However, after a few years, all his efforts stopped working. Against his advice, I decided I could not take it any more. I had no quality of life.
I researched and researched and decided to see a neurosurgeon. I decided to take my chances with surgery. After lots of tests, we found my spine to be a mess from top to bottom. The surgeon had to narrow down where to start. He decided on C5/6 and L3/4.
First, I had my discs at C5/6 replaced. The surgery went well (out patient) and the recovery was easy.
Six months later I had an X-LIFT FUSION on L3/4. That surgery went well, too, but recovery was HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!! It took over 5 weeks for the horrible pain to subside. I hate pain killers so I only took them at night in order to sleep.
It's been about just over 3 years and I can happily say that the pain that I had is gone. I do sometimes need a shot on my cervical spine, but that is because there are still issues there, but not bad enough for me to want to get surgery.
The BIGGEST come away…..
1, I know many people who have gone through back surgery and said it failed. After conversations, I realized that it was not the surgery that failed, but the patient.
2. It takes approximately 18 months for 2 years for the internal healing to be COMPLETE.
3. Although it has been years since my surgeries, I STILL baby my back as if I just had surgery. I do NOT do anything to strain my back. I DO NOT make any quick moves, lift anything heavy, over-extend my body bending or stretching, I exercise regularly.
4. I listen to my body and when I am having pain or discomfort, I rest. I do not push through the pain.
I hope this helps someone and I wish everyone good health and a painfree life!
Ronnie

Jump to this post

@grandmar Hi Linda here I'm slo glad your fusion helped you with your back pain I remember how you suffered Happy for you

REPLY
@lioness

@grandmar Hi Linda here I'm slo glad your fusion helped you with your back pain I remember how you suffered Happy for you

Jump to this post

Thank you Linda. I remember you, too!
Ronnei

REPLY
@grandmar

Hi All!
For many years, I suffered from back pain and later on pain from my shoulder blade to my fingers. On the advice of my orthopedic surgeon, I went to see a pain management doctor.
I went to several pain management doctors for over 10 years. I went through so many different things in order to get relief. All sorts of shots, radio frequency, chiropractors, cupping, PT, etc. I did finally find a pain doc who was able to help me and for about 4 years, he would get me comfortable for about 3-4 weeks at a time. This was huge for me. However, after a few years, all his efforts stopped working. Against his advice, I decided I could not take it any more. I had no quality of life.
I researched and researched and decided to see a neurosurgeon. I decided to take my chances with surgery. After lots of tests, we found my spine to be a mess from top to bottom. The surgeon had to narrow down where to start. He decided on C5/6 and L3/4.
First, I had my discs at C5/6 replaced. The surgery went well (out patient) and the recovery was easy.
Six months later I had an X-LIFT FUSION on L3/4. That surgery went well, too, but recovery was HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!! It took over 5 weeks for the horrible pain to subside. I hate pain killers so I only took them at night in order to sleep.
It's been about just over 3 years and I can happily say that the pain that I had is gone. I do sometimes need a shot on my cervical spine, but that is because there are still issues there, but not bad enough for me to want to get surgery.
The BIGGEST come away…..
1, I know many people who have gone through back surgery and said it failed. After conversations, I realized that it was not the surgery that failed, but the patient.
2. It takes approximately 18 months for 2 years for the internal healing to be COMPLETE.
3. Although it has been years since my surgeries, I STILL baby my back as if I just had surgery. I do NOT do anything to strain my back. I DO NOT make any quick moves, lift anything heavy, over-extend my body bending or stretching, I exercise regularly.
4. I listen to my body and when I am having pain or discomfort, I rest. I do not push through the pain.
I hope this helps someone and I wish everyone good health and a painfree life!
Ronnie

Jump to this post

I had Vertiflex surgery at pain clinic a month ago for stenosis the incision was only 1 inch long but I still have nerve pain at the incision… I’m 75 yrs old and I’m wondering if a small incision is it normal to still be hurting after surgery for it’s not severe but just a dull pain and my back is really weak so my question is this normal ?

REPLY

@grandmar @wisco50

I'm starting over, after losing what I wrote just as I was ready to click on post reply. I hate when that happens.

I did all of the heavy pre-winter work before surgery so I would only have to do things that aren't strenuous afterward. I'm not working in the yard as many hours a day as usual, taking it easier. I'm not sitting still or lying in bed either, because that makes my neuropathy pain significantly worse.

I haven't had pain from the stenosis surgery – I didn't have any related pain pre-surgery either. I was diagnosed with neuropathy in 2013, no diabetes, the only possible cause genetic, no treatment except pain control. It's following the classic progression of pn, faster than the neurologist would like.

All of my siblings had/have pn, as did my father. My siblings and our mother all had/have back problems, and I thought I'd missed the curse. I see I didn't.

I didn't know that I had a back problem until the neurosurgeon had an MRI done last winter to look at the possibility of a dorsal root ganglion stimulator implant. She told me that a disc was gone, with no mention of bulging or herniating, and it didn't appear to be concerning. I'll learn more about that Thursday.

I had a Burst DR spinal cord stimulator implant in June of 2017, and it is placed just to the left of the stenosis surgery incision – in fact, the same incision site was used for both surgeries – and when I lie on my back, the stimulator battery pack is what hurts, not the incision.

Gotta go. You all have a great day.

Jim

REPLY
@jfsherley

I had Vertiflex surgery at pain clinic a month ago for stenosis the incision was only 1 inch long but I still have nerve pain at the incision… I’m 75 yrs old and I’m wondering if a small incision is it normal to still be hurting after surgery for it’s not severe but just a dull pain and my back is really weak so my question is this normal ?

Jump to this post

So sorry you are still having pain. Wish I could help but I do not know anything about the kind of surgery you had.
Hope you feel better soon!
Ronnie

REPLY
@artscaping

@jmweissler, Good afternoon. You have been through the wringer. And yet your sense of humor shows through. At first glance, I noticed that you wrote about some spine fractures. What medications are you taking for the severe osteoporosis? Are they working?

I would also suggest that you explore the possibility of getting some benefit from MFR, Myofascial Release. May I introduce @jenniferhunter. She has great knowledge and experience with spine health and MFR. You have climbed the proverbial mountain. Now, the challenge is to keep you safe and protected from both inner and outer harm. May you have comfort and a bit of joy today.

I just reread your list of health care learnings.
They are very good and I agree with almost every one.. Here are my edits and add ons for you. Thanks for breaking the ice and carrying the heavy load.
1. Pain is here forever. Even Buddha said that suffering is inevitable for human beings.
2. Opioids were never designed to be more than a temporary solution while the body healed.
3. Surgeon choice is the most important choice you will ever make
4. 2nd and 3rd opinions…..I have had repeats with the same surgeon for another joint, and he has made the referrals to cervical and hand surgeons.
5. I would extend that one to include any surgery. I have now had 13 orthopedic surgeries…..and am quite highly suspicious that this neuropathy is a result of those surgeries. Our bodies don't forget easily.
6. Medical cannabis is by far the most promising way to prevent pain and regain your health.
7. Find joy and happiness……be content and at ease. This seems easy but requires you to love and have compassion for yourself first.

Great to have you on the team…..may you be free of suffering today.

Chris

Jump to this post

The Four Noble Truths~~I think of them daily.

REPLY
@jfsherley

I had Vertiflex surgery at pain clinic a month ago for stenosis the incision was only 1 inch long but I still have nerve pain at the incision… I’m 75 yrs old and I’m wondering if a small incision is it normal to still be hurting after surgery for it’s not severe but just a dull pain and my back is really weak so my question is this normal ?

Jump to this post

@jfsherley What you describe sounds normal to me. It sounds similar to my symptoms following back surgery. Two things that helped me a great deal: 1) dry needling: similar to acupuncture but goes deeper and breaks up fibers impinging the nerves; and 2) physical therapy to reduce pain and build strength. Your age does not matter. The therapist you are assigned to will tailor your "exercises" to your body and abilities. Blessings.

REPLY
@jimhd

@polygons

I learned a few months ago that I had severe spinal stenosis at L3-L4, and L4-L5, with no sign of a disc in that area. Ten days ago I had surgery for the stenosis. It was keeping a tight squeeze on the nerves going through the canal. The neurosurgeon said that it's possible that dealing with the stenosis could reduce the neuropathy pain in my feet and ankles, which it did for a few days, but now it's back to the level of pain before surgery. I'm trying to remain hopeful that I'll have some level of pain relief after my back has a bit more time to heal, but it's not looking good at this point.

The surgeon didn't seem to be concerned about the disc. I'm going to ask her about it at my appointment this Thursday.

Jim

Jump to this post

@jimhd Jim, please let us know how your appointment goes. I’ll be thinking of you

REPLY
@colleenyoung

Hi @polygons, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You'll notice that I moved your message to this discussion called "Chronic Back Pain for Years" in the Spine Health group (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/spine-health/) I did this so that you can connect with other members like @jmweissler @artscaping @wsh66 and others who also deal with chronic back pain and issues with discs.

Leland, I can understand looking for an alternative for a blown disc and hope you hear from your surgeon soon. You mention that your leg fills and won't empty. Is this a symptom you've had for a while? Do you have edema?

Jump to this post

No edema , but to an effect yes . Neuropathy yes . Worst pain imaginable . Dominating the right side pain in the thorax through to the L-3 the hips both feet and toes burning . Miliogram C-scan Dr Clancy called me and said that the L-3 disc is ruptured . Dr Steven Klein at Northwest hospital ,Seattle Operated Sept 10, 2001 , I was recovering from discsection as the plane's flew into the twin towers. Dr Klein has retired . Dr Lazar the now practicing surgeon will be calling me on the 20th .

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.