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cynthiag
@cynthiag

Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 03, 2016

Nerve impingement & deterioration of lumbar vertebrae

Posted by @cynthiag, Sep 3, 2016

I have had two surgeries for this problem. The first one was performed by an orthopedic surgeon specializing in back surgery and it was quite successful. After about 25 years (yikes…has it really been that long!) I started having episodes of back pain again, radiating down my right leg. So I went to a different physician because my former surgeon no longer practiced in my area. Once again I had surgery, this time with very limited success. I am done with having any more procedures…I’m just not willing to do it a third time. I’ve had MRI’s, acupuncture and physical therapy until I’m blue in the face. Enough is enough. My problem now is that I have limitations to how active I want to be which is depressing. I have been to the E.R. a few times and the physicians there said the reason I have trouble urinating is very possibly related with the deterioration of that area in my back and related nerve involvement. My primary care doc does give me a prescription for an analgesic (not a huge amount by any means) but he is so paranoid about the DEA and heavens knows what else that I always feel defective or like I’m asking for gold out of vault or something. Sheesh. It’s embarrassing sometimes. I had to wear a horrible catheter with a bag that hung off my leg last time…so disgusting. That went on for two weeks during my last episode. Is there anything, any procedures or other mainstream medical treatment besides going under the knife again that has worked long term for anyone?

REPLY

Welcome to Connect, Cynthia!
There are many members in the community talking about back pain. I’d like to connect you with a few to get this discussion going. Please meet @martishka @afibber @sandytoes14 @medic7054 @elizamail @hopeful33250 and @predictable.

You may also be interested in scanning some of the conversations in the Bones, Joints & Muscles group http://mayocl.in/2cpjGMC and the Chronic Pain group https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/pain/.

We look forward to getting to know more about you.

@cynthiag Hi Cynthia! I welcome you as well to Mayo Connect and I’m so sorry to hear of your back problems. Have you consulted with a pain specialist? If not, this might be a good place to start. I’ve known of folks who have consulted with pain specialists and they seem to have more answers than general PCP or surgeons. I wish you well and please keep in touch with us as you continue to search for answers. Teresa

@hopeful33250

@cynthiag Hi Cynthia! I welcome you as well to Mayo Connect and I’m so sorry to hear of your back problems. Have you consulted with a pain specialist? If not, this might be a good place to start. I’ve known of folks who have consulted with pain specialists and they seem to have more answers than general PCP or surgeons. I wish you well and please keep in touch with us as you continue to search for answers. Teresa

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Hi Cynthia, gailfaith here, or just Gail
As someone who has back problems since 1963, may I suggest a chiropractor, not just any chiropractor, but one who has had the additional training with the ART technique. ART stands for Active Release Technique. If you live in eastern PA, I can recommend 3, otherwise search the internet for one close to you. They can be few and far between. I use to work at J and J and during lunch once, they had a ‘health fair’, when various people presented health related helps. At one table, I was looking at the wares on the table and was trying to figure out what she was “selling”. when she came up to me and asked if she could help me. She introduced herself and said she was a chiropractor. I immediately said , “thanks, but no thanks”. She asked what my problems was and I told her that I had back problems and was trying to avoid surgery. I have spondalolethesis. She said I can do for you what surgery can do but without the surgery. That sounded like it was worth the try. It surely was. I have been to 3 different people all with the ART knowledge, and each one has their own way. However, one of them was not a chiropractor but a physical therapist. I use one now 3 miles away, but until I found him, I drove 70 miles each way to see her!

@hopeful33250

@cynthiag Hi Cynthia! I welcome you as well to Mayo Connect and I’m so sorry to hear of your back problems. Have you consulted with a pain specialist? If not, this might be a good place to start. I’ve known of folks who have consulted with pain specialists and they seem to have more answers than general PCP or surgeons. I wish you well and please keep in touch with us as you continue to search for answers. Teresa

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Because Active Release Technique (ART) was unknown to me, I googled it and found many articles and other references. Members reading this discussion may find them informative. Here’s one of a number of similar descriptions:

“ART is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles.”

I found nothing to explain how a massage technique that involves no special equipment could be patented or how much the owner of the patent is paid for leasing or licensing ART to a massage technician.

Here’s a link to another reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4563290/ and an excerpt from this 2015 article:

“The active release technique (ART) is a manual therapy for the recovery of soft tissue function that involves the removal of scar tissue, which can cause pain, stiffness, muscle weakness, and abnormal sensations including mechanical dysfunction in the muscles, myofascia, and soft tissue. The effectiveness of ART has been reported for carpal tunnel syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, and tennis elbow, all of which involve soft tissue near joints in the distal parts of the body. ART is also effective at reducing pain and increasing ROM in patients with a partial tear of the supraspinatus tendon (in the shoulder). Most patients with chronic neck pain experience pain and movement limitation as a result of soft tissue impairment in the neck.”

The unique factors in this description are “soft tissue function” and “removal of scar tissue” usually attributable to “mechanical dysfunction in the muscles.” There is no mention of bone or skeletal injury or disformation as targets of ART massage therapy.

You obviously didn’t read the post (I know it was long and boring). You also might be lacking in knowledge about post op complications and the deterioration of an area of the body a patient experiences when a surgery is poorly performed. Of course a physician will never admit to it and the patient is always either non compliant or a chronic complainer. : /

@cynthiag

You obviously didn’t read the post (I know it was long and boring). You also might be lacking in knowledge about post op complications and the deterioration of an area of the body a patient experiences when a surgery is poorly performed. Of course a physician will never admit to it and the patient is always either non compliant or a chronic complainer. : /

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Hi Cynthia, I’m not sure who you are addressing in the above message. But I do believe that we are all trying to help after having read your original message, which was neither long or boring. If the above messages are missing the point, then perhaps you could take a moment to explain your situation further to help us understand. What were the post-op complications you experienced? Does the deterioration rule out certain therapies?

Hi @cynthiag. I am sorry to read of your back-related issues. Speaking from my experience (low-back surgery 12 years ago) and my wife’s (spiral fracture of her back, which took years to diagnose and she had 5 back surgeries) I can only say — try and not give up hope.

Personally, my back surgery is now starting to ‘wear off’ as I am having more pain now, and I, too, wish to not have to have another surgery, so I am trying to do my best with a moderate program of exercises at home to strengthen my abs to help my back.

With my wife’s situation, I can only offer this. If you can, keep trying to find the right physician for you. Or perhaps it is a combo of physicians. Several, well meaning, doctors simply could not diagnose what my wife’s trouble was due to its complexity. Sure we ticked off several doctors by seeing them and then moving on to keep trying, but in the end we found the ‘right’ doctor who did a unique angle of an x-ray (it was pre-MRI) and found the trouble.

Her final (4th) surgery finally gave her relief — she didn’t look forward to the surgery, but then again she never regretted having had it.

Peace and strength

Hi @cynthiag ,Welcome to the site. I have gotten so many great suggestions and information. My hope is that you continue with us and have a similar experience. I have had epidural injections that helped me when I was having numbness and stinging down my arm. I also have had RFA (radio frequency ablation) in my lumbar spine. If you could give us some more info on the procedures you have had we might be able to come up with something you haven’t heard before! Wishing the best for you.

@sandytoes14

Hi @cynthiag ,Welcome to the site. I have gotten so many great suggestions and information. My hope is that you continue with us and have a similar experience. I have had epidural injections that helped me when I was having numbness and stinging down my arm. I also have had RFA (radio frequency ablation) in my lumbar spine. If you could give us some more info on the procedures you have had we might be able to come up with something you haven’t heard before! Wishing the best for you.

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Did the RFA help the lower back. I have spinal stenosis could I still have the above done?

@cowboy1997 Only your doctor can tell you if RFA is an option for you however it is worth discussing with him. RFA helped me tremendously. I was experiencing pain that spread across my lumbar spine and down into my buttocks which made it difficult to sit or walk. Wishing you the best!

Hi @sandytoes14, we haven’t heard from you for a little bit. How are you?

@colleenyoung

Hi @sandytoes14, we haven’t heard from you for a little bit. How are you?

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@colleenyoung I’ve been running ragged going to physical therapy and accupuncture while fighting a Fibro flare. I’ve also gone back to a psychologist for a tune up 😉 Thanks for asking!

@colleenyoung

Hi @sandytoes14, we haven’t heard from you for a little bit. How are you?

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Welcome back Sandy. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been dealing with flare-up health issues, but glad to know you’re taking care of yourself.

Thank you Colleen.

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