gailb, I read your history and our stories sound very similar, neck to low back and in between. Throughout my adult life i have carried the attitude that I can (and will) do anything, especially if I have to ask or if it’s not being done as I would! Wrong, bad attitude first and foremost! I was the one who did above and beyond for all..just took care of everyone and got ‘er done, at any cost.
I felt like Humpty Dumpty in that each time I had a migraine from the neck or low back go out, I went to the chiro to have it put together again. Helped for many years. Please understand, I am a trained xray tech and have seen too many surgeries ‘gone wrong’, and always said “they’ll never cut on my spine”. Never say never because it will come back to bite you!
I have seen a neurologist for at least 15 years with all the same treatments that you mentioned. All those treatments, as well as exercise and nerve blocks, are only band aids if you have real problems.
First week of May, 2016 I saw an orthopedic surgeon (MRI, blocks, pills). I was told they would have to fuse L4-5. No sir! Got 2nd opinion from a neurosurgeon and a new neurologist. In Sept. we chose the laminectomy along with opening the space for the nerve. Good for about 4 weeks, till vacation which made everything worse than prev. Sent me to another neurosurgeon (same office). By this time in Nov. I was in unbearable pain and slipping and grinding in the spine. Bingo, fusion! Didn’t take place until Jan 18, 2017. The vertebra had been slipping back and forth on the sciatic nerve and abusing it so badly that it will take many months for it to heal. Surgeon was great, back is fine w/care, but that nerve! Ugh! I’ve had many surgeries and this was the worst but age could be a factor, and I also have fibro.
By the time I had surgery, I couldn’t walk w/out help, my leg would give way, and I couldn’t hold my torso erect.
My advice to you would be: Have someone prescribe a medical back brace, get a second opinion (all drs. are not created equal, do your homework on your doctors).and ask questions. If you have a good doctor he normally won’t do the fusion until you can’t walk. Lighten up on your activities while you can still function. If you have the fusion you will be forced to stop normal activity and it will nearly kill a strong willed person. It has taken many tears to break my independent spirit.
I have been taking Percocet 5 or 10 since May and am down to 1 or 2 per day. I had no problem with heavy meds in hospital, although all bodies are different. I still take Gabapentin for fibro and sleep, and as far as I’m aware, it’s not addicting. I take Tizanidine for muscle relaxer.
Ok now, I have written my book, but if there is anything I have left out or anything else, just let me know. Please take care and may God bless you on this journey.