I have interverbral lumbar dengerative disc disease. L4-5 has ruptured and is hitting the L5 nerve root - I also have bone spurs, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, spondylosis, and thickened ligaments at that level. L5-S1 is bulging with complete disc dessication and h
[More]itting the S1 nerve root. I also have nerve damage and a herniated disc (bulging) in my thoracic spine, mild scoliosis in both thoracic and lumbar spines, and severe myofascial pain syndrome. I have been told I need a lumbar fusion from L4 through S1; however, I am trying conservative treatment first as fusions only have a 50% chance of reducing pain and are most successful at stabilizing the spine. However, back surgery may become unavoidable at some point if the risk of permanent nerve damage (numbness) of one or both of my legs presents itself. I am considering a discectomy in the next 1-2 years.
My battle with chronic pain started over 12 years ago. I have previously managed my chronic pain with MMJ. Past pharmaceutical treatments for chronic pain include Tramadol, Vicodin, Percocet, MS Contin, and Opana ER. I currently manage my pain with opioid therapy (Fentanyl 50 mcg/hr patch w/ Oxycodone IR for breakthrough pain), a muscle relaxer, valium, gabapentin, and an anti-depressant. I also have found adding one Aleve a day helps as well. I also do self-accupressure using a theracane, heat therapy, stretching, and low impact excercise. I feel so lucky to live in Colorado and have a MMJ license...it is my back-up plan! The MMJ in the past has increased the effectiveness of my other meds 10 fold with only 3-4 puffs a day or 1/8th of a medicated brownie once a day as THC also binds to opioid receptors. My current medications are very effective and I haven't needed MMJ with the latest med changes. I also have had 7 lumbar epidural steroid injections. The injections have helped the low back pain significantly; however, they provide relief from the sciatica (radiculopathy) for only 2-3 days. I was on a every 3 month interval for those injections but I am trying to maintain a every 6 month interval to spare my bones.
I enjoy being a part of a community that provides hope and encouragement through support. I also hope to help others by providing answers based on the experiences I have encountered over my journey for pain relief and my quest to live a more enjoyable life.
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