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Back Pain, Spial Stinosis, Bone Spurs, Arthritis
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Back Pain, Spial Stinosis, Bone Spurs, Arthritis

I am an 79 year old woman who has put up with severe back pain for the last 5 years.  It is worse when I stand for very long or when I first wake up in the morning.  The pain radiates down my legs.  I have trouble walking very far.  I've been on medication (oruvail, vioxx, relifin), and I have had 3 epidurals (cortisone), 2 in the upper back and 1 in the tail bone area.  I got only temporary relief and the medication gave me stomach problems.  The orthopedic dr. I saw doesn't recommend surgery because it would be too extensive and might not even help.  I walk a mile every day.  I still drive.  I live alone.  I have good bone density and am in very good health.  I have had 3 MRI's in 5 years.  The last one was not different than the one 2 years before.  I have been told that I have thinning of the discs, i.e., bone rubbing on bone, or compaction.  I've heard about a surgery to relieve back pain by removing bone from vertebrae at the base of the neck.  Can you please tell me what to do for some pain relief?  I can't sit home and wait to die, but I can't stand the chronic pain or the thought that there is no relief.  I wear an elastic belt, with magnets in the back, around my waist.  That gives me some relief, but not much.  I am on an HMO (Secure Horizons), so I have to get a referral to see another dr. and he has to be one who is in the same group, or I have to change primary care physicians (which I don't mind doing, if I can find someone who can effectively treat my back).  I also have the option of going with a PPO, which would cost more, but give me more choices.  Can you help me?  I get the feeling that because of my age no one wants to bother with me, but my pain is very real and it keeps me from doing what I want to do (traveling, shopping, standing in the kitchen and cooking, whatever).  I'm told to be happy for what I do have, I could be worse.  That gives me little satisfaction.  Thank you for your input.
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Dear Iona:

I am sorry to hear about your back pain.  As you know, surgery is usually the last resort, and often does not correct the pain fully.  I can't give you advice as I have not seen the MRI or done the physicial exam.  If surgery is out of the question because of a medical condition or age, there are options.  First, if the steroids helped some, then there might be hope that rehab might help things.  I would check this avenue out.  Second, there is a new type of adhesive used by the neuroradiologist that might help (no surgery) if the problem is a disc.  If a second opinion is needed (which is probably a good idea) then I would go out of the group and find someone independent.  

I don't think I would settle for "I'm sorry" at this point.  Surgery may not be an option but there are other options.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
13 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
You mention "rehab", does that mean rehabilitation/physical therapy?  I guess I don't know exactly what that entails.  Can you give me any detail about the adhesive you mentioned?  I've never heard of it.  What is it?  How does it work?  

I have developed heart burn, which even comes on when I bend over, not just after a meal.  Also, I get very short of breath when I walk very long and I have to stop and rest.  I broke my hip 3 years ago and had successful surgery; screws put in with no negative results.  (Just thought I would mention this in case there is something here that isn't obvious to me.)

Thank you for the information.

IW
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Iona:

Rehab is as you describe.  You should get a referral from your neurologist or neurosurgeon to one in your area.  They will help with muscle strengthening excercises and other ways to maximize motion and minimize pain.  Your neurologist should be able to give you a referral to a neuroradiogist in your area that performs adhesive vertebral reconstruction.

CCF Neuro MD
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Avatar_n_tn
Iona,
Sorry to hear about your back pain.  Thinning of discs can be reversed with a system called Chi Gung.  It incorporate breathing exercise and posture practice which actually gently expands disc clearance and space.


Discs are very mechanical in their nature.

Email me and I'll send you some information that will help I am sure.

***@****

Nick Garrett.  Trainer for the Australian Olympic squad.


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Avatar_n_tn
Iona,

you sound like a very sincere lady and i hope you find your solution quickly.  i would like to suggest to you that you try chiropractic.  although many healthcare professionals are reluctant to refer to a DC (doctor of chiropractic), the medical literature has shown that it is an effective method for treatment of back pain.  massage therapy, accupuncture, and yoga are some other complementary therapies that may benefit you as well.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you dcmd.  I did try chiropractic therapy and acupressure/acupuncture.  It didn't help.  It actually hurt more after dc.
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Avatar_n_tn
Iona,

I am sorry that chiropractic and massage didn't help you.  At the risk of seeming pushy, I would suggest you try another DC and do a bit of investigation into his/her background.  Also, please tell me what technique your DC practices.  Physical therapy is still your best alternative to surgery.
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Avatar_n_tn
21/2 years ago I underwent a 5 level anterior and posterior fusion...3 lower levels and 2 in the neck.  Stabilizing rods were placed in the lower back because of vacuum disc.  Prior surgeries in'90 for laminectomies..neck 4 levels and in '93 threelevels of lower back.   I am 58 years old.

There is a new diagnostic tool the doctors have used this year that could have helped more than MRI to get a handle on my long-term disease of my spine.  They can now do a movement x-ray and see how the spine works in motion and where passages for nerves are compromised in any way.  This video-xray technology can achieve a clear diagnosis.  

The severity of my situation was not addressed until someone decided to position me in the different postures of "doing life".The spinal cord was being compressed.  This was not revealed in regular xray or MRI.  

I endured by the grace of God.  I am very determined and had to seek help when I no longer was feeling pain...I was having long spells of no feeling..a place worse than pain.

I hope this helps somebody.  I,also, accepted that I will have pain..and I've made and continue to make accomodations to do life.  Currently, I'm painting a room in my house...in very small sections over many days.  The room is getting painted and I'm enjoying a great sense of accomplishment.

My doctors have worked with me  on pharmaceuticals to assist when pain reaches 10...my first line of attack is a hot shower and a heating pad, however.
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Avatar_n_tn
Iona, Im sorry about your pain problem. I have had very similar problems for years and have ended up with a 4 level fusion. Some of my pain is gone replaced by other pain  Cant win. One thing I have learned thru the years ia that surgeon are not equiped to deal with pain and are noe generally trained to. I would get myself as fast as you can to a Pain Clinic at a large hospital. Good Luck
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Iona,  I have two herniated discs in my lower back and arthritis also.  I also have a rotation of my spine with scoliosis too ( the S curve ).  I also have two bone spurs on my lower discs too.  I have constant pain also.  Keeps me awake at  night alot!  I go to a chiropractor, but not a so called "cruncher"; they will ruin your back and cause you more pain.  Out of my own pain - I give you this advice:  Try swimming and excercising without gravity pulling on your back (in the pool). Find a better chiropractor, use massage therapy to loosen up the muscles in the back and strengthen them in the pool.  Also, I use a large pillow under my legs and knees at night to take off the pressure on the spine, when I try to sleep.  Use silicone heel cups in your shoes to take away alot of shock when walking (can buy them at a medical supply store for about $30.00)  Don't forget to take alot of calcium! Another thing you could do is to get on the knees and stretch the arms out from the head and keep head between arms and stretch way down and out, this will stretch the spinal muscles that are shortening up on you every day. Sounds like you are having sciatic pain also to me.  Chiropractic can help that some but, rest is most important too. I have sciatic pain. I suffer alot from pain constantly also, but if I do these things the pain decrease for me!  Most important: consistency is the answer!  Hope this helps you some and I will pray for you also.   Another thing, make sure you support those arches good with a good shoe.  The feet are the foundation for the back, but I am sure you know that! Take care and Love to you in Christ.......
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, i am writing because I am concerned about my dad. He is 68years old, overweight, arthritic, diabetic, and has had heart problems in the past. For the past year or so, he has been having excruciating back pain. He ignored it for a long time, but when he finally went to the doctor to have this diagnosed, they told him that he had bone spurs in his left shoulder.

My father is the owner and chef of a small Italian restaurant in Nebraska. He is still working full time, because it is what he loves to do. He thinks that if he quits working, he will die.

I am so worried about him.

He has been prescribed pain killers, and he has also gotten several cortisone shots. But, they don't seem to do anything anymore..it's like his body is immune to them.

The doctors say that the only way that they can make the pain go away, is if he has surgery. We (my family) are all afraid that my father's heart won't be able to take this surgery. Also, they said that he would need to be "out of commission" for about 6 months.

Do any of you know? is there any other solution for this problem besides surgery?

please help...

if you have any suggestions, please email me at ***@****

Thanks in advance!!!

Tiz
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Avatar_n_tn
My husband has had chronic back pain for one year.  It is unrelieved by surgery, epidurals, post-surgical steroid injections or pharmacuticals.  
I want to know more about bone spurs.  I know he has permenant nerve damage, but the level of pain he is going to have to live with has to bebeing caused by something else.
Please, tell me more about bone spurs!!!
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DEAR JOSIE -  dear Josie  --  JOISE ARE YOU STILL THERE?

I Hope you are still there; you posted a message on May 6, 2000 telling a woman about the Video-Xray Technology that you had.  I am very interested in obtaining any information you can give me.  I have herniated discs at C5-6, C6-7, T11-12 and L5-S1, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, and chronic myofascial pain syndrome and am in constant pain.  Have tried many many things.  Please send me any information.  thank you very much.

Since I don't check this site much can you please send me the info to me directly; My  e-mail address in ***@****.  Thank you very much.  I hope you are doing okay.  I know "better" is the wrong word, "tolerable" is probably more like it.  Thanks again
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