My husband had an accident last October 2008 when he fell on his back and damaged his spinal cord on the neck. (He is 65). He had herniated disk, had to be hospitalized and had a surgery of disk fusion. Immediately after injury he started having extreme pain in his hands. Initially he was prescribed Lyrica. But it had so many side effects including kidney problems that he stopped taking it. While using lyrica the pain that affected hands starting from elbows was affecting less and less area until only fingers were in pain. After he stopped taking lyrica pain stays in the same area for couple of months. Fingers are not only painful, they are also swollen. He is taking Advil and Tylenol for inflammation and pain but nothing has changed. I wonder if anybody experienced the same problem and what could be done about it. Doctor said that nerves recovery might take to a year. But I worry that it will never go away. Any suggestions?
The doctor is right about the nerve recovery time frame. Anytime you goof up your back, you're stuck with it for life, in some form or another you're going to hurt. But it will get less...me, it took two years to sort of work out my broken back.
Two things you can do. You can have them re-scan his back, to make sure nothing is amiss with the operation. But what is more likely is, the original injury and the surgery has set those nerves on fire, and with inflammation in the mix, he's going to have pain, so pain relief is the goal. You can get pain relief from physical therapy, drugs, and professional massage.
Since Lyrica doesn't agree with him, why, he can take another pain killer in the opiate class...you can actually be on the same dose for years and get relief, despite all the fears surrounding the addiction issue...one of the milder ones is in order. As for the swelling in his hands, icing them up before he goes to bed at night might help with that. Since aspirin will hurt his tummy, the alka seltzer form will be fine, best anti-inflammatory there is, so that will help his hands, too.
I hope some of what I say will work for your husband. I've been down his road, broke three places in my back and it has hurt for so many years and still does, so I can tell you this bit of extra info: Pain in a person can confuse and ruin focus of the mind. Easy exercise like walking round the neighborhood, you and your husband, will do more to help him than almost anything else. But my medicines, I could not be sitting here today without them. All the best to you both, I know how he feels. It's pretty rough but doable.
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