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.