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Pain Management Community
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15042724 tn?1438079351

Severe Chronic Back Pain

In January of 2012 I was rear-ended by a 1-ton utility work truck. Ever since, I have had extreme, chronic debilitating back pain and no doctor can figure out why. I never had any problems before the accident; I didn't participate in any sports and I was generally a low impact person. The MRI right after the accident showed that I had 3 herniated disks in my lumbar area. L3-L4, L4-L5 and L5-S1. I have been to countless physical therapy sessions to which have had no avail. Therapy also included electrotherapy, ultrasonic therapy, massage therapy, and hot/cold therapy. Then we moved to the next step which was pain medications and steroid injections. The first steroid injection was in 2012, and it made the pain significantly worse. I was bedridden for about a week. The second one, which was in 2013 didn't do anything at all. Then we moved up to surgery options. I had an L4-L5/L5-S1 laminectomy in 2013. The MRI showed that the disks had reherniated and I needed another surgical option. I then had a two-tier fusion of the disks of L4-L5 and L5-S1 in December of 2014. Since the laminectomy, I have been through additional sessions of physical therapy. I have another steroid injection in another couple of months to see if that helps. But otherwise, the only other options for me are pain pumps. The recent CT of the fusion shows that is it 50% fused and healed, there is no serious pressure on the spinal cord, branching nerves or medial nerves. The recent MRI shows that I have an additional 3 herniated disks in my thoracic back. I have been on several anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, muscle relaxants and opioid and narcotic pain killers. My recent medications are 8mg Dilaudid, 5mg Valium, 30mg MS Contin, and 50mg Vistaril. I was taking all these at the same time at each dose and it didn't even make me drowsy. I quit them cold turkey without any withdrawal symptoms because they are not working anymore. I am in a 7 on the pain scale every single day. On good days, right after I wake up its about a 6, but on bad days and at the end of the day it jumps to a 9. I need help in every aspect in my life and I can't hold a job. Standing for more than 10 minutes gives me horrid back spasms that bring me down to my knees and I need to alternate sitting/walking/resting in order to get through the day. I use a cane daily, and on longer trips I need to use my wheelchair. I've been living like this for 3 years. Doctors have no idea what's wrong with me, and I'm only 22. I have my whole life ahead of me. I have had a PE related to hereditary and estrogen origins, and there is a serious history of cancer in my family. I am in a lawsuit for the person that hit me, so any tests, scans or related means are unlimited. I just want to know whats wrong with me. Please message or email me if you have any questions. ***@****
5 Responses
Avatar universal
I'm so sorry to hear your in so much pain and you are so so young I to have  hernation in my thoracic spine it is very painful my started at age of 35 I to have done PT injection the whole nine yards most surgeons wont touch the throacic spine so I have had no choice but to live with it sounds to be you need to find a good pain specialist to help you get  on a good opiate pain regiment there are alot of different pain meds sometimes it takes awhile to find the right regiment to fit you you are to young to be feeling so terrible  I know how it feels to feel like life is passing by you and you are sitting watching wondering why did god do this to me I got so depressed but then I said I can give up or take control of my life I found a wonderful doctor that treats my pain I hate having to depend on pain meds but I always want to live and enjoy life good luck to you first step find yourself a good pain specialist
547368 tn?1440545385
Hi and Welcome to our Pain Management Community. I'm so glad you found us but so very sorry to hear about your painful situation!

Corey offered you some good suggestions. I agree.

Some years ago my little sports car was near hit head-on by a loaded dump truck. The seat belt severed me to the spine and there is no reason I should still be on this earth! The Lord and some gifted surgeons had other ideas. Like Corry there were days I wondered why they saved me - to live with horrid pain was not my idea of living. Also like Cory - one day I said I wasn't going to let this rule or take my life away.

You're so young. My heart goes out to you. I was about 10 yrs older than you when my MVA occurred - still young but not 22.

I could go into a lot of medical jargon that would explain why your spine continues to deteriorate. In simple terms when you fuse a portion of the spine you basically make it immobile - so the vertebrae above and/or below it have much more stress placed upon them - they have to do all the "work" that was once shared. That stress often causes the type of issues you are experiencing. But that info doesn't help your pain or pain related issues.

The fact that you could go cold turkey and experience no extreme withdrawal symptoms tells me you needed those opiates - at least that's what my PMP told me. However what you did was dangerous and you should never go cold turkey without the supervision of a medical provider.

I understand your hatred of taking opiates, none of us true chronic pain patients like taking them. However most of us don't have a choice. I'm going to suggest basically what Corey said - you weren't on the correct regime of opiates. Possibly it was too much or not the "right" combination. If you have a good PMP and trust him/her - return to him and begin again. If you don't have that good relationship then find yourself another PMP. Life is too short to live in unrelenting pain.

Life is never fair. The cards we are dealt are often not the cards we would have chosen - but in the end it's how we play the hand that's dealt us that really matters.

Please keep in touch. If you have additional questions - concerns or comments please post them. I'll look forward to hearing from you.

My Best to You,
~Tuck

Avatar universal
Nicely put Tuck nicely put
Avatar universal
I am so sorry to hear of your situation. I too was in a terrible MVA at the age of 21 that destroyed my work life...but like Tuck said, although it is difficult, we must not let it destroy our everyday life. I had 2 young children to look at to keep me going everyday and yes, again like Tuck said, I resented taking opioids for my pain. I have come to terms with that and now deal with the stigma taking these meds seems to have placed on patients such as ourselves as of late. So, I must say that I agree with Tuck and Corey wholeheartedly....find a PCP or PMP that you truly like and truly trust. They will be able to find a way to help you as it will probably mean taking meds daily, but the proper combination of them. I am currently on 2 types of pain medications and they have been doing well for the last 6 years (knock on wood so to speak). Good luck with everything, and I look forward to reading more posts from you on your progression. Oh, I also wanted to mention that you may want to check into your state's database as far as experimental procedures. I had tried that and found a very promising procedure but the FDA would not approve it for me as the surgery would have to deal with more than 3 disc spaces...so even though you also have many more than 3 disc spaces to deal with, there may be something "within your reach" of location that may be available to you in that respect as well. Good luck to you, you are in my thoughts.

Best Regards,
Abbey
547368 tn?1440545385
Thanks Corey!

Let's hope something we said has helped Keko.

Take Care My Friend in Pain,
~Tuck
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