Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Back Pain Forum

Back Probs And Med Questions

I am 26 years old and have quite a story to tell. I realize that my problems are far less than some of yours that I have read, but I still would like to know if any of you have similar stories to share or any good advise. My back pain started when I was 4 months pregnant and was 22 years old. I took only regular strength tylenol when I was at work only when I had to. Amazingly, it helped the pain! Then next pain offense was right after my child was born, I slipped down some stairs and hit my tail bone about 5 times on the steps. I busted about 3 of my stiches "down there" and I had to sit on a doughnut (invalid ring) for months after that. I eventually recovered from that, but had pain off and on in my lower and upper back and legs. Between then and now, things have gotten much worse. In june of this year, I had to quit working b/c of my back pain. Because of the pain, I could not sleep, sit, stand, etc...Without hurting. I started seeing a orthopedist Dr. At healthsouth in june. I had several regular x-rays, showing disc degeneration, and two bulging discs/possibly small herniations. (if there is a difference please tell me) I was sent next for an mri, in which I cried b/c of the pain of having to lie still. At that time, no pain meds had been prescribed, but you bet your bootie after that mri I went right upstairs to my dr and she prescribed me lortab 5. I was is so much pain that I immediately took 2. It helped some, but I was still pretty uncomfortable. Anyhow, since then, I have changed doctors b/c all that dr wanted to do was give me pain rx and do physical therapy. I was dying!!!! I would take one of my husband's 10 mg ambien, and wake up at about 6am in terrible pain, and that was while taking lortab 10!! My new doctor did more x-rays and then did a milogram/ct scan. That revealed that I had 2 bulging discs. According to him, a lumbar block should fix the problem...Hah. Since then, the end of july, I have had 2 blocks. The pain is again slowly but surely coming back in my back and legs...With occasional numbness and tingling in my left leg. Otc meds and muscle relaxers do not touch the pain. My internist has placed me on elavil to supplement my prozac b/c it has been found that triptaline sp.? Antidepressants help pain. The only thing it has done for me is make me soooo sleepy! He also prescribed kolonopin as a nerve med/muscle relaxer. I tried that yesterday b/c my back pain was creeping back and I was just a mental mess. I am feeling trapped in my own body. The bad thing is that my mother's back problems started at 27 for her. She has been diagnosed with early bone degen. Disease and rheum. Arthritis. She has had a major fusion in her back, but she has so much nerve damage that they cannot do anything else. She is on methadone for pain management and an antidepressant for pain/depression from pain. I think that in about 5-7 years she will be in a wheel chair. God help me, I don't want to end up like that...But it is clear that I am traveling down that path. My present dr set me up for phys therapy again...Which doesnt do much for me. It really only makes me hurt worse. By the end of the day, my entire back is hurting, my legs, sciatic nerves (hips) and I just want to die. I wonder if I just need to go to a pain management specialist and be done with it, or what. I had a rheumatoid profile done, and I still havent' gotten the results, but I know I have arthritis, even if its not rheum. In no way do I want to become some drug dependant junkie, but in some ways, I am so tired of crying and hurting, I would welcome a regular regiment of pain meds to keep me to where I can function. It is so hard to live life like this and try to be a mommy and a wife while I am hurting so bad and feeling so trapped. I am also no help to my family b/c I cannot work b.C of the pain! Phys ther has gone nowhere two times, chiropractics made me sooooooo much worse, and now I am at a dead end with two epi blocks in one month...And the pain is coming back. I am also pretty miffed b/c I can tell that my new orthopedist thinks I am a med junkie. I asked for a few pain pills to get me by until the next block, and he looked at me with his head cocked and said, "lets just try and get by on tylenol until then. Okay?" I was infuriated b/c this doctor obviously thinks that I am an idiot! Please help me!
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replied September 5th, 2004
Is There Anybody Out There??
Hello?
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replied September 6th, 2004
Hi jenn,
i don't know why the posts here go unanswered for so long. It helps sometimes just to get support from someone even if it is not the cure you are looking for.
I wish I were a doctor and could help you, but I am not.

I also have two herniated discs in my lumbar spine, (l3-4 and l4-5) that are called bulging by some doctors and herniated by others. I do not know if they mean the same thing. There is degeneration in the discs, as well as hips, and sacroiliac joints.
What helps the pain the most, but is not good in the long term is prednisone. I was actually told to take it for another problem I have and I couldn't believe how much it helped alleviate the pain. When I tapered off it, the pain came back, but not as bad. I am also on celebrex twice a day, and tylenol with codeine as needed. I try not to take the tylenol too much, but sometimes I take it just before bedtime if the pain is bad. It helps me to sleep.

Recently I have started noticing a tingling down my left leg. It scares me a little thinking things might be getting worse.

A lot of the movement in physical therapy made my pain worse. One physical therapist taught me isometric exercises which help strengthen muscles with little movement. That is better for me. You may want to try that.

Hope you find relief. Keep me posted.
Lori
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replied September 6th, 2004
Back Pain
The phys ther and doctor did want me to do muscle/spine strengthing excercises in pt, but all pt did was make me worse. The leg tingling thing is telling you that a nerve is being pinched by one of those bulging/herniated discs. (i recently found out that those are the same thing) my phys ther showed me a diagram of a back with bulgers, as I call them. She showed me that when the bulge occurrs, not only does the bulge affect the nerve, but the inflammation that is in there can also affect the nerve moreso than the bulge. That is why you are getting the tingling in your leg...Something is involving the nerve, I would suspect. Some days my legs, knees, and hips hurt more than my back, and then some days they all hurt. I wish I could have a "bottom-half ectomy" and get a healthy replacement sometimes! Thanks for the reply. I will ask about the prednisone. I have heard that it is not good to take prednisone for a long period of time, (that is what a dentist friend told me...I don't know if its true) and of course it makes you swell up like a balloon...I do know that. Good luck,

jennjenn
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replied September 7th, 2004
Jenn,
thanks for the information. Now I know why the prednisone helped, because it relieves inflammation.

It is definitely not a good medicine to be on high doses for long term, but in the short term, it would provide relief.
I was prescribed a tapered dose for about two weeks, starting at 40mg. And tapering slowly off.
Long term side effects can include weight gain, calcium loss, glaucoma.(at high doses)

I am going to start exercising in a pool tomorrow at the ymca. I am told it is the best way to strengthen muscles without hurting joints. Something to try if you haven't already.

Lori
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replied September 10th, 2004
Extremely eHealthy
Hey,jen.I just read your post and I have to say ,you've been through the wringer!!I truly hope that you get some resolution to your pain.I don't have the same problem as you,but pilates has helped me greatly!I was very skepitcal at first,but I have improved with 3-4 times a week .I have a dvd at home and our local park district has a class once a week.I have found that not moving makes the pain much worse and nightime is the worst!Hope you are able to find a solution.Patty
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replied September 12th, 2004
Am I a Two Headed Purple Monkey?
Shocked I am having restless arms now. It is driving me crazy!!!! Night before last I was so groggy and sleepy and every time I would fall asleep, I would wave my arms around because I just had to! I think that is muscular. There is a light at the end of my tunnel...Hopefully. I have an appt with the rheumatologist that my mom went to this thursday. Maybe they can link some of my problems with my mom's and we can find out if we share some of these weird autoimmune diseases. Some of our factors are so similar it's scary. It would be so nice to not feel like a crazy dummy, or to not have doctors looking at me like i'm a two headed chimpanzee with purple fur. (and to not be treated like a druggie when I am hurting so bad that I could sever my own limbs) isn't respect a nice thing when you do get it? Hmmm, I guess the next time that doctor has a tooth ache, I hope his dentist tells him, oh, let's just take some tylenol until we can do that root canal on your bombed out abcessed tooth...In the next week or two. Just gargle with some listerine for that fistula that tastes so bad. You'll be alright buddy, just get some anbesol. Hah, yeah right.

Sometimes I wish I were a paperdoll and I could tear off below my belly button and start all over again. (we would have to leave my breast implants...They are too pretty to tear off...And too darn expensive!) hey patty, you and I could start all over and ditch dental all together. (get jobs that are less physically demanding, that pay worth a poot and that have some kind of benefits and good retirement plans) Cool hah ha ha ha I can dream can't i?


Jenn
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replied September 17th, 2004
Extremely eHealthy
Jenn,you are too much!!Sorry for being so late,but I am going to school at night as well as slaving away for the sake of teeth.My best friend and I say when we are both soooooo tired of our jobs that we are going to pack it in and become exotic dancers for the blind!!Wanna join us???That's one of our favorites,we have others!But,seriously,you are right about some docs thinking that you are looking for drugs.I seldom need pain meds anymore and I swear that pilates has a lot to do with it.Last year,i really thought I would not be able to work at all,and now i'm significantly better.Not that my lower back does not hurt daily,but it is tolerable.I have a sister in richmond and she has had very similar problems getting pain meds for her back pain.The doc told her she should take steriods instead.She really wanted to avoid any more steriods,and this doc said steroids or nothing!!Very non-compassionate if you ask me!Hope you find a doc with a head and a heart!Patty
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replied September 18th, 2004
Mean Doctors
I know. I have to reschedule my appt with the rheumatologist b/c of that hurricane junk. It was not as bad as they thought it would be, thank god. I may have to look into this pilates thing.

Jenn
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