Originally Posted by Suz91941
Could I pls get your take on spinal fusion for C3 - C5?
I have tried everything (acupuncture, PT, epidurals, neurotomy, medial branch blocks, and of course meds.) and nothing works. I am taking Vicodin for pain 1 every 4-6 hours and 2 before bedtime so I can sleep (which I'm not). I work fulltime and don't know how much longer I can stand the pain as I cannot concentrate on work. What a way to live! The only thing my Pain Mgmt Doc is offering is to do another neurotomy and I don't want to go through that one again. He thinks maybe it was incomplete. I am almost ready to have spinal fusion at this point but don't know if this would help my constant pain.
(Laminectony L4-L5, and Facet Joint Syndrome)
Hi, This is all a little new to me. I understand your frustration so well.
I just realized a few months ago that surgery may be appropriate for me or as they seem to say in medical circles I am "a candidate".
I have what I guess is called a Triple Major Scoliosis but my PT just told me I have both Idiopathic and Degenerative Scoliosis and I am now trying to figure out what that means. She also said that my three curves are all under 45 degrees and the problem really is in the lumbar spine (surprise!) where I seem to have three discs that have what she calls "Spondo" (Spondolisthesis). The literature seems to suggest that this is sometimes/often a result of untreated scoliosis over time (Gee, thanks mom!). I have also heard it said that our bodies were never really designed to accommodate our standing upright which is a strange thing to think about. Usually creatures opt for evolutionary changes that will enhance their survivability but if there were divine intervention that left us potentially suffering with spine problems that is pretty interesting (Don't want to open Pandoras Box, just wondering). I am sure most of us have at one time wondered why God is doing "this" to us. I know I have but watching videos of people with 80 percent curves and also terrible diseases silenced me. I guess it builds character but it sure does bear down on you sometimes.
A few days ago my right foot started throbbing with pain but there was no pain in that leg so that suggests that it is probably not stemming from my spine...is it just garden variety arthritis I wonder now. What fracking next!!!! It seems to come and go. It would be nice to have one dependable leg, one or the other.
A friend said maybe it is because that leg is bearing a heavier load because I am now limping on the left one due to lumbar "Spondo" which is also why I have these really horrid muscle spasms mostly at night. Last night for the first time I had the muscle spasms in the back of both legs. I was raking a lot in the yard yesterday (Aren't we supposed to get some exercize?). Maybe that was the result. Don;t know if you have the muscle spasms, if not consider yourself really fortunate.
I also take Hydrocodone (Vicodin, 5/325). You can take two if you really need to but be careful not to lose the theraputic effect by taking too many. Also there is this strange neuro loop where you actually feel more pain if you become dependent on the narcotic pain medications. I do not understand this phenomenon well but it is good to try to get a grasp of it to help yourself.
I also have SOMA, Clonezepam and Piroxicam that I can take if I need to. And I take a low dose aspirin every morning and evening. The SOMA and the tranquilizers tend to make you sleepy so not a good option for work or driving generally but really helpful at home. Also the SOMA used to help but not so much anymore. I have no idea why.
If you can get yourself to a pool swimming is amazing...it strengthens your muscles, is non weight bearing and is very healling. Depending on where your live, if you do not have a private or community pool the YMCA and some gyms have them, also High School Pools are often open for free and/or lap swim in the summer. I promise it will make you feel better. Keep moving. You don't have to climb mountains but by refocusing your attention you block the sense of pain and free endorphins, etc.
In my case it seems that I might not have to have a whole body fusion but maybe just lumbar. I meet with the Director of the Neuro Inst. that has ordered a lot of studies recently...I am looking forward to this meeting,,,sort of but it is scary. I find that a little dark chocolate, and either some warm milk or port help me to sleep (Until I wake with leg cramps that is!). My poor dog is very concerned...I start howling in the middle of the night and he looks at me like he has no idea what is wrong. He is A Great Dane/hound hybrid and has those intense hound eyes...he seems to be thinking, "Hey mom, I am the one that is supposed to howl, not you!").
Sometimes I have muscle spasms in my abdomen, in my hands, and once a couple of days ago at the base of my tongue! God, am I going to choke to death on my tongue because of muscle spasms related to my nerves! What a way to go! So you see, you are not doing too badly relatively speaking.
I was really disappointed in what the pain mgt doctor I saw told me also. I do not understand it. Finally he told me that after I have all the tests and see all the physicians I am scheduled to see he wants me to come back and bring me the "studies" and reports and then we will decide what to do about my pain. It is very frustrating when your pain grows deeper with every month that passes. A couple of glasses of red wine at dinner helps also and sometimes a sleeping pad and if you have a TENS unit.
If you have not read through all the posts on the various websites where people address and discuss these issues you should think about doing that. I have found it very helpful even though there is an understandable degree of complaining that you have to muddle through. People need to vent and it is sometimes hard to hear over and over but it is part of sharing our stories and bringing them to life. I actually download the posts and go through them in WORD and edit out what is not relevant and maybe highlight what is. I have found this really helpful and I can go back to these documents in my own files for reference.
You might also want to see a different pain mgt doctor for a second opinion. Unfortunately, because of the serious problem with the misuse of drugs and inappropriate writing of perscriptions on the part of some doctors the pressure is on responsible doctors to not prescribe strong pain medications.
I have also realized that for me Acetemenaphen (sp?) does absolutely nothing for me but Ibuprophen does help. A friend said it is because the later has anti inflamation properties. Anything that can relax you and your muscles and reduce inflamation is probably going to help you and you may have to develop your own combination of therapies until you sort through the surgery question.
I have noticed that several people have said that surgery is not done to relieve pain but to address symptoms and halt progression, etc. We have to ask ourselves how much pain we are really in, what can be done to control is without surgery and remember that there is no going back once it has been done. It is a lot to think about.
Finally, you might want to consult another surgeon for a second opinion. If you are in the LA area you might consult with Nitan Batia at UC Irvine or David Fish at UCLA (He has office hours in Santa Monica and I think he is on the faculty as well).
Keep the faith!