Back Pain After Army Career

I first injured my back while serving in the US Army after a very long and hard day I awoke the next morning and could not move at all. After a couple weeks of bed rest I was up and at it as usual.

After I left the Army I was having back aches daily, but thought little of it. All of this began in 1982 and by 1985 I was seeing a doctor on a regular basis. By the time 1993 came around I was in so much pain it was all I could do to just function and I was taking over 240 Percocet Pain pills a month.

It was at that point the doctors decided it was time for surgery, so in May 1993, I underwent a partial discectomy – laminectomy. It was the wrong choice. The surgery failed completely and it was downhill from there.

I was never able to return to work I ended up having to use a wheelchair and by 1997, was in a chair full time. The pain levels kept increasing and there was nothing I could do or take that would give me very much relief. I found myself taking Morphine every eight hours just so the pain was tolerable. To this day I take 75mg of Morphine every eight hours, as well as oxycodone for breakthrough pain. Still just enough relief to function only.

In 2008 a second surgery was done. This time a spinal fusion at L5-S1 and the doctors said I waited too long to have it done and I most likely would not recover the use of my legs. So I am still searching for answers and hoping for the best. All the while, I have more degeneration in the lower back and now in my neck, as well.

The pain meds help but would prefer not to take them, but I am hooked and most likely take them the rest of this miserable life. The one thing all this has taught me is there is always hope and there is always someone worse than I am. That keeps me fighting to find the correct answer, not just medication to cover up the true problems, which is several bulged or herniated disks that more surgery may or may not help, I have put my faith in God and I know he will show me the way. Stay positive. - James



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