My age: 38 going on 18 going on 45 - what does that mean? i have the mind of an 18 yr old who thinks he can do anything but have abused my body to the point where i feel about 45 and have had doctors tell me my back looks like that of someone much older than myself, whatever that means!
diagnosed conditions: 3-4mm bulge l5-s1 and above it, i forget which disc that one is called, but i have two bulges.
treatment history and results: where do i begin? at the beginning, of course. taking a step back let me just describe myself a little 1st. i have always been extremely healthy. never had any serious long term chronic problems physical or mental. i have always been an athlete in top physical shape. i surf and snowboard extensively. i used to surf every day for 8 hours a day sometimes when the waves were good, now not at all or only very rarely when it is just too good to pass up for a short time then have to deal with major pain after! anyway when the waves were not good i spent all my remaining free time in the mountains back-country snowboarding. on top of that, i hiked, biked, mountain biked, climbed, ran, swam, walked, kayaked, and the list just goes on and on. now like i said i only rarely surf and mostly just walk to lift my spirits. by the way walking has been a huge help with my moods!
then sometime around october 2006 i noticed some major pain in my low back. i cannot attribute it to anything specific, but i do remember being laid up for about 3 weeks and the pain just never went away. i got used to it and have been dealing with it ever since. it has been getting worse and worse. here is how i describe the pain. it is a throbbing sensation that bounces around my lower back. sometimes it localizes to one side or sometimes it will jump around and shoot into my mid back also. i always have very sore and tight butt muscles. my hamstrings hurt also. the constant pain to my lower region is also more of a throbbing pain. however, sometimes the low back will start to shoot and stab and burn and feel like a squeeze. it is not a sciatic pain, though as it seems to stop at my knees. all the pain is just too much. i know others out there know what i am going through beacuase they too have immense pain and to have to live a life like this is just too much. i mean i celebrate life and am very happy to be alive but with this pain sometimes i am not really living, just getting by.
so it is now 2011 and i have seen a handful of doctors, had many images, such as mri's, xrays, cts and they all say the same thing. bulging disc. discogenic pain. whatever. what i have done so far is everything i can think of short of surgery and i am really afraid of that. i did physical therapy with several different very well known and highly acclaimed outfits. they all hurt me and just made me worse. no relief. some of them were even kind of rude to me when they saw that i was not getting better, accusing me of doing something that was horrible. i tried chiro's - several of them. never got any relief. i tried yoga. i tried hot baths. i tried hot rocks. i tried other heat and ice therapies. i tried massage therapy. never any relief. always worse after, in fact. even though massage felt good and relieved some tension, not to mention just the human contact and feeling good and bad at the same time, but it was too much pain to continue. i tried several different massage techniques with different people and nothing. i tried acupuncture. that was also relaxing but gave me no relief. in fact i went to a few different people. one of the guys would push on my back and say "oh does that hurt?" and of course i would scream in pain then he would say "geez i don't know how you live like that in pain all the time". i have to agree, i don't know how either.
i tried cortisone injections. nothing. i tried facet blocks. nothing and expensive risky waste of time (due to general anesthesia). it hurt worse, always, never any better. so then i started exploring surgery. i had a surgeon sweet talk me into getting a discogram to confirm i needed surgery. that was the worst thing i endured and made my already incredible pain much much worse. is that possible? i didn't think so. i started exploring discogram complications. got another mri. nothing showed up no infections, and still the same bulges as before. i went to another dr and they also confirmed after more PT, acupuncture, and pain meds that i need surgery. so they suggested the artificial disc. i may do that but i am going to hold out as long as i can. surgery is just such an extreme measure. but the pain is now so extreme i am considering it. of course i will try the knowledge therapy mentioned here as well. i had not yet heard of it and it brings me some new hope!
I get no relief at all, ever. I have a very hard time sleeping. My mood is always in flux. Pain meds make me loopy and i am taking way too much of them (8 norco a day) for the little relief they give me. plus i have stopped them once or twice now and i know my body is dependent on them as i had a bad withdrawal from them. Standing hurts. Sitting hurts. Laying down hurts. I find no comfortable position. I also use medical marijuana and i can say that sometimes it helps with taking my mind off the pain as well as lifting my spirits when i get upset about everything. i have quite a stack of unpaid bills now and probably ruined my credit rating. luckily i still have hope though. i will not give up. something has got to give at some point.
i have faith in some form of a higher power that can help me in some way. i was once pain free and i know i will be again. thanks to all who take the time to read my story and know that you are not alone in your suffering and sooner or later you will get better. don't ever give up trying!
This has been helpful to write about my story so thanks for the venue to vent a bit! also i hope in some way this info will help others. - Dave