Three Years of Hell

I am 79 years old and am in generally good health except for my back. I have spent my entire professional life in the orthopedic industry, so I am familiar with the discipline.

Four years ago, while getting up from a sitting position, I had a sudden spasm in my lower back, focused on the right side about the L-5 area. It got progressively worse until it was unbearable.

I saw a neurosurgeon immediately because I was convinced it had to be very serious due to the level of pain. After the usual x-rays and MRI, his diagnosis was facet syndrome. He referred me to a pain specialist, who recommended a RFA. After three trial injections under fluoroscopy which were inconclusive, he referred me back to the neurosurgeon who recommended surgery.

Before agreeing to the surgery, an X-Stop, I tried a course of physical therapy; then next came a series of non-invasive decompression treatments, 22 in all, with only minimal relief.

Finally, after suffering for one year, I agreed to the surgery. No relief whatsoever. I tried an RFA with no relief.

I went to another spine specialist, who recommended a "modified fusion". I agreed to the surgery and about six months later, the pain had reduced to the point that it was manageable with medication (Tramadol).

I next tried another course of decompression treatments, combined with low-level laser, and the results were negligible.

Three months ago, I read Healing Back Pain, by Dr John Sarno, and I began to understand more about the cause of my pain. Sarno's concept of TMS makes sense to me, and I am making progress, but it is a very slow process.

In his book, he suggests that patients who do not respond well within a matter of 4 to 6 weeks may require psychological therapy with one trained in analytical psychotherapy to get to the root cause of the "repressed emotions".

This is where I am at the present time. My back pain is significantly improved, but I still have constant pain and have limited functional capacity. - John


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