Re: Have surgery or lose pain medication?

"Top" <Top@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
On Mon, 07 Apr 2008 04:50:20 -0700, knackeredback wrote:

On Apr 7, 3:12 am, "OldGoat" <oldgoatm...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Dear Knackered,

No body can force you in to an OR, surely not with extortion, which
would should be malpractice in all states. True, a physician can run
their practice however they want to, but to push you in to the OR with
the foreknowledge that they will still have to keep you relatively
medicated would be unethical (If I was on your jury, you'd have his
house and his pool so your could do some water PT).
It sounds like they want to do a laminectomy, and while no surgery is a
minor thing, I'd bet your ex electrician buddy had a couple of levels
fused together. That is one bad assed operation that I would push people
away from unless they are having continence issues, which is really the
only time back surgery in cases like this become emergencies. The pain
doc sounds like she should be becoming your best buddy. The back
specialist is just thinking about getting his sailboat back in the
water. And any doctor that doesn't try every non invasive avenue before
bringing up the "S" word should be taken out and flogged. Like your pain
doc, I am concerned about this new development of the leg becoming
involved. Sounds like your L5/S1 level is deteriorating and none of that
kind of thing gets better on it's own. Pain meds are great for what they
do, but as you no doubt know by now, it's just a band-aid over a scab.
It's ok as a stop gap, but I'm in year #11 (make that 12, this week) and
as a long - term - last - chance - all - they - can - do - for - you, it
leaves a lot to be desired. I gotta get back to some kind of PT again
cause this just ain't making do anymore.
You having been around the same block, so long probably know all the
little things- keep your wallet cleaned out and in another pocket if you
can, so your hip sit straight while driving job to job. Kneeling on a
2x4 in the attic while waiting from some helper to pull a fish or chain
or cable out of the wall isn't so good for you either, but neither is
filling holes in the ceiling. You ever try sitting on a tennis ball? An
old chiro showed me that little gem, it's no good for the back, but it's
great for the leg pain. Not too hard a chair, not too soft and about 10
minutes. Believe me you will know when you got that puppy positioned on
the nerve just right. Check your tool belt to be sure your as even as
you're going to get. And I know you spend a fair bit of the day behind
the wheel, a lumbar support is a good investment. Get one of these docs
to give you an Rx for a TENS if you don't have one. It's a 9 volt
walkman sized portable massage unit. Slap on the sticky electrodes and
off you go. If you can wire one up to operate at 12 volts, I got my
soldering iron hot. 9 volts don't cut it some days. You probably are
looking at something surgical down the road, but I don't know how keen
I'd be on this over anxious orthopedic back guy. A lamenectomy almost
always only helps the leg pains, nothing for the back (back pain is hard
to fix) and fusion almost always leaves you worse than you were. It
takes a year to know if it was a success or not (all that time you're
recovering, not working. Figure out how to chip digital cable boxes and
you have a business partner) and you're still going to have to learn to
work within the confines of your new limited body, if it does work.
There's one thing I haven't mentioned surgically cause not that many
people have it done. Either that or they don't end up in here. Disk
replacement. It's about 5 years old now, but fusion surgery has been the
back docs bread and butter so long now, it seems hard for them to learn
new tricks. But if I was in your place (any other surgery seems to
disqualify you as a candidate, like a dummy I got talked in to a 70/30
laminectomy and rolled a 3 instead of a 7) I'd be looking hard at that
option down the road. Hopefully you won't have to have a thing done, and
the blocks will get you up and running again. But don't be pushed in to
doing something they can't ever undo under the threat of a pill. "AMA"
or "State Board of Health" should be enough to keep the band-aids
coming. If they cop an attitude use "Lawyer!".

They hate that one. Good luck--og
Be Sure to Check Out the PAYNE HERTZ blog, for people with chronic pain,
by people with chronic pain.
join in at:

"knackeredback" <wiren...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote in message


Hello, I have suffered with intermittent bouts of sciatic/lower back
pain for about 20 years now. It usually lasts for no more than a week
or two and then the pain goes away on its own with rest from work and
opiate pain medication. I had an MRI done again about 2 months ago
which showed disc degeneration and bulging and torn disc tissue at L4
and L5. I have been off work for the past 3 weeks with some really
unbearable pain which took me to a spine doctor and a pain doctor. I
had an epidural shot a week or so ago which really helped the pain for
about 5 days and have been taking opiate painkillers, prescribed by
the pain doctor, since seeing her 3 weeks ago. I saw the spine doctor
last Wednesday who recommended I get surgery to correct both
problematic discs (decompression/cleaning up), this was after stating
a week earlier that I should have surgery as a last resort and give
the painkiller/physical therapy and a few epidurals approach a chance
to work. I told him that I didn't really think that it was the right
time for me to have surgery due to financial/ work commitments and a
real fear about surgery which is founded on 2 friends back surgery
experiences which were not positive. One of my friends had to give up
being an electrician, which is my line of work too, after an
unsuccessful operation which left him in worse condition than before.
The spine doctor told me that would most likely still get back
problems after the surgery but not as severe . I don't really see this
as worth the risk. Incidentally, my spine doctor would be the actual
surgeon performing the operation, which may or may not be his
I spoke with my pain doctor on Friday and expressed my concerns and
she was sympathetic to my view on the matter. Although she was worried
that the pain in my leg, related to my back pain, was still there even
after the epidural. She scheduled another epidural in a different
location for this Friday. I think she understands that I want to wait
a bit longer before surgery and try all other alternatives, while
remaining on strong pain medication. We will wait a couple of months
or so and do another MRI to see if the condition has worsened,
meanwhile continue on pain medication and another epidural. She said
if the pain in my leg continued to hurt or get weaker then surgery
would be the right thing.
I think that maybe the spine doctor thought I was exhibiting "drug
seeking behaviour" by really wanting him to give me something to get
me out of incredible pain, the first time I met him. He said he could
have me admitted to the hospital for surgery that very same day.By
threatening to open up my back he thought that he would call my bluff.
I think that his behaviour may have been a bit extreme and it seems
like he was saying "If you really are in great pain then you would let
me open up your back". I really was in terrible pain at that moment
the first time I met him and cannot help think what might have
happened if I told him to go ahead and operate. Would he have told me
he was just joking and handed me a painkiller script? This really made
me think about the term "drug seeking behaviour". Isn't that just the
same behaviour that someone desperately wanting to be pain free would
Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts with people on this board
and mention that I think that surgery should really be the last resort
if there is even the slimmest chance that it could affect someones
Thanks for letting me say my piece.

Thanks, you got what I was saying perfectly and your advice from
experience is truly just what I was hoping to hear. I have tried most of
what you suggest for pain relief, tennis ball, carrying wallet in the
front pocket (Its already pretty empty from the time off work I have
had)lumbar support while driving but I need to look into a tens unit. I
have heard people talk about a tens unit but didn't know if it worked for
my particular condition being that the pain is really quite deep in. I am
sorry to hear about your experience with surgery, but thankful you have
helped me with your account of it. I realize that the pain meds are a
aid right now and some type of surgery in the future is pretty much
inevitable, but I can start planning for this now and will be better
prepared financially and mentally when it comes along, I hope. This past
few weeks has made me aware of how much this pain stops me from getting
around and how painful it can really get. I have experienced real tears
physical pain for the first time as far as I can remember. This bout has
been the worst yet. I do feel that the first epidural helped a little bit
and, combined with the pain meds and another epidural, I should be back
working soon. This time working smarter rather than harder. I am only 43
and I guess that I have to learn to work a bit less like an 18 year old
and start to take care of my back more. Thanks again for your help
OldGoat, you have helped me more than you know,


If you woulod like to try one I have a TENS unit here with huge supply of
spare leads. If you would like to try it it yours with my wishes for
good luck. At one time it server me well. It is in good shape. Just email
me at top@xxxxxxxxxx

WOW that is an extremely generous offer. I am impressed