Herniated disc causing chronic sciatica,help?

I have suffered progressive arthritis for 5 years now,I'm 46 & in July 2011 i suffered a lisfranc fracture of the left foot which had to be surgically repaired with pins & a plate. I was in an air-cast boot for 4 months which caused a herniated disc & exacerbated my arthritis.

I have taken every drug possible to get rid of the pain,I have also endured 3 spinal injections. Nothing works for me,I have asked for a discectomy but the consultant says if the injections didn't work that wont either. I am now being referred to the pain management team. I have no life due to the chronic pain & i have 3 children,the youngest is 5 & a very sick 20 year old daughter to care for.

10 Replies

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  • My heart goes out to you chronic pain is no joke, I am hoping the pain management team can help x

  • What a nightmare all this sounds. I'm so sorry but I have no suggestions or advice - but like Summer I really just hope that this pain management makes a difference to you and that your life improves somehow. Is progressive arthritis inflammatory or is it aggressive Osteoarthritis? Not that it matters re pain being pain but if it was inflammatory/ autoimmune then at least there might be other drugs you could still try to halt it's progress. Thinking of you - Tilda x

  • Have you had a neurosurgery consultation? Pain management would be good, as they have a lot more options up their sleeves, but it might also be useful to ask to see a neurosurgeon about whether surgical treatment (other than a discectomy) might help.

  • please please please read the info online about 'red flag symptoms' and cauda equina syndrome and if you read anything that relates to you, dont be fobbed off and demand an MRI scan

  • i think you should now be asking for mri

    as this problem of discs in the lower back can be satisfactory sorted my freinds son had problems for years and they put a new disc in his back gese only 30 so they probably thought young enough to do

    he told me he had at first a dye put in inbetween the discs which gives them a better view under mri of which nerve is trapped they found it and fixed it in his lower back

    he used to get swelling knuckles and felt like his arms where on the wrong way round

    the specialist said to him the pain at the bottom of your back cos your disc is out is ending signals to your brain and the brain dosnt know how to interpritate them so it does other funny weird and wonderfull pain solutions by swelling point on your body that dont corespond to where the problem is

    it was 8 weeks now since his op and he can win his dad swimming the only problem he has is a little bit of an ache in the wet weather that they said was normal for the condition he had but he said miles better than it was

  • Hi everyone

    Thankyou for your replies.

    I had an MRI scan 7 months ago,this was the findings:

    MRI SPINE LUMBAR/SACRAL

    Normal spinal alignment.Body height well maintained. Generalised degeneration lumbar discs. Diffuse posterior bilateral posterolateral bulge L4/5 disc noted partially narrowing the exit foramen. No significant nerve root compression. Degeneration of L4/5 and L5/S1 facet and bilaterally. Lower dorsal spinal cord and conus is normal.

    (Can anyone explain these results in laymans terms at all?)

    I actually hurt all over,my neck cracks when i move it,i have tendonitis in both shoulders,bursitis in my left hip & i often suffer planta fascia in my left foot,but more recently i have been experiencing a burning sensation in my right foot(down the side) My leg gives way when i put too much pressure on it,my calf,shin & inner thigh have shooting pains when i get up walk or sit down.

    My doctor recently took me off my sertraline 200mgs a day meds to put me on another pain relief drug called Duloxetine. Im now worrying about my mental state aswell as my physical state!!

  • Oh you poor thing! I really do think that you should ask your GP or rheumatologist to refer you back to the spinal consultant.

    I had a decompression operation to my lower spine a few years ago but just a little too late to avoid some permanent reduction in sensation to my feet. It did, however, ease some of the pain down the leg. Unfortunately, because I am a large lady, the MRI scan did not show the extent of the arthritic damage to my spine so it was quite a surprise when they opened me up and had to cut away more bone than they anticipated.

    Since then the sciatic pain has recurred in the other leg and like you, I am popping every pill under the sun to get some relief from the relentless pain which truly drags you down. With this being just one of the sources of your pain and with all the responsibilities you have at home you are nothing short of heroic.

    There are drugs specifically aimed at nerve pain (I use pregabalin) and there are also some exercises which can help so add referral to a physiotherapist to your request list.

    I don't know how things work in your area but I found that phoning and asking for an emergency appointment with the rheumy team switched on the support system a lot faster. Most hospitals have a rheumatology team which include their own OT and physiotherapist who are more focused on the RA needs.

    Reading between the lines, however, it seems to me that you are a "coper". Unfortunately, coper's needs can get overlooked simply because they cope on the outside but are screaming for help inside. Professionals can only see what we show then. Sometimes you just have to voice the words "I cannot cope anymore, I need help" before they really sit up and take notice.

    I do hope you get the help you need soon. Don't give up. Get that referral to the spinal unit asap. The scan 7 months ago seems to imply that there was some narrowing of the spinal canal but not significant to warrant intervention. This needs to be looked at again in the light of your increased symptoms.

    Good luck.

    Judy

  • Thanks Judy

    I am under a spinal consultant,he has said there is nothing else that they can do for me!!hence the referral to the pain management team,i have actually sat & sobbed & pleaded with him to help me,his response was "im not dismissing your pain but if the injections didn't work nothing will" I find this hard to believe.

    Here is a list of all meds i have tried in the past 18 months or so:

    Naproxen

    Lyrica

    Gabapentin

    Tramadol

    Codeine

    Ibuprofen

    Diazepam

    Amtripiline

    Diclofenic

    Zopiclone

    Co-codomal

    I have also tried a heat lamp,massage & ice packs. I used to walk around with a heat pad permanently glued to my back. I'm now being told that because i get so stressed over the pain it is exacerbating it!! I love being patronised,don't you? I know damn well that the fact im so tense 99% of the day that it doesn't do me any favours & yes i am a coper,i have no choice.

    My 20 year old daughter was diagnosed with an extremely rare disease a year ago called Susac Syndrome,i not only care for my 3 younger children,one of which is Autistic i have to care for her too.In January 2011 my 17 year old nephew took his own life,3 months later my beautiful Mum was diagnosed with cancer,i lost her in September 2011,i haven't even grieved for her or my nephew,i haven't had time.

    In July 2011 i missed the top stair & suffered a lisfranc fracture which was repaired by an ORIF(Open reduction,internal fixation)hospitalised for a week & in an aircast boot for 4 months,it was the start of my spine problems & the story goes on....all i want is some relief. I am in constant pain from the fracture & have been told arthritis will set in pretty soon.(According to an ATOS medical there is nothing wrong with me)Yes refused DLA on 3 occasions!!

    I have gained 2 stone in weight since i fractured my foot,it was thrown in my face by the initial spinal consultant,telling me i have a high BMI etc etc...Kick me while im down why don't you!! He wasn't so skinny himself!!lol

    I will stop wittering about myself for a minute,i do hope all of you on this forum get the treatment you so desperately need,i know desperation & no doubt you all do too.

    I seem to have inherited my mothers lifetime health issues,she had an underactive thyroid,spondylitis,arthritis & it was the cancer in the spine that got her in the end...it travelled to her brain..

  • I forgot to add,i have had physio,that didn't help either..im at a complete loss!!

  • Oh my goodness! That is so much to have to deal with! No wonder you feel at your wit's end.

    All I can say is hang on in there and don't just accept that nothing can ever be done. Was an operation discussed as an option at all? I wonder what leads him to his conclusion that pain clinic is the only way for you. It is perhaps worth finding out but in the meantime, hang onto the knowledge that new treatments are being discovered all the time and this may not be a life sentence for you.

    So far as pain clinic is concerned, it may be worth giving it a go. I know that it feels a little like a pat on the back to make you go away but is may also be a positive experience.

    I used to volunteer to deliver patient workshops on managing long-term chronic conditions and I can honestly say that I felt people benefited from the classes. They also did me a lot of good - Having the opportunity to put the daily stresses behind you and meet other people who understand where you are coming from is invaluable. Even if it is only 1 hour a week, just concentrating on yourself is a luxury you clearly don't have at home.

    I'm pretty certain that NRAS now run workshops/courses so it may be worth checking out whether they have got any going in your area.

    Meanwhile, feel free to have a winge here. We all understand. xxx

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