Pain now or pain later

I'm 30 years old. I had corrective surgery for scoliosis and acute lateral shift when I was 13. I was reasonably fine until about 2 years ago where I started having severe pain in my hip. After over a year of tests and checks it seems that the facet joints at the base of my spinal fusion are rubbing causing referred pain. I now experience severe pain in my hip and lower back resulting in long term usage of tramadol and gabapentin to enable be to continue to work. I'm worried about the long term effects of being on this medication. I have also had facet joint injections which worked well but due to my age my consultant feels it is not wise to give me more as by time I'm 40 there will be little they can do.

Has anyone got any tips or advice? I don't want to give my career up but struggle to see myself coping with a full time job as the pain continues to get worse.

Thanks

5 Replies

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  • I'm 33 in a similar situation I've had neck/back pain for the last 5 years now. My pain consultant says it's coming from osteophyte's trapping bone I damaged my neck falling a breaking my shoulder when I was younger. I lost my job in 2009 as I developed fibro then a year later this pain started. I run my own pet sitting company and had to stop walking dogs so now just see cats but I'm finding even that just tough I'm just so tired all the time and I'm only being able to do the but I'm doing due to a cocktail of pills morphine slow release and quick, gabapentin,codeine otherwise I don't think I'd get out of bed. Had the cortisone injections to done nothing for me. I'm desperate to be a mum to. The NHS can't give me another injection for mths and they've originally said no op due to not being able to move my neck but I've decided I'd rather that than the pain so going to ask for surgery this week. I get so worried about the effects of the meds to. I've put weight on. I'm up now as I was on my feet during the day so am suffering now. So I feel your struggles.

    So I'm now trying to run my pet sitting company rather than do as I was told I wasn't poorly enough for any disability.

  • Have you talked to a spinal surgeon about further procedures- there are new fittings which may be able to help you.

    I find ice packs are a huge help.

    Also excersises to stretch the gluteal and piriform muscles help.

    I'm on oxycontin (10 twice 24 hrs) but it only tempers the pain- however - I have no concerns being on that longterm at such a low dose.

    I have upper spinal structures but L2/3/4 degeneration ( osteoarthritis ) which results in similar pain to yours.

    I found the epidural injection useless but have been offered a cauterising procedure to paralyse the offending nerve. Hopefully that will work.

    Hope that's of some help to you.

  • Have you requested a referral to a Pain Clinic - there are several techniques that might be offered to you beyond injections?

    I'm fortunate in that altho' I've had lengthy periods of prolonged and intense pain, it does go away for me. It's not that unusual with spinal conditions because sometimes some of the changes that happen lead to resolution of the bone pain. I was born with a scoliosis and various vertebral anomalies that (shall we say) keep adjusting themselves over time. :)

    I've had a few nerves that have trapped, untapped, or decided to tune out all by themselves over the years.

    Physiotherapy can sometimes assist with the pain that is muscular in origin. For me, over time, it got me from every small catch of my foot triggering hip and back pain that was so intense that I could scarcely see and had very limited movement to now - when I can catch my foot without anything beyond a momentary annoyance.

    Did your surgeon or anyone else mention anything about a specialist physio. referral? This might be something available from a Pain Clinic.

  • Pain killers damp down pain and sensitivity. They do not help with the need to improve the way you use your muscles. A lot of pain is maybe a brain problem rather than a joint problem. The brain controls how the muscles work. A child moving about all the time learns from practical experience how muscles work. An adult tends not to move about and so gradually loses the ability to know how their muscles work.

    Yoga, t'ai chi are activities which help you look at how you use your muscles. By engaging in these activities in a class you develop knowledge on using yourself better and thus learn about relaxing into pain instead of tensing into pain.

    It is worth taking up Alexander Technique lessons to help improve how you use your muscles.

    Hope this is useful.

  • Thanks for all the replies. I'm under a pain consultant and surgeon. The surgeon said unless I have more fusion surgery there's nothing they could do. Pain consultant said he can't suggest cauterising or further injections until I'm older so there is options when I'm older.

    I'm attending a chronic pain rehabilitation programme next week so fingers crossed that helps. Had physio but caused the pain to get worse as my body started to be too oversensitive.

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