Yay This is a much needed group

Hi everybody...well I think for the moment I'm the only one here, but you will come and join me!
I know I am not alone in this category!

My back pain stems from the time I was very young. I had severe scoliosis as a child and was in a brace by the time I was 7 until I was 10.

It was then I had my first spinal fusion at Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children. I was fused from T-2 through T-12 using a series of rods, buttons and wires and a partial resection of 5 ribs.

At the time I was the youngest child ever to undergo a spinal fusion and apparently handled the stress of the surgery so well they wrote about me in Parents magazine and a few health books and journals. (What the hell did I know about stress then?...I was 10!)

I wore another brace for the 2 years following. Just before my time was up to wear the brace constantly the doctors noticed something was wrong.

Suddenly, my post-surgical "mild" scoliosis had started to worsen until it had become severe again, this time worse than the first time.

It seems that I had gone through a better than expected growth spurt. My spine was fused in a few spots and the rods were incapable of expanding. Thus it grew where it could causing it to become more contorted and twisted.

Age 12 - back to the O.R., this time at C.H.O.P. The old fusion and hardware needed to be removed, my spine re-straightened and then fused with new hardware and bone from my hip this time.

The doctors had a difficult time removing the old rods and were unable to straighten my spine. The best the doctors could do was stabilize the curvature so it would no longer progress.

So here I am now at 36 suffering everyday with back pain. I don't take any narcotics, I refuse to. I use motrin or something of the nature from time to time.

And I use these wonderful OTC muscle pain relief patches called "SALON-PAS". Most stores with a section for pain relief carry them and they are not expensive, work wonders, stay where you put them and last for hours! I have constant spasms from my spine being so twisted.
Sorry to sound like a commercial, but they have done wonders for my back pain!

Anyways, having had the spinal fusions done so young my lumbar discs have been taking a beating for all these years trying to compensate for my limited ROM and are now perforating. I am looking at a complete spinal fusion some time in the futre - hopefully the distant future!

So it's frustrating, but I know it could be much worse. I still work full-time, drive etc. and I'm thankful to still be functioning as well as I do. Very thankful.

you are very positive and very brave. You put me to shame.

No, I just had to deal with many problems as a child so it was all I knew.
I work in medicine and can understand how people who have led mostly healthy lives get so upset when suddenly they are faced with a health problem.
I was never really "healthy" so I just have a different perspective.
Trust me, I get a cold or a virus and I turn into a whiney toddler!
And sometimes when I have bad days with pain, I get down and frustrated and become very negative.
Don't be so hard on yourself.

hi I had a complete thoracic spinal fusion when I was 12, it was due to a really severe spinal curvature, a "double S" as it was explained to me at the time. I lived in NYC then and I went to St lukes hospital. My surgeon was very well known and was doing a different procedure than most, I had fusion done with my own bone only, no hardware. I was in bed in a body cast flat on my back for six months. I wasnt allowed to sit, stand or anything else. Only side to side motion was allowed. After that I had to wear a shorter cast while walking around for three more months.
In 2004 I had a near fatal car accident. In the accident I seriously damaged my lumbar spine. It was a weak point at the spot where the fused spine ended and the lumbar spine began.I finaly found an excellent ortho surgeon. He did xrays and an mri and told me surgery was not an option, he would have had to break all the thoracic vertebrae and reset the whole spine with a fusion. He said I had a better chance of dying with the surgery or becoming paralyzed than getting any real success. He gave me a 10% chance of any improvement, with a 30% chance of dying/paralysis. So I live with severe lumbar scoliosis, two herniated discs, and one disc that is gone, its just an air space between two discs, L4 and 5. I had no back issues until the accident. Now I have constant pain. Due to the curvature, my left hip is way above the right. I have to stand on the ball of my right foot while the left is flat to stand in place. I respect the decision not to use narcotics,but thats not an option for me. I have tried everything, and I am unable to function without them . I have cut down as much as I could so I take the minimum possible.I started using the duragesic patches last year, its less toxic to the system. I still take vicoprofen for breakthrough pain when needed. I take flexaril for muscle spasms. the meds also help with the fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthrits. Sometimes my joints hurt so bad its almost unbearable. I am on chemo pills weekly. I also have very bad spinal stenosis in the lumbar region. It puts pressure on the nerves, and the sciatic nerves shoot the pain right down my legs to my toes, which hurt so much sometimes I would like to cut them off. So, for me I will stick with what works, until it doesnt. I do have lidocaine patches, prescription strength, I try them but they dont work too well.and they are useless for nerve pain.My family and friends dont get the chronic pain, they act like I ought to be able to just get over it. Only my oldest son remains so sensitive and caring. He is an amazing man. I am just as proud of his brother, despite his attitude that its all in my head. He is in the army in Afghanistan. I just pray he comes home safe and none of them ever know the pain I live with. It wears you down.
dr

DR, thanks for sharing. My family doesn't get the whole pain thing either. I just do what I can and let the bitching about me go in one ear and out the other.

I give you credit for being able to let the bitching and rudeness pass. I guess cause I was also physicaly dependent on my husband and he was never there for me, that makes me angrier about it. Aside from the fact that I also was the one who cared for him when he was helpless after a bad broken leg in a motorcycle accident, while working and taking care of the kids. But, I think of life after the foreclosure as a fresh start and I am much happier here than I ever was before. So although I write about it here, I decided to let the past go and work on forgiving my husband. My son was so young I cant hold his behaviour against him, he was just following his father.
dr