Back not getting better anymore

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Hi, 10 months ago I was diagnosed with a bulging disc at L3/L4 . I had 4 months of intense pain in my right leg. I had gone private in November for a cortisone injection. That did not work at all. Then in the New Year the pain started to lessen from a 9/10 to a 5 and then down to a 3 by about Easter. I finally received my appointment at the |Spine Clinic, in January, after 4 month's wait. Because the pain in my leg had decreased, the practitioner said that I did not need to see him again and gave me an open invitation to return within 6 months or I would have to start the whole process again, He did, however, refer me to a physio who dismissed me after a couple of sessions because I was able to do what he was asking except for touching my toes !!!! which I must admit I thought was a silly thing to attempt with a bulging disc. However, the pain since Easter has improved no further and in fact seems worse because the pain is now very much in my shin ( still) my thigh, my backside and my back. I know my limitations, cannot lift, sit, put on socks, try to climb onto a chair, run , dig or bend down. I am active, walk a lot, gently do my gardening and work on the allotment ( no digging) and do supply teaching but never sit down ! Now I also seem to be a lot of discomfort in my lower back ( stiffness) and tailbone ( like I have bumped it.) I am assuming this is to do with my core muscles. I have just made an appointment to see the Spine Clinic practitioner again on 17th July, exactly 6 months after I last saw him. Really don't know what to say to him, just need the reassurance of keeping my options open (whatever they are) for the next 6 months. I just feel that I know longer have the quality of life that I had a year ago, and I can never sit down with my grandchildren to do activities with them or to cuddle up and read a story. I have a new grandchild expected in October and I just worry that I will not be able to lift that grandchild for very long as I will have to stand up to do so. Not so often now, but I still get very low days about all of this after nearly a year. How should I approach my appointment? Should I ask to be referred back to physio? I really do not want the same physiotherapist again. Just need some guidance on all this please. I am a 62 year old female.

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  • Posted

    Hi Gillion 242 when you go ask for a M.I.R

    nerve pain is the worst pain. just tell them what's

    happening there will understand. Are you under the pain clinic if not see if they will get you a appointment.

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    • Posted

      Thank you Kett, yes, nerve pain is the worst. I did have an MRI in order to have the unsuccessful steroid injection, paid for both and 2 x consultants appointments and wasted nearly £3000 . Only because I was in so much pain and no immediate hope of similar on the NHS. It took 14 weeks to get my first Spine Clinic appointment. Although, had I not spent the money and

      tried I would probably have been wishing I had. Do the Pain Clinic and the Spine Clinic equal the same thing ?

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  • Posted

    I'm sorry to hear of your plight. I'm 18 months in to my pain and it has lessened a bit, say a quarter from what it was at the start. I've been through all the treatments going, inc 2 lots of steroid injections, physio, acupunture, etc etc and nothing did any good. Scans showed just wear and tear (I'm 50, slim and fit swimming twice a week). I'm now doing pilates which I think is helping a bit, nothing dramatic and instant but slowly as my back muscles are toned and strengthened, they're keeping things in check - the pilates is 'reformer' machine based and is hard work but compared to constant back pain, it isn't. Mine is a constant nagging ache which kicks in after sitting for a short while and only relieved when standing up and better still, lying down when it goes completely. I have a tear in a disk which is quite normal apparently(!) and can take at least a couple of years to heal so in the meantime I stand up practically all the time and lie down when I get a chance to. It's a pain in the a4se but I've gotten used to living with it.

    It took me some time to realise that doctors and the like don't understand backs beyond the basics and are quite limited in their knowledge. If your back issue doesn't conform to the norm then they scratch their heads and refer you on to a pain clinic which doesn't help the root of the problem, but moves the issue on. Much more money and research needs to go into back issues, it's a crime.

    I think time alone is the key - the body sometimes takes a long time to sort itself out and in the meantime, keep fit and try and keep postive in what you can do against what you can't - there's always someone a lot worse off than us!

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    • Posted

      Thank you po3935, I was thinking that it is my core muscles I need to tone, although I was very fit before all of this happened. Just need someone who understands the way slipped discs work who will guide me with exercises to tone the muscles but not damage the disc further! I really should go swimming but it is so much cheaper and easier just to go walking. The young male physio was basically treating me like an aged aunt who moved very little in normal life! Far from the truth! Last summer I took on an allotment that had not been touched for a while and was daily ( in between supply teaching when I walked to school 3 miles and back again) digging out enormous lumps of concrete and large pieces of metal. This young physio told me that many people have slipped discs and don't know it and that my pain was probably due to not moving enough ( I have an aunt of 87 who is like that) and it rather put me off him. Thank you for giving me the timings of your pain, so many people think that my back should be better by now. It was reassuring that I am not the only one standing up all the time . I am used to it at school but not in everyday life and isn't it tiring! Your answer really made a lot of sense and yes, there are a lot of people worse off and also I should focus on what I can do and be positive about that. I had actually been thinking all of those thoughts myself as I fell asleep last night. Maybe I will look into pilates, thank you.

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  • Posted

    HI Gillian , you could ask for a pain block.These are injections into your spine where ever the pains may be. They normally last for about 6/9 months.

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