Spinal stenosis

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Had acute pain in right leg for 15 months which Gp was saying was hip and knee osteoarthritis and was prescribed cocodamol and later Tramadol which only took the edge off. Had knee and hip x-rays which showed minimal arthritis. Eventually I insisted on seeing a hip surgeon privately and he not only was the first person to listen to me but actually agreed that it was my spine. At last I was able to get an MRI scan done which confirmed lumbar spinal stenosis. The acute pain has eased now but I'm not able to walk far and have back pain as well as now both legs weak. I'm informed that steroid injection don't last long and surgery may have to be repeated after a couple of years or so. I'm not sure that it is worth the risk and considering to try acupuncture. I know there isn't a cure but some pain relief would be nice.

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  • Posted

    Hello, I have to say the steroid injection was wonderful and left me pain free for several months. It has to be repeated as it does not last forever. Eventually I had a partial laminectomy. I have found accupuncture and Pilates and swimming to be of great benefit when done regularly and lifts the my mood when the pain is less. Laminectomy is not always the answer and can leave weakness in thigh and hip joint as it has done with me. I can walk perhaps 12 yards without a stick and I am fairly young - in my fifties. All started with herniated discs, sciatica, the usual symptoms which have ceased since the operation.

    Please don't let age put you off. The steroid injection was not painful and only a morning visit to hospital.

    I hope you are all feeling better since you posted and God Bless.

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  • Posted

    Hi...thank you for writing .. I too started with a slipped disc 30 years ago, I am now in my mid-eighties and at the moment I'm not in too much pain I attended a pain clinic who prescribed a nerve drug so I'm using that at the moment. The most important thing is to keep positive and not let depression take over. I have several hobbies and lovely daughters who visit regularly. I often wish I had an internet or phone friend with the same problem but no luck so far. Hope you are all feeling well and continue to do so. God Bless...

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  • Posted

    Hi All, aprilflowers and EileenAnn are absolutley right, keeping positive and not letting age defeat us is the only way to go.

    I had a steroid injection in my wrist a few weeks ago. It had been in a plastercast following a thumb fusion. When the cast came off it was soooo painful. I had a scan and the surgeon said the cast had rubbed away at the tendon and made a small hole in it! He put a steroid injection it it as first resort to more surgery. It was not painful at all and It is so much better I am hoping no more ops.

    Lots of people live with lots of very painful and difficult conditions. We just have to get on with it .I hope that when I'm in my mid eighties I am still as positive as EileenAnn is.

    EileenAnn why don't you join the Athritis Care forum I mentioned in my earlier post. I am a member and really enjoy reading the posts and sometimes putting my twopenneth in. It's not just about arthritis but about living and all sorts of stuff. I am quite isolated due to my problems and have gained new 'virtual' friends that have made me feel less alone. I do not do Facebook or Twitter as it's not really my thing but the Arthritis Care Forum is really friendly and helpful at the same time.

    Well hope all you Spiney's are keeping your chins up today (!). Bless you, Fanny Jane.

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  • Posted

    Thanks. Can you tell us what Transdermol Patches are please?

    I am a huge believer in accupuncture and anyone whatever their age can have this through the NHS, put some pressure on your GP for a referral. Privately it costs from £40 upwards in Edinburgh which is way beyond my means. The other thing I use, especially if it a damp day and my back aches, is heat pads. Brings down the inflammation quickly and brings comfort. The £ shop sells them! otherwise Boots or any chemist. Isn't it marvellous how good you feel when the pain is under control. I hope I manage as well as Eileen Ann when I reach my 80's and I can always be your virtual friend if you wish. I rarely talk about my back to friends or anyone as I feel it must be boring for them. Am waiting to attend the pain clinic and look forward to finding out how to manage pain. A TENS machine also helps. Never give up folks!

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    • Posted

      aprilflowers - please could you let me know where you have acupuncture in Edinburgh and also any other resources in Edinburgh for physio, pain clinic or specialists. after 3 years being told pain is from polymyalgia then neuropathy  - steroids for polymyalgia induced diabetes which caused neuropathy) I had a private nerve conduction test last week. The consultant says I have pressure on spine which is adding to numbness and creating much of pain. I am waiting for an x ray of spine but would welcome any advice about support. thank you!
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  • Posted

    Thanks. Can you tell us what Transdermol Patches are please?

    I am a huge believer in accupuncture and anyone whatever their age can have this through the NHS, put some pressure on your GP for a referral. Privately it costs from £40 upwards in Edinburgh which is way beyond my means. The other thing I use, especially if it a damp day and my back aches, is heat pads. Brings down the inflammation quickly and brings comfort. The £ shop sells them! otherwise Boots or any chemist. Isn't it marvellous how good you feel when the pain is under control. I hope I manage as well as Eileen Ann when I reach my 80's and I can always be your virtual friend if you wish. I rarely talk about my back to friends or anyone as I feel it must be boring for them. Am waiting to attend the pain clinic and look forward to finding out how to manage pain. A TENS machine also helps. Never give up folks!

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  • Posted

    Hi aprilflowers, Transdermal patches are patches that you stick on for 3 - 7 days. They are either Butrans - buprenorphine, a form of morphine or Duragesic - Fentanyl. They are very potent but in the lower doses such as 5mcg, can be a really good form of pain control with very few side effects. You can take them off at any time if you just need a few days when going through a bad patch or wear them for years at a time.

    Although they sound scary they are not at all. The way they transmit the medication is very slow release. They bypass the stomach so do not irritate the stomach lining and are better than pills when on a long term pain control programme or by people that have had stomach issues with pills by mouth.

    There is also a patch called Lidocaine. This is the same medication that dentists use. It can be cut and stuck on a particular area for about 12 hours at a time and can give good pain relief for that period.

    Obviously these are a prescription only option via your gp/pain clinic consultant. Like all medication they have their side effects but morphine is actually the safest pain medication to take long term out there, organ wise, unlike paracetamol that can seriously damage a liver when taken long term or in large doses.

    Most people with chronic pain issues use them all the time. I don't. I use them only when in a bad place, pain wise as I like to keep my intake of medications down to a minumum. I find them more acceptable than meds like gabapentin/neurontin/amitryptyline, which personally rob me of my mental faculties.

    Accupuncture is wonderful for many people. It did nothing for me sadly. Also on the NHS in my area you get 6 goes and that's it. Then you have to go back to the end of the queue. This means that most people get one/two goes a year as the waiting list is so long.My husband found it helpful but needed it to go on every week for a long time to bring him any real relief. We are also not in a position to go privately.

    I also agree with you that heat is the best thing for a painful spine although some people do actually prefer cold/ice (brrr!) applied. I have a plug in heat pad that I cling to most of these cold, damp days.

    I have used a tens machine since they came out about 25 years ago. My consultant got me one at the time with the vat knocked off. I use one still from time to time and believe that alternative methods are always worth a go, if they suit you then that's great.I have even tried hypnotherapy for pain control. I used a well known hypnotherapist in my area recommended by my gp.It was a good experience for me. Although I still have pain issues I am able to deal with it all better. I was a complete insomniac due to the pain, after the hypnotherapy, in which he taught me a technique to get to sleep, I have been able to sleep for 4/5 hours at a time and feel so much better for it.He also taught me how to relax properly and accept my pain, in this way it seems more manageable than before.

    My post may have sounded like I was plugging pills. I really wasn't, just listing what is available out there for people in pain.

    I don't know what your pain clinic is like but ours is a bit limited if you are looking for long term care. Basically they give out amitryptyline/gabapentin/neurontin/codeine. A few steroid injections if you are lucky, accupuncture 1/2 times, offer you a possible 6/8 month wait for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or psychiatrist appointment and then tell you there's nothing else they can do.They are usually run by anaesthetists and psychiatrists.

    I did get an MRI scan when I originally went which I was grateful for, as it did pinpoint more issues than I or they realised I had, which was very helpful. They can also refer you to an orthopaedic consultant if they feel an operation may be required. However once you've been through a couple of appointments they run out of steam as they have nothing else to offer.I believe some areas offer a workshop in living with/dealing with chronic pain.

    And yes.. it's wonderful when the pain is under control, or even just bearable. I don't know about you but it is a big part of my life and I never, ever talk about it to anyone if I can help it. I am always worried that 'normal' people will think I'm moaning or a grump and put up with a lot rather than mention it.

    Well it's been lovely talking to you. Lots of luck when you visit the pain clinic and fingers (ouch!) crossed that you get some positive ideas and help in dealing with your pain.I always think that being knowledgable about a problem helps a lot. Take care of yourself. Fanny Jane.

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  • Posted

    Thank you for explaining the patches, very interesting and I will ask my GP about them. They must be more healthier than Ibuprofen which ruins the stomach when taken for long periods. Your post was very informative, many thanks.
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  • Posted

    Thank you aprilflowers, Its a pleasure. I'm sure your gp will explain it all to you in more medical terms. Anything is worth a go. FJ.
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  • Posted

    I was recently diagnosed with spinal stenosis and am due to schedule surgery on Tuesday, March18,2014. I must admit that I am scared beyond words. Right now the pain is no longer in my back, but throughout my left leg. I have no muscle control of the left leg and am unable to walk. I have fallen over 100 times within the last month so now I am confined to a wheelchair. Has anybody experienced anything similar and did surgery allow you to regain use of your limb(s) again?
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    • Posted

      Hi Larry,

      I guess you`ve had your surgury by now, I hope all went as planned and all is going well for you..I am writing you to give you some info on myself. I am a 50 year old man that ruined my back working in 1989...I fought having surgery 15 or16 years, I was scared.. I have to this day had 2 operations and appr.30  different types of injections to say the least.. The injections work sometimes sometimes not..I was like you i was in a wheel chair before my first operation in 2004 ,then thank god i was able to walk again.. To make a long story short, i am thankful to be walking but once you mess that back up regardless of your type of surgeon you sadly will always have problems . Now thats my take. On my first op. i ended up flat on my back for 6 months from contracting ecoli & staph infection which they cleared up with a pick line for home use with strong antibiotics. To this second i am fighting both legs and lower back pain.. I hope you didn`t contract a infection from your procedure. The actual surgery was a cake walk to me, other folks say its terrible. Both surgery`s was as i stated simple , but the infection was a nightmare.. The inf. didn`t take place bad and really get flairing until about a month afterwards.. I hope you can and are willing to take pain meds like percocet/oxycotin/morphine.. I can`t take the neurotine, lyrica type meds, they make me extremely sick, i`ve had them all at one time or the other throughout the years...

      I can give you more info, but i honestly don`t want to scare a person off from a surgery if they need it.

      I didn`t have a choice as you on having to be cut.

      Sitting like on a plane, car, desk or standing, walking ect.. kills me right now, i have to lie down flat for relief !

      Take care of yourself, don`t lift heavy stuff for a while or twist, becareful, but be as active as you feel comfortable.. Good Luck in the now and future, remember, your for sure not by yourself.. We all on this forum and abroad feel your pain!!!!!!!!

       

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    • Posted

      I have spinal stenosis and it affects me as you say my left leg goes to sleep if I stand for a short time, and I have to get to a chair.Both legs pain and it seems worse when I get up from a chair untill I move a bit. My Dr. said he has seen them come out of the operation worse than when they went in so I dont think I will try that. They advertise laser operation in the US where you go in and after a small incision you go home that afternoon ,dont we have Drs. in canada that can do that? I called about the operation and the price was $20,000 US.  The best pill I have found is Volteran I get through the day with alot less pain. I am 87 and I played slow pitch SR soft ball untill I was 85 and my legs gave out, so I cant complain about a bit of pain.
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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear what is happening to you Larry. I have not had surgery I started a course of Pregabalin and it seems to have taken a lot of the pain away. I can still walk but I cannot stand for long so don't got out unless I am with someone. Just a few minutes of sitting and I can walk again. I've now got elbow crutches to use outdoors. I have a weird feeling in my right foot and side of leg but I just keep massaging it with various creams and gels. spinal stenosis doesn't seem to have a set pattern and I haven't heard of anyone exactly like me. I wish you all the best for the 18th March.

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    • Posted

      Your so right about spinal stenosis not having a set pattern.EileenAnn, unlike the lumbar pain that used to be my main problem(orthopedic) Since having a MRI scan for very different symptoms than used to and diagnosed as having spinal stenosis, the pain being neuropathic and shifting about, my GP has tried to help with various tabs and potency and i seem to get the best result off Pregabalin 300 mg taken once or twice a day with a break of a few days, not as recommended but the hell with that if it quitens the symptoms.  As a carer for a vulnerable person i need to retain my mobility.  All the best Lady.
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