Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spinal Chord Stimulation

Well, the facet joint injection procedure only gave marginal relief from my back pain and muscle spasms. So, in essence, I am still swallowing a whole bunch of pills that only alleviate the pain and spasms, but not get to the root what is causing my back problems. I went in for epidural cortisone injections today, and had a good chat with Dr. C. about what is happening.

I have had the epidural cortisone injections before (on three different occasions). I did get much needed relief from them in the past, and am hoping the injections today offer me respite as well. My back is really screaming at me today, after the injections. I do not remember being in this much pain after the other epidurals, but that may be due to the fact that for those injections I was under conscious sedation (Versed is a wonderful thing). Since K is now home from school, I was finally able to take something for the pain (I had to wait for four hours though). I am still in pain, but I don't really care.

Dr. C. is convinced that what is causing my problems is the scar tissue from my lumbar laminectomy. I only have one disc that is degenerated (the one that was operated on), and the other discs are within normal limits for my age as far as compression goes. On its face, that is really good news. My back is not as fucked up as it is acting. I asked Dr. C. if he thought an inversion table would help me at all. He told me that he thought it would be beneficial and gave me an anecdotal story about his brother in law using one and swearing by it. So now, I am putting out to the Universe that I would like to manifest an inversion table. We really do not have the funds to be able to buy one, and probably won't have the money in the foreseeable future. I just want to get to the point where I can start some sort of physical therapy to strengthen my back and core so I don't get to this point as often. Acute situations are so much easier to handle than chronic ones. And I am in a chronic stage right now.

I saw a clip two or three weeks ago on TV about Spinal Chord Stimulation, and am curious if I would be a good candidate for it. Essentially, the surgeon implants an electrode onto the spinal chord, and the patient has some sort of remote control device that can turn the stimulation on and off as needed for pain and spasms. They do a temporary one, as a trial and after a specified amount of time, the patient decides whether they want it on a permanent basis, and the surgeon implants a permanent device. Apparently, according to the news clip ( 85% of patients who have the temporary electrode implanted opt for the permanent one. It really looks attractive to me at this point.

The $64,000 question is: does anyone at the orthopaedic practice I go to DO this procedure, or am I going to have to go to Los Angeles to get this done? Los Angeles is not a deal breaker, but it makes things a little more complicated. Although, I love the UCLA campus, and would not be against going there for a same-day procedure, if necessary. Westwood is beautiful any time of the year.


Karen said...

Wow, that sounds painful. I have had some back spasms a time or two in life, I can't imagine living with it ongoing. I hope you find a solution that relieves your pain!

TallDrink said...

Karen, thank you. This particular flare-up has been particularly trying. I am seeking solutions to this so I can actually do things.