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Back problems and ongoing pain

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2 days 15 hours ago - 2 days 12 hours ago #28982 by DCAU
DCAU created the topic: Back problems and ongoing pain
Hi everyone,

I stumbled upon this site while search for side effects of a couple of medications, and I'm glad I did.

I'll try and keep this brief, as I tend to waffle on a bit otherwise. :-)

For the past 15 years or so, I've suffered on and off again back problems and sciatica, but I thought I'd mostly beaten this through exercise and weight loss a couple of years ago.

Last year I noticed that I was experiencing some weirdness with my feet and legs - tingling/burning/numbness in my feet, and at times, it was almost as if my right leg was only half functional at times (not all the time). I cut back on exercise, but weight started piling on over time.

I also went through a complete change of job, and after a contract had ended, I switched from IT to working for a pawnbroker.

I loved working for a pawnbroker, but it was also pretty hard on the back - standing on my feet all day, lifting heavy and awkward items, climbing up and down ladders, being bent over cleaning items etc etc.

I started to suffer incredible back pain, sciatica, really bad pain in my feet etc. The pain was really quite debilitating, and I could barely even move after every day. The back pain and sciatica came back, and combined with the other problems in my legs and feet, it was unbearable. On occasion, the leg would just go completely numb, and if I wasn't careful, I would fall over (happened a couple of times).

I went to the local Medical Clinic, saw a Doctor, who recommended that I have a CT scan.

The results are as follows:

There are bilateral L4 pars defects resulting in grade 1 anterolisthesis, secondary moderately severe facet joint arthopathy at L3/4 and L4/5 and L5/S1 along with para (pars) intra-articularis defects. There is also resulting moderate spinal canal stenosis in combination with a shallow disc bulge, which attenuates the descending L5 nerves. The remainder of the lumbar levels are unremarkable. Sacroiliac joints and visualised paravertebral soft tissues are unremarkable.

I asked my Doctor to give me the plain English version of the above, but to be honest, he's been pretty much useless. He sent off a referral to QLD Health for me to see a neurosurgeon, but I'm currently on a waiting list of between 12-16 months (since January, as he didn't send them all the required paperwork, so it went back and forwards).

I was prescribed both Lyrica (25mg) and Celebrex (not to be used at the same time) and told that I should consider a change of career urgently as my back problems would only get worse. I ended up having to resign, as I couldn't physically continue to do the work.

I tried Lyrica for a month, but the side effects weren't good - my memory was shot, I couldn't focus, I was constantly tired and it was like I was living in a world of fuzz.

Celebrex was better, but made me quite nauseous and there were a few other side effects.

Another trip to the Doctors, and I was given Endep, which also had a few bad side effects for me.

I didn't document any of this (I wish I had have) so I can't quite remember which side effects were associated with Celebrex or Endep, but I know that my left foot was constantly swelling up to the point that I couldn't even put a shoe on.

I tried other medications, like Voltaren, Ibuprofen and Paracetamol, and Maxigesic, but none of these really did anything, and I have to be careful as I have some kidney related problems.

I've asked my Doctor about other medications, but he just keeps suggesting Lyrica (and I've explained countless times the side effects I've experienced). His response was, "Well, I've never heard of that happening", as if I was lying.

While my back pain can vary from a day to day basis (depending on what I've done), the problems I experience with my legs and feet are usually constant, and I still experience sciatica on a regular basis.

Standing up can be limited to between 5- 15 minutes, walking can be limited to 5-10 minutes on a treadmill, or a bit longer when I can get to the shops and walk around, and stationary bike riding can be limited to 5-10 minutes. Even just sitting can result in pain. Getting up after sitting can be just as bad, with my right leg just dropping out from under me on occasion (either as I'm getting up, or within a few steps of moving). This doesn't happen all that often, but has happened a number of times.
Driving a car is the worst - apart from the back pain, I've had my right leg go numb on more than a few occasions, and on other occasions, sciatica kicks in. Long trips (anything over 20-30 minutes) are out of the question. Lying down is about the only thing I can do for long periods.

All of these activities can result in moderate to severe pain, but I've been told I need to lose weight (currently around 107kg).

My experience with Doctors have been hit and miss. My regular Doctor doesn't listen, and each time I see him is like seeing him for the first time (he doesn't even really take notes) and seems to like the repeat business I've been giving him. To be fair to him though, I did seek a second opinion, and they said that while his communication skills need to be improved, he thinks he's done the right thing (within the confines of Medicare).

Another Doctor I saw when my Doctor wasn't available refused to discuss my back, except to say, "You have severe osteoarthritis - it doesn't cause pain".

Well, that's news to me - I guess it must be all in my head then (sarcasm).

She seems to have missed the spinal stenosis, the disc bulge, the pars intra-articularis defects, the bilateral L4 pars defects, the pain associated with nerve damage etc etc.

But anyway, I feel as though I'm currently stuck in limbo.

I'm not working (currently on the Newstart allowance), live by myself (so I'm just scraping by) and I'm going through a pretty bad bout of depression and anxiety.

I'm honestly not even sure how I'll find and keep a job when some days, I can barely even walk or stand, so this just increases my depression and anxiety.

Anyone else going through similar circumstances? How are you coping? Any advice?

Cheers,
Darren
Last Edit: 2 days 12 hours ago by DCAU.

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2 days 2 hours ago #28984 by Johnno
Johnno replied the topic: Back problems and ongoing pain
Hi Darren,

I unfortunately am one of a lot who live by lyrica ,I’m on 300mg twice a day and yes having mind fogs is a symptom but it doesn’t effect everyone the same .
I went through probably 12 months of living in a fog shroud and suddenly it cleared but lyrica has been great for my nerve pain as it has reduced the levels to where I can sit in a comfy chair for up to 1/2 hour before having to move but standing ,walking , driving practically anything that involves the use of my lower spine is out .
I am on as well as lyrica - endep,sertraline,oxycodone,circadin, cymbalta and panadol osteo a total of 18 pills a day.
I luckily have a doctor is very understanding and works with me and my pain physician to monitor and change the amounts of medication I’m on , I’ve seen my pain physician 6 times in hospital for ablations to the sciatica and five nerve burns to reduce the pain reception to the brain , which so far has given me some relief .
I note you say (Qld health wait list ) where in Qld are you because if your in Brisbane a few of us get together for coffee every now and then for coffee if your interested.
Hope this helps

Johnno

as long as I wake up alive I'm happy
Because it could be worse

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1 day 22 hours ago #28993 by DCAU
DCAU replied the topic: Back problems and ongoing pain
Hi Johnno,

Thanks for the reply. :-)

Wow - I can't even imagine what 300mg would do to me, let alone twice a day. You have my sincerest sympathies with the amount of pain you must be going through to need 300mg twice a day (let alone the other medications).

I think I read that you were in a car accident at some point?

I live Southside of Brisbane (Beenleigh area), so if you're around that area(ish), I'd definitely catch up with you and others for coffee.

I do struggle to drive long distances, so hopefully you're at least on the Southside of Brissie.

How have your experiences been with QLD Health? My last IT job was with them (the Mental Health side of things), so I'm very aware of the monster that QLD Health can be, but have no real experience as a patient.

Cheers,
Darren

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1 day 22 hours ago #28994 by Johnno
Johnno replied the topic: Back problems and ongoing pain
Hi Darren,

Your in luck I live at Forest Lake and we have a coffee meet at Logan Hyperdome if you look at the coffee club listing and see which day gets locked in Jo. M finds Tuesday is best for her .
No I wasn’t in a car accident even though I get telemarketers asking about my car accident last year ha ha
And yes mate I have Endone for breakout pain when I am in supreme pain
Johnno

as long as I wake up alive I'm happy
Because it could be worse

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1 day 20 hours ago #28995 by DCAU
DCAU replied the topic: Back problems and ongoing pain
Hi Johnno,

Ha ha, brilliant - finally some luck has gone my way - I can definitely catch up at Loganholme. :-)

I’ll keep an eye out for the next catchup.

Are there any non-medicinal methods of dealing with pain that you’ve come across (i.e meditation, distraction etc)?

I tend to be a little sensitive to things like Lyrica, Celebrex and Endep, and have been just dealing with the pain, but recently the nerve pain has been getting a little bit worse (probably as a result of trying to stay active).

Cheers,
Darren

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