Patient Comments: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - Experience

Please describe your experience with lumbar spinal stenosis.

Comment from: Oma, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

Wow! I have been living with problems I thought I alone suffered from for the past 10 years. At 55 the problem started first back, then hip replacement. Injections, therapy and non-narcotics helped for quite awhile. Next more back problems, the other hip replaced and finally surgery and narcotics. Well now it's Oxycodone and still pain after it wears off. Worse yet, I lost my wonderful GP and now face the new GP who seems to think I'm after a "fix" from drugs. When will these doctors start to realize at 65 I can tell them about me and my needs and not have them dole out meds that I need as they see it. I have been having some problems with bowel for some time, including an anal fissure two years ago. Now my bowl health seems to really be involved. Last week after straining to eliminate my overall pain went from moderate to stay in bed, can't function tired.

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Comment from: MC, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 24

I was diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and five ruptured and torn discs to top it off and I am only 19. Recently, I have been having a lot of pain and spasms in my lower back. It hurts to even walk. It stinks because I have to walk around hunched over life a caveman, and I tend to get picked on. My doctors have told me just to "suck it up, and deal with it." I've also been told that I have "the back of an 80-year-old woman." I'm really not looking forward to that if I am only 19.

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Comment from: 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: September 18

I'm a 36-year-old male, and two years ago, I had a disk rupture in my back while getting ready for work. It was the disk between the L-4 and L-5 region. Sixty percent of the disk ruptured into my spinal column and did nerve damage. I had surgery to remove the bulge but still have severe pain and numbness in my foot and leg, including shooting electrical pains in various parts of my body and swelling in my left foot. I also have nerve damage on my left side. I'm taking narcotics to help control the pain and muscle relaxers to help with the spasms in my back and legs. If it had not been for the loss of feeling in my leg, 100% the day before the surgery, I would have opted to not have it and let my body heal itself. I would not recommend surgery for anyone who does not absolutely has to have it. I hurt as bad today as I did before and there is nothing else I can do about it. And my surgery was done by a neurosurgeon. My condition is so severe that it has kept me from working or having a normal life. Where do you turn when you're told by different doctors that, “You're as good as your going to get?” I have no answers, but to those of you who are hurting and have lost your ability to live a normal life, you're not alone. Good luck to everyone, and just maybe they will come up with a way to stop the pain.

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Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 12

As I read the comments, I am crying. I have been diagnosed with lumbar stenosis and degenerative disc disease and deal with pain daily. Due to these conditions I have a lot of muscle imbalance issues, which within themselves cause a certain amount of pain. I too have been to everyone for help, one says surgery, one says no, one says I have fibro. I am managing life with 4 kids, business not to mention running a household with meds, but I know the current climate regarding pain management, it will come to an end. I don't sleep and I am borderline depressed. Inactivity is not the answer, as much motion as I can get in my back the better. To get this motion a certain amount of pain medication is necessary.

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Comment from: rese91, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 12

I'm 39 years old and have had two surgeries thus far for my lumbar spinal stenosis. To this day, they have no idea what "caused" the issues in my back. I take pain medicine, (the lowest dose) because the doctors believe I "like" it too much. I'm taking Lyrica. I STILL have the pain. My second surgery was two years ago and I had a lumber fusion. Some of the pain is gone. I was told this was "how it was" and to basically get over it. I'm a mom of three, run a business, coach my kids, golf. I cannot stop living. I also cannot continue with the level of pain I'm experiencing. I have lost bladder function on occasion and twice bowel. I see a neurologist next Friday.

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Comment from: 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 06

I am a male, age 56. I have had low back pain for 10 years. I was diagnosed with stenosis about seven years ago and was advised to have surgery then. Up until six months ago, my doctor and I have been treating it with increasingly (over the years) stronger medicine, physical therapy, epidural cortisone injections, all the standard non-surgical treatments. The last two years I had been having numbness and tingling in my left leg and foot, burning in my toes (both feet), and other symptoms of nerve compression. The worst thing was the sciatica. It got so bad that I could only walk short distances, slowly. I gave up and had spine surgery six months ago. They did a lumbar spinal fusion of L4-L5 and L5-S1. Now, I am sciatica-free. However, six months out, the nerve issues described above continue, albeit to a somewhat lesser degree. I probably went too long and damaged the nerves. The worst thing is that the back pain continues. Now the doctor tells me it's all in my head because he fixed the problem. I still need strong medicine to take away that pain that's “all in my head,” but now the doctor hints that I got to where I "like" the drugs and don't really need them. I recommend that anyone considering spinal surgery force your doctor to definitively locate the cause of the pain before attempting to fix it, then do that again with a second-opinion doctor. The MRI only shows the structural abnormalities, not where your specific pain comes from. You may well have stenosis that is not causing a problem but another malfunction nearby that is causing pain, which repairing the stenosis will not fix.

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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms of your lumbar spinal stenosis?
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment, therapy, or medication did you receive for lumbar spinal stenosis?

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