Patient Comments: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - Experience

Please describe your experience with lumbar spinal stenosis.

Comment from: Deb, 65-74 (Patient) Published: August 16

I am 66 years old and was recently diagnosed with spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis which was causing severe sciatic pain down my left leg and ankle. My regular doctor recently retired so I made an appointment with an orthopedic doctor who was part of a well-respected, medical group. He did exam and x-rays, but no MRI, and prescribed a 7 day dose of cortisone and narcotic pain pills. I opted to not take the cortisone and narcotic/habit forming pain pills. Instead I continued with Tylenol and Aleve. I then went to physiotherapy (PT) and they ended up hurting me and I went backwards with pain. Needless to say, I told my doctor I would not continue PT and asked for an MRI. The MRI showed a couple mild bulging discs and one moderate bulging disc. After no MRI and such heavy medication, I lost faith in this doctor feeling that his treatment was too aggressive. I found some muscle relaxers and naproxen that my old doctor had prescribed and took those for about 3 days and felt tremendously better. I also try to walk every day, a little more each day. I also have been buying OTC Salonpas capsaicin pain patches which work wonderfully. I would recommend trying these for pain as they are non-addictive, cost about USD 2 each at Walgreens, can be cut to size, have no odor and really helped a lot! I am getting much better, it's taking a little longer, but preferable to narcotics, losing my immunity to cortisone, and forcing too strenuous PT due to not doing an MRI.

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Comment from: Sherri, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 21

I had a spinal fusion in 2001 after a neck surgery and physical therapy ruined my spine. The physical therapist gave me exercises that were too strenuous for me and at one point I heard the pop in my back. I go for shots every 3 months as the disc above my fusion is also bad but another fusion is not the answer. Repeating fusion surgery only makes the disc above or below it worse. I also have degenerative disc disease and lumbar spinal stenosis. The shots are the only thing that relieve my pain along with tramadol every day. Tramadol has just been labeled a narcotic, but nothing else helps my pain so I continue with it, but only 3 a day. I get sciatica so bad when the shot wears off and it doesn't take much to ruin the shot if I move the wrong way. I sympathize with all the other back pain sufferers. No one will ever understand unless they go through it.

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Comment from: tracy1969, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 05

I have lumbar spinal stenosis and degenerative disease. I have had double hip replacements in 2014 at the age of 45. I have thigh pain now and sometimes I can't walk. I sit most days in fear, the more I do the worse it is. This is no way to live. I am glad I am not the only one. I am scared to have surgery so I am starting pain management in 6 weeks. Hope they can help. My back pain is getting worse. I have had enough of this. No one else gets it if they are not living it.

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Comment from: Bobby, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 15

At work I helped a co-worker carry an office desk up two flights of stairs, after which my legs started to pain and I had extreme pressure in my ankle. Then I was diagnosed with severe spinal stenosis. I had a laminectomy and epidural injections. This made me worse than I was. Now I deal with pain every day. My latest MRI and x-ray were reviewed by a reputable surgeon, he said I don't overstate the pain and I'll have to take medication for life. It is extremely painful and coping without help would make living everyday life impossible.

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Comment from: Justice, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 09

Spinal stenosis is a miserable disease. When my doctor first informed me that I had it, I asked him what kinds of exercises I can do to make it better. I was in great shape. I was an avid hiker and had climbed a lot of mountains. I could carry a 30 lb. pack, my rifle plus a western style strap on 22 magnum Colt and ammunition plus a canteen, up any hill in sight of my city. Then my back started to hurt toward the end of my hike and after a few months I was having trouble in the middle of my hike and soon I was just walking around my neighborhood. I was taking long breaks and resting, thinking I had just pulled something. That is called denial. My doctor said exercising makes it worse. I have had it now for about ten years and a shopping trip will put me in bed some days. I have had shots and was addicted to morphine for a couple of years. I applied for disability because I could not walk to my car on some days. If you have been diagnosed with this disease don't get into narcotics to kill the pain. You will wind up with another problem that will ruin your life. Get help from a specialist in stenosis right now, before it gets worse. Try epidurals without narcotics in the injection and take OTC medicines or those that are anti-inflammatory medicines. Get ready for back braces and pain. Take it easy when you are in pain and hope they find something that is a sure cure. Nothing out there is a sure cure. Just don't get on pain medicines that have opiates in them.

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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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