Patient Comments: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - Experience

Question:

Please describe your experience with lumbar spinal stenosis. Submit Your Comment

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Comment from: greg730, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 07

I've recently had the Veteran's Affairs tell me that I have a slight narrowing and spurs, but they will only treat my lumbar spinal stenosis with pain medication. I feel it is more about cost than helping a veteran, the spinal institute says 22 K out of pocket for most endoscopic surgeries.

Comment from: NAck, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 01

I developed pain in my legs while walking, about 4 or 5 years ago and went to a prompt care facility. They said I had classic arthritis and put me on the lowest dose of meloxicam which I continued with until recently. The pain has gotten much worse recently so I made an appointment with my primary physician with the intent of upping my medication. He asked me some questions and said he doesn't think I have arthritis and ordered me an MRI and made a follow-up appointment with a spine specialist. He strongly suspects lumbar spinal stenosis with claudication or something or other. Anyway, my journey begins.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Comment from: Ribbs, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 24

I am 62 have had both knees replaced 2 years ago and a triple CABG (coronary artery bypass graft) 2 years ago. Now I have lumbar spinal stenosis, it is hard to walk far and when walking up steps it makes it hard to breathe at times. I am trying to last out the winter and have a laminectomy done in March if I can last that long.

Comment from: Mohammad, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 21

I am a 40 years old male, having back pain since last 3 years but it was on and off so I ignored it. Six months ago pain started in all joints of my body and it was unbearable. I went to a specialist and he did so many tests but all were negative. Finally I was sent to MRI which showed L4 disc sacralized in lumbar area, disc desiccation in C3 C4, and mild bulge in C4, C5 and C6. I am unable to bend more than 1 minute, can't lift any object as doctor warned me my disc can rupture with only a little pressure. I have osteoarthritis in both knees, shoulders hurt, elbow hurts, wrist pains and all finger joints hurt. I am very depressed, not interested in life at all but still I have to live to raise my 2 small kids.

Comment from: Ann, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: September 09

I had a hip replacement in March 2014. I had the surgery with a spinal block and no sedation. The anesthetists tried five times to inject the spinal block but couldn't find a space. They said they would try once more, if not I would have to have a general anesthesia. They put the sixth one higher up on my back and it worked. Since my operation I have developed lumbar spinal stenosis, cannot walk far without getting out of breath, I'm extremely stiff, sometimes my body feels as if it's in a vice. I've recently been offered steroid injection in the bone on my right hip to see if that could be the problem. I have declined that because I have a history of allergies. I have had eight sessions of acupuncture and physiotherapy. I wonder if this condition will get better with time. I don't know if it has been caused by the spinal block or the hip replacement which was on my left hip. My main problem for lack of movement is on the right side, I have to lie on my back to sleep as my body is so stiff, I can hardly maneuver. I also have disc degeneration on L4 and L5. I have always been so active, and just want to get back to my normal active self. The hip replacement stopped the awful pain, but there was a slight leg discrepancy which was finally put right. That stopped my recovery for quite a few months. My surgeon said I wouldn't need a raise in my shoe, which I should have had from the beginning.

Comment from: Lynda, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 04

Now that I am aware of lumbar spinal stenosis and had to answer a series of questions from my doctor, I've realized I actually started with sciatic pain at age 8; my mom called it growing pains. Through the years it flared up occasionally but not badly enough to inhibit activity but for a day or so. Fast forward to 10 years ago and the pain has increased in intensity and frequency to constant. It is now just constant pain in one side of my buttock muscle. Sitting is very helpful but I'm gaining weight in my middle as I am in too much pain to do much walking or standing. Ibuprofen has been helping but not so much anymore. I'm getting my first epidural this week. I hope it helps! I don't have big expectations though. This is as frustrating as I have been physically active my whole life. From what I've read, I don't think I want surgery that the doctor has suggested.

Comment from: Janice, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 24

I was diagnosed with degenerative bone disease in the late 80s. I have lumbar spinal stenosis and sciatica. Currently I take tramadol 50 mg twice a day as needed for pain and stiffness with a nausea medication. It works, however, I found out that in my case physical therapy works! I am not a candidate for surgery, and truthfully speaking, I have not met anyone that has had the surgery for whom it improved the quality of their lives. I also apply heat to my back, moist heat seem to work better. Massages will help too.

Comment from: PEEPS, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 02

I have lumbar spinal stenosis, with a bulging disc and some scoliosis. Doctors say I need a fusion for my back, and double knee replacement. My feet are numb, I have edema and now I am starting to have problems with incontinence. I started to have a lot of pain in my shoulder with pain radiating down my arms to my fingertips, but it moves around sometimes it is in my neck, sometimes in my hips and a lot of the time in my legs causing cramps and tightened hamstrings. I have to walk with a cane, my gait is very unsteady. I have terrible sinusitis, headaches and pain in my eyeballs. I was diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency which after reading a great deal about it discovered that every one of these problems can be caused by vitamin D deficiency. I am not saying that everyone's problems can be caused by a D deficiency but getting a blood test for it couldn't hurt if it will alleviate some of your pain. Many doctors are just beginning to learn about the healing powers of vitamin D at the right dosages. Many felt that we got enough in the food that we ate or that we got enough sun to benefit us. Now however they are finding that age, where you live, or how you live, are you a shut in, do you rarely go outside, due to age or sickness, etc. It has a great deal to do with the amount of D in your systems. Doctors are in the habit of thinking 400 units of D is enough now they know that 5000 units is an average and can give you up to 50,000 a day or week if severely deficient. Take some time to read up on this vitamin which isn't really a vitamin but more like a hormone, it is far reaching in its health benefits. It takes time to see the effects, it can be 6 months to 2 years. If you are heavy like I am, you need 2 to 3 times as much because it is fat soluble. Insist that your doctor test you, because this is one test that they tend to overlook or don't connect the dots. I hope this helps someone; it sure is helping me. I happen to be older but that doesn't matter it affects both young and old, age is irrelevant.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Comment from: Dee4Dolphin, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 24

There is hope for people with lumbar spinal stenosis. Extreme and chronic sciatic pain kept me semi and fully bedridden for 35 years, I am now 72 years old. Hydrotherapy 3 to 4 times a week for 3 years has restored my body strength to regain an active and normal life again. Ice and heat packs with low dose Lyrica deals with any pain as I continue to get stronger and stronger every day. I use a Mantra 'every day, I am getting stronger, mentally and physically.' Say it 4 times a day. Then, find your passion and re-connect again to the love energy of nature and your Life!

Comment from: Teddy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 06

I am 54 and developed severe lumbar spinal stenosis very quickly. I have severe (unbearable) pain when standing longer than about 5 minutes, and the same with walking. I also experience numbness and tingling down one leg and foot, which is getting worse. After consultations with a spinal specialist, I am going for surgery as soon as possible. This is no way to live. Also, after experiencing recent air travel (long distances in airports), I am opting to use a wheelchair for walking outside the home. It seems the only practical solution for maintaining mobility.

Comment from: D, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 03

I have suffered from lumbar spinal stenosis for 5 to 7 years, the past 2 years being progressively worse in terms of a burning sciatica sensation down my left leg. In November 2014 I decided to have the MILD (minimally invasive lumbar decompression) procedure on L4/L5. At first I was ecstatic as the burning was gone, and flexibility and strength were returning. I was hoping it was from the MILD procedure and not the cortisone that was injected. Approximately 6 weeks after the procedure the burning has started. It is different than before, in some ways not as severe as before and in some ways more severe particularly when I wake up in the morning. I also can't lay on my left side very long as the pain increases. I am interested in others' experiences with MILD or what has helped them with their stenosis.

Comment from: Anthon, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 21

I am 58 years old and have been suffering from severe back pain for 30 months. I have been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis. I have taken strong painkillers which had no effect. I am currently taking 50 mg morphine, Oramorph, pregabalin, naproxen and paracetamol. Last week I opted for an operation.

Comment from: Bobby, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: January 21

I am nearly 79 years old and have had spinal problems since I first injured the lumber area doing gymnastics in 1961. I was not treated for 9 months; just given pain killers. I ended up in hospital for a month, 2 weeks on traction, 2 weeks on my back, then 11 weeks in a plaster cast from chin to crotch. I was then fitted with a steel reinforced corset which I wore for 2 years. Fortunately I had done remedial gymnastics and at the end of an extremely painful period of self-physiotherapy I threw the corset away and went back to sports and gymnastics. I injured discs in my cervical region felling trees with an axe. A chiropractor cured that but I now need continual treatment to relieve the pain. When I was about 68 my back problems started to return and over a period of years I had 4 lots of epidurals injection in my back. These provided temporary relief for up to 9 months. I can no longer have these due to other medications. Some years ago a consultant said I could have noninvasive surgery. I am now told no chance, too expensive.

Comment from: dawlinInVa, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 24

I am 56 year old female with history of upper back problems. Osteo and disc degeneration runs in the family. I had my first cervical surgery at age 26, and C3-C7 fused in 2004 with great results. I have had lower back pain for last 4 years and have dismissed it to getting older and putting on weight. I had MRI done and just learned today T-1, L1-L5, and S1 are bulging and have spinal stenosis. Wow. Maybe I waited too long. Seeing a spine specialist in my area in couple of weeks. Don't wait if you are in pain.

Comment from: BadBack4Life, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 14

I had my first back problem at 17. I have had many surgeries, therapies, procedures for the past 30 years. At age 49 I was finally properly diagnosed with congenital spinal stenosis. I am missing several discs and my surgeons say my vertebrae have rubbed away so much my pain sensors are gone. I do not have much pain anymore, but I do get dizzy and pass out due to the pressure on my spinal cord. When that starts happening I have to have surgery or I will die, according to my doctors. I have times when standing or sitting is impossible, so I move my body a lot. I have stenosis in every level of my spine. I had a spinal cord brain injury due to this condition, but I consider myself lucky to be alive (I almost died twice this year). I exercise every day, do not use drugs (use opiates only for a short time after surgery), watch my diet and weight, and try to swim as often as I am able to. I do my physical therapy daily and plan my day around my spine issue.

Comment from: reed, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 30

I was diagnosed with stenosis in the canal that holds the sciatica nerve, last year. I'm in varying pain from 2001 until now, but told it was just my imagination. Weird thing is, I'm 35, and having these problems. Along with the numbness and shooting pain, instead of losing control of bowels and bladder, mine seize when flare ups occur. This leads to multiple urinary tract infections (UTIs). Lots of tripping and twisted knee or ankle since I have to guess where my foot is and where the balance is. I'd like to be as active as I once was, but it seems the more I exercise, the more severe the flare ups. Good to see it's not just me, even thought I'd never wish it on another person.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Comment from: Patty, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

I am a 55 and have had spinal stenosis, budging and protruding disc problems for about 10 years now. I also have inoperable non-cancerous cysts on the nerve root of my spine. I have taken over the counter medications (helped for a little while), done injections in the back (no relief at all), and have been on pain medications for several years (provides some relief but not much). Surgery is going to be my next option. I too was having problems with incontinence. Once I started hurting really bad, I could not hold it in long enough to get to the bathroom. Needless to say I was always getting embarrassed. My general physician referred me to a urologist who put a Medtronic bladder stimulation system in. This stopped me from having those embarrassing situations. So for those of you having problems controlling your bladder, I urge you to check into this. I really hope this is a helpful tip for those needing it. I was so relieved when I got mine. The only way I get relief from my pain is to keep changing positions, from walking to sitting to laying, etc. As far as sleep goes what is that! I am up 6 to 10 times a night. I wouldn"t know what to do if I could sleep a whole night through.

Comment from: depunkin, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

I"m 49 and have suffered with pain since my early 20s, occasional at first. Since my late 30s it"s been 24/7. At 44 I was finally diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis. I was told this was caused by the early onset of arthritis. I just recently had surgery. My stenosis was severe and 4" of bone was removed to release the pressure on the nerves. I also had to have fusion of L3 through S1. My prognosis is good. I"m still in a tremendous amount of pain but was told it would get better in 2 to 3 months. I"m looking forward to living with no pain and no more opiates! Hang in there. There is light at the end of a long painful tunnel.

Comment from: jhonni, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

First surgery was to "clean out the debris" from disks L5 S1 imploding; left me in bad state. About 4 years later second surgery due to spinal stenosis, took up to 2 years just to walk a few blocks. Eight years later I am still in chronic pain and gravity is my enemy. I cannot carry more than 5 lb. a few blocks before the pain really kicks in. I have tried everything but to no avail. I have been forced to treat pain with opiates when nothing else will get me out of very severe pain. My lower left leg and foot can balloon and right buttock feels like I was shot with an arrow. I am only 56. Is this what I am going to have to put up with for rest of my life!

Comment from: Wilhelm, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: April 23

In 1988 I had back surgery due to ruptured disc; after surgery my diagnosis was failback. I have lumbar spinal stenosis with radiculopathy, with numbness of bilateral legs and feet. My right foot is totally numb. About 3 months ago I have had sciatica, it is the most painful thing I have experienced. It feels like a lightning bolt has struck me in both legs. I am unable to walk for long distances and unable to sleep. I have had to live with chronic back pain since a young man, and I would not wish this on anyone. Thank you for letting me share this. Good luck to all that have this diagnosis, one day we will be pain free.

Comment from: Waterdoc, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 06

I am 56 and first was diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis about 5 years ago. This began as a tingling in the leg and radiated down to the knee. Stopping and bending for a short time once worked. Then medication got involved, but now the pain is getting unbearable, as my job requires walking anywhere from 3 to 5 miles a day in the facility. I am not a fan of invasive surgery as my wife had 9 back surgeries, and it has not turned out well. I am currently looking into the new laser surgery for this, as it requires a 2" maximum incision and much less down time. The drawback is finding a doctor in my area that is trained for this surgical procedure. The closest is a mere 700 miles from my home. I feel for all those who are going through this as I know your pain, and unless you have or have gone through it, there is no way for another to understand. Hopefully technology makes rapid advancements for spinal diseases like ours. Best of luck to you all.

Comment from: Jean, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 12

I just found out today that I have lumbar spinal stenosis. I was at a spine center having my very first steroid injection, when the doctor mentioned the results of my MRI showing this. At first I was to have a caudal spinal block, but once he saw the MRI results he changed that injection to be more specific as to where my problem is generating from. This diagnosis is scaring me as to what my future holds. All I know is the pain is unbearable! I"ve had back pain every now and then due to what I thought was scoliosis. I actually thought that may have worsened but when he told me this I was shocked. I"ve been in contact with the spine center for pain medications. I"m allergic to all narcotics and the nurse mentioned possible muscle relaxers. I need relief!

Comment from: bcrone, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 11

I was diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis, arthritis, and a herniated disc at around 40. My family does have a history of back problems. I also have malformed hip sockets which caused the labrum to be injured. I have had surgery to repair on the left hip. I was told to take ibuprofen at 2400 mg a day, which I cannot take any longer due to ulcers they have caused. I am in so much pain at night it is unbearable. I am waking up at least 10 times per night to have to adjust and stretch. We have not had health insurance in several years so there has been no follow up. I dread living 40 more years like this! I am hoping to get insurance soon so this can be taken care of.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Comment from: Ross, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 07

I am a 45 year old male, in shape and very athletic but recently I started experiencing pain in my upper right shoulder/back area. The pain became very intense and started to cause numbing in my arm. I visited my doctor and he sent me to get an x-ray. After the x-ray, my doctor informed me that I have degenerative joint disease and lumbar spinal stenosis. I was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease when I was 16, I don't know if there is any association. I've always had pain in my knee areas so I didn't notice the pain. The only pain I've experienced prior to this news was pain in my right buttock. I go for MRI tomorrow, hoping no surgery!

Comment from: dhoom, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: January 27

He is aged 72 years and suffering from spinal stenosis (L4-L5) due to which he had gait problems and lower back pain. He underwent spine surgery a year ago. Now the pain has subsided but he still feels heaviness in legs due to which he can't walk much (500 meters maximum) and steps are small. We were asked to meet a neurologist and did a CT SCAN and MRI scan which show acute lacunar infarct, chronic infarct and some age related changes in the brain. The neurologist suspected it to be Parkinson-Plus syndrome and has prescribed tablets like rivastigmine, Parkitidin and Piranulin which he is taking since one month, after which there is some improvement in balancing, memory and urinary incontinence he had, but heaviness in legs is still an issue.

Comment from: Quaydee, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 06

I am a female, 71 years of age and have been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis since 2002. I have had it since my 40s but the pain was manageable and only occurred after extensive walking and responded quickly to my leaning forward and letting my back stretch for 30 seconds or so. Now, I have mild peripheral neuropathy in both feet and calves and can only walk short distances and stand for short amounts of time then the pain spreads to my sacrum, coccyx and hips and I cannot swing my legs at all without grinding pain. I am about to start my second session of physical therapy but have discovered that the absolute best pain relief for me is ice so I grab a bag of frozen peas and put it down my pants if there is nothing else handy. The pain dissolves in 20 minutes. There is also a device called a Breg PC cube that you can buy that continuously passes ice water through a pad that works beautifully. It's a bit expensive but if you can have your doctor proscribe it perhaps insurance will cover. Try the frozen peas first to see if cold relieves your pain then look into the cooler. I hope this helps someone else with pain, it's no cure but a bit of relief is better than nothing.

Comment from: clara, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 02

The pain began just above my knees and it hurt intensively when I walked. My back never hurt at all. One day, I had an appointment with my general practitioner who sent me to a specialist who dealt with muscle pain. He actually said, "I don't know what is causing your pain." The pain became so intense that I went to my general practitioner. I hurt so badly that I sat on the floor outside his office and cried. He took an x-ray of my back and I was referred to a specialist who did a CT scan of my back and diagnosed the problem as spinal stenosis. I had surgery. I have wondered if there is a connection Osgood-Schlatter and spinal stenosis. I was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease when I was young. My knees hurt all the time and I had to sleep with a pillow between my legs to be able to sleep and night. I have knots on my knees and knots on the sides of my feet from this. I know both are bone related. I also have a niece who had Osgood-Schlatter as a child.

Comment from: gisaacson, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 30

I have been seeing doctors for about 10 years. I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disorder spinal stenosis with 3 herniated discs causing sciatica. fibromyalgia and arthritis. I am in pain all the time. I had two discectomy, the first did not take, in the recovery stage it came back. With the second, it is the same thing now. They are afraid to do a fusion, they said they are waiting for the last option. What I am wondering is what else can they do for me. It is so hard to cope.

Comment from: TKO, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 01

I feel so sorry for all of you. I had lumbar spinal stenosis and sciatica pain for 3 years. I could barely function but I did have the surgery and now I am 95 percent pain free. It was the best thing I ever did. Don't keep putting off surgery, it may be your best option.

Comment from: tuna, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 23

I am 32 years, I was diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis via MRI in 2012, but the pain started sometimes in 2009. They say it has damaged my L2 to L5, the pain is too much. I never thought there were people who are in pain just like me. The worst is, I am not getting any help since I am using government hospital. I thought of giving up but now knowing that am not alone has given me hope, I hope that we will all be healed.

Comment from: vernBack, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 26

I have been under a pain clinic care for the past 3 years for lower back pain. I'm Taking Percocet 7.5-325 and morphine sulfate 15 mg ER-MAL tablet. The medication was keeping me almost pain free. The doctor decided I needed an epidural. During the injection I felt a cold solution going down both my legs and my feet. Shouldn"t I have felt something in my lower back? The nurse came and told me it was time to get up and go home. As I tried to stand up my legs collapsed. I was totally numb from waist through my toes but my lower back was pain free. After the 3rd day I started feeling lower back pain and still have lower back pain 3 1/2 weeks later. My next appointment is 6 weeks from now. I don"t think this was a normal epidural.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Comment from: Isabelle, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 20

I have not been officially diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis except by an MRI that the chiropractor had me have done. First I had acupuncture for the pain with no result. Then I went to the chiropractor and after about 4 sessions with no relief he ordered the MRI. A few years before the chiropractor had helped my different conditions like muscle spasms, etc. I was moderately active and care for a Parkinson's patient. The most relief I have found aside from painkillers is resting or sleeping in a hammock. I have seriously considered buying one with a stand for bedroom as I can"t find relief from leg pain anywhere and the mosquitoes on porch can transmit dengue. My sister says the curve of the hammock is what helps, hope it helps you!

Comment from: MaryFlorida, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

Three years ago, suffering from "burning feet", my doctor ordered a nerve conduction test. It was negative but the doctors agreed that I had small fiber neuropathy. I moved, so changed doctors. I was taking Vicodin for pain. The new pain doctor just continued giving me drugs. I developed auditory hallucinations; still just drugs. I transferred to a new pain doctor, who ordered tests again plus an MRI. He said I have lumbar spinal stenosis and will be starting with the injections. I feel I have suffered for so long unnecessarily since I have been misdiagnosed. I am taking more personal responsibility for my health, rather than just accepting diagnoses which may be right or wrong.

Comment from: backbones, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 14

I've traded in my conventional bed for a universal position electrically run chair (though not thoroughly universal). I sleep in it and use it to sit in different positions for reading. I use a few specifically shaped and sized pillows. The dip puts my spine into an immediate painless position. It also positions me so that I don't have to pull or push to get out, as it brings me as close to a standing position to almost walk out as I need providing no strain on the back muscles. It also moves very slowly so I remain in charge of when and where it starts and stops.

Comment from: Boo, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

I am 46, and was diagnosed about 8 years ago with spinal stenosis. It bothered me when doing dishes, and at that time, it was OK to live with. Last January, it started to act up, and by March, I could feel it getting worse. I saw the doctor in February; they gave me cortisone shot, no help! I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis, and after 4 months of testing, they said i had a bulging disc, a pinched nerve at S1, and L4 and L5 had severe spinal stenosis. I had double fusion on L4 L5, and decompression on the S1, on August 25th. It's Dec 11th, and I go back to the doctor, the second time since surgery with more pain, not less. I had a hard time walking a short distance before surgery, where I had to find a chair to sit on right away, or I'd fall over, and now it's back to that. I'm overweight and do smoke, so I know that's part of it, but shouldn't I see SOME improvement? The only thing that did go away was the numbness and tingling from the sciatic nerve, but that's it. What will they tell me tomorrow? I just want my life back, I can't stand this chronic pain, and pressure. They won't prescribe any more pain pills, my ortho, or my regular PCP. I know, addiction risks, but at least those took the edge off, even if I took one of two at night before bed so I can sleep without pain. Lying down is the only pain free place for me, and sometimes it takes hours before the pain subsides after I go to bed.

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.

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.

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.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
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.

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.

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.

Comment from: ann k., 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: April 23

I had treatment for herniated disc (lumbar spinal stenosis), MRI scan and then deadening the nerve. I had good result.

Comment from: BillQ, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 07

I am 60 and have had lumbar spinal stenosis for at least 10 years. I have tried everything short of surgery.

Comment from: rob, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: August 27

I'm 32 and have been chronic patient of lumbar spinal stenosis since 16. I am getting that shot in my back, yeah, I hope this epidural works.

Comment from: Peace, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 18

I have suffered from sciatica for 19 years. I am currently taking anti-inflammatory pills and they help some. Trying to sleep was my biggest problem as I need to change position regularly and could not sleep flat. I noticed that I had the least pain when sitting in a recliner so I tried sleeping all night and it changed my life. I have slept in a recliner for 15 years.

Comment from: sammy, 55-64 (Patient) Published: March 19

The most humiliating thing about lumbar spinal stenosis is that there's no control over bladder or bowel movements. I don't know when it is going to happen and cannot "hold it” till I get to the bathroom.

Comment from: Connie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 13

I had surgery in June 2012, spinal fusion of the L-3, 4 and 5. I would tell anyone concerned whether to have this surgery, try everything else first. I am in extreme pain every day.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Comment from: Erics, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 10

I was diagnosed with lumbar stenosis about 3 months ago. Tried the epidural that only lasted 2 days. I haven't been given any thing for pain. I told the Doctor that just walking around the yard picking up dog dirt and my legs start to ache and I have to sit down for awhile, then finish up. It is hard going up stairs, shopping with my wife or playing with my grand kids. I have constant pain in my back like spasm's. My doctor is conservative doesn't offer a lot of help. I already was diagnosed with arthritis in my feet and I have gout in my knee's. Starting to get pain in my arms and joints. Getting old sucks sometimes.

Comment from: pan_dora58, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

I was diagnosed with moderate/severe spinal stenosis and degenerative disc of L3-L5 approximately six years ago when I was unable to walk. As I would walk, my legs would not work, even though I could feel them there. Surgery was done to relieve the pressure on the nerves, but outside of relieving the excruciating pain; there has really been no relief. I do have the epidural shots, which help for several months at a time; sometimes only two months. Currently, this one has worked for five months. I also take an NSAID every day, but was recently given a back brace and 10-mg of Vicodin, which I rarely take. My pain management doctor told me about a new procedure still being researched in which DNA is injected into the disc and it regenerates. It should be available in approximately five years. So, in the meantime I would suggest to everyone to seek out a pain management professional who suits your needs and just doesn't shove pills at you.

Comment from: PC Louisiana, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 02

I have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis between L3-L4. I had a double fusion last year on L4-L5, L5-S1. I also had a total hip replacement six weeks ago. My problem is my lower back is painful during the physical therapy and to relieve the back pain by bending forward is not possible because of the restrictions on my hip. I experience leg pain and numbness in my toes frequently, but it seems to be more predominant at night. I do have degenerative bone disease and since the hip surgery, I have lost 30 pounds and am continuing to loose weight. I was told that a chiropractor could help, but I am afraid it could also hurt me more than help me.

Comment from: Wanda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 02

I just found out I have lumbar spinal stenosis. I work in a kindergarten class. The constant bending was killing my back, so I went and had an MRI. I have pains that shoot down the back of my legs when I walk. I am on painkillers and use a heating pad. I have the options of shots in the back or surgery to put spacers in my spine. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do.

Published: November 11

I'm a 48-year-old female diagnosed with lumbar (4-5) stenosis. My discomfort began to increase when driving the car. I experienced sciatica pain down the right buttock and leg. I am afraid that the symptoms will significantly worsen as the arthritis erodes my back further. At this point, I don't have too much pain, and sometimes I don't have any. I'm about to start physical therapy and have been taking calcium and vitamin D.

Comment from: 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 28

I am a 47 year old male an have been living with stenosis L4&L5 for the last six years. I had one shot many years ago, but having a six inch needle in my back was not for me. So for the last five years I have been going to a chiropractor once a month. My pain has 90% gone away.

Comment from: ROMY, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 23

I have lumbar spinal stenosis for years. A week ago I decided to have a posterior lumbar decompression surgery on L4, L5 and S1. I have noticed that my symptoms of weakness, numbness, lower back pain and loss of sensation of my left leg are still present. My surgeon tells me it will take about three months for me to fell normal again.

Comment from: Arkansas traveler, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: October 23

I am male, 68 years old. I had back pain and pain across my buttocks, as well as numbness in both legs. For the last five years I worked which involved medium heavy lifting. I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis from an old compression fracture fifteen years ago which had caused occlusion at L-3 and L-4. In interviewing the surgeon, he told me he could eliminate the back pain and numbness of my legs but probably wouldn't help the pain across my buttocks. Immediately after surgery I had no pain in any of the aforementioned areas including the buttocks and it has been five years since surgery and my back is in better shape than in the past twenty years.

Comment from: Jim, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 15

I had my surgery for my lumbar spinal stenosis on Feb 13th. Today I almost fell off the toilet as I was trying to clean myself. Laugh or cry? I just laughed. My pain shoots like an electrical shock across my lumbar area. It generally hits me below my left knee and sometimes will take me to the floor. I have to bend my knees to blow my nose, and it is helpful if I have something to lean on. God help me if a sneeze sneaks up on me before I have a chance to bend my knees and brace myself.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Comment from: Carl, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 25

I tried a number of cortisone injections first, but still had pain in my right thigh and limped badly. I had decompression surgery without fusion on July 31, 2008. I can walk at least 4 miles now and the limp is gone. I still have some pain in my right thigh, but it is tolerable.

Comment from: John Doe, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 18

I recently received my MRI and throughout my entire lumbar region, I have spinal stenosis. All the appropriate surgeries, which would also be covered under my insurance, are being considered. The thing is, personal friends who have undergone these various surgeries rarely indicate satisfaction.

Comment from: 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 18

I'm a 30-year-old female. I just was told in the last few months that I have lumbar spinal stenosis. I also have fibromyalgia. The pain in my back runs down my legs and is so bad that I barely do anything anymore. I have a lot of trouble walking and sitting. About the only thing that makes my back and legs feel better is lying down. I have been trying Gabapentin, and I have been taking Hydrocodone for pain a lot longer than I had the lumbar spinal stenosis diagnosis. Nothing really gets the pain to go away for long.

Published: July 31

I was diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis last year. I have tried to avoid surgery by getting the facet injections, spinal steroid injections and using pain meds such as morphine, hydrocodone and gabapentin. I have gone to physical therapy and had manipulations done by an Osteopathic doctor. At this point my sciatic nerve has been acting up and my pain level even with all the drugs and the doctor treatments are off the charts. I don't have a life anymore and I cannot do any of the things I used to enjoy. I don't know what to do next, probably surgery. I can usually handle a great deal of pain, but this has really gotten to me. I am only 55.

Comment from: Jim Frank, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: December 17

I have had some numbness in the left leg, below the knee and sometimes it moves to the ball of the foot. I also have muscle tightness in my right gluteus. I had a laminectomy involving the L4, L5, and S1. My GP had me get an MRI which showed disk protrusion between L3 and L4 of about 5mm. I went to a neurologist and he did a strength test on me and indicated that I should 'suck it up'. He also indicated that I could continue to play golf. Not sure about his diagnosis. My GP indicated that a shot of cortisone would not do much and maybe I should use an inversion table or maybe go for surgery. Any comments would be appreciated.

Comment from: Bassman, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 17

I am 53 years old. I have had two back surgeries and now I do good to walk period. Pain is the game so to speak. I had no space between my bones in my back on l4 l5 so they fused them and put in cages. I hurt most of the time but feel lucky hearing some of these stories and I know I am getting worse. I am taking codeine and Neurodin and Ultram and still hurt all the time. Surgery only helped a few years but hopefully I can keep walking to the car anyway.

Comment from: Keith Bond, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 17

I am a 54 year old male, with a sedentary occupation. I have lumbar spinal stenosis, and have had epidural injections three times, and nerve ablations twice. These treatments are temporary palliatives, and nothing more. I vary my medicine intake, with lots of Advil, Tylenol, Tramadol with Tylenol, Lyrica, Soma, Flexeril, and I think that's about it. These provide temporary relief, also. I am greatly wary of any surgical approach, even laser. I understand complications of scar tissue formation happen even with laser techniques.

Comment from: wpk, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: December 17

After reading the various comments there is no question that I have Spinal Stenosis. I have had a bone scan, MRI plus other tests and cannot get anyone to come up with a diagnosis. Extreme difficulty walking. In less then a year my walking has gone down to less then 100 ft. Extreme pain and swelling in both legs. I have tried cortisone plus other medications with no help pain is severe and constant. Surgery appears as only option left.

Comment from: trans martha, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: September 12

I am a 79-year-old healthy female with severe lumbar spinal stenosis at L4-5. I had epidural steroid injection with little relief. I had very little back pain, mostly leg pain. I had a laminotomy three years ago which relieved the leg pain. I still have very little pain but have extreme difficulty walking. Using a shopping cart makes it easier. Recent MRI shows more stenosis at L3-4 than MRI three years ago. I feel the difficulty walking is from previous damage prior to surgery and that more surgery probably would not help this problem.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Published: July 30

I am a 55 year old male. I have been playing softball and pickle ball for the past 2 years. Recently, I have been experiencing pains in my left hip and buttocks. I thought it was caused by playing these sports. I suffered these terrible pains for about 4 days until I went to the emergency room because I could no longer stand the pain. I have been diagnosed with Stenosis after an MRI and CAT scan. I will be undergoing treatment with injections of cortisone shortly and will report back results of the treatment.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
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