Spinal Stenosis

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  1. profile image0
    SaritaJBonitaposted 9 years ago

    I just had (another) neck MRI in September, and the news wasn't good.  I've had a prolapsed (aka slipped) disc for a few years, and now it's causing "mild central canal stenosis."  I'm in constant pain, have such poor strength in my hands that I need pliers to open a bottle of soda, and I sometimes lose the feeling in my feet as well.  I saw a neurosurgeon, who told me that he recommends surgery as a last resort seeing as how the rest of the discs in my neck are already bulging.  Apparently having a surgical fusion makes the rest of your neck weak?

    What the surgeon did recommend was a cortisone injection.  I had one in my shoulder last year and it cured it.  Then I got paranoid from a bad reaction to the shot, and I ended up wearing tinfoil on my head because I thought the aliens were coming after me (no, sadly that isn't a joke).  Apparently I'm allergic to prednisone and cortisone... even the injection.  Who knew? 

    So I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place here.  If I get the cortisone injection it might help the pain, but for how long?  I have Bipolar Disorder and the last thing I need is to end up in the hospital because of psych issues.  Does anyone else suffer from spinal stenosis?  What have you done that has helped?

    Also, I just turned thirty last month.  These health problems run on my mother's side of the family, and my Aunt had her first spinal surgery when she was my age.  She just turned 45 and had a six-level fusion done on her neck.  I don't want to be like her....  Help?!

    1. Quilligrapher profile image77
      Quilligrapherposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Good evening, Ms. Bourdeau.

      I have spinal stenosis causing pain in my left thigh and calf when I am not sitting. Naturally, my experience and treatment may not apply to any one else. My first reaction was to visit a pain management consultant. I had a month of physical therapy as the initial approach. Nada. I have had eight spinal steroid injections during three sessions over a three-month period. Nada. I am now ramping up on Gabapentin, currently taking 1500 mg daily, with signs of temporary, intermittent, more tolerable discomfort in the 3 to 5 pain level range. I am hoping larger doses will bring additional relief. If my quality of life does not improve in four weeks, I will consider another spinal block injection. Back surgery usually has low success rates so I am reluctant to consider central canal “roto-rooter” surgery if such exists.

      Caution is advised with Gabapentin and Bipolar. I know someone who had a negative experience. Careful co-ordination between pain management and mental health practitioners may be in order.

      Good luck to you. I wish you quick and long lasting relief.

      1. profile image0
        SaritaJBonitaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks Quilligrapher,

        I have been on gabapentin (neurontin) before, and it does make a noticable difference in my pain level.  The difficulty is that it makes me sooooo drowsy when I take it with my other meds, that it makes it not worth taking it at all.  I've been to a pain management clinic, and they weren't willing to prescribe anything due to my history of narcotic abuse (years ago, but still...). 

        Is there a difference between a cortisone injection and a "spinal block?"  I'm willing to try anything short of surgery, because my quality of life sucks right now.  I never realized how heavy a door can feel while you're opening it, or exactly how much my purse weighs, or that doing dishes puts your neck in a very odd position... etc. etc.

        Good luck on your path to finding relief, and thanks for the information!

        1. Stacie L profile image91
          Stacie Lposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          I'm sorry to hear about your pain and frustration to find some relief. My own experiences with scoliosis and pain relief were remarkable obtained by chiropractic manipulation.
          I do have cervical stenosis that still bothers me from time to time.
          I also want to point out that soda is detrimental to bones.
          http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/featu … teoporosis
          I dont know how serious your condition is but why not check out the non drug and non surgical route ?

  2. visionandfocus profile image71
    visionandfocusposted 9 years ago

    Sorry to hear about your condition. I just finished reading a book called "Biogenealogy" by Patrick Obissier. You mentioned that spinal stenosis runs in your family, so I think this book will give you some insights, as it's subtitled "Freedom From The Ancestral Origins of Disease". I'm reading it as part of my ongoing research into chronic pain. I did a presentation on "Chronic Pain: The Mind-Body Connection" to a group of therapists last summer, and I have adapted the information contained in that presentation to the general public and published it in a hub titled "Chronic Pain: What You Need To Know and Have Never Been Told". You may find it interesting and pertinent to what you are experiencing.

    Wishing you well on your healing journey.


  3. profile image0
    SaritaJBonitaposted 9 years ago

    Stacie L,

    Surgery and injections and additional medications are all last resorts to me.  I just don't know what else to do, and I cannot live my life like this.  I'm not really a soda drinker, but I should look into other dietary changes, etc.  Also, it's not the bones in my neck that are the problem, it's the soft tissue in-between the vertebrae.  I've had good luck with chiropractors, but my insurance will not pay for one and they all want me to go 3-4X a week.  It's just not in my budget. 


    Thank you so much for your feedback!  I will read that book and I will read your Hub right now.  I'm a huge believer that diseases of all kinds have complex causes, and it's not really logical to point to one single cause or one single solution.  I will do anything to prevent having a six-level fusion before I turn fifty.... Except for quitting smoking.  I was told that smoking makes pain worse, but being in pain makes quitting so much harder.  And ADHD + Bipolar makes the addiction that much stronger.  It may be a lame excuse but it's reality....  Things are bad enough that I can't even shave my legs by myself... I'm 30 years old, so shaving should not be difficult.     

    Thanks to everyone who posted!

  4. artist101 profile image46
    artist101posted 9 years ago

    I have had on going back and neck problems for close to 10 years. Physical therapy at home has helped considerably. I use an exercise ball, and just roll on it. As well as foam rollers.
    My article on pain mentions just about every supplement that I have tried. i did have to go to a chiro, because I couldn't tie my shoes. Like you I couldn't afford it.
    Mri, revealed stenosis, and slipped, and bulging discs, for me as well. Numbness, pins and needles down my left arm, as well as down my left leg. Put on flexeril, and mobic at night, thats when the pain is worse. Dr recommends surgery for me as well.
    Among the most helpful for me has been: magnesium, a natural muscle relaxer, turmeric, and cherries as pain reliever, and gentle exercise, such as yoga. Especially the cow pose, and snake or serpant pose. There are also neck exercises, whereby you tilt the head side to side, as well as gently, grab one side of the head with the opposite arm, and push, repeat with the other arm. There are numerous articles on yoga, and stretching excersises on youtube, and here on hubpages.
    I hope this helps you. I too do not want, nor can I afford surgery.


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