One woman’s battle against pain
Everyone experiences pain of one sort or another during their lifetime.
One such person is a Marion woman who was diagnosed 20 years ago at age 52 with deteriorating discs and arthritis in her lower back that were causing pain.
What followed was a struggle to find lasting solutions for her pain that eventually led to a successful surgical intervention last November.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, described herself as active, and her biggest concern was to maintain her lifestyle.
After her initial diagnosis, she endured the pain for a while, but when it became unbearable, she was put on Meloxicam, a mild, anti-inflammatory generic drug that she took whenever flare-ups occurred.
Then, when a move led her to another doctor, he told her that taking one tablet every day, along with fish oil, would eliminate the flare-ups. It did, and she maintained her activity that way for 15 years.
About a year ago, a few months after the death of her husband, her blood pressure spiked, so her doctor took her off Meloxicam, thinking it could have caused her high blood pressure and was hurting her kidneys. He gave her a new blood pressure medicine.
“That’s when my pain increased,” she said. “I couldn’t sleep at night. It hurt to sleep in bed, and I often sat in a chair.”
At first, the doctor prescribed Tramadol, a narcotic, to ease the pain. After taking x-rays of her back, he ordered am MRI. She was given Hydrocodone, a stronger pain medicine. That, together with ice packs, allowed her to sleep better at night.
She learned she had spinal stenosis in several places, a narrowing of the spinal canal that was causing pinched nerves.
While waiting three months for an appointment at a pain clinic in Wichita, she was given a series of epidurals and underwent physical therapy.
In November, she had a procedure called radio-frequency ablation to cauterize the nerves that were causing pain.
The surgeon told her it would take a while for the nerves to die. He asked her to report back in a month to let him know if the procedure had helped her.
That is when she decided to back off her pain medication. She reasoned, “How will I know if my back is better if I keep on taking pain pills to cover up the pain?”
Over a two-week period, she eliminated the Tramadol and Hydrocodone, and then used over-the-counter Tylenol and Aleve for two days.
She discovered the procedure was successful and she was able to sleep a lot better at night. She also increased her activity.
“I never got near to being addicted,” she said. “I followed the doctor’s orders, but I feel so much better now.”
She still has discomfort from arthritis in her back, and her regular doctor has allowed her to begin taking Meloxicam daily again to fight the inflammation. Her blood pressure is normal and her kidneys are fine.
“That helps me do a lot more in a day,” she said.
Last modified March 29, 2018