Any one have experience with spinal stenosis? : LUSENET : Country Families : One Thread

Has anyone here had experience with spinal stenosis, either personally or caring for someone with it? I was diagnosed several years ago. Pain continues to increase and surgery is not an option. Something new to me I found out a couple of weeks ago--Medtronic uses electrical stimulation with implanted electrode, or implanted catheter with morphine, continuos drip. Their research indicates that the stimulation works best for spinal stenosis, morphine for other spinal problems. Any first hand observations would be appreciated!

-- gibson girl in s.e.Illinois (, February 03, 2002


have had several patients over the years who derived great benefit from electrical stimulation devices for chronic pain associated with spinal stenosis..I THINK they started using that around the late 1980s...BTW, implanted continuous morphine pump-type things work extremely well in many,many cases of chronic pain. If you have a "pain clinic" in a large city nearby, you can call them and ask to be put in contact with folks who have had these would have to give your address or telephone # and ask the secretary of the pain clinic to give it to the appropriate patients..the clinic could not give you anyone's address, etc...worth a shot anyway.

-- lesley (, February 04, 2002.

I have mild lumbar spinal stenosis, ruptured a disc in 94. Electrical stimulation from a TENS unit was my only salvation at times. It cancels out the pain for me much better than any narcotics I used to take. I'm lucky to have less pain than I did 5 years ago. I think my nerves got conditioned to it. I have a loss of feeling somewhat in my legs and feet now though but it's alot better than intense pain, which I only have once every 8 weeks instead of 24/7 like a few years ago. I just turned 36 so I'm concerned about how to manage this stuff in the future. I've turned down the surgery and steriods so far. Have you tried one of these non-invasive stimulators yet? If not, try one. My doctor prescribed mine for me. You can use 2 or 4 electrodes and it has adjustments for the phase, intensity, etc on it.

-- Dave (, February 04, 2002.

I do not have spinal stenosis but have osteoporosis and scoliosis. I've had surgery twice. The fusion in my lower back failed both times and thinking further surgery was my only option, I got a second opinion just in case. The second surgeon prescribed a TENS unit, which is electrical stimulation. I was having terrible low back pain and leg pain. The TENS unit was a miracle!! I no longer have any leg pain. They think it works by blocking the nerve impulse to the brain so the pain doesn't register. It is not curative but sure is worth it for the pain relief. I highly recommend one. You do have to have a prescription. The one I bought cost $139 and my insurance wouldn't pay for it but it was well worth it to me. I would have paid many times that for the pain relief it has given me! If it were me, I would try that before I'd go with the narcotics. You can rent them first to see if they will help before you buy one.

-- Barb in Ky. (, February 04, 2002.

My ex husband had Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and was in chronic pain all the time. It affected the nerves on one limb and will spread to the opposite limb, i.e. left arm-right leg or right arm. We went to the Emory Center for Pain Management (talk about a great place) and they diagnosed his disease. Well after two years, he ended up with an implantable morphine pump, but couldn't tolerate the morphine. So his doc started him on methadone of all things. 25 mg. It is non narcotic and is a great pain reliever. He stopped using all narcotics and only took the methodone and occasionally a Tylenol #3. But the difference was great. He was always zoned out on narcotics, but once the switch was made he started slowly improving. I know that methadone is used for getting junkies off heroin, but doctors who study pain management have found that it is a great pain reliever and is non addicting. Actually after having lived with someone in chronic pain for over five years (we finally divorced due to other causes) I have learned that anything beats a narcotic. He also used the tens unit and had great success at blocking pain, but the relief was not long lasting. He also had nerve blocks for pain control two times a month. So there are many methods to achieving pain relief, but half the relief comes from a pain management center. Most regular doctors think you're a druggie if you continuously ask for pain medicine or increasing strengths of pain meds. The best thing we ever did was go to a clinic which specializes in pain and there we did not have to hear "it's all in your head" or "he's addicted to pain killers". I would suggest that you inquire into a clinic. Finally doctors are recognizing that chronic pain is a dignosable as an illness and can be treated. Good luck.

-- Cindy (, February 04, 2002.

The spinal (lumbar) stenosis developed after a van rear-ended my car in 1994--I have had almost continuous pain since the wreck. Had epidural cortisone X3--never again! After the first one, I was pain- free for the first time in 6 or 7 yrs. but it lasted only a few weeks. Next one wasn't as effective, third one was a nightmare; severe headache stopped only by hypo, much elevated B/P, little pain relief. Non-narcotic pain pills knock down the pain enough that I can at least get out of bed, but am never entirely pain-free. I didn't realize how much I did around this place until I'm no longer able to do it! I know some of you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't been there, you can't really know what chronic pain can do to you. Thanks for all the suggestions. I am almost 66 years old and not quite ready to hang it all up just yet!

-- gibson girl in s.e.Illinois (, February 05, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ