What Arachnoiditis Did to Me

By Shane Schwartz, Guest Columnist

I injured my back lifting tiles and went through every possible treatment, including physical therapy, steroid injections and a host of other things before finally deciding to have surgery. I couldn't take the pain any longer.

After speaking with the neurosurgeon, I elected to proceed and had a 360 degree 2 level fusion at L4-S1 with plating and decompression. It was quite an extensive surgery lasting over 9 hours. I did okay for the first 6 months and was placed in physical therapy as part of my rehabilitation -- supposedly to get back to 80% of my normal health.

Well it fell apart shortly after that and I underwent another round of epidural injections in hopes of some sort of relief, but to no avail.

After being kicked to the curb by my neurosurgeon and being told of all kinds of different diagnoses which made absolutely no sense, I went to the Oklahoma University Medical Center because I was told I had a brain tumor by the crooked neurosurgeon’s partners in crime.

Upon arriving at the hospital, I said I needed a brain scan because of what the doctors who did my spine surgery had told me. The doctors at OU pretty much laughed after a physical exam of me. They scheduled me for spinal imaging and that is the first time I ever heard of Arachnoiditis. My father is a nurse anesthetist and he was very concerned when he heard that word being used.

Suddenly everything started fitting into place as to what was happening to my body. Look at the before and after pictures of me. My heart goes out to everyone dealing with this.

I sent my MRIs scans to a very qualified physician who specializes in this disorder and went to visit with him after reviewing my scans. He confirmed it was Adhesive Arachnoiditis.

Folks, this disorder is so much more than a spine issue. It robs me of everyday life as I once knew it.

I'm 41 years old, but feel as if I'm 90. No disrespect to the elders, please don't misunderstand me, but it causes unrelenting pain throughout my entire body.



I just want to be able to enjoy life with my children again. I have a 17 and 8 year old who have basically had their father stolen from them.

This disorder needs to be on the front burner of every doctor doing any kind of spine surgery, as I was NEVER warned of anything even remotely close to this as a side effect.  I question almost daily if tomorrow is even worth it. This is no way to live.

The spine surgeons keep getting richer at the public expense and when something of this nature occurs, you are like a tin can and kicked to the next doctor, who may or may not take you. From my experience no doctor wants to deal with Arachnoiditis once they hear the word. WHY?!?!? I am a human being!!!! Not a tin can that can just be kicked around and down the road because these doctors don’t want to deal with it or own it!!!

It's so very frustrating, depressing, and my anxiety is through the roof. It's just HORRIBLE!!!

God bless anyone and everyone who has this disorder and has to deal with it on a daily basis. I am open to conversing with others in my shoes. I love and wish us all the best and thanks for reading.

Shane Schwartz lives in Oklahoma.

Pain News Network invites other readers to share their stories with us.  Send them to:  editor@PainNewsNetwork.org

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.