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Conditions getting worse.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Chronic Pain
:( Last January, I had an MRI done on my lumbar region. There is some minimal disk bulging at L4-5 and neural foramina are patent.L5-S1, there is amoderate-sized broad based posterior disk protrusion, which touches the traversing bilateral S1 nerve roots with mild facet arthrosis. There is congenital narrowing of the spinal canal seen throughout the lumbar region, due to short pedicles. I have been taking medications and they don't seem to be working and most nights, I have to jump into the shower and put straight hot water, from the shower head on my lower back. If I try to do any laboriuos work, I am on my back for at least three days. On top of that, I think I may have arthritis in my hands and my back burns consistently, in between my shoulder blades. This also causes numbness in my finger tips. I can literally pull up on my skin, and pop my back between my shoulder blades.They did an MRI in the thoracic region and found nothing(last year.) Does anybody have any ideas whats going on or any suggestions.
I did some research and now I am more confused than ever. I tried to find out what a protrusion was and I found it to be called a hernia, bulge and relatively similar to an extruded disk. so which one is it? Also I looked up congenital narrowing of the spine and found out that it was a birth defect, it was rare and mostly found in dwarf's. I went to the doctor on the ninth and she said she could not see much on my MRI. However, congenital narrowing of the spine can cause paralysis, in some cases. That has me perplexed.
Another thing, the MRI staes: congenital narrowing of the spinal canal seen throughout the spinal canal, but in another area in the lumbar area states L1-4, no herniation, spinal stenosis or neural forminal encroahment. Does that make sense.
To end this lenghty article, let me tell you abot the visit. She checked my reflexes and there were none at all. I also get serious muscle spasms all do and at night my girlfriend sleeos mostly on the couch, due to my inability to have spasms and tossing and turning due to discomfort.
I hope it doesn't seem like I am whining, but I need to vent some way and thought it would be a good idea to chat with people who are going or have gone through this.
My medications are neurontin 300 mg, flexiril 10 mg,ultam (tramadol) 50 mg,naproxen 500 mg and norco 7.5


  • But I can definitely sympathize with you. I have arthritis in my knees and facet joints as well. I also have had the numb arms and hands. I have trigger finger and when I went to get a steroid injection in to it last month the doc wanted me to go for nerve conduction tests because she was pretty sure that my issues are coming from my neck. Well, the neurologist never called me back to set up my appt. until this past week. Now I will have to hold off on it because my deductible was paid for last year but they waited so long to call me that I will have to start all over again with my deductible. You may want to check with your doc about getting nerve conduction tests. My doc said that they are pretty uncomfortable but necessary. Good luck.
  • My biggest problem is insurance. I moved from Fl. last year to be around family and just started a new job. Went out to cut firewood and injured myself. They want a minimum of fifteen hundred dollars at the pain clinic and I don't have that. Unfortunately, I wasn't at my job long enough to get the insurance I needed. It's kind of sad. I had insurance through every job that I had and the moment I move and start new, this happens.
  • I don't know if the township or county has any kind of discounted(by income) medical care you could apply for, but that's one thought I had.

    The other thought is that if I were you, I would want to see a spine specialist such as an orthopaedic spine surgeon. Not that it means you need surgery, but because they are the experts and can direct you with a treatment plan. I wondered if you have leg pain since the disc protrusion touches your S1 nerve roots. To me, nerve pain is nothing to monkey around with. Doesnn't mean you have to have surgery, but possibly some kind of epidural injections of steroids in the disc or selective nerve root blocks may give you some relief and buy you time till you qualify for better insurance????

    Does your state have any kind of health insurance for all where you pay a minimal amount? You might try checking at the county health dept as they have social workers who might be able to advise you on financial options.
  • Yes, I do have leg pains and lately it is happening on both sides, but more constant on the right. I am trying to get Medicaid from the state, but that process is just as painstaking as the disability for Social Security.
    One other thing. I heard epidurals can cause damage and are only temp solutions. Is this true?
  • Epidural steroid injections are relatively safe when used with a fluouroscope (a type of x ray) that allows the doctor to see as the needle is guided in. Yes, the effects are only temporary, but it can buy you time if you're trying to postpone a possible surgery. The length of time you get relief varies from a week to 6 -12 months. I never had relief at all from my injections. Everyone's situation is different and it's hard to speculate how long the injection will work, if it even does.
  • Have you checked to see if your state offers any kind of health unsurance that may be affordable? Or is there a teaching hospital anywhere near you? You can recieve excellent care there and they charge according to your income.
  • Epidural effects vary widely. If a disc is not badly diseased, it tries to heal itself. An epidural can be a way to inject steroids to help the inflammation and buy you time while you work on physical therapy or pain relief while you are exploring other options. Some doctors and insurance companies even require a series of 3 before they will do surgery to "prove" that surgery is necessary. Sometimes, a combination of epidurals, meds, and physical therapy can help the situation enough that a surgery might not even be necessary.
  • Hi TPullan1,

    Just wanted to tell you that I had the nerve conduction test done the last week of 2008. It lasted maybe 25 or 30 minutes, only mildly uncomfortable -- when I saw my insurance statement, I almost croaked as the charges were over $1000 for the test and I thought (for what!), the physiatrist did a little poking and zapping. Luckily my deductible was fulfilled for the year and I didn't have to pay anything. I digress, I sympathize with your frustration with interpreting diagnosis from MRI's and docs -- I too get on the internet to try to learn something and wind up frustrated -- I don't know if the doctors are so afraid of getting sued that they don't want to talk to patients anymore -- I've been in terrible pain with leg pain (sciatica) since mid October (after foot surgery) and am going for a second epidural injection next week -- hope it works!
  • When you hurt your back, the medical costs can get astronomical. Every aspect is expensive, including medications. I'm sorry your symptoms are making you feel worse. Hopefully there is someway you can get in with a spine specialist. I have had 5 epidural injections and it is a relatively safe procedure if it's done with a fluoroscope. But it can run you starting at $400 a pop. Are you paying for your meds out of pocket? You can go to Walmart and get the generics for $4.00; they do not cover narcotics. You can also get a discount drug card from anywhere to help. I hope things work out so that you get the treatment you need. Take care :H
  • I like to thank everyone for replying. The ones who have and possibly the ones who will. It has been a struggle, these last fifteen months or so. It is nice to know that there are communities like these to at the least let someone hear your frustrations and understand the feeling. Again I thank you. I pay everything out of pocket and that money comes hard.
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