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EMG vs Injection?

TiffanyTerrorTTiffanyTerror Posts: 44
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi everyone,

I just got back from visiting a doctor I used to work for. He was kind enough to review my MRI for me and give me some advice. He told me that I have a "good sized" bulge at L5-S1 with nerve impingement, which I already knew from the report. He also pointed out the edema in the bone itself from the disc degenerating so much that the fluid is spreading into the bone. :/ Which I had never heard of before. Does anyone else have experience with this? His reccomendation was to get an injection to lessen the pain so that I could do more rigorous excercise to lose weight.

Im not trying to be argumentative or think that I know more than him, but to me it seems a bit odd. If I have proof of nerve impingement, and severe burning pain when I excercise, isnt that a sign that its further irritating the nerve? To me it seems like a bad idea to cover up the pain to be able to excercise harder. His theory was that losing weight (Im about 40 overweight) and strengthening my abs would or should deal with the pain, and the bulge may heal on its own. I personally don't think it will because ive had the problem for 5+ years, was 100lbs when it started and its progressively getting worse and spreading to other levels.

I had another Dr. friend advise me to get an EMG to check out the level of nerve damage. To me this seems like a better idea? I feel like it makes more sense to see if there is any level of nerve damage yet before I go covering up the pain to do more, if that makes any sense.

My mom isn't understanding me. She feels like im waiting for someone to tell me to have surgery or something (which i was told to do in 04".)

So..has anyone else had an injection with/without EMG? Did covering up the pain lead to you doing things to make your back worse?

Im at a loss as to what to do. 1 doctor says fusion/replacement, another says lose weight and have an injection, and another says an EMG. My physical therapist told me I needed to talk to a doctor about the MRI report because it was concerning to her...but...all the doctors say is to lose weight. :/

Any help would be amazing.



  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    sounds reasonable. I dont know any of the details regarding your not having surgery after the doctors recommended it.
    Surgery is a personal choice, but with any decision, we have to understand the pros/cons

    with Disc and nerve pain,

    1- It is beneficial to have strong stomach muscles that will take some of the pressure off of your back

    2- Spinal Injections can be very valuable. Some people believe that these ESIs are going to eliminate the problem. That may have happened with some individuals, but overall, one of the major objectives is to buy you time When I say that, I really mean that if the ESI can give you some relief from the pain, then that will give your body a chance to do some of its own healing. Our bodies are an amazing piece of work, capable of doing so much

    3- EMGs are probably the best way to identify the exact location and extent of the nerve problems.

    All three of these can be done in the same time frame.The spinal injections are not being done to 'mask' the problem. If the nerve problem/damage is there before the ESI an EMG test would still be able to find that.

    And like you said, you dont want to come across to the doctor as being more educated then they are or telling them what and how to do things. That probably, no that is the number 1 way to ensure that further work with that doctor will be a problem.

    I hope you find the proper balance here between the doctors you are dealing with. I have said this time after time, there is no one single action that is going to correct a disc/nerve spinal problem. Instead its a combination of many different actions that your doctor team has come up with

    Good luck
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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