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Buttock, left hip pain

bep1224bbep1224 Posts: 103
I had disc surgery in October, and still having a lot of pain in my left buttock, and left hip. I had L2-3 rupture shaved and L3-4 bulge shaved. My initial complaint was hip feeling like it was catching and felt like hip was bone to bone when walking. Also had flank pain radiating through hip to groin. I am still experiencing same problems after surgery. I have had 3 injections in SI joint with no relief. Was sent for another lumbar MRI and it showed everything is ok. Am being sent now to Ortho Dr. to check out the hip. Besides all the pain I experience, I am curious If any one has had trouble laying on hard tables such as MRI or even the Dr.'s exam table? I have alot of pain laying on my back , and then when I roll off the table to get up, my legs buckle under me. It takes a few minutes to be able to stand on my legs. I have extremely bad pain trying to stand up and the legs just buckle. Thanks for any answers


  • Hopping that you will soon find some answers.
  • If you find out anything please let me know. The hip catching/pain and flank and groin pain sound all too familiar. Mine is left hip/buttock/groin - it was present prior to my lumbar fusion and has returned since surgery. Now I can feel that area start to feel tight after walking for about 12 minutes - and then it starts to feel like it is catching. Sometimes stretching my quads seems to help a bit. Sometimes there is also groin and even pelvic pain and sometimes not. The hip pain is on the outside of my hip where it connects with my leg. Does this sound at all like your pain?

    No one has been able to really diagnose this issue for me but I have had injections, PT (for possible piriformis issues), and ultrasound treatments. It is a mystery!

    I hope you find answers!
  • I also have the same pains as described above except it's on the right side. One of the many docs I've seen said it could be bursitis. The ortho was hoping the fusion would fix this problem but it's still there.

    Good luck on finding a diagnosis for this and please keep us posted.
  • After getting a Hip MRI, Hip exam, and Hip Xray, Ortho Dr said hip looks great. (Which is great news) He said I have a small spur under the bursa and the bursa was inflamed. He gave me a cortisone in the bursa to help take down the inflamation. He said that was not causing the syactica and buttock problems, but was relating because of the limping and the way I sit because of the pain. Went to family Dr and she explained that according to 2nd MRI of lumbar after surgery, I have scarring occuring at the disc sites involved from surgery. It also shows some mild bulging still. So much for shaving of discs. She is sending me for EMG to see if there is any nerve damage and what that would mean. I guess I am not a patient person. I want to be relatively pain functional asap. I am wanting to return to work, heck I just want to return to normal or close to it. Hoping the therapy will some how help. Most everyday I have about 10 to 15 mins in the morning when I almost pain free, then I get up and move and here comes the pain. Good days are 5-6 pain. Bad days 7-8. Unfortunately it seems I have mostly bad days.
  • My left hip si and leg are bothering me so bad.I have has left si pain for years and they thought the ruptured disk was casuing the pain now that the disk has been replaced and my si is still hurting bad I am begining to feel derpressed Although my back is much better .I am sick of suffering with si pain. I have has cortizone injected into it several times and other steriods without any good outcome.the pain has remained.
  • I am so sorry to hear that you have the same infliction. I am so frustrated as I am sure you are too. The surgeon said the back operation would take care of everything and I believed him. I find it frustrating that no one can pinpoint why I have the pain. They send me for tests and everything in their opinion looks good, so then why the never ending pain? I see that you have been suffering for years and that really discourages me. I keep thinking that if they could just figure things out and treat it, then I would be back to normal again. It seems the doctors are just treating me for whatever, with no clue as to what is wrong. Nothing is working, so let's try something else. I feel like a human guinea pig. In this day and age you would think they would have some kind of diagnosis that is concrete, and a cure. I had to go have an EMG. Not a pleasant experience I might add. After the shocks the Neurologist came in with his brutal needle. The bottom of my foot bled like a stuck pig and hurt like the dickens. He finished and told me to get dressed. I questioned him as to why he only did my right side when it was my left side that hurt? He gave me a funny look, then looked down at the paperwork and told me "You're lucky today, you're getting a two for one deal" I could have slugged him. So now I'm waiting to see if I have nerve damage and muscle weakness. I am so over doctors and doctor visits. I understand your depression. It's an easy place to be after day in day out of pain and no resolution. Then you think of the possibility of always having the pain and no quality of life. Hang in there Lisa and know you unfortunately are not alone.
  • 8} i feel your pain but the best thing i can do for my si is stretch it out . i hope this helps and i know it hurts while doing the stretch but it does seem to offer some relief . good luck
  • Hi,
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  • Just got back from Dr. to go over EMG results. No surprise, test came back normal. Great news but no answer as to why I have the pain. So I have had lumbar MRI, showing scarring and slight bulge on surgical site. (Surgeon says MRI is normal). I had hip xray and MRI, normal except for a small spur under bursa which again is considered normal. SI EPI's did nothing for pain. Now doing traction. 1st one so I can't really say that it is not working. Still in pain and not noticing any relief yet. I am so frustrated. I just want to know what is causing the inflamation, the pain in butt, hip, and leg. Then I want the proper treatment to relieve or stop the pain. All the tests are normal but I sure don't feel normal. I will admit that this pain and lack of normalcy is getting the better of me. I have even considered the possibility that maybe it's all in my head but the consistency of symptoms make that diagnosis seem unreal to me. I guess I just need a good cry now. LOL
  • Don't give up yet. I just had and Esophagal Endoscopy, an ulta-sound of Upper right quadrant for stomach pain, and a CAT scan of cervical for numbness and tingling of fingers of both hand. Yesturday I got results of all test, NORMAL.
    I am to the point of just giving up of complaining, hope and pray that my SS and Retirement Disability will come through. I go back to the NS in 6 weeks for a follow-up visit. My biggest complaint is not being able to sit down to a meal of any kind without choking or regurgitating every other bite. I had a Barrium Swallow, a modified Barrium Swallow, and last week an Endoscopy. All normal.
    The GI doctor did see some constriction in the esophogus, so he did a dialation. It allowed me to take bigger bites, but still choking. So, I, like you, do not know what to do. Just don't give up. Keep in touch.
  • I want to thank you lee. After reading your reply I was reminded that there are a whole lot of people dealing with issues a whole lot worse than my own. I guess I just was having a feel sorry for myself moment. I should be thankful that all I have to deal with is this sciatica stuff. Thank you for sharing your problems and reminding me that things could be worse. I am sorry that you have to endure what you have to. I hope that things start looking up for you.
  • I thought I was the only one dealing with this and that it was all in my head too. I had the fusion and it didn't fix the back pain, hip pain, SI or butt pain. I also tried SI joint injection, steriod injection, facet injection, CT Scan of back shows mild bulges of 2 disc and spurs on facet although docs say it's nothing to worry about and not enough to cause pain, I had hip xray everything came out ok, EMG tests shows no evidence of nerve damage or impingement so what the HECK is causing all this pain. It's so frustrating that my pain is not showing up on any tests and validating my pain. My primary doc says I just need to get back to work, accept that I would be in pain all my life and push through the pain. I was really upset after hearing that. I don't accept this answer. There has to be something there causing the pain, therefore, something to fix if they can find it.

    It is just nice to hear that others are experiencing similar problems. Not nice that others are hurting like me but nice that it's not just me. I've been out of work for a year now and would like to go back but the pain is unbearable standing or sitting. I only have releif when I am in a reclined position. The pain meds don't seem to help the SI and sciatic pain but it helps the back pain and sometimes the hip pain.

    I pray all the time that the docs will find what is causing this pain as well as praying for all my spiney friends on here everyday.
  • Ming, Reading your post is like something I wrote. I feel you because it's me your writing about. The only thing is that your a little further along on the treatments. I go have my monthly review with Pain Mgt next week and I'm pretty sure she will want to go with the facet injection next. Oh boy, I can hardly wait. I'm sorry to hear that you are the same as me. And to think I'm relatively new at all of this. Reading your post is discouraging because I feel the same. I just want to know what is wrong and how to make the pain go away. I will even settle for a level 3-4 pain for the rest of my life. At least then I could function at work and my daily life. I do believe if people (Drs. included) can't see your pain then they can't relate to you. I have noticed my friends don't even call any more because they are all working and because I'm at home layed up they think I am milking the system. No one but my family gets it. They have seen the pain, and the effects of the pain. I always was energetic, and hard working. Now my days consist of Dr appts, tens units, ice, and meds. I'm also in the recliner most of the time. I never asked for all of this. I just want to enjoy my life again. And why do most of the treatments seem to cause more pain? I'm willing to try just about anything for relief but it's hard knowing I go through some of this crap for nothing. What do you do for a living? I drove a school bus for 18 yrs and then switched to a custodian for an elementary school until I can retire in a few years. I would love to go back to my job but I can't even run the sweeper at home much less 2 hours of it at work. Some one out there has to have an answer to our problem. So many people out there have the same and worse. We all can't be making this stuff up.
  • I am so sorry to hear you are going through the same things and that my news is discouraging. Hopefully, by me being further in the stages, I can finally get a diagnosis that you may be able to get some help from or maybe I could have some helpful tips to make your days go by easier and less pain.

    It is very hurtful when you have such close friends who don't even call anymore to see how you are doing. I'm dealing with the same thing. I've lost almost all my friends and even at times my husband makes comments about me milking the system. My family doesn't really help or support me other than my father. The only thing with him is that he's in a wheelchair due to lumbar issues and I can still walk so guess who gets stuck doing all the things he can't?? You guessed it, it's me. I sound a little bitter about that today cuz I just got back from his house and I was feeling pretty good before I got there and I can hardly move. I went over to help him go over my gma's finances...(long story but it's some of my posts if you're interested in reading to pass time lol) I end up getting his lawn chairs, his outdoor umbrella, the base that holds the umbrella and then sit in the lawn chair for over 2 hrs helping him. I try to tell him it hurts but he just doesn't get it cuz I can still walk and he can't...I'm just guessing at that one. My family thinks cuz I don't work and I'm home all day I can go run and do their errands for them. It drives me nuts and causes me more pain. I do it and push myself too far cuz I love them and don't want to let them down but I'm the one who suffers.

    Ok, I guess I struck a nerve there cuz I just went off into a tanjent. Sorry about that.

    Anyway, hopefully together maybe we can help each other through this painful condition. I'm not going to give up and you should either. There's something there that they are just missing and I am not stopping until they find it. I am too young and used to be active and have too many things to live for that I will not accept this as my fate.

    I used to be a supervisor for a life insurance company so I worked office job. I was there over 11 yrs and they let me go cuz I was on disability too long. I don't care though cuz I went and got my license to sell life, accident and health insurance so I will be doing that once I find out what's causing this pain and how to manage the pain to a bearable level like you said atleast a 3-4. I'm tired of crying myself to sleep only to wake up hours later in pain again. I rotate sides every 30-60 minutes at night and as I'm rolling over I say ow,ow,ow then cry myself to sleep then sleep for another 30-60 mins and do all over again. My husband can't get a good nights sleep so I sleep on the couch so I don't bug him but he still can hear me and the couch hurts my back too. It's neverending.

    I'm so sorry for being long winded. I guess I had a lot on my mind lol. Anyway, feel free to PM me whenever. I hope I can help you someway and somehow.
  • Six months after my 1st lumbar discectomy all the pain came back even worse. For 3 1/2 years I limped severely with a cane. I was barely dragging my leg around. All tests normal, MRI's and EMG's. I saw MANY doctors who could do nothing for me. FINALLY found one who said it's obvious you have a nerve issue. He went in a did an explorotory surgery and found a disc fragment wrapped up in a nerve. It had been there so long it had calcified (like a rock). And that meant every time I moved or did anything this was rubbing my nerve. I have permanent nerve damage now. Sometimes our issues can't be seen on any test or film. But you cannot give up. If I didn't keep searching I would be in a wheelchair right now. Never stop searching!
    Keep Hope,
    Faith M
  • Thank you for your responds. I find your situation to be encouraging. Your EMG showed up normal too? It's extremely frustrating and stressful to be coping with this and not have any validation from docs. I hope this new neurosurgeon can find something.

    I will use your situation as inspiration to keep searching for an answer.
  • Obviously, the source of pain for each of us is very individual. I think one of the main problems is that each specialty has its own little kingdom and no one looks at the "big picture." It takes a very special physician who can put all the clues together and figure out what is the source of pain.

    The spine is a very intricate structure and yet, each specialty only looks at part of the picture. Surgeons are interested in and trained to deal with nerves and bones but they don't have much interest in "soft tissue." For example, I think what many people who have lumbar issues think of as "hip pain" is really not connected to the hip at all, but to all the soft tissue that works its way through that whole area -- the pelvis, sacrum, etc. There are muscles and ligaments running through and interconnecting this whole area.

    If there is inflammation in a large muscle, it can press on one of the nerves. Several of these ligaments run under the piriformis and along side the sciatic nerve as it starts down the leg. Another source of irritation is the IT band of muscle which runs down the outer side of the thigh and connects up into the area of the hip joint.

    When we have lumbar disc issues, stenosis, etc. most of us compensate by carrying our body in a different way, sitting in a way (like leaning to one side) that eases the pain, etc. This causes some muscles and ligaments to stretch out or lengthen usually on the opposite side, the corresponding muscles and/or ligaments shorten, which pulls things out of alignment. This is one reason for the "domino effect" that people talk about with spinal fusion. Often the body becomes torqued or twisted, even ever so slightly, which puts additional pressure on the vertebrae adjoining the fused vertebrae.

    This is really too complex to try to talk about in a short post, and I am having trouble trying to explain what I want to say...so sorry! Part of my point is that some of the causes of our pain is not really visible on the tests our doctors order. They have "fixed" what was visibly wrong by surgery, or other treatments. They take more images and things look "normal." But they can only see part of the picture, and even then, not everything shows up.

    Once the mechanical elements are "fixed," many of us are still left in a great deal of pain. Sometimes a really hands-on therapist can spot something, but it is pretty hit or miss. But this takes a great time of time and money to try to track down the right combination of people and treatments that can help. If you don't live in a larger city with a variety of alternative treatments, facilities, practioners, etc. I think it would be hard to find any solutions.

    There is a new form of MRI that shows nerves and nerve damage better than the typical MRI, but it is only currently available in a couple places on the West Coast and one clinic in PA.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling. I share all your pain and frustration as I continue to look for solutions.... :?
  • I thought your explanation of the possible causes of hip pain was excellent! Maybe I should know this from your previous posts but do you have a medical background? You must to be able to explain such a complex issue so clearly.

  • You definitely sound like a canidate for SS. Why don't you apply. According to my lawyer, you have dealt with this issue, and out of work, for more than 12 months. The way I see this is that you have paid into SS through the full time employment with the insurance company. Whish you the best, hope your pain subsides forever.
  • it will take about 18months for that pain to go away or get less
    i know as i had a similar type of pain in my hip after my operation {Nov 07} it has taken until now for it to go away {still hurts in the morning} and i have been told that i will always ache in the morning of after exercise
    try an ice pack on the small of your back .and there is a gel called eumagel you can get it from the pharmacy or better still the 10% version from your doctor .also when sitting make sure that your knees are slightly bent and put a pillow under them a recliner is about the best thing to sit in
    good luck
  • finally diagnosed your problem? I understand all these posts. I feel the same way, haven't had surgery, but ice is the only thing that helps me. Actually, it is a gel pack type that I keep in the freezer, I have 3 of them that I alternate between. Even though my MRI's show mild bulging in L3-4 and herniation in L4-5, DDD, they said I shouldn't be having this much pain.

    HELLO, I don't have time and certainly do not like having to go to the dr. and try to explain how bad I hurt, I have a family and home to care for and can't even handle that anymore. I just posted on the Chronic Pain Board, my story is so complicated and frustrating. I did see one ortho doctor who was going to perform a fusion until he discovered I had a mild stroke that left me with a "pain syndrome" on the same side as my back, hip and leg pain.

    It does kinda feel like it is rubbing bone to bone, it hurts so bad when I walk, stand or sit too long, but he said I am "high risk" so doesn't want to see me anymore.

    I don't know what kind of doctor to see now. I saw a neurologist also who didn't understand the "thalamic pain syndrome" I have as a result of my stroke, and he flipped out because of my medications. Another neurosurgeon told me I shouldn't be having this much pain. My gosh, I want my life back, why would I keep tryiing to find someone to believe me and just try a different medication?

    My MRI's and discogram back everything up, but I am assuming it is the "stroke" and that is why they don't want to touch me. I had a small hemorrhage, so I guess the bleeding part scares them and I understand their position, but I really don't care much anymore, I have no life with all this pain I am in now, but yet I read too where so many have surgery and it still doesn't solve the problem.

    This neurologist I am seeing now took me off Dilaudid that my former pain management doctor prescribed and put me on Opana ER and it is doing nothing for me, except causing me to sweat after it wears off. He doesn't seem to care, I've told him it doesn't help. Like I posted earlier, he just added Prisqit last week, which I can't tell is doing anything yet.

    I am going to a new pain clinic on Monday, perhaps I can get some help. I use to have a doctor at a university hospital pain clinic, however, he left and it closed and is just doing injections for back pain and i have had injections and PT and nothing has helped me.

    Thanks for listening, I'm sorry so many of us are suffering, but it does feel better to be able to vent to people who do understand.

  • Thank you all for the valuable input. Gwennie, you had some very interesting food for thought and I thank you. As I have said before I am sorry that everyone is having pain. Sandy it sounds like you are between a rock and a hard place. I am so sorry. All the input I have received on this post has been so helpful. I actually now have somewhat of an idea of what is going on with my pain. The family dr. and Pain mgmt. dr. both have said that according to the last mri that I have scar tissue on both of the disc areas that were worked on and that one of the disc is bulging again. The scar tissue is right on the nerve area. I now have something concrete to work with. I was also told that it does take a while after surgery to heal up due to the muscles, nerves, and soft tissue involved. Pain mgmt seems to be taking a little more aggresive approach now. I will be getting the nerve blocks starting on the 23rd. They have me doing traction and I will start doing physical stuff on the 20th. I was told that I will always have pain now for the rest of my life but that it should get more tolerable and yes I will get to go back to work eventually. I am feeling pretty optimistic now. As far as pain relief I could not live without my tens or my ice. Hopefully soon I will start to feel some kind of improvement. I was naive when all this started in August that the surgery would take care of the pain. I had no clue that the surgery would actually make things worse. Oh well at least I have some hope now that I didn't have a couple of weeks ago. Time will tell I guess. Thanks again to everyone, you have been so supportive and informative. Only you guys truly understand the agony and frustration of it all.
  • I did apply for soc sec disability in Jan. I am just waiting to hear back. I just mailed the 20 page packet they had me fill out. They said I would hear back within 120 days. I'm on LTD through Metlife right now so that is helpful but SSDI says I would get another $200 if I am approved with them. I think they will be hesitant to approve due to my age.

    I really hope and pray to be going back to work shortly. I was supposed to start a new job in Jan but the pain prevent me from doing that.

    I'm hoping this neurosurgeon can pinpoint where the pain is coming from. The flare ups have been unbareable at times this week cuz I've been taking care of my very ill son. He's only 6 and has pnemonia along with allergy/asthma issues and may have whooping cough. Test results come back next week. I hurt my back worse restraining him while the doc took 2 cultures from his nose.

    Thanks for the advice though.
  • Good luck and try to stay strong through this journey. And you're right, we do understand. I hope the traction and injections help you tons. That you have a disc bulging again so soon is very disappointing, I'm so sorry. And scar tissue on the nerve can be devastating. Six months after lumbar fusion, I herniated a 3rd level in my neck. I truly understand what you're going through. If you don't feel any improvement, or get worse, be loud about it. Make yourself heard. I know you are relieved to at least have an answer, though I'm sure it isn't what you wanted to hear.

    Take care,
    keep hope,
    Faith m
  • Gwennie, and I thank you also for the information you have given. It has really helped me to understand much better what may be going on.

    Up until about a month ago, I've just had problems with my lower lumbar, however, today is the 3rd time this month, that the left side of my neck is sore and in pain. At first, I thought I had just slept on it wrong, however, I haven't had a crick in my neck in quite some time.

    Perhaps, this is what it is, but this is different, and it is always the same pain, same place and I really haven't slept any different nor done anything that might indicate I've pulled a muscle there. And, since this is the 3rd time in just a few weeks this has occurred, it leads me to believe it might be a different issue. Is it possible it could have something to do with my low back problems? Would an MRI be able to decipher this if in fact it is related to my lower lumbar problems?

    I read where someone said "exploratory surgery" was done to see what or where the problem was. Can this be done to diagnose a herniated disk or just certain situations? And, if so, after this would be done, is that when you would decide whether to have surgery?

    It's scary thinking "surgery" when it comes to the back. I have a cousin who had 2 back surgeries and he says don't have this done until there is absolutely no other option. Well, it's not something that I want at all, like him, I know so many who still have problems, some even worse, after having one or more surgeries, but having had the mild stroke, I don't see anyone who would want to perform it either. But, I was wondering about the exploratory surgery, and what all is involved as far as seeing exactly where and what the problem is to be sure.

    Good luck to all of you and thanks so much. Take care,

  • A neurosurgeon did my exploratory surgery. He found a disc fragmant wrapped up in the nerve and removed it at that time. I had a lumbar discectomy 3 1/2 years before this surgery. I had spent those 3 years barely getting around with a cane, in excrutiating pain. My surgeon did nerve blocks to isolate what levels might be involved. I saw MANY doctors in those 3 years some who even shrugged at me. It was not easy finding a doctor who would just go in and take a look. He is the reason I can walk today. The moral of this story is "never give up". Good luck to you Sandy.

    Keep Hope,
    Faith M
  • I think exploratory surgery would truly be done as a last resort, and in the case of the spine, probably only in response to other surgeries that have just not solved the problem.

    There are so many ways of diagnosing and imaging the spine now that I doubt most surgeons would do exploratory surgery unless everything else had been tried and failed. Just my guess -- but I've never heard of it.

    For a variety of reasons, there are a number of people who develop cervical disc problems after lumbar problems, or vice versa. Your doctor should be able to check that out for you. Hopefully it is just a temporary muscular problem or issue.
  • Thanks for the kind words. Actually, I have a degree in art and am a docent at our art museum, but over 3 years of awful radiculopathy/sciatic pain in both legs brought about a curiosity in the spine and how it works.

    I went to eight specialists before finally realizing there was no way to avoid a fusion. I've been blessed with many patient doctors who don't mind answering many questions. I just had a small surgery this past January. I was lying on the gurney and was asking questions of the anesthesiologist who was walking along side me as I was being wheeled into the operating room.

    I now own a library full of books on back pain, spinal surgeries, etc. and of course, the internet is a wonderful way to learn about our conditions. And, perhaps most important, I have learned so much practical information from those spineys who went before me and were willing to take the time and energy to share their knowledge and experience...and now I try to do the same, sometimes more successfully than others!

  • I just got done reading this thread and I am sorry about your long, difficult journey. Like you, the MRI found scar tissue that formed at L4-S1 and I think this came about when I felt a jolt of pain from my back all the way down to my foot and nearly fell over. The pain was acute and excrutiating and I wasn't a happy camper.

    The pain starts at my back on the right and goes down my hip, bottom, down the back of the leg, and down into the foot. I also have weakness and that is due to the nerve being permanently damaged, according to my NS.

    I really hope they get your scar tissue pain under control. I know how maddening it is, and I just had an ESI yesterday to help with this. So far it I am still having back pain and muscle spasms in my leg. They say it will get worse before it gets better in 5 days. If the pain is bad in 5 days I have to notify the clinic. Right now it is too soon to tell if the injection is working. I have had others in the past which did nothing for me, but I have to believe this time will be different. Take care of yourself and please keep us posted on how you're doing. :)
  • Hi meydey, Did they put you out for it or is it like the SI injections? I am really hoping that the nerve block injections I'm getting ready to start help me out. It seems like I'm on the verge of possibly losing my job. My employer is now asking me to take a leave of absence in lieu of the family leave that I have been on since October. They want a date of return or a letter of resignation. So I really am counting on these nerve blocks to work or at least reduce the pain level so that I can hurry and return to work. Unfortunately I have a job that I am required to lift, bend, and twist. Let me know how your injections work out. I hope they give you some relief. How did Dr. diagnose your weakness? Did you have an EMG or just the pushing on your leg test? My Neuro pushed down on my leg as I tried to push up and that is how he determined I needed surgery for my herniation. (Along with PT not helping pain) I am sorry that you are part of this little "club" of ours. I wished I didn't belong.
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