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Question and Confusion with New Diagnosis(es)

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
Hello everyone.
For years I have suffered with back pain (varying degrees) and around 3-4 times a year, I become unable to walk (usually lasts 6-10 days) and I end up (when I am upright) pushing the back of a chair across the floor to get from one side of a room to the other.
In 2000 I went for chiropractic care for a (he diagnosed) slipped disc, and I was under his care for about 3 months, 3-5 times a week. In 2001, I went to my family doctor and he diagnosed me with muscle spasms, gave me pain meds and a muscle relaxer, sent me home. Frustrated, I stopped going to the dr. I pretty much got used to the pain, with constant burning and crushing in my lower back and down my left leg, with pain in both hips. In 2005, I was once again forced to go back to my family physician, he took x-rays and said good news, I don't see anything really negative, I believe you to have a bulging disc, here's a script for physical therapy, pain meds and muscle relaxers.
I had no health insurance and the most any dr would do would be prescribe medicine, and not expensive tests. Well, I started noticing about 8-9 months ago, my inability to walk standing straight up, in the grocery store, wal-mart, etc... Matter of fact, if I couldn't prop on a buggy to shop, I didn't go. I hated the thought of using a motorized cart and hurt too badly to stand straight. About this time, I also (I didn't notice this) started holding on to railings and taking one step at a time, and stumbling on my left foot, more frequently.
With a new promotion at work, I was able to get health insurance, and went to a different dr. in my old family clinic. the first thing he did, was a physical exam, within 10 minutes, was saying that I needed an MRI. Two days later, I had my first MRI. This was the last week of March.(this year)
The radiology group said nothing that made sense to me as to why I have hurt for so long. they used a lot of words like,mild scoliotic curvature, L4/L5- mild bilateral bulge with no foraminal stenosis
L5/S1- mild central disc protrusion slightly touching nerve root at S1 and mild foraminal (narrowing? can't remember exact words here) My new dr said I was being referred to a pain management dr.
I had my first appointment with Dr Stone, on March 22nd 2009. after a lengthy and very painful exam, he said that he was concerned that I had little muscle strength in my left leg and my reflexes were off in that foot, classic signs of a severely pinched nerve. He also explained that I had diagnosis (by him) of ruptured disc with radiculopathy and he said that if I were not overweight, he would recomment me for rapid surgery, no waiting. But, he needed to try LESI's to try non surgical options, first(since I am obese) to give me time to try and lose some weight. I had my LESI (first) on the 30th of MArch, 8 days after my first aappt. During the procedure, I heard him make several comments like "MRI didn't show this" and within minutes of starting, he called to the nurse, and said She needs another LESI schedule no later than 3 weeks. after a lot of x-rays and after the multiple taps to this nerve that I finally felt (like hot branding searing through my body) he was through and showed me some pictures that said something relating to "this is called anterior" something that means this has slipped forward (I think spondylolisthesis, unsure) now of course, I can't think of anything he said and his office is closed until Tuesday, (vercet and I don't agree on memory about that time)
Since my procedure, I have had horrible spasms in my left side up to my shoulder blade, mid and lower back pain, pain from my foot all the way up to my left buttock (I know, very colorful, huh?)
Am I going crazy and really not hurting, or does anyone understand anything I have said?


  • Welcome to the board. Your history and situation with your back sound fairly complicated! Are you located in the U.S.? I am just curious because that is the system I am familiar with, and things are done a bit differently abroad and in the UK.

    You should call the place where you had the MRI and ask for a written copy of the radiology report. I would suggest that you start keeping a file that contains written reports such as this, and others that you may have in the future. It is important to learn as much as you can about your spinal issues , what procedures the doctors are recommending, etc. It will be helpful to you if you understand what is in the imaging reports that you have.

    I have had many ESIs and none of my experiences were like the one you described...so I cannot really add anything to what you said. Also the spasm going up to your shoulder blades does not make sense to me. I would call the doctor that did the injetion. He must have someone on call to pick up the weekend phone calls. Tuesday is a long way away and what you are experiencing does not sound at all "normal" or common.

    Are you seeing a spinal specialist? It sounds like you have a problem with nerve compression at the L4-5 and L5-S1 areas caused by bulging disks. This has been going on for some time at least since you were more comfortable leaning on a shopping cart, a fairly common occurance when someone has stenosis. You will need a spinal specialist to make an accurate diagnosis and to coordinate your medical care. Conservative treatments will be pursued, but it may be necessary to have surgery in the future, if the nerves continue to be compressed.

    Your problems sounds like they may be fairly complicated. It will be important to find a very well-qualified and experienced spinal specialist.

    Please continue posting with comments and questions. There are many wonderful people here to help you and offer support.
  • I have problems with mild foraminal stenosis and L5-S1 herniated disc but it sounds like alot more with your lower discs. I'm glad you finally have insurance also. It's pretty hard to lose weight when you can barely walk so I don't know how you'll do it outside of small portions and fruit for treats. If this Dr thinks it's such an Emergency then just because of weight makes no sense to wait if there's disc involvement. I had more sensations in my legs post ESI's with pain and just iced the area. As for pain in your shoulder I don't know how that's related unless it was positional. Get checked out by the ER Dept. if you're unable to reach anyone today at his office. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I did receive a printout of the MRI I just haven't understood much of it (against the symptoms and pains I am having)
    I go back for 2nd LESI on the 21st of May. Today is a little better with the pain, but still having a lot of upper and mid back pain, and pain in my leg and foot when I walk, but the throbbing is not as intense as before.
    I have not seen a spine specialist, I will be asking for referral at the next appointment. I just am tired of hurting so much and wondering why if everything that was mentioned in the MRI report say mild, why do I hurt so bad?
    It also mentioned mild DDD, mild osteoarthritis(in L4 to S1) Thanks for your help!(and your welcome, here)
  • It sounds to me like you need to do a bit more research in order to understand the terminology. Check out www.chirogeek.com. There's a lot of definitions under a tab entitled sciatica/radiculopathy. It sounds like you have a herniation of the L5-S1 disc (the spongy material located between the vertebrae numbered L5-S1). If this material impinges on the nerve root, you will have nerve pain which presents down one or both legs/hips. Don't let you doctors continue to blame eveything on your weight. There are issues which occur having nothing to do with weight, sounds like you may have one of them. It really doesn't matter what caused the herniation if you have one, only that its there and making your life miserable. Let us know what you find out and be very aware that you aren't alone.
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