I am a new member with back pain since 2004. I have been diagnosed with right leg sciatica and L4-L5 herniation.
My pain went away completely in late 2006, 2007, early 2008 after gym and weight loss.
However, due to a recent job change (June 2008) I stopped going to the gym, started working 12-14 hour days, and the stress mounted. I got 3 acute back attacks (june 2008, Sept 2008, Dec 2008) but i ignored the signs and keep working like crazy. I would fix the problem with diclofenac (NSAID) and the symptoms will go away in a week.
Well.... it got worse...
Since February i have been dehabilitated with very severe back pain, sciatica symptoms (right leg).
I did an MRI which re-confirmed the herniation. My doctor (very known spinal ortho surgeon) gave me some cortisone pills which helped immediately but the benefits went away fast.
MRI impression (per radiologist): right-sided herniation L4-L5, with imaging evidence of impingement on the right L5 nerve root. Note that there is transitional lumbosacral anatomy, and it is possible that functionally the displaced nerve root could represent S1. At L3-L4 there is minimal disc bulge and there is also very mild congenital narrowing spinal canal. Foramina are not significantly narrowed.
I tried to go swimming but the pain is too much to tolerate. It makes me swim in weird form, which makes other parts of my body hurt.
In addition, almost a week from having back pain i started having severe heartburn. The gastro-doc gave me prilosec and he does not think that it is from painkillers (which i took only a few in the beginning but careless without any food) but he does not suggest i take them anymore. So besides tylenol i have nothing else to treat pain (but tylenol does nothing to reduce inflammation).
The ortho-doc recommendation is to try cortisone injections (epidurals) and see...
Overall he is not attentive and doesn't seem to listen to me.
Recently, (3 weeks ago) I am experiencing pain (burning) in the front of my thighs (just above the knees) from both legs. SOmetimes i get tired walking up stairs.
Of course i have good days and bad days...
So my fellow sufferers after this long introduction i have these questions:
1) Do you think the pain in the thighs is attributed to the back pain and the herniations?
2) Should I do the epidurals?
3) I have my old PT exercises (from 2004). Should I do them again?
4) Did any of you try acupuncture?
5) I know its a taboo question, but what about the chiropractor?
6) Most important, can you recommend a good doctor (any specialty) that can really help me out and give some good treatment and advice.
Due to my nature (college professor) i tend to search online a lot since i dont trust the docs that i have seen thus far and it gets me more nervous. I need a doctor that will be thorough and open about options.
(Mine looks at me as a $$ bill, and he only sees me for 5 mins each time).
I am greek and in greece this condition is treated completely different. Here in the US they advice exercise and return to normal routine as soon as you can. In greece they suggest cortisone injections (in the buttocks) then rest for 2-3 weeks. if ok PT and exercice. If not ok, epidurals, rest for 2-3 weeks. etc....
I dont mind paying for healthcare but if i do pay i want the best treatment and i dont feel i get it.
I just want the pain/worry to go away so i can resume going to swim and exercise. But when it hurts I cant do anything and i am afraid i might do more damage.
I am sorry for my long message... I can give more details if you wish or at least please recommend me a better doctor.
thank you all for your patience.