I have been reading these posts for a little while (and it has helped quite a bit to realize I am not alone) and have decided to stop reading and start posting to try and get some more info from you all.
I have struggled with back issues since I was 18, I am now 39. For the first 16 years I was misdiagnosed by one doctor after another, they would take an x-ray and tell me it was just a muscle, I continued to tell them all that it was NOT a muscle and something felt like it was out of place ( I would literally be crooked during an episode), I changed doctors in 2004 and he was shocked that no one had ever ordered an MRI, that led to the discovery that both the L3/4 and 4/5 discs were herniated and on top of that I also have DDD, spinal stenosis, and arthritis at both levels (and now with the latest MRI it appears that the arthritis is moving into S1 also).
I had a laminectomy 12/2004 on L3-4 (NS pulled a disc fragment out) then I had another laminectomy 11/2005 on L4-5 (NS pulled another fragment and said it was the biggest one he had ever seen) since then it has been one episode after another. This is now my 4th week off of work (I have a desk job) due to some newer symptoms that I really had not experienced before, both of my feet being tingly and numby feeling (it feels like someone set a phone on vibrate on the soles of both of my feet) I am not driving for fear that my feet will not respond and I will cause an accident. Another symptom that seems to be getting worse is the god awful ache I get in my legs, it starts at my low back and just travels down to my toes. I cannot sit or stand for any period of time without it getting very painful. I saw my NS two weeks ago and he said that we could try ESIs and PT and if that did not work he recommended a fusion, he said it would make more sense to do both levels since if he did the one at the 4/5 level it would only be a matter of time before the 3/4 had to be done. Not being a doctor even I could see on the MRI that the 4/5 disc is black and about ¼ of the size of the other “normal” discs and the 3/4 disc is about ½ the size and black also.
I underwent my first ESI on May 1st and am not noticing any difference at all (it hurt like heck and I was not offered mild sedation). I have another one scheduled for the 15th. PT right now is mostly just deep tissue massage, ultrasound heat and the PT stretching my legs, I also using a TENS unit.
Right now the only meds that I am taking is Gabapentin and Percocet 10/325 (which do not help nearly long enough), sometimes I feel like my family doctor thinks I am going to turn into a pill popping maniac (he is handling my meds unless I decide to have surgery and then NS would then take those over) if he gives me anything else.
Sorry for the long windedness of my post but wanted to give the background, I am wondering if any of you have had similar symptoms to mine and what did you do? I will greatly appreciate any responses that I get.