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Synovial Cyst

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
Just wondering what all the symptoms are for lumbar synovial cysts, besides sciatica???

Any info or personal experiences would be greatly appreciated. thx!


  • Hi Zammer,

    Synovial cysts are also known as myxoid cysts; they're benign and can be very painful. 'There is minimal or no pain if the patient is seated, because in the seated position the spinal canal opens up and there is not as much pressure on the spinal nerves. When standing up straight or walking, however, the spinal canal closes down and creates more pressure on the nerves.'

    Whilst this is nothing to do with your question, my daughter had one in her wrist which was causing her pain for gymnastics - 'giants' - so she had it removed surgically (didn't help her giants much!). However the pain subsided completely.

    There's an excellent article on lumbar synovial cysts on this site.


    Hope that helps!

    Bye, Val
  • Thanx kindly for your response. There isn't much info regarding the symptoms of synovial cysts online really. Seems like it isn`t as common as other back issues.

    All I`ve seen so far is that it could possibly mimic symptoms of a herniated disc or spinal stenosis, spondylosis and sciatica.

    Well, I have LOADS of pain when sitting too, like my back & butt have pulsating pains. And this sciatica is driving me cuckoo too. Had the worse night ever last night, feels like I`m being electrocuted and no-matter what I do, I can`t turn that darn power off and fall asleep. Maaaan, I sympathize with anyone suffering with sciatica, just brutal on top of everything else to cope with.

    Thankfully your daughter has bounced right back to normal eh...lucky girl!!!

    Thanx again =)
  • Hi again,

    Well that quote was taken directly from the information on the recommended site, so maybe you have additional problems on top of your synovial cyst.

    That article pretty much covers everything, so if you read through it to see whether your symptoms fit and if they don't, maybe print it off and go to see your doctor armed with the additional info.

    Our doctors over here hate patient who've accessed the internet and gleaned information about their condition, because the patient then often knows more than the doctor concerned (if they're a poor one).

    However, we can't be blamed for expecting our doctors to know everything about our condition, so if they don't, well it's not our fault is it?!

    I've found that if the doctor's faced with printed material and it fits, they take notice if it, so you could perhaps help him with his diagnosis if it's incomplete!

    Bye, Val
  • Hello just wanted to tell you no one can tell you about your pain. I was just diagnosed with have a synovial cyst in my sagital area, now having prior back surgery i can handle pain pretty good well when this hit me last monday after i sneezed i was completley immobilized, the pain was unbearable, I actually just sat and cried and had to be taken to hospital. I could not feel my right leg and the nerves were feeling like they were being ripped from my body. I could not sit,walk or find a comfortable postion when laying unless i was on my back with right leg in the air, for three days i had this pulsating across my rear that could actually be seen through clothes. So many perscriptions later here I am a week later doing research about this conditon which has put me down and out of work now for 7 days I am having an epidural on the 27th in hopes to get rid of the pain but i have numbness on the entire side of my right calf and tingling in y two last toes..So as you can see I as well have trouble sitting,standing and sometimes even laying the pain is better now but still there... I hope this helps you
  • Claudine, thanx kindly for your reply. I don't know much about synovial cysts which is why I asked about the symptoms because I too am suffering horrific PULSATING/PALPITATING PAIN & nerve pain from my lower back, buttocks, legs to toes. I can't tell you how many times I've cried either, it's so aweful & debilitating. NO position or meds helps me aleviate the pain either.

    Can't sleep because the pain increases waaay more at night, the thumping gets sooo severe and then sciatica yanks on both legs. I too can see my shirt actually move with the palpitations, feels like something alien is moving inside me playing with my nerves!!! aaaah!!!

    Do you feel nauseated after eating? The palpations/nerve pain makes me feel so sick I get nausea, diarrhea, heartburn & gas. I think it's because it never stops moving & feels like I'm on a boat 24/7. Very dizzy from the legs moving with the pulsating as well which makes it very difficult to walk, I feel and must look like a dizzy blonde drunk. The list of horrible strange symptoms seems to get longer & longer.

    I'm sorry to hear you suffer so badly with this too. I'm not sure where the sagital area is that your cyst is in???
    It that at the bottom area of your lower back??? Not sure, sorry! Please let me know, this is all so new to me & I'm
    trying to learn more myself.

    Thank you...you sure did help. I now know that I'm not alone suffering with very strange, sore & scary symptoms.

    If you have anymore info or just want someone to talk too, please reply or PM me...PLEASE!!!

  • Here are some of the things I've found about synovial cysts...

    -A synovial cyst is a fluid filled lesion that is a benign (noncancerous) cyst that arises from a degenerative facet joint (osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis) of the spine or other joint locations like hip, knee, shoulder, etc.

    -Symptoms can mimic hernated disc, spinal stenosis, spondylosis and cause sciatica, facet joint degeneration. Symptoms may vary depending on the cyst location.

    -Can be attributed/seen on CT as a fluid such as "gas" or "water" signal or masses that may be calcified. Best seen on MRI.

    -As the cyst expands locally it may compress parasymathetic fibers to the bladder, bowel or sexual organs or selectively comprimise a single dorsal root.

    -Synovial cysts can cause low back pain, radiating pain and numbness into the buttock, thigh, or leg, feet and weakness of the muscles in these areas.

    -Palpitating/Pulsating Pain
    -Noctural/Night Pain
    -Sciatica, Radicular Pain

    -Spinal synovial cysts may develop in a degenerated/facet joint, most frequently at the L4-L5-S1 spinal level. Cysts that are medial to the ligamentum flavum appear as nearly round structures that displace epidural fat and may indent the dural sac. The capsule of the cyst is usually noticeably denser than the fluid contents and may be calcified. In some cases the fluid in the cyst is replaced with gas.

    Here is a list of treatments that can be done...

    1)Physical Theraphy & Meds - temporary relief
    2)Epidural Steroid Injections - temporary relief.
    3)Aspiration/Drainage of the Cyst - may grow back, temporary relief
    4)Surgery/Excision-total removal of cyst-Excellent success rate.

    STILL researching & may add more!!!
  • Hi Zammer,

    Out of interest, I was wondering how they diagnosed your synovial cyst? You see, I have all the symptoms you mention, except for sciatica (which apparently I should have with my condition!).

    I don't have the dizziness you describe, but that sounds so much like labrynthitis and could be totally separate from your spinal condition.

    Thanks, Val
  • Actually the cyst was found by sheer accident, back in 2005 I was suffering with a little pelvic, hip, back pain & also urinating alot, so my doctor sent me for an ultra sound, they called me to come back the next day & said I had a bladder TUMOR!!! WHAT?

    I was shocked & was sent immediately to a urologist, he did a cytsoscopy of my bladder & said he had never seen a lump like that before, said he could not remove it cause it was coming from outside the bladder wall in origin yet pushed through slightly, because it was only a 5mm cyst inside the bladder at the time, it would be too risky to remove it, yet he had to be sure it wasn't cancerous. It wasn't cancerous, thank god & sent me for an MRI, he said it was a "synovial cyst" coming from a pelvic joint??? I think!!! I can't recall exactly where he said it was coming from, I have a terrible memory (menopausal) & it was years ago. He did show me the mri back then & it looked like it was at the bottom of my back extending into my bladder. I still have that MRI but my darn computer can't open it..aaah!!!

    A few more CT's & MRI's later over the last few years have only showed a "gas" signal coming from L4-L5 facet joint, along with disc bulges, DDD and other degenrative issues.

    My last MRI done Nov 2/09 does not say it's a "synovial cyst" again but says...

    L3-4 there is a broad-based disc bulge & disc material extending into the neural foramen, slightly more on the right that is impinging on the L3 nerve root.
    Exact same thing is said at L4-L5 level too.

    So my GP knows damn well there is a cyst, somewhere, it's been confirmed yet nobody is looking very closely at where it's actually coming from!!!

    I did read somewhere that cysts can be hard to find or diagnose because they are often hidden behind swelling. Come out...come out...wherever you are!!!

    HOPEFULLY, when I see the Ortho in 8 days with all my tests & a humungous magnifying glass..lol..he'll figure it out & finally fix me...with any luck...pa-lease!!!
  • I was just diagnosed with a lumbar synovial cyst too. At first, I was just going to plan my surgery with resignation. I usually go alternative medical first. I would like to explore the possibility that there are alternative protocols. Has anyone heard about the possibility of using laser rather than surgery? Are there herbal remedies that could help? I'd love to hear from any of you that have found success with alternative medical treatments.

    Thanks so much!
    Carole :) O:)
  • I have no info on alt. treatments. I did have it drained by my pain management dr. but it kept filling up. The daily pain was agonizing.I finally had to get it excised and the area fused to prevent it from reforming. If anyone needs to chat about this you can email me. Sadly surgery seems like the only way out. My email is trotterleg@aol.
    I totally understand how debilitating these cysts are but the surgery did correct the problem. I wish you best of luck on ur journey.
  • Sorry, I know this is a really old thread but I really need some help! I have exactly the same symptoms as Zammer described. An awful, continuous pulsating/buzzing sensation from the pelvic/sacral area. Worse at night. When I walk it feels like I'm on board a boat and my legs feel very heavy. I had an MRI of pelvis done last week, I haven't seen the report yet but have been told verbally that "nothing untoward seen" also had Ultrasound of pelvis & coccyx, all normal. I really am at my wits end and would be grateful for any advice. Many thanks.
  • btravis88bbtravis88 Posts: 1
    edited 11/15/2015 - 10:16 PM

    I'm having every single issue you are mentioning. I feel Iike I'm being electrocuted every night. Nothing helps. I'm on the brink of freaking out but don't want to. My surgery is scheduled for 2 weeks from now but I need help finding something to help me in the meantime.

    I was diagnosed with a cyst on my L4 and it seems to be growing and making my pain worse and worse.

    Anything would be so helpful.

    Desperate for advice
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
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  • Hello all my fellow synovial sufferers. I have been having sever left thigh pain and its reminding me of when I had my last synovial cyst. I am praying this goes away, as quickly as it came. The very thought of another episode and surgery strikes fear into my soul. Let me know how you all are coping.
  • RAMRRAM FloridaPosts: 58
    Hello all. Had a synovial cyst removed last year from L4 L5 but did not have the fusion. Seems that the cyst has returned. Similar symotoms as before but not as painful as before yet. My worst pai. Was like sitting on a golf ball. Worst pain I ever had. Seeing the Dr. In 2 weeks for a surgery consult. Anyone had good luck with a fusion long Term?  
  • I just had a synovial cyst removed this past Wednesday without the fusion. I am sorry to hear that the symptoms have reoccurred. Please keep us posted on your diagnosis. Good luck. 
  • RAMRRAM FloridaPosts: 58
    Thanks Dr. Tomorrow morning. 
  • RAMRRAM FloridaPosts: 58
    Only 2nd time my Dr has seen the cyst  return in 25 years of practice. Lucky me. I am prone to recurring cysts. Deciding if I should do the fusion or not. Leaning toward it because with my luck it would return.
  • dianenoddianeno doncasterPosts: 42
    Pressure in lumber also pain in lumber weakness in some cases along with sciatica type symptoms
    Well it is with mine x
  • RAMRRAM FloridaPosts: 58
    Decided on the surgery because the disc is degenerating and the arthritis is pretty bad in the joint.  It is the best decision for me. 
  • MoosterMMooster Boston Posts: 2
    Just had my 25 mm synovial cyst removed from L4 L5 area which was pressing in on the thecal sac and an exiting nerve. Never had leg pain and hip pain before surgery but I had a lot of numbness in my feet Now my right rear hip is on fire and both feet are numb still Don't know how the hip got involved only thing I can think is that the position I was in for the surgery threw my hip
    out? So 7 weeks post op I'm in worse condition and I hope it's only temporary or I'll be one angry bear LOL Every one of the Doctor/practitioners says it was a good idea to get it removed I had no real choice but when he described cutting the muscle away from the spine I was a bit taken aback no for this I thought they could just retract it Oh no cut cut Wish us all luck and perfect backs in our next lives
  • RAMRRAM FloridaPosts: 58
    Hang in there Mooster. I hope your pain eases soon. 
  • dianenoddianeno doncasterPosts: 42

    RAM said:

    Decided on the surgery because the disc is degenerating and the arthritis is pretty bad in the joint.  It is the best decision for me. 

    HAve you spoken to your surgeon Ram ? I hope all goes well

  • dianenoddianeno doncasterPosts: 42
    How are you doing now ? Hopefully you get stronger & stronger
    I see my surgeon Friday not sure what he has planned, had cortisone steroid injection didn't work
    Pain 24/7 sitting standing whatever, unable to excersixe or do stretch's now to help dizzy blurred vision at times vomiting diarrhea incon urine slightly oh my goodness it's controlling! !! So I hope you get well soon as I may face surgery not sure yet, so trying to chat with people on here who are experiencing simelar or going through surgery xx
  • I have a synovial cyst in L2-L3 and am scheduled for surgery this Thursday.  I have researched and don't think there are any other options for me.  I have the terrible 'ripping' leg pain in the upper left thigh, now the left hip and always the low back pain. I also have some toe numbing as I attempt to sleep and all the pain becomes unbearable. It will be interesting to see if you have any connection of your dizziness to your cyst since I feel off balance from my vision.  I thought that was maybe from my neck since I have had five unrelated neck surgeries (not spine) and was in a car accident 32 years ago. 

    Wish you all the best of luck.  Praying for successful outcomes and quick healing.

  • RAMRRAM FloridaPosts: 58
    My surgery is September 26. I am hoping this will be my last surgery. I didn't realize how many people get these cysts. Had a hard time finding good research. 

    Dianeno I hope your appt. goes well with the surgeon. Explore all your options and make your best choice. 

    Livinginpain good luck with your surgery. Please come back and let us know how you are.
  • Thanks RAM.  I will do that.  :)

  • Hi.  Just had my laminectomy and synovial cyst removal from L2;L3 Thursday.  Home now and am doing worse than in the hospital.  Guess I'm having trouble controlling the pain. 

    Has anyone had the radiating pain down their (left) leg after the surgery that they did prior to surgery?  I know it takes time for the nerve to heal, but am wondering if this is part of the normal until it does heal.  I didn't feel this the day of surgery but the day after and today I certainly do.  Not sure if it's due to the fact that my legs have to work more for me right now with the restrictions I have, or if it's damage to the nerve which will take time to heal.

    Thanks all!!  Appreciate the feedback.
  • RAMRRAM FloridaPosts: 58
    edited 08/28/2016 - 7:04 AM
    So glad you are home but sorry about your pain. I had buttock pain for quite some time after my cyst removal.  It will get better.  Try to rest and give it a few days
  • Hi RAMThank you for the response.  Did your buttock pain radiate down your leg also?  I am really struggling with this pain!  The only time I don't have as much pain is lying in bed.  This is the third full day, fourth if you count day of surgery since I had it first thing in the morning.  I'm quite worried.  I'm been following my instructions to the tee.  

    Thank you for your reply!

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