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Not sure if a back specialist is needed or not?

artistdelightaartistdelight Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in New Member Introductions
My MRI results show only a annual tear in L5-S1 with a small midline hernation. All the rest of the lumber is fine for my age (41). The delima is I have moderate to severe sciatica, depends on what I do after I wake up. The pain had gotten so bad working as a waitress part-time (3 to 4 hours per day) that I had to quite. I currently work about 32 hours per week for the local home town grocery store. I have to carry out customers groceries, lean over the counter during check out, help unload stock and put it away once a week, and so on.

I had one doctor telling me it is nothing to be concerned about back problems like this usually heal themselves in 6 to 8 weeks. And since it allready been 4 to 5 weeks from the onset of sciatica then you are half way there.

Of course I got a second opinion because the pain gets quite intense in the right side (from the lower back to the thigh). The other doctor said with so many problems you are having... and the pain is not diminishing I think it is best to see a back specialist.

I had seen the Chirpractor for a few weeks before deciding to seek a MRI... I was loosing weakness in the leg (climbing stairs became a choir and could bearly walk on my heel - though walking on my toes possed no problem) and the sudden unintentional weight loss that was more then 5% of my body weight had him as scarred as the medical doctors. I also had and sometimes still have rapid heart rate with extremely high blood pressure eluvation with sensation loss through out the body. It only last about an hour or so but it scares the dickins right out of me.

That second medical doctor expressed concern with the heart rate episodes and that I am feeling pain up into the the ribs. Since the MRI only covered the lumbar area he suggested that maybe I have something else going on up higher too.

So I am at a loss... do I spend the money for a back specialist or do I not? Has anyone ever experienced such phyical condition (wieght loss, heart rate increases, sensation lost) with a back problem?

Just so you know I am a female, 41 years old, perfect health (heart checks good, liver good, all blood panels good, thryoid test normal range, and they even check for blood clots), 5' 6" tall went from my 119 lbs to 100 lbs in four days. I was eating slightly less then normal (normal for me is eating like a horse) due to nasuea from being in so much pain.



  • I agree with Paul. There seems to be two separate issues going on and the weight loss, blood pressure, heart rate thing is something that really needs to be taken care of. I wonder if the heart thing is a panic or anxiety attack.

    Anyway, like Paul said, please get the rapid weight loss checked.
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i am sorry you find yourself with two distitct problems, weight loss, and back pain. :? you should be sure to address the weight losss issue, that is too much to quickly... and of course you are aware of what the pain if doing to you.. good luck and i hope you find answers for both. :D Jenny :)
  • I do agree with the others that the rapid weight loss should be the highest concern for you right now. Severe pain can elevate your blood pressure and cause weakness and nausea but 19 lbs in 4 days is alot.

    An annular tear can take up to 6 months to heal. Here is a paragraph from a medical site that talks about annular tears among other spinal issues

    Annular Tears [MRI Scan - Lumbar Disc Annular Tear] are the commonest cause of minor sciatica or brachialgia, and are usually the result of trauma to the spine. Tears can be either radial or circumferential, and their natural history is that they usually spontaneously heal after 6 months. In a small proportion of people, the tears do not heal, and go on to become chronic.

    So I think that it is definitely too soon to consider any type of surgery but may be a good idea to see a spinal specialist to see if there are conservative measures that you can take to try and increase the chances of healing. But please do check out the other issues first as they do seem much more serious to me. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • If this wasn't so serious, I'd be cracking wise and saying "I found your 20 lbs, would you like it back?"

    But it is serious, and you have more questions than answers.

    (Allow me to insert here the standard reminder that I am a kitchen designer and not a medical professional, and my opinions are personal opinions and have no basis in medical education.)

    Your weight was already a little low for your height, so this loss is even more extreme than it might be. When you said they tested your thyroid, can you be more specific? Did they do a T3, T4, Free T3 and Free T4 and a TSH? Did they check creatinine? Blood sugar? Liver function? Have you got any other symptoms besides the weight loss and the cardiac symptoms? Pain will elevate your heart rate and blood pressure, but not instantly they way yours is, and it wouldn't go away. And if you had Grave's Disease (named after a person, not a prognosis) then you'd have some emotional symptoms as well, but with your pain level, you might not be able to tell.

    I would ask for a thyroid scan/uptake. You might get some opposition since your blood work came back normal for thyroid, but I've seen people with blood work like yours turn out to have severely hyperactive thyroids that only showed up in the uptake. Mostly what you'd be doing is ruling the thyroid completely out, but you have to start somewhere. Thyroid function affects every single other function of the body, including things you would never think of, like the speed of your fingernail growth, so it's a logical place to start.

    If the scan is clean, and even if it's not, I'd make an appointment with an endocrinologist AND a neurologist right away. I don't think there is an absolute relationship between your back issues and your weight loss. It would be easy to tie them together, but the timing may be coincidental. Since you don't know yet whether they are related, best to approach from all angles. I would also take a close look at what medications you are taking; some of them have startlingly unexpected side effects.

    What lifestyle changes did you make immediately prior to the onset of this episode? Change medications, eat something new, sleeping normally, different exercise program, change in menstrual cycle... all these and hundreds more could be a factor. I've got a mental bell ringing around your pituitary gland, but I have no idea why. That's the reason for the endocrinologist.

    Again, just my opinion, and I am NOT a medical professional. Do let us know how it goes, and we'll be thinking of you,

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