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in need of help!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Lower Back Pain
Thanks in advance for reading.

I have been dealing with the life altering affects of lumbar back pain for the past 5 years. I am in desperate need of advice and am reaching out to the online community.

In 2005 I started feeling pain in my hamstrings and lower back when sitting. I was initially misdiagnosed as having pelvic malalignment by a sports injury specialist and was told to do a set of excercises that would fix the imbalance and stop the pain. This failed to achieve any results.I was than was mistakenly diagnosed as having rheumatoid arthritis???. Only after being misdiagnosed twice would the sports medicine specialist finally give me an MRI (10 months later) which showed these results......


Of the five lumbar vertabrae there is desiccation of the L5 / L5 disc as well as the L5 / S1 disc. There is narrowing of the L5 / S1 disc and note is made of an annular tear involving the posterior aspect of the L5 / S1 disc. The conus ends at the level of the L1 / L2 and the visualized portion of the lower thoracic cord is normal in signal and morphology.

Note is made of disc dessication and disc space narrowing at the T 11/ T12 level with an associtaed disc buldge . Depsite the disc buldge the spinal cord is not significantly narrowed. No abnormailty is present from T12 throught to the L3/ L4 level.

At the L4 / L5 , there is disc buldge whitout narrowing of the spanl canal. At the L5/ S1 level there is a small paracental disc protrusion with the the disc protrusion minimally dipslacing the traversing right S1 nerve root in the right lateral recess. the spinal canal is not significantly narrowed at this level. The exiting nerve roots are not compromised.

So after the specialist saw that there was damage in my back (likely caused by snowboarding) he recommended I do physiotherapy to strengthen my back. It has now been 11 months since I started physio which included spinal decompression. All of this treatment has done liitle to help my back pain and I am now headed back to the specialist. I am only 25 and I feel as if my life and future prospects have been drastically altered for the worse. I am no longer athletically fit, I have difficulty siting for periods of time, and my quality of life in general is poor. I am always in some state of pain and often unable to do much but lie down.

After the initial mishandling and misdiagnoses I have been left with very little trust in the medical system (I live in Vancouver, Canada) And at this point I have been left with the disheartening advice that I should live with the pain by using medications and hope that in the future that some surgical procedure is invented that can repair my back. The doctors rational for this was that If I had surgey using current methods it coud result in my injury becoming worse.

Does anyone agree or disagree with this asessment or now of any treatments/procedures that I should be considering? ( should I be looking into private health care options or treatment in other countries?)

If anyone has dealt with a similar injury and has any advice that would be greatly apreciated



  • That's rough that you're having so much pain. I hope you ask your GP Dr. for another referral to an Orthosurgeon or Neurosurgeon for a second opinion. Did your Dr. ever mention a Pain Management Clinic you can go to? I live in Canada also and the wait for 3 opinions for me was very long. But if you're able to afford a private clinic that would be good. Don't give up and keep looking for a Doctor to help you. 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
  • welcome to spine-health. i want to give you the benefit of what i have experienced with a bad back. just like you i started having leg pain in my twenties. at the time there were no minimally invasive procedures to aid disc problems. i toughed it out. got physical therapy and after two years was able once again to function fairly well. later on in life i did have to resort to major spine surgeries.
    in my opinion if you arent getting nerve damage you should try to hold back on surgery. i think you should be watched carefully for damage of the nerves that might be permanent. you are young and once you opt for surgery it seems more surgery follows so i would wait till you absolutely have to undergo surgery. statistically speaking you will recover with just conservative treatment like physical therapy.
    in a few years treatment like stem cell injections into the disc may be available. that kind of treatment may strengthen a damaged disc and relieve pain.
    its a personal choice but you will know when the time comes that you just cant stand it anymore. hopefully you will begin to feel better.

  • Hi Canuck,
    I too live in Vancouver, or close to it. If you would like to private message me, I will be happy to share my experience with you. I have had a long and sometimes frightening relationship with the Medical Health Care field in Canada,and I know of a good spine clinic that you may be interested in.
    Good luck,
  • I have almost the same problems. Im young just like you (21). I was told that i was a surgery canadate but i am afraid of it. lol mabey in the future. Right now i am just going to pain management every 28 days. it sounds to me like surgery would work. i went to the best specialist around because i was in a car accident and his insuranced pain. Its just a decision that you have to make. do you want to live on xanax, soma, roxicodone, and cybolta the rest of your life or do you want to get surgery that has a percentage of curing some of the pain. But then again i am on as much meds as possiable, and i still have horriable pain, and i cant do anything. i think about surgery everyday. None of use our doctors so dont take our advise in that way. we just have experiance. but just to let you know that no meds can cure lower back pain all the way, expecially when its nerve related.
  • I'd get a second opinion immediately. You'd be surprised how different 2 doctors see tings. Just make sure the doctors aren't related in any way (in same the hospital, same office, same group, etc.). Good luck.
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