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Bad Disc?

CoastiejonCCoastiejon Posts: 23
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
Hi, I just got home from a second opinion. Long story shorter, I had a L5/S1 microdisc/hemilam 04/09 for pain in right leg. Was fine for two months and started getting sciatica on left side! Have tried ALEVE, Naproxen, Celebrex, ESI's to no avail. Have had two mri's, CT scan, EMG and Bone Scan. Both NS's say there is nothing visible on mri's showing impingment of nerve. Thye are saying I can either live with it or get a discogram and that will probably show a "bad disc". In which case, I would get a "minimally invasive level one fusion. The fusion word scares me. At this point, I think I'll live with it for a while. Any ideas or experiences?


  • I have had a L5-S1 herniation and annular tear which was not seen in my 2nd MRI but am going for more epidurals as the PM Dr. thinks there's still nerve related issues as it's the same pain for 2 years. If offered I would get the discogram but that's just my opinion if offered to me. You want to make sure if it's the disc causing compression of a nerve that it's not causing any further damage. I would get another opinion if it was me. Good luck. 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
  • Hi Jon,
    I am sorry to hear that you are still having problems, It was good that you went for a second opinion. Maybe you should try an orthopedic doctor who has a fellowship in spine health. I see you were offered the discogram, perhaps you should do the test just to give you more information to help fiure out what is wrong.

    I didn't care for my discogram, my doctor said it was negative and he will not do a fusion based on the discogram, which is fine, but he is going to do another decompression surgery and clean everything up and see what is pressing on the nerve. My doctor told me that he feels when he goes back in that he thinks my back will look alot worse than any test shows because NOT EVERYTHING SHOWS UP ON AN MRI!!!

    Your discogram may just be the test that shows where your pain is coming from and what is the pain generator, you can always make your decision from there.

    Obviously a fusion is a big decision, its a big surgery and I know how I'd feel about that and it would scare me too, I am hopeing that this second surgery will help me with my continued back pain and sciatic nerve pain.....without having to require a fusion.

    You've come this far Jon, seeing different doctors, going for tests and I know this pain bothers you, so I would consider this last test and then make your choices for what is best for you.

    Keep me posted, I'm wishing you all the best,

  • Hi Sandra!
    I was just reading your posts from late January after your myelogram. UGH! Yes, I'm still not fixed yet and not digging the idea of a fusion just yet. He did mention "I could do another decompression but..." and never really finished his sentence. He ended with saying live with it until I can't and then discogram and fusion. I went in with several questions but after I left I have several more and it's impossible to ask these guys a question of tow without an appointment and that takes a few weeks to get. Very frustrating. I think I am going to go ahead with the discogram for starters to see how that shakes out. After that, I think I will ask him to do a decompression and see what he thinks. I'd rather try that than go directly to fusion. I've written down my questions and am going to give them to his office people tomorrow and beg that they get it to him. Thanks for checking on me! Jon
  • Jon,
    I think you are on the right track....our problems are so similar, I totally understand what you are going through.

    My doctor said the same, discogram and then fusion, he was all prepared to schedule it but after the discogram he said no because of the results, so thats why i say do the test and see what the results are, you still have a choice about whether you want the fusion or not.

    The myelogram was awful for me, but I don't think that what i experienced is typical so don't worry. The discogram is painful, and despite my pain he declared it negative because I didn't fly off the table in pain!!!! So, there you have it, be prepared for it, but they give you medication to relax you and you are kind of out of it and then they give you more meds to forget the test, but if it gives you the diagnosis that you need, I still think you should go for it.

    In my situation, just like you, there is nothing major standing out that explains all my back pain and sciatic pain down the opposite side, I do have scar tissue and the disk is bulging again, but my doctor said he sees some kind of gowth on the bone that could be causing my pain, radiologit disagreed, but he did stress to me that this pain is not normal and he hopes by cleaning it out and doing the decompression again it should be helpful, he told me it can't make me worse, so go in armed ith your questions, get your test and hopefully he can recommend something beneficial for you because this is not normal. Your not crazy either!!! LOL

    I am waiting until June for my surgery, I am hopeing to deal with the pain as much as i can until then. I am off for the summer so by getting the surgery at the beginning of my vacation then I will have the whole summer to heal and recover befoe going back to school, I feel it hurt me being back at work 4 weeks post op last year, I wish i could do it sooner but it wouldn't look good for me to ask for the time off, I can have more nerve root block injections whilst I wait but they usually only give me relief for a few days, do they help you?

    I am very curious to hear how things go for you and what answers you get, I feel we are travelling down the same road, stay positive....hang in there!

  • Back at You, Sandra. I have been in contact with Eric.S on the forum. He seems to have down this road and had a fusion about a month ago. I'm with you. I hope to get a negative discogram(I keep thinking dance music and platform shoes!) and try a decompression before pulling out the big guns. Bummer that you are going to suck it up until summer for this. Heck, at the rate I've been going, I'll probably be in the same time frame! Misery loves company. Lets get this fixed and get back to enjoying life.
  • After a year of being all over the place, acupuncture,physical therapy, massage nerve block injec (which really made it alot worse) painkillers you name it. I went to a chiropractor, he looked at my xrays & report he sd I have a herniated disc that has caused my SEVERE PAIN in lower back to groin (that was the worst) & down thigh. He put me on a machine that rools gently & stretches & I can't believe after one time how much better I feel. It's expensive copay is 35. & he wants me in 3x's week. I wish I could find some kind of something that would stretch me out like that.
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