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Does this sound like a L5 Herniated disc problem? Help

ButterflyPainBButterflyPain Posts: 290
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:50 AM in Lower Back Pain
I saw my reg neurologist earlier this week, because I was in a lot of pain.

I have disc herniations confirmed in C5/C6/C7 with some arthritis and stenosis. Not enough for surgery though. I get the pain where the neck meets the shoulder, the shoulder, collar bone area, down my left back side of the arm into the pinkie and ring finger mostly. In the hands it can feel like it has fallen asleep, ache, pain etc.

Now I have only had an x-ray on my lumbar spine. Which revealed arthritis in L3 or maybe it was L5 ...But I haven't had an MRI on it like I did with my neck or an EMG.

My pain is right above where your bum would start so I suppose L5. The pain goes towards the left , around my left hip, down the left side of my leg along the left side of my ankle into the outer two toes. Sometimes the ache or numb feeling spreads onto the ball of the foot and when it aches it makes it hard to walk bare foot without wanting to limp a little.

I also can be sitting on the recliner and sometimes the pressure from the recliner flap on my calf can start my foot to fall asleep or have a numb sensation. If I move it around , it kind of goes away.

I was wondering if this sounds normal for someone who possibly has a herniation in their lumbar spine and sciatica problems (I also get the ache or pinch feeling in my bum down the back of my leg) ? My doctor thinks I have some kind of out of linemeant or possible herniation but hasn't ordered any mri's for it.

What do you guys think ?
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Comments

  • If you've already had problems in your cervical spine and are now having pain in your lumbar spine, it's very likely that you have degenerative disk disease. Without an MRI though, there's no real way to determine what's going on in your lumbar spine. Xrays can show the bones and can "see" arthritis, which is basically a narrowing of the joint spaces. But xrays do not show soft tissue or the detail required to make a diagnosis of a bulging or herniated disk in your lumbar region. Your doctor needs to order an MRI.

    It's not necessarily a herniated disk because just a bulging disk can cause the type of pain you're describing if it's hitting a nerve. You have to realize that the area inside your body in the lumbar region is a very small, enclosed space, so it doesn't take much for something to affect the nerves. The good news is that if it's simply a bulging disk, it CAN get better fairly quickly with rest and/or certain exercises or physical therapy. Even if it's a small herniation, it can get better on its own, but it takes longer. The human body is an amazing machine and will do what it can to heal things. The majority of herniations can get better eventually without any surgical intervention because your body will simply reabsorb the disk material. But it could take a long time and when there's severe pain, that may not seem like a good option to wait.

    Tell your doctor that you want an MRI. That will put this to rest and you'll know exactly what you're dealing with and can plan your course of action.
  • RobinR said:
    If you've already had problems in your cervical spine and are now having pain in your lumbar spine, it's very likely that you have degenerative disk disease. Without an MRI though, there's no real way to determine what's going on in your lumbar spine. Xrays can show the bones and can "see" arthritis, which is basically a narrowing of the joint spaces. But xrays do not show soft tissue or the detail required to make a diagnosis of a bulging or herniated disk in your lumbar region. Your doctor needs to order an MRI.

    It's not necessarily a herniated disk because just a bulging disk can cause the type of pain you're describing if it's hitting a nerve. You have to realize that the area inside your body in the lumbar region is a very small, enclosed space, so it doesn't take much for something to affect the nerves. The good news is that if it's simply a bulging disk, it CAN get better fairly quickly with rest and/or certain exercises or physical therapy. Even if it's a small herniation, it can get better on its own, but it takes longer. The human body is an amazing machine and will do what it can to heal things. The majority of herniations can get better eventually without any surgical intervention because your body will simply reabsorb the disk material. But it could take a long time and when there's severe pain, that may not seem like a good option to wait.

    Tell your doctor that you want an MRI. That will put this to rest and you'll know exactly what you're dealing with and can plan your course of action.
    Thank you for your wonderful and thorough response.
    Yes, the human body is an amazing machine, and I hope the disk eventually heal. They are small herniations in the neck (2 to 3mm). It has been 3 to 4 years since the pain occurred seemingly out of nowhere, but I believe it stems from a car accident I was in 15 years ago, and had some slight stuff like c3 nerves on the scalp pinched but the regular docs did nothing and thought nothing of it. I danced jazz, tap, ballet and gymnastics for years before and some after the car accident.

    Anyhow I see him in two weeks, will ask about MRI then.
    Thank you again
    Jen
  • I totally agree with Robin.

    Your post is 1000% right on how I felt when I had sciatica issues :(

    What is your Dr saying about this?
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • MsHumptyDumpty said:
    I totally agree with Robin.

    Your post is 1000% right on how I felt when I had sciatica issues :(

    What is your Dr saying about this?
    My doctor...Hmm, well he usually says when you have one problem with the spine , other areas can have problems too. He told me it was L5 and Sciatica , and that was really about it for my leg. He said none of what I have runs the risk of the nerve dying and none of the nerves have died, so he feels good about it I guess.

    He's always more concerned about my neck, as am I as it gives me the most trouble. However the leg is giving it a run for its money lately.
  • I am not sure what to say truthfully.

    My sciatic was "ignored" and now it is "dead". That leg has drop foot and very little feeling and almost no strength left in it. The "good" news is it hardly hurts me any more.

    On the other hand, I am not sure what ( if anything ) can be done to treat a sciatic issue??
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • MsHumptyDumpty said:
    I am not sure what to say truthfully.

    My sciatic was "ignored" and now it is "dead". That leg has drop foot and very little feeling and almost no strength left in it. The "good" news is it hardly hurts me any more.

    On the other hand, I am not sure what ( if anything ) can be done to treat a sciatic issue??
    Sorry to hear that.
    Hmm. What can you do to keep on track of the nerves and do the best you can to keep them kicking?

    I have a slight weakness in both left leg and arm, I notice it when I lift it up and it isn't a feeling i feel on the other side. Also maybe I've been walking like this and haven't noticed till a week or so ago but I notice I walk funny. I mean it could be just a feeling rather than people being able to see it...I dunno hmm
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