I found this site while trying to gather as much information as possible on lumbar spine issues and lumbar pain management. I’ve been suffering from excruciating lower back and leg/calf pain since Sept. (6 months). I hope by joining this forum, I’ll meet others and be able to compare experiences and gain some insight from their struggles.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever received an actual ‘diagnosis’ but here’s what my MRI report states:
L3-L4: Mild facet arthropathy
L4-L5: Disc is desiccated with mild broad-based protrusion & an associated posterior midline & left para-central linear annular tear. Mild/moderate facet arthropathy causing mild bilateral foraminal stenosis.
L5-S1: Vertebral bodies have Modic II marrow reactive change. Disc is desiccated and narrowed. Disc has a circumferential annular bulge with associated bony endplate ridging. Overlying broad-based posterior protrusion, but no extrusion or annular tear. Facet arthropathy is moderate and there is mild ligament flavum thickening. Moderately severe right and moderate left foraminal stenosis.
Physical Therapy - 19 weeks (2 - 3 visits per week)
Electrical stim., Ultrasound therapy, traction therapy, massage and minor manipulation and minimal expercises. Just before the end of week 19, therapist sent report to doctor stating PT appears to be aggravating condition and definitely not helping.
Epidural Steroid Injections x 2 - little to no relief
Mobic (took for four weeks - no help, discontinued use), Trazadone, Topiramate, Lexapro, Oxycodone and most recently Neurontin - which I have yet to begin taking.
The DO I’ve been seeing suggests that “time” will heal me, however I truly do not know how much more I can handle by waiting this out. My right leg grows more numb spots as the days pass and the pain has gotten so bad I can’t sit for more than a few minutes at a time. I haven’t driven for weeks, nor have I been able to sleep for more than a short time without being awakened by pain or severe tingling/numbness.
Went back to my PCM to ask him for a referral for a ‘second’ opinion - he agreed and sent me to talk to a surgeon. My PCM recommended this particular surgeon because of her reputation for being very conservative with her surgeries. However, when I saw the surgeon on 03/10/2011, she stated that she feels I need a fusion and referred me to one of her colleagues who is more polished with fusions. My appointment for a consult with that surgeon is not until 3/31/2011.
I guess I’m confused and frustrated because one doctor is telling me to “wait” this out and one doctor is suggesting an extreme surgery and in the meantime, I’m just crippled with pain and not sure what to do at this point? Any ideas or suggestions to help me through this period will be greatly appreciated!
*hugs to all*
L5-S1 Laminectomy/Discectomy - 04/17/2011
L5-S1 PLIF w/Bi-lateral Foraminotomy 04/05/2012