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EMG tomorrow...wish me luck!

KimD592KKimD592 Posts: 435
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Chronic Pain
I'm going for an EMG of my lower extremities bright and early tomorrow morning...actually, this morning considering it's 3:15 am. In any case, I'm nervous because I remember it was not pleasant the last time I had one done several years ago. However, my PM doc wants to try to pinpoint the cause of my sciatica.

In other news, I called the NP at my NS office today to talk to her about the Neurontin. I'm annoyed because I'm on 1200 mg per day, I've gained 8 lbs in one month, and it isn't working AT ALL. I asked her if she thought I should wean off or try to increase the dose. So, she increased it to 1800 mg per day. I'll give it a few weeks to see if it works. If not, I think I'll wean off because I can't imagine the weight gain is going to help with my back. I was so proud of myself because I had lost 20 lbs and only had about 25 more to go. Ugh!

Now to my question. I've tried oral steroids, meds, one ESI, a TENS unit, heating pad, etc, and nothing has worked. The oxycodone is the only thing that helps. I have my follow-up appt with the NS next Tuesday, and he had said at my last appt that if I was still in substantial pain despite these treatments, then I'd likely need another surgery. I have thought about talking to my PM doc about starting a regimen of meds to better control my pain. That being said, I feel like taking medication is only masking the problem. We know which disc is the culprit, and we know that it has been getting worse over time. Granted, I could end up having the surgery and still having pain afterwards. If that were the case, then I'd be willing to start a new regimen of medications. I just don't know what to do. My first spine surgery was only 2.5 month ago, and the memory of it is still so fresh in my mind, which makes it difficult to think about going through that all over again. Plus, there is the issue of not wanting to jeopardize my new job. However, this pain is greatly decreasing my quality of life. The past several weeks have been particularly difficult, and I feel like the pain is slowly getting worse and worse. I guess my question is...what would you do if it were you? Would you have the surgery to try to fix the disc which we know is causing the problem? Or would you try to manage it with meds for as long as possible? I should also mention that the disc is T7-8. Not sure if that makes a difference.


  • Just my opinion but I would have three consults with diff docs and then chose the surgeon with the best credentials. I might even ask the dr if this were him, who would he chose to do the surgery on him.
  • The thing is, I had my first surgery, on July 6th, with him. Wouldn't it be better to stick with him since he's the one who performed my initial surgery? Or would you still recommend getting more opinions? I really like my surgeon and he specializes in the thoracic spine, which is where my disc herniations are. Plus, I'm guessing most doctors aren't going to want to touch another doctor's patient. Not sure how that works, though.

    BTW, I went for my EMG today and it came back normal. My x-ray of my SI joints from last week was also normal. Good news but wondering where the heck this sciatica is coming from. Oh well, another mystery I suppose. Still waiting on the bloodwork results, but I'm guessing nothing will come out of that either.
  • Glad you made it through the EMG and all is normal. Did your Surgeon do a discogram to see if the offending disc was causing the pain? You could get more than one opinion and still have the good Surgeon you have now do surgery if it's necessary. However for myself I would ask the Surgeon if I waited will it cause any harm waiting longer for surgery like is there any spinal instability or a chance that nerves are being compromised like in compression? I haven't had surgery but can only imagine what you're going through. I hope you can get some answers soon. 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
  • I woul be more proactive And get othher opinions
  • No, he hasn't done a discogram yet, but we haven't gotten that far. I'm assuming that prior to doing another surgery, he'd want to do further testing. It's been about 2 months since my last MRI when this pain first started. Since then things have gotten worse. Prior to my previous surgery, I had a CT myelogram to get a better look at the discs. Not sure if they'd do another one or a repeat MRI. I have my appt on Tuesday, and I am going to ask all of these questions.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    which is the best way to identify and isolate the exact problem.

    At this stage, as long as you are happy and have confidence in your doctor(s) going off to another doctor looking for opinions would be something only if you are interested.

    I would rather spend time with the people I trust so that we can get to the bottom line. Now, if this goes on for a long time without getting any closer or you find the suggested route (ie surgery) to be something you dont want to do, then seek a second or third opinion.

    What you always want to have when you are near the end of options is for at least two doctors agreeing on the plan..

    You have been and are very proactive in your case. I've seen way too many people that just wait until they hear from the doctors.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I had my discogram in April and I will NEVER forget the agony. Having said that, it is an invaluable tool is seeing the depth of damage to the discs.

    Unfortunately, all my L's have multiple tears and look like spiders instead of cotton balls as they should. Good news is at least it's there in black and white to see. Knowledge is power and based on the knowledge gained my surgeon was better able to make an informed recommendation and I was able to make an informed decision.

    It's a process that we must got through to get to the end. I feel your pain and wish you luck walking through the process. Keep moving and dont look back.

    As far as second opinions, I trust my conservative Ortho and he fixed my neck 7 years ago. Comfortable and confidence in your surgeon is a key to my perspective. All my Drs, GP, Pain, Chiro, and surgeon ALL say the same thing.....GET IT FIXED. I would go with the one you trust. He knows your innards too.
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