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debilitating symptoms and no diagnosis

empireeempire Posts: 1
Hi, this is my first post here.

I have suffered what I believed to be sciatic pain on and off for years. Currently i am unable to walk for any lengthy period of time. i am awake at night with pain down my left leg, i have numbness in my right foot almost constantly, pain predominantly on the balls of my right foot and toes. In the last month I have started to get swollen feet which worsens the more I move around. I get a variety shooting pains in the lower part of my body. The symptoms have worsened considerably in the last 10 days and i have become quite debilitated quite quickly. I have sought a range of advice from physio, podiatrist and GP.

CT Scan of lumbar spine was normal apart from:

L3/4 Minimal disc bulge.

L4/5 moderate disc bulge with slight anterior indentation of the thecal sac. appearance suggests minor soft tissue canal stenosis at this level. exit foramina are clear. bones and joints appear normal.

A general practioner has told me today that i could not have sciatica because my reflexes in my leg/ankles are reacting normally and that the indications on my CT Scan are mild and wouldn't cause any symptoms. He is now suggesting i get a CT Scan of my head to check I haven't got tumour which is causing the symptoms.

I am having trouble believing this theory. I am wondering what others make of the info in the CT Scan


  • Hi and welcome. I would seek advise from a spine specialist who specialise in everything with spine related issues.

    You general dr,s dont know enough of the many spine conditions that are out there that can cause your symptoms, Either a neuro surgen who specialises in spine or ortho dr, or both to get 2 nd and even 3 rd opinion, Many tests are sometimes needed to figure out the cause such as emg mri,mylogram or discogram,

    You might also be able to get them to do a full body mri to cover all basis if the posibility is there if it hapened to be in your head, But when dr,s cant explain the pain and symptoms its not uncommon for them to lean towards saying maybe its something to do with the brain,

    But i think its very seldom that its anything in the brain unless they find a tumer or something, but most of the time its spine related which can be very complicated sometimes to find the direct cause,

    I have nerve pain from nerve damage from the l5 nerve root but my reflex usualy still shows prety much normal, So i dont think the reflex rules out any problems of the spine causing pain and numbness,

    Good luck ,let us know what your futher findings are,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    My CT scans were never very helpful..MRI more so.. and for me the EMG most telling.

    My pain management doc is the one who discovered the issues of my spine and treating me so at least I am not in ER regularly.

    With my primary doc and my continued, I'm in pain mantra...finally sent me to pain management and that the best thing ever happen to me.

    Good luck to you and let us know how you are doing!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • get an opinion from a neurosurgeon, spine fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon, or as Savage said, a physiatrist or pain management doctor, or even get opinions from two of the three that I have mentioned.

    My doctors do like to get MRI results. Mine has shown where my canal is narrow and might be causing compression, my scar tissue and the disc herniations in my thoracic spine, so I feel it is a good test.

    MRI's and CT's are not easy to interpret unless you do so everyday. Also, it is interesting to note that many people will have horrific pain even when the results of these tests show mild pathology.

  • Empire, Sorry to hear about your issues.I too have feet issues from time to time and moderate sciatica when i walk,, lAying down and sitting is easy but i cant jog anymore or even walk comfortable to the store.. So i feel your pain.. MY MRI result through are pretty bad with moderat stenosis on 3 levels and disc herniations COMPARED to your CAT scan.. Doctors interpretations on radiology can be so darn different.. I never tell one doctor what another says cause they PIGGY BACK OFF EACH OTHER.. Its very hard to find a doctor who is not trying to cover he a## .. Like others have suggested to you get OTHER RESULTS and GET A GOOD MRI.. Not all MRIs are the same.. Try for a 1.5 TESLA POWER OR even 2.. BIG DIFFERENCE ON THE IMAGES.. I have had doctors make me retake MRI's cause of image quality which is BULL CRAP! if a MRI is not top notch they should scrap it than to make someone retake it.. As far as diagnosing someone.. My REGULAR NEURO said - NO SURGERY but be careful, MY NEUROSURGION SAID 3 LEVEL FUSION, my ORTHPEDIC WHO SPECIALLIZES IN SPINS said MED(micro surgery).. So where do i go from here? We are all in the same boat.. If my pain was horrific for months i would do surgery but i can manage atleast for now.. My heart goes out to people who's bodys make horrible pain!! My father has live for 25 years with MAJOR BACK ISSUES but he is only has discomfort 1 month out of a year but doctors have told him for years its amazing he can walk and has bladder control.. SO EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT!! Just thought i would share what i havebeen through! Wish u the best

    Definatly get a MRI
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