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Central Canal Stenosis, herniated discs, and two years of numbness and tingling. Should I consider s

Hello, I am a 30 year old mom, three kids, generally healthy. Two years ago I suffered a back injury at work. MRI showed herniated disc at the L-4/ L-5 disc and I believe L-5/S1. It also showed weighted images that they believed was an hemangioma. The MRI also showed mild to moderate central canal stenosis and degenerative disc disease. I have seen a Neurosurgeon who thought at the time of injury I was too young for surgery and the injury was small. Within a year I was experiencing numbness and tingling in both legs on and off everyday. I have completed a trial of physical therapy and since then have received 1 epidural injection.

The injection relieved some of the pain but not all. The injury was in January 2011, it has been two years and I believe my symptoms have progressed. In October of 2012 my right leg went completely numb for about 8 minutes while sitting in a chair. Now, everyday my legs has either heavy, vibrating sensations on and off or numbness and tingling on and off throughout my entire day. I work at a hospital and sometimes when I work 8 hours on the floor of a unit at the end of shift I can barely walk or get into my car. Is this because of the stenosis? Should I seek out another surgeon. I am really concerned with the nerve compression and what affect it may have on my muscles in the future. Please give me some advice. I'm desperate.



  • DaffydolphinDaffydolphin Posts: 98
    edited 01/24/2013 - 8:02 AM
    You should consider another opinion complete with new MRI and probably a myelogram with CT
    Severe DDD, Severe neural foraminal stenosis at 2 levels, moderate canal stenosis at 2 levels, significantly impaired left shoulder & arm function. Chronic moderate compression fracture at C6.
  • dbeasley30ddbeasley30 Posts: 2
    edited 01/24/2013 - 8:25 PM
    Thank You for your reply. I have been looking into another doctor at another facility. I had been thinking that with the symptoms progressing I may need another MRI. My primary care physician is telling me that I do not need another. I think that is crazy!! With onset of new symptoms I believe I need to repeat MRI, especially with the numbness/tingling lasting so long now. Again, thanks for the advice.

  • Yes you should seek a second opinion and third opinion if needed. I put off pressing my upper back, shoulder pain, and numbness/tingling issues for years and it resulted in a lot of emergency surgery which was no fun. You know your body, if its not right you know it. I am only 28 years old and was surprised that it was decided quickly that surgery was my only option.

    Best of luck to you.
  • jgregory123jjgregory123 Posts: 4
    edited 02/03/2013 - 2:02 PM
    I agree....you have to have someone else check you out. I have a lot of health issues; a heart condition, sleep apnea, just had knee surgery about 6 months ago, and bilateral carpal tunnel surgery in my early 20's. I had a herniated disc at C5-C6 that was pushing against my spinal cord, and bulging, protruding discs with annular tears, and thecal sac indentation at L4-L-5, and L5-S1.I don't know if my bones are just mush or what but I have an awful time. I put my back surgery off for years (doctors telling me it was muscle related. I knew better.) I literally had to insist on an MRI and once he ordered it, he told me, you won't find anything. So, when he called me telling me I needed to come in to discuss the results asap, I got my records and went to a neurosurgeon. I think it went on too long and the nerve damage is here to stay. I just had the Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion at C5-C6 (8) weeks ago. Personally, I am worse off than before. The pain is no better but the numbness and tingling is much worse. I can't sit, stand, or walk for more than 5 or 10 minutes because everything is numb, throbbing, tingling, and incredibly weak, almost like jelly legs. I have so much muscle weakness and tingling from my neck to toes, I can even wash dishes or grocery shop anymore. It is severely depressing. Depression is about the only think I will take meds for. It has been as debilitating as the physical pain. Especially since I'm only 31. My MRI also showed hypertrophy, DDD, foraminal stenosis, central canal stenosis, bilateral radiculopathy at C6 and cervicalgia, cervical spurring, . I've been in therapy but it isn't helping. I've had to apply for disability because I can't work like this. I'm sure it will be denied.

    Good luck! This is a terrible "club" to belong to and my heart goes out to each one of you.
  • Have you seen a pain management specialist since your epidural two years ago? You may want to do that first, as a surgeon is more likely to recommend surgery than anything else, though probably not based on a 2 year old MRI. It is usually worth continuing more conservative treatments until they no longer are helpful. Make sure you know all other options available to you, and also understand that surgery comes with risks and results are not guaranteed 100%.

    Good luck!
  • 42 years ago I had a serious head-on auto accident. Fusion was recommended at that time, but I don't believe the surgeons were too proficient at it then. I have had pain almost all my life, but my brain sort of "changed the channel" and I have been able to live with it. Almost 7 years ago the pain stopped. I was glad until my arms got like sandbags. Finally I got an MRI--Severe spinal stenosis, myopathy, and nerve damage. Got 2 concurring opinions recommending removal of discs at C5-6, 6-7 and work to remove spurs above this area. The fluid sac around the cord is non-existent in this area. I have suffered short term paralysis 3 times, and now I have been told just a fall could paralyze me. It doesn't seem likely the nerve damage is correctable, but may be kept from progressing.

    Any words of wisdom from out there?

    I am pretty functional at this time and of course I am worried. Rehab and the odds of 5% for problems don't sound too good.
  • I'm really sorry to hear you are experiencing this! I too have central canal stenosis with herniation at l5 s1 and degenerative disc disease of L3- S1. I also have facet arthritis and a retroverted uterus. You probably need surgery. I didnt have an accident but I am a 27 year old hair stylist and trust me, I want to be a mom someday so I really didnt want the surgery. But over the last year it has taken every part of my life. My husband is basically my care taker but after three series of epidural I jw ruins in one month with no improvement and alot of frustration from my pain doc that I was reduced to a cane even on the meds he has me on. And trust me I've tried everything, from a hypnotist to yoga to chiropractic, to decompression therapy, I have to sleep with my Tens unit just to keep from crying in my sleep and this is on extended morphine, norco, and Valium all of them two to three times a day and the norco every 4 hours.
    I'm preparing for a decompression and fusion at l5 s1 where it's the worst. And receiving stem cell treatment at the degeneration above it. Crazy I know but medicine has advanced alot. My surgeon is the head of the department and has was part of the team that creates the artificial disc and one of the only surgeons in the country who is certified in Mazor technology. When everything failed. He ordered me a discogram with a a ct scan. This is to determine if the discs are actually causing the source of your pain because sometimes herniations aren't as symptomatic as we think. It's what saved me because I thought I was going to lose the rest of my 20a and life to this and I can barely walk. When they do discogram it's a disc to nerve test administered similarly the way an epidural is. Except they give you a little twilight sedation to make it easier. They inject some pressure to mimic the pain you are having. If you feel pain they ask you if it's the same pain you normally feel. If it is that disc is a positive source of pain, if not its considered a negative pain source. When it's all done they inject some contrast dye to see if there are any tears in any spots they can't see on other imaging......then. Ones the ct scan. This ct scan with contrast showed that my main source of pain was the central canal stenosis which I developed since my last mri in October so my discogram doctor thought I was full of crap and then he got word back from my imagine place ( who does all the imaging for the chargers and padres here in San Diego). But it'll show whether or not its the stenosis, discs or both causing the pain and the ct scan with contrast with prove it. It saved me. Yes I am having surgery. Sitting in the right chair helps but for the most part I can't walk, stand,laying down on my back feels like I have coals in my pack and like knives are just stabbing it and dragging down my leg. When I sit and lay down my legs and feet get pins and needles where I can't move them and they go in and out of being numb. My legs buckle and I get foot drop. My stenosis and herniations are central which are compressing the Thecal sac which controls a lot of nerves that affect your legs and you may have bowel issues I do. I can't tell all the time that I have to go to the bathroom. I've had a few close moments but no accidents. Your doc should request at the least a ct scan with contrast. Oh And always get a second opinion with surgery. The discogram is just a little less fun than the epidural but it was worth it to know what's causing my pain. And what they didnt knew. I'm only 27 and very emotional because I'm watching my friends in their 30s travel, have kids, save for houses. And we can't do any of that. It's very hard to get lost in your pain, but my mom had surgery for carpel tunnel 16 years ago and she recovered at about 95% she's a photographer now but she said. Sometimes when you are doing the wrong things in life it'll force you to slow down. She says take this as a compliment because its how you handle life after your broken rather than how you handle before you break. Healing to you and your family, I hope I'm lucky enough to have kids in a few years after this hurdle is over. Best of luck to you, I know it's hard when you've lived in years of never having a minute of relief. But focus on what you do have and what you can do instead of what you can't do and what you don't have. Get fixed and get your life back!
    Chelsea parker
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