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Just had MRI, doc sent me to ER

29yo female, recurring back pain since age 15
11 epidurals, 2 RF procedures
No surgery history involving back pain

Intense pain for six months, last RF in sept. 2012. Three weeks ago unable to walk without cane. The worst nerve pain I've ever felt exclusively in my right leg. Numbness and excruciating nerve pain. Three days ago I began leaking urine.

Had my MRI 12 hours ago. Got home, looked at film on my computer and L5-S1 is blown out, only a small part of my spinal canal can be seen. It suddenly dawned on me the leaking urine was related. I have been in so much pain my common sense has gone out the window. My pain doctor said to go to the ER immediately after viewing my films.

I have never seen a Neurosurgeon in all the years I've had back pain. My mom had a very unsuccessful back surgery in the 90's so it wasn't an option in my mind. Leaking urine is a game changer.

I got to the hospital and was seen immediately, and admitted by a neuro who viewed my MRI remotely. After reading his bio and patient reviews, it seems he is a good surgeon in our big city with lots of disc replacement experience as well. I have previously been told I have facet joint issues, DDD, and stenosis. From my limited knowledge, it seems unlikely I am a good candidate for replacement? Is this true or has anyone had success?

My med history includes everything from Lyrica (put on 50lbs in SIX WEEKS!), to years of gabapentin on and off with nerve pain relief of 70%. I am currently on Gralise with less crashing than gabapentin as gab wears off often and quickly. I am also on Vicodin which does not touch the pain I'm having, it just takes the edge off so I can sleep. I am on 2400 gabapentin and hydrocodone 3x per day, 7.5-500.

The surgeon will be here within a few hours and I am scrambling to get all the information I can. It appears to be an emergency situation? I've never known a doctor to admit a patient with the intention of sending them home the next day. They put me on a pre-op dietary and liquid restriction, and did pre-op labs.

I am only 29, I have one child who I've never been able to reliably pick up or have much activity with due to my pain. My options are running out and if surgery will prevent long-term and far reaching complications that impact my quality of life, then I want the surgery. I am not afraid of the inevitable, as fear does nothing productive. I want to be healthy and I'd love to be able to run one day, pick up my daughter, and be active and living life. I haven't left the house in three weeks because of my pain. This is unacceptable.

I am down to the wire. Any insight is much appreciated. I understand many more factors go into such a decision and I am not expecting medical opinions. What I would appreciate is receiving feedback and sharing of any information you may have about your personal situation or other situations you know of that may help me make an informed decision for my continuing medical care.

Thank you!


  • alexhurtingaalexhurting Posts: 1,991
    edited 02/28/2013 - 5:16 AM
    Soon as the doctor sees you he will be the best to help gain informed decision where things need to go and when,
    If it's a must have surgery might not have any reason to even think about what to do,

    There are times surgery is the only option and if that's the case you just have to go with it and hope for the best,

    Good luck and let us know what doctor decided is your best option,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • ouch2oouch2 Posts: 1,270
    edited 02/28/2013 - 8:54 AM
    Welcome to spine health, sorry that your back pain, and emergency admittance to the hospital brought you here. I agree with Alex, that once you meet with the surgeon, he will discuss with you your best option based on what is going on with your back.

    I know that it many cases, surgeons will not do artificial disc surgery if you have facet issues. My surgeon however does do them, unless you bave severe facet hypertrophy. I have moderate, and so he recommended adr for me. One year later, I am not any better, but don't know if it is facet related.

    I am sure it is tough when you are in an emergency situation, and unable to get multiple opinions. Glad that you did research the surgeon and that he is well respected with good patient reviews. Hope that your consultation goes well. Look forward to hearing how you are doing. Sending positive vibes your way.
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 02/28/2013 - 1:32 PM
    The good news is.... YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE "FIXED". Think of it like that. And maybe by Christmas you'll be chasing your child around the Christmas tree. Concentrate on that and keep us informed.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • PaulPPaul Posts: 730
    edited 02/28/2013 - 3:48 PM
    gunhoney said:
    I'd love to be able to run one day
    I'd like to chime in here about this if I may. I used to run. Now, after my back issues, I realize running is not good for the discs. So, I have taken up cycling. I had never really given it much thought before. Now, I fricken love it. I look forward to it everyday. I still get a cardio workout, I get sun and fresh air, I see the sights, I use it to go places/run errands, endorphins, "Me" time to listen to music or just with my thoughts. Basically, try to start moving your thoughts away from running and toward less impactful excersize.

    Swimming is also really good, but obviously not as convenient.

    I'm going to send you a pm with links to some really helpful info; check your inbox here.

    Sorry about your troubles, I hope you get well again. Best wishes and let us know how you fare when you feel up to it.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
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