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degenerative disc disease and sudden onset of difficulty with bladder voiding

MouseypadMMouseypad Posts: 5
edited 04/19/2014 - 11:17 PM in Degenerative Disc Disease
Hi I'm new here so forgive the long intro. In short I've suffered off and on acute back pain since 1998. Recently over the last two years my acute phases have become common and in between I have chronic pain which majorly interferes with my life. The only people who have taken this seriously are my physiotherapist (who has treated me at acute episodes for 2 years) who wrote to my GP saying in his opinion I had degenerative disc disease on L3/L4 and L5/S1. I am 47 and overweight. I had gastric band surgery four years ago which did reduce my weight but it's now going back up again.

My symptoms are the following:
Moderate pain at all times even in bed
Severe pain bending of any sort, lifting out of the question though I am mastering bending of knees for light lifting
Inability to sit for more than 20 mins without severe pain and aching stiffness, sometimes with acute groin nerve pain.
Same for standing though I can walk ok
Burning pain in both hips which never goes away and is made worse by sleeping on my side
Recurring nerve pain in hips when walking which temporarily feeling in leg so I can't stand or walk till it receds. Once this has happened it often happens repeatedly for a couple of hours, causing a lot of ooohs and aaahs (the pain is short but similar to the dentist drill hitting a nerve) and sudden stopping / standing on one leg -can be embarrassing in work.
Inability to lie on stomach for more than a few minutes without severe pain making Physio treatment increasingly difficult
Burning pain in front of left thigh (Physio says femoral nerve)
Occasional but sever groin pain which is exaggerated by sucking stomach muscles in
Recent onset of urinary retention / difficulty voiding

Thanks to my locum GP I am now on Gabapentin 1200mg a day and continuing with tramadol 200mg when needed (my dose has decreased thanks to Gabapentin which has helped tremendously with the chronic pain so much so that I feel able to function more normally.

She also referred me to orthopaedic consultant who sent his registrar who listened to me for 2 mins, dismissed my urinary problem as unrelated and thought my problems "musculoskeletal" probably because I am fat. He certainly didn't listen for long enough to make any sort of diagnosis and didn't do any sort of physical exam at all. He has ordered an MRI which on the NHS will take a few weeks and then another few weeks for surgeon to review the results. I can cope with the back pain for that period but am worried about the urinary retention problem. Has anyone else experienced this?



  • Did the start of the bladder issue coincide with the introduction of a new medication or an increase in dosage? I'm not too familiar with your meds but I know opioids can cause urinary retention so it could be the tramadol. If your orthopedist is not interested ask your GP to look into the cause. If he cannot figure it out, he may refer you to a urologist.

    I have bladder voiding issues as well, although mine turned out to be (probably) caused by an overactive bladder. Well, it responds to a med for that anyway, oxybutynin. It's just strange because I'm a a 23 year old male. I think it could be related to my back somehow but that's just a hunch.
  • Thanks Mcjimjam, it didn't co-incide with any new meds but I will ask GP again

    Many thanks
  • Is the urinary retention related to the increased pain, numbness in new or increased in previous areas? Genital area pain and pain in what areas of your body would come into contact with a saddle if you rode a horse?
  • Thanks for the response, I'm not sure to be honest but I don't think so. It seems to have now progressed to a full blown bladder infection as I am now barely passing any urine at all and there is blood present. Hopefully it's just a wee bladder infection though which will clear it all up, if not I will see my GP

  • you need to be seen and evaluated by a doctor ASAP......this could be a sign of major medical issues, and treatment may need to be started sooner rather than later......
  • MouseypadMMouseypad Posts: 5
    edited 04/24/2014 - 11:33 AM
    well things have now gone the other way, I think I now have a bladder infection and i'm having a number of quite awful accidents, almost the moment I stand up (ok sitting down) I feel can't hold it in long enough to make it to the loo. No idea what is going on but think it is likely to be a GP and perhaps then a urologist I need to see after al. thank you all for your comments and support!
  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 04/27/2014 - 6:30 AM
    I'm from England but I live in the USA at the moment. I find your symptoms very worrying. I know things can move a little slowly on the NHS. You want this diagnosed urgently & I'd focus on it being a spine issue. Great if not but it's better to be safe than sorry. Please phone your GP on Monday & push, push, push! Don't take no for an answer. Make it very clear that you have terrible nerve pain & have lost bladder control. Given the right motivation (a pushy patient) you'd be surprised how fast things can move! Good luck ;-)

    The loss of bladder control is a spine 'Red Flag' issue in the UK. You also mention "acute groin pain" that's another Red Flag. Your GP should be on the phone to a spine surgeon. (red flag means something different in the USA so don't get confused by discussions regarding pain meds). A Red Flag is something urgent that a GP needs to take-up with a surgeon or specialist immediately.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • I hope that by now you have seen your surgeon and discussed all of the symptoms worsening.......the not being able to control your bladder or bowels or both is a huge red flag.....

  • paulawill2ppaulawill2 Posts: 1
    edited 07/11/2015 - 3:37 PM
    I've been researching bladder retention it suddenly started in September. 2014. After working on my house, Breaking up cement in different positions.
    I've read that spinal cord injury could cause this. At first I thought it was caused by the Fentanyl Patch, so I got off that medicine in January. 2015.
    Has any heard of this?

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  • I too am having bladder issues, I can't feel when I have to go until I am completely overfull(retention), can't tell when I have finished urinating, bladder leakage...all symptoms are tied to an increase of pain and nerve symptoms. I was told by my neurologist that accidents, incontinence, are serious and should be addresses ASAP( i am in the middle of switching dr because of a move, this was one of the symptoms i was told to go to the ER if they occur before i can get into see a new dr)especially if the accidents are full blown bladder or bowel accidents or you can no longer feel when you wipe(women). So these recent symptoms scare me too, I hope you get seen very soon. I have an appointment Friday, didn't go to ER because I still have sensation and small leaks)
  • JakkiJJakki Posts: 1
    edited 07/11/2015 - 3:35 PM
    sandi said:
    you need to be seen and evaluated by a doctor ASAP......this could be a sign of major medical issues, and treatment may need to be started sooner rather than later......
    What this person said!
    When I was diagnosed I was told to watch out for bladder control problems because it indicates herniated and slipped discs which need intervention. Please see your doc! xxx

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