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Lower Back pain and worried about CES

nicolewwnnicoleww Posts: 3
edited 05/10/2014 - 8:57 AM in Lower Back Pain
So I've been having severe lower back pain for about 10 months. Mild back pain and sciatica since a car accident 2 years ago, but it's gotten far worse in the last 10 months. Dr says I have DDD and some arthritis. An MRI almost 5 months ago showed central disc protrusion at L4-5 with severe lateral recess narrowing and moderately severe central stenosis, mild bulge at L3-4, transitional sacralized vertebra at L5.

My back pain is worsening in spite of recent epidural injections, both feet are numb/tingling and the sciatica almost never goes away. In the last month or so the sciatica has gone down both legs all the way into my feet and is incredibly painful. I've been in so much lower back and leg pain that moving at all made me want to scream. I've given birth with no meds and when it's bad the back pain is just about as bad as labor!

At my last appointment, my doctor seemed worried when I told him the pain was going down both legs. He knows I'm opposed to surgery and agrees that rushing into surgery at my age isn't a good idea, but he said it when/if this becomes an emergency it will happen. At the appt I brushed off what he said thinking "I'm young, I'll never need surgery" and after the pain I've been in I don't see how it will get any worse. So I couldn't imagine what emergency there could be.

After relaying this to a family member who is a doctor, he asked if my doctor had talked to me about Cauda Equina. He hadn't, I googled it and now I'm freaking out! I don't have any bowel or bladder issues, but I do have occasional tingling and numbness in my butt (never talked to my doc about it because I didn't think it was anything plus it comes and goes), tailbone pain and have bilateral sciatica. The numbness in my butt feels like I sat too long and it fell asleep and the tingling is in the same area...these sensations only happen occasionally when my other symptoms tend to be severe. Do I have reason to be worried or I am just freaking out because I googled when I shouldn't have and am reading too much into my doc's surgery statement? I don't want to ignore symptoms, but I don't want to jump to conclusions either.

Oh and now I'm wondering if this is the reason the first question the nurse ALWAYS asks me when I call in is am I having bowel or bladder changes. Ugh.


  • I know it can be really scary when you read results of a test and not sure what it means or a doctor saying something open ended which allows your imagination to think of the worse. If it was me I would relay the numbness that I was having but did not mention it before and what your concerns are to the doctor as soon as possible. I do not know what kind of doctor you are seeing but if he thinks the new information is important he will probably refer you to a specialist (that is if he is not the specialist) or possible do more tests if he thinks it's needed so he can make a more informed choice. While I know this is very hard to do but, try to keep your mind busy with more positive thoughts.
  • nicolewwnnicoleww Posts: 3
    edited 05/10/2014 - 5:04 AM
    Thanks! I am seeing a doctor at a spine center. He's the specialist and has done my injections and been working with me for the past 9 months. I'll let them know the next time I go in that I've been having tingling.
  • If you believe that it is CES, then waiting until your next appointment can have serious consequences. It might be better to call the office, and ask to speak directly to the doctor, and explain that you are having these symptoms and they are worrying you.
    CES can cause permanent damage if left untreated for too long and it is better to know, one way or another if that is the case in your situation.
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