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Thoracic, Lumbar, and now possibly my Cervical stenosis

I have a few questions about my constant pain. I have been diagnosed with Lumbarsacral Spondylosis, Canal Stenosis in my L3-L5 which I also have bi-lateral stenosis in all 3 including my L5-S1. I also have canal stenosis at the T9-T11 levels which also have bi lateral stenosis. At the T10-T11 my spinal canal is 5.5mm in diameter and pressing on the spinal cord. There are many other issues that I am having with my lumbar region such as diffuse disc bulging throughout my lumbar with disc desiccation. I am only 33 years old and am in pain pretty often and now I am having pains in my neck which my Thoracic spine MRI showed advanced DDD at the C6-t1 levels, so to say the least I am quiet concerned.

I am currently working in the coal mining industry which is very hard on the body including the back. I am not sure is I should be doing this job or if I can for much longer because of my back pains. Any suggestions support would help as many individuals try yo sympathize but don't realize the pain I endure on a day to day basis. I have done Physical Therapy, anti inflammatory medicines, pain killers, and now 3 steroid injections which all help for a very short period of time but nothing for a long period of time. Thank you all for your time


  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 09/19/2014 - 6:13 AM
    Welcome .........have you consulted with a board certified spine surgeon? If not, I would strongly encourage you to do so, and rather soon. Stenosis can cause damage to two areas, the foramina where the nerve roots exit at each level of the spine, but the bigger concern is compression of the spinal canal. That compression if left too long can cause major problems, including permanent damage.
    Your best option would be to consult with at least two surgeons at large teaching hospitals in your area, and discuss surgical options.
    I know that no one really wants to undergo spine surgery, but in some cases, it is the best option. Injections, physical therapy can not help to resolve compression of the canal. It needs to be relieved or your risk serious problems down the road.
    As far as your occupation, I would think that a surgeon is going to tell you that coal mining is not in your best interest right now due to the risks involved and the heavy toll it takes in your spine.

  • I have seen one surgeon in my area and he constantly mentioned my age and talked about trying all alternative methods first. I now go to a pain clinic and the doctor was surprised that I had not yet undergone decompression surgery is what I believe he called it. He said the he believes the doctor was only trying to buy me sometime because of my age. I don't want to have surgery but I don't know what else to do, really. Thank you for the input and will look into getting a second opinion as soon as possible.
  • I have one more question about my issues and pain that I am currenlty having. With the diffuse disc bulges and disc desiccation in my lumbar I have read that they will not repair themselves. This seems to be the major player in the stenosis that I am havingin my lumbar so does this mean that the disc will only get worse and never better??? One more question with the stenosis at T9-T11 which is worse at the t10-t11 Because of a subtle disc extrusion measuring 5 mm, moderate osteophytes formation or complex, and moderate Ligamentum Flavum Hypertrophy, and this is said to become very problematic because it is pushing on my cord from both directions. Any input or experiences that anyone has had with this would be greatly appreciated. I am just worried and need the experience and opinions of people that have dealt with the same issues.
  • Disc dessication is simply a drying out of the discs as we get older. Given your occupation, and the heavy physical toll it takes on your spine, I am guessing that your DDD might be a bit more advanced than it would be for others your age.....that being said, DDD is , in most cases, considered a normal anatomical finding, meaning that the majority of the population are going to show signs of DDD in their spine if they are over the ages of 21-25.....some occupations and professional athletes, will show more advanced signs of DDD due to their phyiscal demands on their spines, gymnasts, football, baseball, etc, and of course people who's jobs entail heavy physical labor.....
    The ligamentum flavum is a ligament that runs throughout the spine.....thickening indicates that it's the body's response to trying to support the spine.....ostephytes are bone spurs, also your body's attempt to compensate for damage at an area of the spine....
    A decompression will remove the lamina ( roof over the spine at the levels involved ), and possibly stabilization but that will need to come from your surgeon, once he goes over the surgery type with you...Disc bulges themselves can be problematic or not, depending on where the disc is bulging, if there is contact with a nerve root ( not the canal), or how large it is. Most bulges are described as broad based....which means that they are wider than they are long.......think of an oval, one side of the oval is wider ( more outpouched) than the other side.....this the meaning of broad based......
  • Your comments have been very helpful. I was off work for a few months and have tried to go back to support my family, but the symptoms have began to get worse and now I have the same pains that I have in my low back in my neck. It is hard for me to walk for extended periods of time without being in extreme amount of pain. I had to take a trip to the ER Friday because of my pain levels and I have tried to stop taking any pain medication, but I realize now that I need something to help coupe with my pain. My wife is constantly on to me about coming back out of the coal mines, because the toll it is not only taking on me but the toll it is taking on her and my family. I do appreciate the time you have taken to answer my question as many people that are not dealing with this type of chronic pain truly don't understand what I go through.

    I have done a lot of research on everything that is going on in my back and realize I am probably going to deal with this pain for the rest of my life. My chiropractor that done my physical therapy told me I have a lower lumbar and thoracic spine of a 65 yr old man and that I needed to get out of the coal mines now, as the doctor I see at the pain management clinic says the same thing and was extremely concerned with the lumbar area and the T10-T11 level that is currently pressing on my cord and that if the injections do not work, and they haven't, he was going to send me back to the neurosurgeon or another and recommend something to be done. Thank you for your time.
  • We'll i fi finally went and seen my doctor again and told him of the pains that I was having and the level of pain ranging from 7-9 when walking or moving. He immediately told me he was writing me off of work and to get him the short term disability papers so he could fill them out for me. He also told me that I should no longer work int the coal mines or the constant wear and tear would only progress my problems. He also ordered an MRI of my neck. I have been having constant headaches that only 400 mg neurontin will help alleviate, and pains down my left neck to my shoulders and down to my thumbs. Is there a reason why neurontin is the only thing that helps alleviate my headaches, I forgot to ask my doctor at the visit?? He has also got me a referral to see a second neurosurgeon. He told me I am to young to be in the condition that I am in, but I am sure many have heard that before. Thank you all for listening, and any comments are greatly appreciated.
  • my mother went l5-s2 spinal stenosis surgery 2013 ..now after 2 years she is on wheel chair with left foot drop
    she cant left her buttocks and whenever she sits she sits like she has no control on her sitting muscles .her gait is disturbed and left leg going somewhere else in respect to right leg whenever she walks .

    past hx she was operated with medullary astrocytoma 1996 ,till now she was very good

    the doctor who operated her for l5-s2 says that it might be recurrence of astrocytoma and plus he adds her operation on l5-s2 is fine and no complications...need guide please
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