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new MRI show only "minor" changes, why so much increase of pain

I had another MRI this week, and finally got the results. According to the report there are only minor changes from my previous MRI. Yet the pain I am experiencing and numbness is continuing to increase daily. My breakthrough meds don't work adequetely or last the amount of time required between doses(8hrs). My PM dr and spinal surgeon both keep telling me to "wait for my SCS surgery" which is on 4/7/15, I've been hearing this for almost 2months now. The MRI shows that the bulges both above and below my surgical site have increased slightly but still no significant nerve impingment. The same goes for L4-5 which is where the initial surgery and injury was.
How can I be in this much pain if there is "nothing" major going on? My surgeon and PM drs said back in January that if they were to do another surgery it would involve a large fusion with caging. But until then my surgeon wouldn't do another disectomy, with? How am I suposed to move on with my life if I can't even begin to try and go back to work if I can't even sit for more than a couple of hours and stand more than 15mins.
I know I'm having the SCS done in a few weeks, but meanwhile I am suffering because my PM womt do anything to increase my pain relief. I was hoping that the latest MRI would show the drs that I really am on as much pain as I keep saying, and maybe be able to get some relief, if nit maybe change the surgical plan on the 7th. Am I going crazy?


  • OverItAllOOverItAll Posts: 89
    edited 03/21/2015 - 12:25 PM
    I have no advice or answers, but am definitely sympathetic to your frustration and confusion as my situation is very similar. This is so frustrating and overwhelming, i am so sorry you are going through it too! Like you, my MRI and Xrays show a "slight bulging" but nothing significant, but my symptoms say something very different and only progress. The only real comfortable position for me is laying flat, but that doesn't eleviate numbness, just helps calm the spasms sometimes...sitting is the hardest. I do have to add, the last time I had unexplained symptoms like this, they decided to fuse my s1-L5 and decompress the next level up, once in there they. Found a dime sized bone chip compressing my nerves which was not visible on any of the mri/X-rays.

    I go to a new neurosurgeon next week(we moved to a new state) to find out the next step. I don't know if hearing they need to do another surgery is welcome or not because living like this is definitely not a long term option, pain clinic doesn't want to move forward until the neurosurgeon has a thorough look at me now.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    ...surgical plan, you have probably had all testing possible to get to this point.

    When my...am I crazy with this pain....was going on...I,remember doctor did EMG.
    That was favorite as most revealing test. Without a word from me, my pain management doctor came up with some plans.

    This was earlier on..and I don't know if it ever needs to be repeated...but I think as time goes on and issues change or new pain pops up...I would think it could be repeated.

    I would think with chronic spinal issues and chronic pain control.....an EMG would be easy enough as a check up.
    Also, it seems if another surgery requires ..fusing with caging...that there is significant issue that would have accompanying significant pain.
    I would continue telling doctor how you are feeling and how limited your life is.
    Hang in there ...and good luck with doctor cooperation.

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Overitall... I feel you. Sitting can be the worse at times. I go to bed early and stay in bed until it is physically painful to lay there any more. Not only do most movements cause horrible pain but I am also having horrific headaches where the pain goes from the base of my skull into my neck and makes my head feel as if it is going to explode from too much pressure and sitting up too long causes severe dizziness. What days I can do anything I'm either trying to catch up on my studies, at the dr, another pointless test, or trying to be normal again which I pay for for days at a time.
    Savage... I haven't had an EMG, my surgeon mentioned it when I first brought up the numbness at my appointment in February but never ordered it. My first surgery was last September and was a microdisectomy and foraminectomy/lamenotomy, but since I never had long term significiant relief he didn't want to go back in if it were going to be a failure. Which I understand, whcih is why I Am having the SCS placed.

    As for pain management I have had multiple injections, also failures, and have done many months of PT which is limited by pain. And my dr doesn't want to increase my pain meds claiming that I'm "maxed" out at that clinic. Meanwhile I'm taking 30mg MS Contin twice a day and 4mg Dilaudid every 8hrs and 4mg tizanidine twice a day for spasms That's it. I am taking 3600mg of gabapentin twice a day and 300mg of Lyrica a day for headache prevention and try to help with numbness in my hands from the new symptoms associated with my headaches.

    I am at a loss. I guess I don't have many onther options other than wait amd see, which drives me nuts.

    Again thanks to you both. And Overitall I hope you have good luck with ur new doctors. I hope youboth the best.
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