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Accute Sciatica, Ruptured Discs, and Total Right Leg numbness

MrGGMMrGG Posts: 2
Hey everyone. I have recently started to frequently read a lot about sciatica issues and herniated Lumbar discs on this site due to a recent injury. I am a 25 year old Male, 6-1, and very obese. I have had back pain since I was about 20, but it was never so bad that some pain medication couldn't take the edge off. I have been unemployed and very sedentary for some years due to pure laziness, but before that I used to work in an appliance store doing a lot of heavy lifting and never with a brace. My back always hurt then, but never with sciatica issues until about 9 months ago. I had very mild sciatica that I thought was being caused by a bed that was too firm. Now, 5 days ago I woke up with massive right leg convulsions and huge pain. I luckily had a doctor appointment the next day but I couldn't drive to it because sitting was so painful. I rescheduled from my Friday appointment to a Monday appointment. On Sunday I began to have total leg numbness in my right leg that began to spread to the under side of my genitals. I went to the ER but they could only perform a Cat Scan because they don't do MRI's on Weekends. They said that the ER that I indeed have "multiple ruptured discs" but he did not tell me where (outside of it being Lumbar) or exactly how many. He told me to get an MRI as quickly as possible. I am now in the process of trying to figure out how to get an MRI as the places I have looked into outside my ER want a $1,200 Co-pay that I cannot afford. I have contacted a spine specialist that is known to be quite good and am waiting for him to call me back about what he thinks of the CT.

So basically this is where I am now. The pain is really intense. I have not slept longer than 2 hours a night for a week now. Even with Valium (which I hate) prescribed by my doctor. If I fall asleep on my back I wake up with leg convulsions in my whole right leg and left thigh. I have great numbness in my right leg, loss of strength and motion and I am really worried about permanent damage becoming an issue. My biggest concern is that I turn 26 this November and my insurance is provided through my mother. I am terrified that if I don't get this resolved by then that I am going to be in huge trouble.

Now, I know I am getting ahead of myself as I have not even met my Spine doctor in person yet and I have not done any Physical therapy. I am doing what I can to start losing weight. I have been trying to walk and do stretches so long as I do not aggravate the pain. My main reasoning for the fact that I believe surgery is going to be necessary is just how bad the numbness is and the pain is a solid 8-9/10 when the pain killers wear off. I am really concerned with the fact that I am a heavy person that the surgery could fail and I am honestly pretty scared and anxious. I have been having massive anxiety issues that I am hoping the kind members here can alleviate.

Any advice from people that have been through this will be really appreciated. I am so hopeful that I can get this resolved before my insurance goes away and without any permanent damage.

- John


  • John,

    I am so sorry to hear about all the trouble you are having. Here's what I know....you have a true medical emergency and honestly, time is of the essence if you are losing feeling in your leg/genital region. If there is any way possible, I'd ask to speak to a neurosurgeon/orthopedic surgeon at the ER because you are risking some pretty serious nerve damage if it isn't treated soon. You might want to look at cauda equina syndrome and it's symptoms because I'd say it's a fair bet that you are there or almost there.

    You do need an MRI, and honestly putting $1200 on a credit card for the MRI would be worth it in comparison to potentially permanently losing control of your bladder/bowels or facing permanent nerve damage. So I guess that's where I would start. I wish you the best of luck. It's not fun but if you can get this treated, there is hope on the other side.
    Left leg radiculopathy/sciatic pain
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - May 30, 2014
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - Aug 14, 2014
    L5/S1 TLIF - Sept. 24, 2014
    Left-side screws/rod removed along with bone fragment Dec. 29, 2014
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    It is so good you are seeing a specialist. He is best to guide you and or reassure you.

    In the mean time, your anxiety, although understood, is a waste of energy.
    You'll need your energy for the testing doctor needs to do to rule out conditions and tests to find source and or cause of your symptoms.

    Although you are overweight, I would put off any exercise until doctor sees you.
    He will give you instructions on what you should and should not do re exercise and activity level.

    You may want to ask for referral for dietician . Being careful and yet satisfied with your diet is very important.

    The.....search.....on this site upper right on page....may be useful to you.
    If you type in your question or concern you may be led to older posts, articles, or videos.
    There is a wealth of information on this site.

    I wish you the very best
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I really appreciate the responses. I have been able to calm down a bit mentally as I am managing the pain a bit better. I have been really proactive in doing what I can to alleviate pain and keep a positive mind set to help sleep and heal. I finally got an appointment for an MRI of my Lumbar on Tuesday after Memorial Day so all I need to do now is hang in there. I will be having a second MRI done on my Hip on a following day. I have been doing a lot of reading on Sciatica and herniated discs. I really wish I had grabbed a digital copy of my CT, but I might be able to do that tomorrow.

    One thing I have been wondering is, what are the chances of this being an SI joint issue? While the ER doctor did say that the CT scan showed Herniated discs, he neglected to mention how bad he personally found them and where exactly they were outside of "Lumbar Region." I find that my back in general doesn't hurt nearly as bad as my right hip. To go into more detail about how all of this started I will go ahead and share my story leading up to this point.

    Roughly a year ago I bought a new bed. Nothing special, just something to replace a 14 year old bed that originally was a great but with age was breaking down. About a month into owning it I noticed that I started to get sciatica pains in the top of both of my thighs. To compensate for this I began to sleep on my stomach. At first that worked out really well. Then it didn't. Soon I needed to sleep on my stomach, but across my bed rather than on it normally. I let my left leg hang off the edge from the Knee down and I kept my right leg on the bed. The right leg was bent in a > shape and I slept like that for about 9 months or so. The pain was reduced and totally manageable. Then, as before, it stopped working. I could no longer get comfortable on my bed at all.

    I decided to invest into a good foam bed, recommended both for heavy people and for people with back problems. The first night of sleeping on that is what really started this spiral of pain. As mentioned, I woke up with convulsions in my leg and the rest is history. The thing that bothers me is, I really didn't do anything out of the norm to injure my back recently. The only heavy lifting I really do besides my natural weight, is to lift my moms wheel chair (Maybe 30 pounds tops). So I figured I would go into specifics of what my symptoms are now that I am more level headed. I know the only way to truly understand what is going on with my injury is an MRI, however in the 3 days I have to wait until then I would like to cling on to any hope that this might not be a super bad herniation in my back.

    - Roughly 6 months ago an x-Ray showed my back was healthy regardless of my weight or my sedentary life style. Recent CT showed it was very straight.
    - CT showed pelvis was misaligned
    - Doing a straight leg lift causes pain in my hip joint
    - Intense pain immediately standing from a sitting or laying position
    - Inability to sleep on my right side without "pressure pain" and I can no longer sleep in the position that was comfortable
    - Extreme pain sitting, relief standing. I find that walking and standing are the more painful in my hip specifically, but cause radiating numbness after time
    - Almost zero sciatica in left leg outside of radiating numbness to thigh when standing for a duration

    So my questions are, what are some key differences between Lumbar Herniation Sciatica and Sacroiliac Joint Sciatica. The only thing that really makes me concerned that this is some terrible herniation is that standing for extended periods causes numbness on the top of my left thigh. I have reduced back pain, but immense pain in my hip joint and the back of my calf sitting. Thank you all so much for reading this and taking time out of your life to help me keep my head straight. If this does sound more like an SI Joint issues, what are the benefits of that vs a Lumbar issues? Is it more or less serious? I will also more than likely be starting PT next week once a treatment plan is made based off of my test results. I will be doing more reading about SI on here.

    - John
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    You may find it beneficial to use the .......search .....on this site, upper right on page.
    What comes to mind is checking out ......Dermatome map. It may help with understanding how different areas of spine effect which parts of body. (Some people may differ, of course)
    I found it very interesting.

    Also, if you type in ...lumbar hernia sciatica and sacroiliac joint sciatica...as you mentioned......this site has very good articles and videos .
    This site has a special talent in being able to write in everyday language and easily understood articles.....and same for videos.

    They have been very helpful to me, also.

    Good luck with your MRIs. I for one, would be very interested in what your doctor explains to you after more info from testing.
    Keep us posted.....and hang in there!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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