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Diagnosed cyst and facet joint arthritis.

jdc55jjdc55 Posts: 2
edited 06/03/2015 - 3:33 AM in Lower Back Pain
A quick history. I'm a soon to be 60 year old woman who has had lower back pain on and off for a good long time. Mostly, I think it was normal wear and tear of aging. I was traveling for work extensively for about 5 years (this stopped 2 years ago) and my lower back, left side would ache sitting on a plane for a couple of hours. Same in a car. I always assumed it was from sitting, I still do , I think. Anyway, for the last 6 years I've been an endurance runner (Prior to that I had to stop running during times of knee/ankle surgeries. All has been good.) The last 1 1/2 years I've been doing Crossfit (my coach never pushes us to lift more than we are capable of and always makes certain we are lifting correctly). That lower back would hurt from time to time and I would go to the chiropractor and all would be fixed. However, beginning late fall 2014 my lower back started hurting more than usual. I made quite a few visits to the chiro and it wasn't helping. Even he suggested an MRI...I didn't go for the MRI. The last couple of months my back started hurting more than usual, down my glutes. A few weeks ago I couldn't get into my car because of the sharp pain. Sitting was and still hurts. That sharp pain stopped but I finally went for the MRI. The results are facet arthopathy at L4-L5 bilaterally with mild antoro-listhesis. Well circumascribed round cystic lesion with the left lateral dorsal epidural space at L4-L5 with mass effect on the descending L5 nerve root. Differential considerations include a synovial cyst emanating from the facet joint or a nerve root sleeve cyst. Selective nerve block wiill be helpfu to assess for site of pain. So I have some arthritis but what the heck is this cyst thing because I'm not finding much info in google land and what I have found it not making me happy. I've had cortisone injections in my knee, feet and ankle; sometimes it works for a while, sometimes it only helps for a couple of days. I don't want to give up this very active lifestyle.


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Welcome to Spine-Health

    It would be very helpful if you could provide us with more details. So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong,

    Here are some questions that you should answer:

    - When did this first start?
    - Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
    - What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)
    - What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?
    - What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)
    - What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)
    - Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
    - Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
    - What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?
    Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
    of your situation and make it easier to respond.

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    I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    edited 06/03/2015 - 4:30 AM
    What did your doctor have to say about your increase of painful symptoms the last couple of months? And the pain of not being able to get into your car?

    What kind of doctor are you seeing?
    Is your doctor aware of and approve of your chiropractic treatments?
    Did doctor give you any limitation or restrictions on your activity level at this time?

    If it were me, I would limit myself. Meaning no turning, twisting, bending, and not lifting, in addition to paying attention to your body and if certain movement or activity cause pain, don't do it.
    I would take a break from chiropractor until source of pain was discovered. That is unless spine specialist orders it.

    My primary care doctor tried to treat my chronic pain about two years before referring me to pain management/ neurologist specialist. One of the tests he did was an EMG.
    For me, EMG was most revealing and indicated areas of concern, effected areas that I never even gave voice to.

    There is a __search__on this site, upper right on page. You might want to type in any of your concerns.
    You may be led to older posts, article or videos. They are stated in every person language and easily understood.
    Personally, I get a lot out of the videos. The video "library" is huge and covering so much.

    Also going to FAQ is very beneficial. It helps one to get the most from this site. I still refer back to it myself.

    I wish you all the best as doctor explains what he sees as your situation and as he explains his plan to help relieve your pain for you to have best quality of life for you.
    Hang in there!

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

  • Hi. I'm not very scientific so I hope my explanation helps a little with the whole cyst thing. I've got lots! Basically you've got 'skin' covering all of your joints. If fluid leaks it makes a little balloon of liquid in the 'skin'. This generally is just symptomatic of problems in the joint. You already know you've got facet joint issues so that's what's causing it. My surgeon says that generally if a cyst itself is the cause of pain (not common) the pain will be relieved by sitting down. If the cyst is causing problems they can deal with that.
    I was really frightened when the first cyst appeared on my MRI. It's something in me that's not supposed to be there!!!!! In my experience it's not something that specialists really worry too much about. There are exceptions. I've now got many huge cysts filling every last bit of space around my spine but my backs a complete mess anyway! I'm seeing a new surgeon soon & we're going to discuss my cyst problem I'll let you know what he says. ;-)

    My only advise is see the right specialists (my pain management doc & board certified spine surgeon) & get the diagnostics & treatments they advise. A lot of things like the injections & blocks can give a lot of relief & even if they don't they answer questions the specialists might have.

    Best of luck.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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