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THIS POST IS LENGTHY BUT ITS EVERY DETAIL! 31F. 3 kids. Back issues x11 years *First time posting* D

tippy_toesRNttippy_toesRN Posts: 2
edited 06/26/2015 - 6:02 AM in Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Problems
Good morning to all my back pain/problem family! I am posting here for the first time, in hopes to get some kind of insight on my back problems. They are at their all time worse, and this Momma (RN in September,2015!) is desperate. I hope to find some kind of resolution before I take my state boards and get a job. I would prefer that my spine be in good condition so that I can take care of my patients without being in pain! I want to be the absolute best nurse possible. I know that you guys might be thinking ,"well she has been through nursing school, she should know more than most." NOT TRUE. We learn the anatomy and function of most things, but we are not taught the specifics of the spine to the extent that I believe I am going to need. Furthermore each case is different, and I would like to hear from other pain sufferers how they have managed and what their experiences have been. I want to make the best decision possible if it comes to surgery.

Okay, now I am going to give you guys a history of where I have been, and where I am now. About 11 (2003-04ish) years ago I went for my first appointment with an orthopedic back specialist. At the time I was only having pain in my thoracic spine. It constantly hurt and felt very week. At that visit, he did a full spinal x-ray from cervical spine all the way down to my coccyx. He diagnosed me with Sherman's Kyphosis (Hunchback) and scoliosis, he said with a 45 degree curvature. He prescribed Ibuprofen 800mg, and physical therapy. He also said we needed to follow up periodically to monitor how fast it was progressing. I went to physical therapy for about 2-3 months, but it got soooo expensive that I had to quit. I did some exercises at home for a while and then I honestly quit. I was still hurting. I never went back anywhere else I just dealt with it. Moving on to 2009 and two children later. I got a job working at a local orthopedic surgeon/specialist office. They happened to have a back specialist! How convenient lol I chose to start seeing him. I had my records sent over and had an appointment with my new ortho. I had new x-rays done. He told me that I DID NOT HAVE KYPHOSIS. He said that I did have some scoliosis and arthritic changes, but chalked my back pain up to me being overweight. At this time I was at the smallest point in my entire life (I had the gastric bypass) and was only MAYBE 20lbs over normal weight. I got another prescription of IBUPROFEN 800mg and I think flexeril, and another prescription to PT. Then in late 2009 I received news that I was pregnant with my 3 (and final!) child. During this pregnancy I started to have what I thought were nerve problems in my right lower back. Not over my actual spine, but the in the area where you hurt when you have a very bad UTI. It was awful and left me bed ridden. I could not stay in any position for to long, I could not straighten my back completely when walking. I could not bend over. It was horrible.The pain did not radiate down my legs. It was just a horrible pain that was what I know believe to be my SI joint. I want to clarify that it did NOT radiate it was in one area that I could/can pinpoint. I chalked it up to being pregnancy related. When I had my epidural it was awful. The anesthesiologist could not find the correct spot ( I am guessing due to my scoliosis?}, I was poked 4-5 times and EVERY TIME she inserted the needle the most awful pain ran down my spine into the spot where I had experienced the pain during pregnancy and yes at this time down my leg. This is all on my right side. The pain,(the nerve pain not the actual insertion of the needle), caused me to scream and cry every time she tried to get it. Eventually she said she got it and during labor only one side of the epidural was effective, and I cannot remember which side :(. I am going to add this because I want everyone to understand, the pain was so awful that I was scheduled to have a tubal ligation done the next day. When I found out that they were going to just do another epidural block and not give me general anesthesia, I had a breakdown and canceled the procedure. I couldn't do it again, and I chose to have ANOTHER SURGERY for the tubal 6 weeks later. That is how bad the pain was. Post baby I was still having the problems in the SAME spot, R lower back. I went back to my ortho, and after an MRI he referred me to a pain specialist. I really wish I had that first MRI. Anyway, the pain doctor began giving me injections (facet blocks and steroid injections) in my lumbar spine. Oh wow those helped my actual spinal pain (that I had gone to the first ortho for), but never the right sided lower back. Never. Eventually since those had been effective in my spinal pain, he did some radio frequency ablations. Once after one of those I had a year pain free! So after several flare ups of the lower right back pain, I went to the pain management doctor and sat down with him and described what I was going through and he said, OH that is your SI joint, lets go get you an injection right now and see if that helps! I was thrilled and feeling hopeful. I will say that those helped a little, never relieving all of the pain except for once, when I went and had 3 in a matter of a week or two. Like back to back injections. I did have some relief after that one. This cycle goes on from then until now. In February of this year, after I had maxed out my insurance on the amount of shots and ablations you can get, I went back to him for another appointment in desperation and just cried. I asked him what we were going to do. New symptoms had also started. I began having pain that almost felt like deep nerve pain in my thighs bilaterally, but more pronounced on the right side. The pains are intermittent, and are on the anterior and lateral thigh only. The pain does NOT radiate down the entire leg. Also at times while sitting down I feel burning sensations in my lower legs that are relieved by position changes, and sometimes when climbing stairs or walking UP something I get a burning sensation on the TOP of my RIGHT foot that is relieved after planting my foot down and all weight is evenly distributed on a flat surface. He told me at that time that we needed a new MRI of the LUMBAR spine to see what I have going on now since these things are no longer working. I will now post those results.

L1-L2: Severe disc dessication is seen. Left paracentral disc protrusion is identified. This produces left lateral recess stenosis and left neural foraminal narrowing. Thecal sac is displaced by approximately 25%.
L2-L3: Moderate disc desiccation is seen. No central canal or neural foraminal stenosis is seen.
L3-L4: Moderate disc desiccation is seen. Small left paracentral disc protrusion produces mild left lateral recess stenosis. Moderate facet degenerative changes are noted. Thecal sac is displaced by approximately 15%.
L4-L5: Moderate disc desiccation is seen. There is a right paracentral disc protrusion producing right lateral stenosis and mild right neural foraminal narrowing. The thecal sac is displaces approximately 15%.
L5-S1: Moderate disc desiccation is seen. There is a left paracentral disc protrustion identified. This produces left lateral stenosis. Moderate facet degenerative change is noted. The thecal sac is minimally effaced.

IMPRESSION: Extensive multilevel dicogenic degenerative changes with multilevel disc protrusions as described in detail above. The only protrusion on the right is noted at the L4-L5 level. The remainder are on the left side. The most pronounced levels are T12-L1 and L1-L2.

When the results of this MRI came in, the pain management doctor said he didn't know I had issues that far up. He said that normally issues of the T spine occur from some sort of trauma or fall. I have fallen in my life yes lol, and I was involved in a car accident before all of this started where I flipped my car, but my thoughts are wouldn't that have shown up on my very first MRI???? I have had no trauma since the first MRI. At this appointment he went ahead and did another steroid injection at T12-L1 I believe, it was higher up than he had ever injected me before. I FELT WONDERFUL X3DAYS! 3 days pain free was awesome. I didn't even have the right sided back pain. Nothing it was great. I could walk upright it was wonderful.
Okay, now other physical symptoms I have that could be related are: FREQUENT headaches, bladder leakage/incontinence (which could be from previous pregnancies), and IBS.

I think this is all the info relevant to this issue. One thought I have had is that on the radiologist impression he mentions the T spine having some issues. This MRI was ordered for the Lumbar spine, so I know that he wouldn't mention anything further up. Wonder if there are issues further up??? I would greatly appreciate any advice, insight, just anything. Anyone experiencing this, and what has helped. I am so desperate and of course back in pain. I just want to feel better.

Thanks to everyone in advance.

Welcome to Spine-Health

One of the most important things that need members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. It is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. This is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding and your thread is more effective.

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, The fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. Many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

Here are some questions that you should answer:

  • - When did this first start?

    . Year, Your age, etc
- Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
- Are there others in your family with similar medication conditions?
- What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)

  • . Which doctor did you start with? Ie Primary Care Physician
    . Who are you currently seeing?
- What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?

  • . Physical Therapy
    . Ultrasound / Tens unit
    . Spinal Injections
    . Acupuncture
    . Massage Therapy
- What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)

  • . Summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them
    . How many different tests have you had over the years? Similar results?
- What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)

  • . Name of Medication
    . How long have you been using this?
    . Results
- 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.

Please take a look at our forum rules: Forum Rules

I also strongly suggest that you take a look at our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) which can be found at the top of the forum menu tab or by going to FAQ There you will find much information that will

  • - Help you better utilize the Spine-Health system
    - Provide pointers on how to make your threads / posts
    - Tips on how to create your avatar (your picture), posting images, etc
    - General pieces of valuable information

Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.
Everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
As such, no member is permitted to provide

  • - Analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie MRI, CTscan, Xray, etc)
    - Medical advice of any kind
    - Recommendations in terms of Medications, Treatments, Exercises, etc

What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

It is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). It is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are

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

Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways it’s like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

Specific comments :

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 06/26/15 12:05 est



  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 07/03/2015 - 3:46 PM
    Hi. I'm so sorry that you haven't had any replies yet. I'm a mess too! I understand. If I were you I'd have a consultation with a board certified surgeon. Make sure you have the actual discs of your diagnostic imaging, he's going to want to see them. I'm not saying that you need surgery but you definitely need a new diagnosis & advise. I'd be worried about having the thecal sac impingement & bladder leakage. Please let us know how you get on.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    First off, congratulations on being an RN in September of this year!
    That was a lot of hard work esp. while in pain and pregnancies and life!
    It's a good profession, also, because there are many avenues open to you! Variety of jobs many that would not include lifting of patients.

    I used to be a nurse, a hundred years ago, and when doctors know that, I remind them that I very much want to hear all the information as if for the very first time as it is directly related to me.
    Being the patient, being on the other side, it may feel difficult at first, but having a good doctor to assess, guide you, and at times reassure you, is priceless.
    My doctors have all understood. Never a problem.

    Even though medical professionals study hard and pass boards, when it comes to it, I think esp. spinal situations and pain management__ we are all so individual in our responses to treatments, medications, tolerating activity levels.....we need individualized care.

    You and your doctor seem to agree you need further testing related to thoracic issues.
    MRI are not diagnosis in themselves, but tool for doctor to make diagnosis.

    Many times my PM doctor would be talking out loud to himself while reviewing my CDs and saying, __He missed this. He wrote this but it is not here. It means something else___ or that the impression contradicts itself.
    There are also other tests besides the MRI. When I had my EMG, nerve conduction testing, that was most revealing to me...and to doctor. That is when my thoracic and cervical issues were noticed.

    Re your symptoms, I always notify PM doctor of all my symptoms. Esp. with new symptoms, I will call and speak with the nurse to leave message for doctor....when I am in between appointments and need to wait month or so.
    He is best to assess and determine if your issues are spine related and may need sooner than later attention, or if they are related to you pregnancies.

    You may find it useful to use the __search__upper right on page. Type in your concerns and you may be led to older posts, articles and or videos. All very informative.
    When I would search, I often times would have more questions. Sometimes I would continue to search, but often I would write questions down, making a list for my doctor appointment.

    I wish you the very best! Please keep us posted on how you are doing!

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

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