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Chronic lower back pain - 8 years

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Lower Back Pain
(Sorry this is so long) :( I am writing here now to ask a few questions. Although I am under the care of a doctor, he isn't doing much to answer my questions so I thought I would come here. I am 33 yrs old and started with lower back pain while pregnant with my third child, 8 years ago.

I have had the following tests:
MRI (2 of them since 2005 and another coming up in a week)
CT Scans (4 since 2005)
Tons of x-rays
1 set of steroid injections
Various blood tests to rule out thyroid issues, diabetes, and other issues.

I have had chronic pain, but it was not debilitating; well that was until November 2007. Now it is so painful I cannot stand it anymore. When I see my doctor he acts as if my pain and issues are "not as bad as I make them out to be."

I have very, very bad back pain on both sides, but the left is worse than the right (aching and almost electric bolts of pain and sometimes stabbing);
Pain radiating down to my toes (hips, back & side legs, calves, bottom of foot, & toes;
Pins & Needles all the time in my left leg & foot;
Numbness & pain in my left groin (including outer vaginal area);
Weakness in my left leg that causes me to fall (I now walk with a cane);
Almost constant muscle spasms in my left leg; and finally
Stress incontinence (which started about 4 weeks ago).

Up until lately, the only thing the doctor has done for me is to put me on MS Contin & Percocet. I saw an ortho doctor last week and he wants me to have another MRI then he is going to refer me to a spinal surgeon.

Anyone know what I can expect at this appointment? Anyone have similar issues to what I have? Anyone have surgery done? What (if you don't mind) were your experiences with surgery? Most of all, did it work and how much pain are you experiencing on a daily basis now?


  • Wow, I'm sorry for all your symptoms. It does sound like you are on the right path though - getting an MRI and heading to an ortho to get to the bottom of all this. I wouldn't jump the gun on the idea of surgery yet - there are other non-invasive modalities that your doctor will probably recommend first.

    Use this time in between doctor appts to research everything you can about your symptoms, your diagnosis, what surgery or other treatment is recommended, and the expected outcomes of such treatment. Education is your best offense and your best defense when it comes to your health.

    Make sure that you are comfortable with the surgeon you are referred to, that he/she takes enough time to LISTEN to you and that explains stuff back in a way you can understand and work with. If not, or if you are otherwise uncomfortable with that surgeon, get a second opinion. It doesn't mean that second opinion is more correct than the first, but they should be consistent that (1) you need surgery and (2) you are a good surgerical candidate. This is all in your own best interest.

    Good luck with everything and stay in touch! Let us know how your appt goes. Read lots of posts for anecdotal information but also scour the rest of the Spine-Health website for more technical, informative data that you need to know.

    Best wishes :)
  • Just had an MRI w/ contrast. Plus and EMG- nerve test. This is my second MRI in 7 months and with contrast its showed everything. I have been suffering since '92, I am now 55. I too live in chronic pain. I had an L5S1 laminectomy in '93 and a fusion in '94. Daily it is a painful reminder. I have been getting relief from cortisone injections. Maybe when you had the baby if you had an epidural for childbirth this has caused some probs?. Go to a neurologist over an orthopedist. Get a good pain management dr. Try and MRI w contrast.Obviously something isnt right. It's up to you to figure out which direction to turn to. I am so sorry for these problems. I couldnt even take care of my kids (bath, getting them out of the crib) For me, it's always something with the back. Spasms, pain, but the lastest in my left leg- which is 75% weaker than the right. If on the floor I can NOT get up.DOES THE CANE HELP YOU FROM FALLING, because my legs been buckling? I have found out that i have a cyst pressing on nerves and severe spinal stenosis. Surgery time again. Luckily I live in N.Y. so I have choosen Dr Cammisa at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Keep me posted as to new develpments or email me trotterleg@aol.
  • I have had back problems since my pregnancy in the year 2000 but it was always better or worse but I was able to function and care for my 2 kids. Since last February I have shooting leg pain. I did my MRI in February and it showed that I have 2 herniated disks. Since the beginning of January I was in bed for 2 weeks with so much pain in the right leg that I cannot walk or sit. I am going to my chiropractor now and I am scheduled for microdiscectomy with Dr. Federico Girardi on February 17th at the Hospital for Special Surgery. He is an orthopedic surgeon so everybody is telling me that I should go to an neurosurgeon. I am doing spinal decompression at my chiropractor's office now. Even though my chiropractor is telling me that I do not need surgery I think that not being able to walk or sit is a good indication. I have done accupuncture and epidura/steroid shots already. I would love to get advice from people that have had this kind of surgery and about this doctor if anybody knows him. Best of luck to everyone. Sorry for this long story.
  • I am sorry to hear about your pain. I have pain shooting down my leg and it is hard to walk or sit. How did you choose Dr. Cammisa at the Hospital for special Surgery? I am scheduled for a microdiscectomy with Dr. Federico Girardi at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Everyone is telling me that it is not good that he is an orthopedic surgeon and that I need to find a neurosurgeon. What do you think? I am also a little worried because I cannot ever talk to him on the phone and I always talk to his assistant. I would appreciate an advice because that is the only think that keeps me going these days.
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