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New Member looking for input

eeyoremom2eeeyoremom2 Posts: 1
edited 09/11/2015 - 9:31 PM in Lower Back Pain
I have had lower back pain for going on 5 years now. I have had 3 RFA two left and one right for L3-S1. I have had numerous xrays and MRI. Most recent was done in June after my Left leg gave out at work and I fell. The report indicate facet joint artropothy in the same levels as indicated above minor degeneration but that was it. My PCP is convinced that my issues are L5 nerve related. I have numbness and tingling sensation in my two toes and also a buzzing sensation in my calf front side and top of my foot. My original spine doctor insist there is nothing more he can do for me. Yet I am in agonizing pain every day some worse then others. While I'm on gabapentin and that helps some I still have a lot of intense pain. It cause me to miss a lot of time from work and fairly enough my husband is frustrated as am I. I take 3200mg of gabapentin and I am on 150mcg fetanyl patches change every 72 hours and then I have oxycodone for breakthrough pain. I am scheduled to see an orthopedic surgeon next week as I want a second opinion. My PCP told me if he can't come up with anything he referring me to neurologist for MS testing. I'm fed up and scared. Any advice you could offer.
L-5 Radiculapathy
Facet Joint Artropothy L3-S1
Chronic lumbosacral pain


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Love your name! Eeyore, my dad nicknamed me piglet. Funny. Hopefully I will be more a combo of pooh and tigger to say, welcome, and you are on right course!

    Sincerely you are. Seeing your doctor, getting those test, that's the process. And glad to hear your primary doctor is managing your pain and helping you to find solution with specialist, that is a definite right step.

    Going to specialist: now is the time to have your game on! These things I'm gonna tell you have worked well for me: bring all reports of Mri, cat scan and X-ray. Don't have them? Get them or the report at least. The specialist have to have them or they will end up sending you out to get them anew. Bring your helping husband! He can't be there? Nope. He has to be there. He is your validation, the person who speaks up and says dr, she is in enormous pain, I see it day in and day out. Yes this medicine she is on is the bandaid, what can you do to fix the cut? Also, those specialist appointments are too much information for one person to take in. He will hear what you don't. He will be your rock during this time and needs to be given superstar roll. And lastly, bring a list of questions and ask them. You are shopping for a solution. You are the consumer trying to fix the faucet. You are considering hiring this plumber. Hear me when I say that while he/she is the specialist, you you you know your body and need to ask every possible question to get it fixed, what are the prognosis for the fixes? Lastly, you can get a second specialist opinion. This is your spine we are talking about.

    About the ms. Don't be afraid. I would guess two thirds of spineys have been tested at some point for ms and lupus and other autoimmune diseases. That is a good doctor you chose. He is building a record of checking the whole you. Why, even now, about to have my third fusion, with the absolute best neurosurgeon, my general doctor is running a lupus screen. Having been tested for ms back in my thirties, I have the luxury of not worrying. It is what it is. I'm just grateful I have doctors looking at the whole me for solution to fitness and activity.

    I have a general, a neurosurgeon, a pain management doctor, a physical therapist and a psychological therapist. Each one is essential to my return to a new normal. They are not in the same office but work well together because I'm an excellent player (I think of them as my basketball team, lol. Sometimes we shift who is point guard, lol!

    My general takes care of my blood pressure and thyroid and kidney (current issue). She refers me to who I need when I need.

    My neurosurgeon is my surgical solution expert. Since I had fusion at 32, I have to have one of these. I had to have fusion, and because of rapid DDD that runs in My family I have had to have adjacent levels at different times fused. We think this one will be my last, but upper levels already show determination to bulge, l2-3, grrr. Luckily I have no clinical presentation of that bulge so we will let it go for now. That is my choice.

    My pain management doctor admins my injections and drugs to keep me comfortable during this process. He works in same office as my physical therapist, so they collaborate as to when I need muscle therapy or muscle building.

    I recently added the therapist for my emotions. In 14 years I never thought I needed one. And I didn't. But now, I find a great source of comfort with her. She is helping me with relaxation. I'm a big believer in meditation, but have trouble staying in a relaxed state when I move because of the physical pain. We are using cognitive therapy approach to relax and visualize so when ice pick and lightning pain comes, I want to be more relaxed instead of tense. The tension I get from movement racks my entire body and leads to more pain. So I'm trying. This is not easy.

    Sorry for my epically long post. I'm a horrible editor. I just wanted to convey you are doing it right! You are! You have a great husband, and that is wonderful. Staying on top of your pain is essential and it sounds like you may need to communicate to your current doctor what you said about pain not controlled. Tell him exactly what you told us and bring your husband and pain journal. If you haven't started one, do so today. Write time of medication, level of pain you are in. Do not always write 10, if ever. You will read why on this forum. Ten gives the doctor nothing to help you with if not writhing in complete agony in front of him. Ten is Immediate emergency, no choice, left untreated you may perish. Learn the pain scale to really really convey.

    For instance, in my case: this morning I woke up because my legs hurt like no ones business. Had to get my gabapentin in me asap. My pain level was 5-6 because even though it was excruciating, I've had worse and I could hobble still to take meds. Muscles start to tense immediately the minute my legs hit ground, oh, that's right, I say to self. You have a back problem. (I am always startled by this, every, single morning). So grab muscle relaxer, pain in back is 4/5, not excruciating, I can stay ahead. I choose not to take the hydrocodiene yet. Hoping I won't need it, but I know I have it and it will give me 4 hours, even though it says 8. I have to be at an 8 to consider it. Hoping not to. I have never had a nine except once, and the doctor was on the phone with me the entire time, until the pain abated to a 7. I am so lucky, I know it, to have such a compassionate doctor. If you don't have one, find him/her.

    I am so sorry to welcome you to this club, but I'm also glad you found us. You will be a positive addition and will find support here. Support is what you need. Sometimes no one can understand but those who live it day in and out. Even plucky happy me can have a horrible day and need a boost. That doesn't mean I'm bipolar. I'm just in pain every single day and human and need other humans who know what this is like.
  • I'm 57 years old and I have had back pain for 20 years, recently I haven't been able to work full time since April 2013 and work at all since this spring. In April this year I had an MRI
  • edited 09/13/2015 - 7:36 AM
    Lumbar spine MRI dated 4/30/2015

    Indication: Lumbar stenosis. Radiculopathy.

    Comparison: Lumbosacral spine radiographs dated 4/30/2015.

    Technique: Sagittal T2, T1, STIR, axial T1 and T2-weighted images were

    Vertebral body heights and alignment are maintained. No evidence for acute
    fracture or bone marrow edema. There is degenerative disc disease involving
    primarily the L5-S1 level, with milder disc disease at the L4-L5 level. Type
    II endplate changes are noted involving the L5-S1 level. The conus terminates
    at L1-L2. Visualized portion of the spinal cord is normal in signal intensity.
    Prevertebral and paravertebral soft tissues appear unremarkable.

    The T12-L1, L1-L2, L2-3 and L3-4 levels are without significant disc
    herniation, central canal or foraminal stenosis. There is a disc bulge,
    asymmetric to the right at L4-L5, along with facet degenerative changes
    causing mild right foraminal stenosis. Considerable disc space height loss is
    noted at L5-S1 with a right foraminal disc protrusion and facet degenerative
    changes causing moderate bilateral foraminal stenosis, right greater than

    The central canal is widely patent at all levels.

    1. Degenerative disc disease primarily involving the L5-S1 level with a right
    foraminal disc protrusion, causing moderate bilateral foraminal stenosis,
    right greater than left.
    2. No significant central canal stenosis.

    EMG normal

    My toes and bottoms of both feet are numb. Back pain limits my walking and standing to just a few minutes.

    ESI first injection reduced my pain significantly but second had little effect, no third injection.

    I'm going to see the surgeon this to review the PT and injections.

    I'm wondering if any one else has feet numbness with a normal EMG?

    No one on the Spine-Health patient forums is medically qualified to provide any advice or recommendations on any diagnostic test. However, the following key words can always be applied.

    • MILD Treated with conservative measures such as Physical Therapy and mild medications. Many times these situations can be cleared up and the condition can be resolved.
      MODERATE Some more treatments may be needed, ie Spinal Injections, Ultra sound and stronger medications. Always a possibility of more aggressive treatment if the conservative measures don't help
      SEVERE Need for stronger medications. The requirement for surgery may be necessary

    Please click on link for helpful information
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    Liz -Spine-health Moderator
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