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Large central herniated disc causing severe canal stenosis

Izzybee91IIzzybee91 Posts: 2
edited 10/29/2015 - 4:05 PM in Lower Back Pain
I have had chronic mild/moderate lower back pain that's worse when I sit or stand for long periods for about six years...pretty much when I started college. Finally a few months ago I went to see an orthopedic surgeon. From x-rays he thought maybe I had some disc degeneration and a little arthritis, and sent me to physical therapy. The first session (the evaluation) was so painful I went to the ER afterward. Diagnosis was lumbar strain, gave me lots of meds, It improved after a week or two, and I continued with PT. Then I started having sciatica in my right leg, so I went back to the doctor and he ordered and MRI. They called me back within 4 hours of the test and told me I had a large herniated disc that's pressing on my spinal cord. Also signs of disc degeneration. Right now I feel like I'm back to my typical chronic back pain and very little leg pain if any. My doctor immediately was telling me I'm a candidate for surgery, and that this is the largest herniated disc he's ever seen in someone who is not in debilitating pain. He was shocked I wasn't jumping at the chance for surgery. Since my herniated disc is large and is causing severe central canal stenosis, I'm wondering if there is a risk of me developing cauda equina syndrome. Do they usually do surgery to prevent that? Or if it's not causing severe pain or other symptoms do they just treat conservatively? He said he bought surgery would be successful for the herniation but there's no way I've had this for years and there's no guarantee it will help with that pain. Is this going to progress into something worse??

Welcome to Spine-Health

One of the most important things that 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?
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  • . Name of Medication
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Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
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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 : 10/29/15 22:05 est



  • purple99ppurple99 Posts: 5
    edited 11/05/2015 - 9:58 AM
    It seems to me it is possible. I had an enormous herniated disk. It had been bothering my for 6 months but I was dealing with it. I finally had an MRI and was shocked I had that thing and had no clue. I was due to consult a surgeon but before that happened something "shifted" while I was in the shower washing my hair. All I knew at the moment was I was in terrible pain but after the pain subsided a bit I discovered I had lost all feeling and strength in my right leg, some in my left with some saddle numbness. I went to the ER and was transferred for surgery. As I waited for my surgery I felt the urge to urinate but was no longer able to do so. They diagnosed me with Cauda Equina and I went to surgery...about 12 hours after the incident. Fortunately all of my bowel and bladder functions returned. I still can't feel a part of my leg and foot and have been in physical therapy trying to get strength back but I think the feeling is gone for good. If I were you I would be hyper vigilant about any change in strength of your legs, ankles and foot as well as bladder changes. Looking back I can see there was some bladder impairment but I was chalking it up to IBS. If you notice a sudden change bring your MRI disk and head to the ER.
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