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Would love some input any info on my recent diagnosis.

florabella7fflorabella7 Posts: 1
edited 11/26/2015 - 8:01 PM in Lower Back Pain
After x-rays the official diagnosis is : L5-S1 disk space is narrowed with slight retrolisthesis of L5 on s1.

My doctor described it to me, and I only looked at the official paperwork after I'd left office. So, I was left with questions. He said I basically had a 'slipped disk'. But I'm confused because when I look all this stuff up a slipped disk is akin to a herniated disk, or disk bulge. I asked him if they were the same and he said no. I asked if it were possible that the disk was herniated and he said it was but that I would need an MRI to determine that and he wants to just wait and see what happens, now that we know as much as we do. He advised me to take 500 mg of naproxin a day, Norco for pain as needed (though this has been an issue of extreme discomfort, and loss of some mobility, and not a huge 'pain' issue; that said it's changing my life because I can't sit for long, I can't lean forward or bend very easily, and sometimes I feel it more than other times.) He also wants me to do strengthening exercises, ice/heat when necessary... and that's it for now. Possibly doing physical therapy in the future. Again he just wants to wait and see. A side note, which just seems odd, when I had the x-rays and blood work done, I guess they found that I have mild bladder infection, but I have not been aware of any symptoms, other than not feeling very well, but I have just been so concerned with the back issue, maybe I've not noticed. I am now on antibiotics. I only mention this in case anyone has any idea of there being a correlation between the two issues...

History: On August 6th I definitely injured something back there lifting a dog out of a doggy door. I had to lift her up repeatedly the next day after I knew/felt I'd really 'tweeked' my back, because she was sick and I was alone. Ever since then I have had these issues. I cannot sit for long without having a really hard time getting up, and there are many things I can't really do due to the discomfort. This last week I had a day of sneezing and everytime weather lying down or standing I could hardly find a proper way to brace myself before the zap of pain when the sneeze happened. It's confusing, because at times it feels like its getting better and than, like recently, it's feeling worse.

I have done some swimming, probably too much bed rest, epsom salt baths, and heating pads prior to getting the x-rays and finally a start at a diagnosis.

So... hoping anyone can shine a little more light on this... Unfortunately the written diagnosis does not have any measurements of "narrowing" of disk, or displacement of the vertebrae other than the words 'slight'.

He said this could take a year or more to heal, or it could be sooner... Kind of left me hanging and a bit dismayed...

Would love to hear any info, thanks.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 11/26/2015 - 8:02 PM
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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
  • purplegirl34ppurplegirl34 Posts: 28
    edited 11/27/2015 - 11:33 PM
    I had to look that one up to find out what it even is lol. According to what I read it's when one of the vertebra slips backwards a little, and causes pain and limited mobility. Usually it slips backwards because of a degenerative disc (I think). From the websites I found this on, they said the usual treatment was more or less what your dr has recommended for you. Rest, pain meds and once the inflammation passes physical therapy and maybe even a chiropractic adjustment. Overall I would say your dr is probably doing the right thing by holding off on a rather expensive MRI to see if rest and pt do you any good. [edit]

    As far as slight narrowing of the disc goes, those terms are relative, depending on your age that may be completely normal and not a cause for great concern. It [edit]

    The bladder infection [edit]. Women more than men have that issue. I've struggled with that after back surgery as well, for me baby wipes helped but if you happen to have a removable shower head near enough to the toilet a little spray down when you go should fix that right up for you.

    Hope things get better for you:)

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

  • September 27th a day I will not forget. Ran/walked 6 miles, swam 4 laps in Olympic pool, followed by squats w/35lb kettle bell. After the squats felt discomfort in my lower back, pain level 2-3.. Applied ice X 3 for 20 mins over 3 hours. At 2:15 a.m. awoke with 10+ pain in the middle lower back. 7-8 pain bilateral left Pelvic area down to the knee. Waited a week with Dr google self treatment more ice, heavy Tylenol arthritis med.. Even tried walking over the pain. 10 days later could no longer sleep in the bed, Tried recliner, and floor. Result after complete exhaustion would sleep for 1.5 hours on the floor on right side away from the pain..Could not sleep on my back. Finally visited our family practitioner. I am 70 years old retired, and proud of my health and physical condition. This injury has me literally at my knees. Medication of hydrocodone, Tramadol, and now gabapentin, have proven little to no relief from pain. Three weeks into physical therapy (an MRI) without contrast reveal 5 bulging disc with arthritis. The middle lower back pain has subsided to a 2-3 level.. I am told this all will heal in 1 year. The left side pelvic pain to the knee continues at a constant 6, with spurts to 9. Therapy begins with 10 minutes steam heat, 10 minutes electrolysis, 10 minutes ultra sound. followed by 30 minutes of intense stretching away from the injured side, light muscle development exercises focused to the core and back. End with 10 minutes of traction. Three times per week. Visit with Neurosurgeon he recommended steroid injections, I declined, he followed with spinal fusion recommendation. I declined. 10 days later after driving 600 miles to visit grandchildren my lower middle back pain has returned to a 6-7, relieved only by heat, and stationary sitting in a hard wood chair.. I cannot walk 25 yards without absolute fatigue in my left leg and pelvis. I have fallen twice because of this muscle failure. I have noticed lack of definition in my left quad. Atrophy is now a fear. I will appreciate all discussion. I am scheduled for a contrast MRI on Tuesday 1 December. A little gun shy of surgery at my age, but do not like the negative aspect of the slow healing process. I have gained 10lbs as well. Thank you all. I need to get back to 1/2 marathon next year.
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