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Hello everybody - young adult from LI, NY 1 month 'til wrist surgery and l5-s1 fusion. Nervous . . .

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:21 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi there everyone. I have been reading the postings on this board for quite some time just trying to figure out whether I am doing the right thing. My problem is that I have dessication from L3-L5 from spondylolisthesis at L5-S1 which is partially sacralized. L5 is sacralized to S1 (there's a difference). I have read mixed professional opinions and studies on the presence of a transitional vertebra. I have had 3 consults- 1 from neurosurgeon and 2 from ortho's. I saw the neurosurgeon for about a year during which I tried PT, nerve blocks, SI joint injections (had a few of those, none of which did anything), TENS (helped when I knew I'd be standing for awhile cause it's kinda like being massaged), various NSAIDs and stronger anti-inflammatory's and muscle relaxers, and heat and cold therapy. I am not willing to take any pain meds stronger than a Vic because I cannot function since I'm on meds to keep the mind in check. Prior to that I had seen an orthopedic surgeon who I wasn't too impressed with, who wanted to focus on some arthritic changes to the SI joints but never ordered any studies of my back, which I had presented to him in the first place. The other ortho is my current physician who suggested, based on the extent of my conservative measures, that instability caused by the partially sacralized l5 has caused neurological compromise at l4-l5. No cauda equina compromise. I have an ok balance right now, just sort of trying to ignore the pain and knowing that there's a possibility that the pain could possible be better over time after the surgery (wrist 8/28 and back 9/10). I am 23 but have had the back problem for about 3 years now. I have to wear pantyliners because I'm pretty incontinent at this point, and have chronic diarrhea. Numbness on the left side, mainly inner thigh and hip. Colonoscopy ruled everything out. Urinary consult came up with nothing. The doc doing the surgery said nothing about these symptoms - I'm just being the curious person I am and wondering if there can be a correlation between my spine issues and bladder/bowel dysfunction. If anyone would like to share, please enlighten me.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

    Welcome To Spine-Health

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact (PM) any one of the Moderators here Priestess , Bruce , Paulgla, DiLauro

    The Spine-Health Web site offers so much more than these Member Forums.
    Check the various tabs at the top of the Spine-Health page and you will find so much that is offered here.

    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    As Paul stated there is defintely a relationship between some lumbar provides and bladder problems.
    Here is a link that might provide some more details:

    Btw: Where abouts from Long Island are you from?
    I was born in Floral Park, which is next to Garden City.
    I spent a good part of my younger life all around Long Island.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • :D That's awesome! Thanks for the link! I actually live in FP, which is hilarious. Near Cherry Ln off Jericho. I moved here a year ago from Florida.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    Cudas mum,

    Everyone has the right/option to take or not to take different strengths of pain medications. There are medical situations in which the only realistic treatment is higher doses of those medications.
    Here is the dilemma.
    For some people, taking higher doses are not an option for whatever reason they have.
    Never the less, your body needs to attempt to control and manage this pain. If narcotic medications is not the answer, they you have to look for other alternative methods. Those above what you have already tried.

    Examples: Aqua Therapy, Massage Therapy.

    Besides the spine specialists that you have seen, have you discussed this with your PCP? or perhaps seeing a Urologist.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    I lived on Orchid Street, which was right near Stewart Avenue.
    I went to Floral Park Memorial High School.
    Back when... On Jericho Turnpike, there was a super Ice Cream store (Bryers) A neat Italian Resturant (Stellas) a Movie Theater , and of course some bars.
    I have no idea if any of those are still around.
    So Cherry Lane should be near Lowell Ave and close by to both Hillside Ave and Lakeville Drive.
    Wow, some one else from Floral Park - small world

    More importantly is for you to find ways to manage what you are currently going through

    Take care

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi Suzanne,

    Sorry that you are here at such a young age, but better to be in the company of those that understand you than out there by yourself!

    What muscles are twitching? Nerve impingement in my lower back caused my calf muscles to twitch. The problems in my neck cause my triceps to twitch.

    I have discovered over the last few months, much like Paul, that the c-spine controls more of the lower body than people are aware of. For instance, right now my SCS (although in my neck) is stimulating my butt, my groin area, my hamstrings, lower quads, calves, shins and feet (as well as what it's supposed to in my upper body).

    So is your doc worried about the issues you have with your bowel and bladder?

    Anyway, welcome to Spine Health.

  • Haglan -
    Thank you for your reply. Everyone is extremely friendly in this forum! Much appreciated. 8) About the twitching ... mainly the larger surface muscles like hamstrings and glut (this is strange, but yes, my butt is twitching all the time). I have gotten some very strange areas of twitching like the thoracic region or tiny areas of my hip and thighs. I was in an auto accident 3 years ago but wasn't brought to the ER until about 5 hours after when someone realized that the (facial) swelling was severe and that there was something wrong with my eye. Basically, when I was whipped forward (we rear-ended a car sitting at a red light doing about 55), I pretty much punched myself in the face (inadvertently, of course) and my ring went in my eye and so everyone was worried about that trauma, nobody realized that my back hurt and my shoulder was killing me. The shoulder resolved itself for the most part, and the eye healed after months of steroids and opthalmological attention. I have always thought that the accident might have just caused some microtrauma that was never attended to and maybe that's what these random symptoms are. I have never had any C-spine studies ordered. Only thing wrong with the shoulder was tendonitis (played tennis for years).
  • Hi Suzanne, I am sorry to hear about your troubles. I don't have much advice, since I am new to all of this back stuff myself. I have found this forum to be very helpful. As you can see, everyone here is very nice, and understanding. I'ts always nice to have someone else who understands. I hope that you are able to find some relief with surgery!!!

    Feel free to PM me anytime... would love to chat!!

  • Ron -
    Thank you for the useful information. I had a urinary consult and the doc didn't find anything. As one point, I saw a rheumotologist [a wonderful one, I must note], who had the impression that I was suffering from ankylosing spondylosis "bamboo spine". He ran labs and checked for HLA-B27, which is a marker for the disease. It came back negative. He said that the possibility of it being the cause of my problems was not completely ruled out, however there is positive correlation between the presence of the gene and the disease. He suggested seeing the neurologist. My GI doc checked for Crohn's, Celiac disease, and some other inflammatory bowel diseases, but all came back negative. I have made him my PCP, but, unfortunately, have not seem him for some time as I have been in school and seeing my 2 ortho's on a rather frequent basis. The GI/PCP is awaiting my fecal sample analysis to then decide upon upper GI/barium or another colo. Too many tests! It's difficult because I grew up seeing the same pediatrician from birth to high school. Since then, I have had to change physicians frequently as I have moved around. I am going to try to make these posts shorter. I try not to talk about this with most of my friends because they have no idea what I'm talking about in the first place. Thanks for letting me share!
  • to SH. Is your surgeon a spine specialist? Are you sure that he fully understood that you were having problems with your bowels and bladder? If so, I am sure that you are fine but sometimes when surgery is put off too long it can cause cauda equine which is irreversable to my knowledge. Good luck to you and please kep us posted on your progress.
    BTW- I too am sacralized at L5. All of my docs have acted like it is no big deal. I would be curious as to what you know about it.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    Hi Suzanne.
    and hi to Cuda your fish!

    Worst thing about being in pain and discomfort is NOT knowing what is the root cause! Without knowing that, the treatments might not be so successful.
    Reading your posts, its hard to say "Well go so this doctor or that doctor or that one" Sounds like you have been there already.
    Have there been any Spinal diagnostic tests done? MRI, CTScan, Myleogram, Discogram, EMG, etc.
    You are so young and it is so very important to get to the root cause of pain and discomfort, Hopefully through research and looking at the different things that Spine-Health provides you will know more about your situation.
    Meanwhile, welcome to the Spine-Health Family! We are such a diverse group with so many different paths, problems, conditions, etc, but one thing we all share ..... caring about others. Thats where Spine-Health excels.
    We cant fix problems, but we sure can provide a sounding board, a place to look for information or just exchange ideas. One thing you will find here, is that everyone is willing to discuss your problem. We've all be there before and know that sometimes it is so difficult to talk to someone else who does not understand what pain and discomfort is all about.
    Use this site to get the information you need.
    Use tis site to find others that you can share your epxerience with
    Use tis site to vent and get things of your chest

    And if anytime you get frustrated and not sure where to turn, just email me at: rdilauro@gmail.com
    I will do everything I can tohelp

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Suzanne,

    I found out the hard way that whiplash injuries can take years and years to present themselves. I had surgery last year to help with the result of a whiplash injury that happened back in the mid 80's. The symptoms began about 10 years ago and were managed with medications. Unfortunately it continued to progress and I am now in the mess I am in. Although thanks to my little electronic friend I am going about doing things now and enjoying life again!

    So just because your MVA happened a while back, doesn't mean that it can't be causing you issues now. The type of docs that educated me on the result of whiplash injuries are pain management specialists. The ones that work in the interventional pain management clinics. No one else ever asked anything about possible whiplash incidents until I went to these folks.

    And Ron is 100% correct. Use this place to vent anytime! We are a global site, and there's bound to be someone on line at all hours. It shouldn't take too long before you get a reply.

  • :( I have had 3 MRIs, one that was a combination of both the pelvis and the lumbar spine (this was prescribed by the rheumatologist). One of the MRIs was read more extensively by the radiologist than the others, thereby appearing to appreciate further degeneration; however, all four docs who reviewed the studies agreed on the following being potential causes for symptomatic findings: large central disc protrusion at l4-l5 (mild dessication l2-l4) with partial sacralization of l5-s1. Severe lordotic curve and Schmorl's node on l3. The doc doing my surgery in Sept. has diagnosed me with Bertolotti's syndrome. I imagine cauda equina could arise from such a syndrome given certain conditions.
  • MRI of pelvis revealed the same as the latter, along with some mild arthritic changes to both SI joints. Thank you all for your continued support.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    Hi Suzanne,

    I started to read about Bertolotti's syndrome and from what I have read, its something that can occur in your late twenties or thirties... But you have seem to have this at your age.
    Its not that uncommon, but somewhat unusual.

    I always try to point to an article right here at Spine-Health, but when there is no information available here, I will look elsewhere.
    Here is something worth reading

    Hope some of this helps you in your research
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • . . . ended up in the ER Fri for pain control, though I only accepted a Demerol injection (I work with a lot of the staff in the ER and we speak frankly). I figured it would be better to be as I had to drive home anyways. The pain hadn't been so bad in the morning, but it goes so deep into my hip and it's so hard to put weight on that leg. Employee health sent me to the ER and then I was on my way home. Wish I hadn't had a flair-up, but I suppose I'll figure out a way to make up the time. Things improved slightly over the weekend, so I'm not so scared that I still have 2 weeks until I go out for my surgeries. To answer your question ... my ortho finished his residency in '78 in general orthopedic surgery. He is a spine/joint replacement specialist and his partner is a hand specialist. Another spine surgeon who will be doing the procedure with him. The other spine surgeon did his residency at a hip center. I see both of them because they have a very thorough nature about them. They asked me about my previous treatment and ordered more MRIs. What I have read and derived from my dr's explanation about bertolotti's (my case, specifically) is that there is partial sacralization at l6-s1 (transitional vertebra present). There's a significant difference between partial and complete sacralization because this causes there to be a motion discrepancy where the joint is false and weak. Thus, the disc space above the partially sacralized transitional vertebra shows signs of degeneration (central disc protrusion). Old MRI showed Schmorl's node on L4 but I was told that it's a rather insignificant finding. I haven't asked my dr but I figured he'd see that if it was there. Could have been a radiology misread when the first films were reviewed. Apparently, there's a lot of inflammation around the joint and lots of spastic activity in the sacropelvic region. While I was in the ER, the PA, who was excellent, called my surgeon to discuss the bowel/bladder symptoms and numbness. The PA inquired about ordering another MRI. My dr felt it would be fruitless because if he has to decompress the nerve, it's typically part of the type of procedure he's doing, depending on the etiology of the patient's symptoms. My procedure is in less than a month, so I agreed. I think it depends if that's what's causing the symptoms. It's a much different pain than having large herniations or sciatica, which I don't have too bad, because it's mechanical. It's an asymmetry that causes degeneration. You are right about cauda equina syndrome. That's why I agreed that the ER was probably a good idea just to make sure.
  • My friend just had a piece of the bone in his wrist taken about about an inch since it had grown faster than his other arm it was causing some problems i saw pictures of the surgery pretty gross but really not bad. We did someEDITEDfor a surgeon a few months ago

    Spam link not allowed. Removed by authority member, Cath111.
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