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I've been coming here for a few weeks to read everyones postings. I must admit at first It scared the hell out of me. I began to think I would never be free of the pain. So many of you suffer and for so many years too.
My story? I first started having lower back pain in my late teenage years. Due to the nature of my employment back then I was suffering regular bouts of lumbar pain in my early twenties. I'm now 37. My four pregnancies were progressively harder in regards to my back pain. I've always had buttock pain during these episodes. This year was the first time I've had full blown sciatica.
This summer July 10th it started. At first I tought I had over worked a few muscles I hadn't used in years. Not so lucky. After I realized it was getting worse and progressively lower in my leg I went to see my primary dr.
He gave me some muscle relaxers and told me to take ibuprofen 600 mg every six hours. He also set up PT for me right away.
After three weeks of PT with no positive results my primary ordered an MRI. Here are the results......................
Findings: There is no evidence of fracture, subluxation or significant loss of vertabral bodyheight. No abnormal marrow signal or abnormal cord signal is seen. Ther is disc desiccation at the L4-5 and the L5-S1 levels. Associated loss of disc space is seen at L5-S1.
At the L3-4 level there is disc bulging with a small broad-based posterior and central disc protrusion. Disc material abuts and mildly indents the ventral thecal sac. There is mild acquired canal narrowing at this level. The neural foriminal remains patent.
At the L4-5 there is more broad-based disc bulging which abuts the ventral thecal sac. Note is made of a small superimposed posterior and central high intesity zone/anular tear. No evidence of central canal stenosis or significant foraminal narrowing.
At L5-S1 there is disc bulging with a superimposed left pericentral disc protrusion. Disc material asymmetrically encroaches the region of the traversing left S1 nerve root, obscuring fat planes ventral to this structure. There is no evidence of central canal stenosis or significant foraminal narrowing.
My Primary recieved the results and told me I had a few herniations. He suggestd a I see a pain specialist.
So I did. My first visit I recieved a caudal ESI. It made my pain worse for about five days. After that I did get some relief. The shooting pains stopped and I was able to start walking a little better. Two weeks later I had my next appointmant with the pain doc. This visit was much different than the first. The dr treated me as if I was being a big baby. He asked me why I wasn't improving at a faster rate. He called me his Pediatric Patient* and said I should have been doing much better by this time.When I asked for the two additional weeks off work my PT suggested, he said he wasn't comfortable giving me any more leave from work. When I told him I could only sleep for a couple hours at a time because of the pain he reluctantly wrote a prescription for Ultram 50 mg. That day we did the second ESI.
After that appointment I decided to educate my self and try to figure out what those MRI results really meant.
I think I have a good understanding now and I'm wondering about the issues at L4-5 level. That central high intensity zone/anular tear wasn't even mentioned in the "impression " notes at the bottom of my MRI results. If I understand all that I've been reading that tear could be leaking nucleus material onto my nerves. This is what I have so many question about. So in which category would you all suggest I start asking all my questions? I'm so glad to have come across this message board!
Thank You in advance!