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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,322
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Chronic Pain
For the past three years I have suffered from intense lower back pain that radiates into my right thigh, as well as a burning sensation in the saddle region of my groin.

I have a seizure disorder. My lower back/groin pain began after a particulary harsh convulsive attack, having collapsed into a coffee table. Because at the time I was uninsured, I went without the usual battery of testing. My primary physician took mercy on me, and prescribed 30mg MSCONTIN and Percocet 5mg for breakthrough pain, as well as the usual array of steroids, etc. Once I was again covered by health insurance, I under went my first M.R.I., the results of which listed only "minimal disc buldge at L4 & L5 with no compression of the spine or nerves". My doctor all but accused me of lying to him, because in his opinion my reported level of pain was disproportionate to the "injury". He immediately pulled me off of the morphine and percocet (cold turkey). I tried to explain that no matter what this M.R.I. is showing, I am truly suffering from at times horrendous pain, some times I'm not able to even get out of bed. He refused to take any thing I said seriously. Because he so abruptly discontinued the morphine and oxycodone (which I'd been on for nearly a year at that point)I fell into a state of narcotic withdrawal (a truly horrible condition I'd wish on no one.) Once I was on the better end of withdrawal, I began to experiment with cannabis medicinally. It helped with the burning sensation in my groin, as well as the lower back spasms, but not so much for the intense throbbing 8 out 10 rated pain in my lower back.

Fast forward 6 months.Still no real relief from the l.b. pain. I found a new primary physician, and he ordered a new M.R.I., as well as prescribing vicoden, 5/500. The new MRI revealed cysts on the facets at L3, as well as additional disc bulges from L3 through S1. Several months later, an acute increase in pain led to another MRI, this time showing the disc bulges to be more broad-based and extensive, mild arthritic changes, although none of these indicated spinal or nerve compression.

It's been three years, and still no diagnosis. A progressively worsening lower back with no spine or nerve compression thats causing compression-indicative pain. I keep hearing from doctors that it's not supposed to hurt as badly as it does, BUT IT DOES!

Any one else experience some thing similar? Any suggestions?


  • My MRI (The first group)also showed no disease worhty of the acute pain I was feeling. But the CT myeogram showed where spinal fuild was being blocked from entering the normal pathways in my left arm and that of course meant nerve compression and quite a bit of it too. Never showed up so bad in the MRIs.

    Those things are hard to read but even some of the best minds and many neurologists go by what they read in reporst and can't read them themselves. Go to the Mayo Clinic if you can, or a teaching hospital. You'll get lots of people looking at the same thing -more eyes-the better. Good luck!
  • I was lucky that although my MRI did not show any nerve impingement, my PM doc believed the pain I was in (though she did say that a lot of people with my MRI findings would have no pain). My MRI only showed mild disc degeneration and dessication. I just underwent a discogram, which showed that it was the discs themselves that were causing my pain. I still don't understand why I have the hip and leg pain, if there isn't any pressure on nerves. I guess there can be referred pain from the discs, that can go into the butt, hips and legs.

    Sometimes MRI's do not show all that is going on, they are not always conclusive. It is a shame that doctors can be such jerks sometimes.

    I hope that you find someone to listen to you, and help you.
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  • i don't want to be a wet blanket, but a lot of mri's show buldges in discs especially if you are over 40. this is common due to pressure on discs over the years. the one way one can see if there are problems is to have a discogram where they inject dye into your disc. that way they can see if it is herniated and pressing on nerves. just because one has a buldging disc does not mean it is pressing on nerves. another test is the nerve conduction test that measures nerve impulses. so if dr is not believing you insist on discogram and nerve test, these will most of the time prove your pain. i also had dr say my buldge was not great but my discogram showed a major herniation and pressure on sciatic nerve. this was for 2 of my discs. one can have a big buldge, but no pressure on sciatic nerve also. get these other test and dr can not accuse you of faking anything. the proof is in the pudding.

    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I experienced much the same as you did for the first 2 years of my lumbar pain. Nothing drastic showing on MRI except for arthritis in my facet joints and nobody thought it could cause this much pain. Finally I found a great PM doc that did more diagnostic testing such as injections, epidurals, rhizotomy and finally a discogram. That discogram is how my annular tare was found. That is what was causing my leg and groin pain. I had that taken care of last year which did help my leg and groin but actually worsened my facet pain. Maybe you should think of getting a pain Management doc as I feel that sometimes they may be better at diagnosing pain generators because they are pain specialists. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • I think your best bet is to get a referral to a spine specialist or pain management and have a ct/myelogram as suggested. MRI's can be inconclusive and the latter show more detail. Only a specialist can get to the bottom of this and start you on an appropriate treatment plan. I hope things work out and let us know how you're doing. Take care
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  • Seriously-it's good to communicate with people who are not unfamiliar to the "culture" of chronic pain.

    I saw an ortho surgeon today. I'm wondering though what my primary physician gave him to work with , because i explained to him that I've had three MRI's,the second and third showing notably worsening deteriorations, although there is no observed nerve or spinal impingement. There are cycts on the facets of L3, predominently on the left side. Discs L3 through S1 indicate some levels of "hypertrophy", along with "arthritic changes through out. (I'm ad-libbing here, but I'm not off the mark.)The MRI he walked me through seemed to be of my very first MRI...I brought this up and he seemed very confused. He told me that because there is no apparent cause for the pain I experience, it stands to reason that the problem lies in my nerves. He said that angry nerves can release increased amounts of prostagligens (speling, any one?)which is the synaptic bio-form of pain. He's saying that some where in my lower back that is not getting any sleep, it's just a prostagligen manufacturing pain factory.
    We came to an agreement regarding my latest med regime (oxycontin 20mg x2 daily, oxycodone, 5/500mg 1 as needed for break throug pain, and finally, valium 5mg, as needed for lower back spasms (worse than a charlie horse in the calf...truly ghulsh and mailicious...)This is a fairly new cocktail, buts its been quite effective And I know it's very generous of my doctors given the current legal controversy surrounding oxycontin. I'm a loyalist though, on a pain contract, and totally unwilling to abuse my access to sanity...
    I'd like to keep up this dialog amonst you. This is my very first thread on this forum, and would love to get to know all of you to the degree that one could ever know some one via the intarweb....thanks again!
  • You've gotten so much good advice already-discogram, ct myelogram, etc. Some suggested a referral to a pain management interventionalist. They can do diagnostic/therapeutic injections to help isolate your pain generator. The only other advice I could add is a good physical therapist. I didn't see that you've done that one yet.

    A good PT can help provide pain relief as well as teaching you ways to strengthen your core muscles. But more importantly, this is a licensed healthcare professional who will spend extended time with you and can be an incredible assest helping rule out or hone in on a diagnosis. Sometimes when a physician has another licensed professional giving an opinion, they are more inclined to believe.
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