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At a loss with 2 herniated disc's

wildfire_101wwildfire_101 Posts: 68
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi i am new here and thought maybe getting other people's advice might lead me into a new direction. I am a 32yr old female with inflammed RSD in my left leg, stemming from a knee surgery that my body rejected 2 yrs ago...and found out in early November of 2009 that i had 2 bulging disc's in my lower back at L5-S1 and S1-2 levels. The L5-S1 is out at 5mm and the other one is out at 2mm. Found this out from and MRI i had in November. In the beginning i thought that I just had a UTI that just wouldn't go away. That is until i went to my primary doctor and she was the one that ordered the MRI that i had done. And that is when i found all that out. She sent me to a neurosurgeon in which took me 3 months to get into. And oh boy was it a long 3 months...lol When i saw him for the 1st time in Feb. he wanted me to have epidural shots done to see if that would give me some relief. I guess they are usually done in a series of 3 in which i never made it past the 1st one. When i had the shot done in the later part of March i had a major allergic reaction to it. So the next day i spent most of the day in the hospital until they got the reaction under control... And i was told then that i am a rare case and the doctor that had done my shot had never had that problem before.. so i was the 1st for him. So needless to say i couldn't have anymore of the epidural shots done. So when i saw my back doctor again (the doctor that did my shot and my back doctor are 2 different ppl) he wanted me to try physical therapy for a month and see if it helped at all...Now mind you by this time I was already 7 months in from the orginal diagnosis of the disc problem. I also have a pain management doctor i see for my RSD issue in leg. So I have already done the resting, meds and shots. Granted i only had 1 shot because of what happened. So I did the physical therapy for a month like he wanted me to do. In fact i just finished therapy last Thursday. He discharged me because all the therapy did was increase me pain, so now the pain is only getting worse as the days go on, in which it was already doing that before the therapy had even started. I have pressure in my hips, pain in my right butt cheek and the lower side of my back. Which for the most part that was where most of my pain has been centered at. So I saw the back doctor today to see what other options i have to work with and he is now sending me to his colleague which is an orthopedic spine surgeon for a 2nd opinion... Though he never said what I was actually seeing hime for. Am i seeing him to see if i have another option other then surgery or is he going to tell him what kind of surgery is best for my situation.. He never really said.. He just said he is sending me over there for that and then i would see him again after i saw the other doctor.Oh and i also had an EMG done about 3 weeks ago which showed no nerve being pinched at the moment. I just have tremendous pain that just wont go away. And it is constent and nothing makes it better. I can only lay down for so long as well as sit and stand for limited periods of time. So I am at a loss.. What happens now? Nothing? Do i have to live with this for the rest of my life and never get better? I dont know anyone with any type of back problems or anyone that really knows anything about them outside of the doctors. so thats why i am writing this post, hoping that maybe someone can tell me something that i dont already know...I am already living and dealing with my leg issues which is still a work in progress and learning to live with only about 35% use of my left leg now. Being i went wrongfully diagnosed for almost 2 yrs and lost ROM in those 2 yrs. and was told now that i am never going to get it back.. so i can only handle one thing at a time and want to try and fix my back if possible.. so any advice would be much appreciated and if anyone needs to know more please just ask thank you very much for even reading this...


  • Welcome to spine health. THere is so much info here. You need to read all the articles about herniations and leg issues. Then start looking at some of the past posts.

    Good news is that if you arent having nerve compression then you shouldnt have any permanent nerve damage from waiting. Nothing is guaranteed but that is a good sign. Most doctors want to try every conservative approach before surgery. Get at least a second opinion and even a third.

    The most important thing I think you can do is keep a pain log - what, when, where, how long, what helped. The start a list of questions for your doctors. Take a friend or relative to your appointments because 4 ears are better than 2. ANd dont be afraid to ask questions and write down the answers. And if you don't understand the answer ask more questions. Nothing is worse than a doctor who doesnt have time for you. So don't be afraid to change doctors if it doesnt feel right.

    Something else you might want to look into is whether some of your leg issues might be related to your back and might get better when your herniation is resolved. Just a thought.

    Again welcome and keep asking questions.
  • Thank you for the info i do appreciate it...and as for my leg issues i had them way before the back problem ever came along...According to my physical therapist some of that is standing in my way of doing PT to help my back feel better...And my husband goes with me to all of my doctor appts..Because i could definitely not relay any of the things they tell back to him especially if its not in lamen terms..lol And yes i will read some more of the info on here..I have read quite a bit already. I just have never had a back problem before so this is all new to me. And i dont know if i mentioned this in the beginning or not but the new doctor he is sending me to is a orthopedic spine surgeon and my back doctor now is a neurosurgeon. According to my mom who is also in the medical field there is a difference. But when i am done with him then i go back to see my regular back doctor again. So he isnt passing me so to speak. Anyway thank you very much for reading my post and even responding. MAybe someone can answer this for me.. Does anyone know how to relieve some of the back pain that i am feeling? I am on pain meds but i use them for my leg and my back and its to the point now that they dont even really work anymore...I do rest and have tried the heat/cold stuff... But my back is so sensitive to touch it only makes it worse. So any ideas?
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  • Well so far i have only gotten 2 responses to the post i wrote on here.. I got one "public" reply and one private message (which i might add was very informational btw), but thats it. I have written so many posts on many message boards about some of things i am experiencing with dealing with RSD and my back issues, and i have to admit their must not be many ppl out there with these problems or something because i seem to not get many responses or much advice... Sometimes i dont know why i even bother to ask around to other ppl to see what they might be doing to help their situations and maybe i can apply that to mine. I have been writtine=g posts off and on for almost 2 yrs to about 5 different message boards and so far i havent really learned anything that i dont already know or that i cant use to help me out.. but i only got a grand total of about 7 to 8 replies between all 5 message boards.. I am sorry that this post may sound bad but i am simply letting off some steam because i just dont know what to do anymore. I have never had these problems before and just want someone to listen i guess.. so my quesrion is what am i doing or saying that is wrong, that ppl either dont read what i write or just dont have an answer for me? Once again i am sorry for the depressing, steamy post..
  • I will probably get in trouble but looking at your latest post I think someone needs to post something a bit more.

    Given that the epidurals are not a viable option for you, have you been given any meds to deal with the pain you are in now. I can not believe you have not been given any types of meds now to deal with your issue.

    Next what type of doctors are you seeing? A neurosurgeon, physiatrst, PM, spinal orthopedist? Each type will deal with your case differently.

    I am kind of surprised that they are giving you an EMG test at this point as honestly they probably got most of this info from the MRI and EMG tests are not exactly considered definitive by any means.

    At this point I would think you should be seeing a orthopedist specializing in the spine and most definitely a pain management doctor who has given you some meds to deal with your current condition.

  • It may be that your post was missed or because some people don't have RSD.

    I've been to 2 different Orthopedic surgeons and one Neurosurgeon and awaiting a 4th opinion if I need surgery. I've also been to 3 different Pain Management Drs also for their opinion and also a Neurologist. I've been to Physiotherapy, acupuncture, TENS and had facet joint and S1 injections and trigger point injections which contain no steroids and only lidocaine. I'm now doing aqua therapy and I've also tried massage therapy. I've had back problems with leg pain and numbness for 2+ years.

    Are you any nerve pain medications? I've tried Lyrica and now Cymbalta but have tried amitriptyline. For anti-inflammatories I've had Naproxen, celebrex and now Voltaran. Pain meds have been MS Contin and Oxycontin.

    I hope you get some answers with the new Orthopedic Surgeon you're seeing. Never give up looking for a Dr. that can help you. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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  • As far as the back doctor goes no he hasnt given me any type of pain meds being the doctor that deals with my RSD issues has me on pain meds and lyrica. And my leg doctor is a physiatrist. And my back doctor is a neurosurgon. the 2nd opinion i am getting, he is sending me to a orthopedic spine surgeon, in which is his colleague in the same office building. And i have seen a grand total of 6 different specialist about my RSD issues so far. From what i have been told so far about my back is that my leg problems are sort of standing in my way from trying to heal my back with conservative measures. I have tried pool therapy so far and it did help a little but threw my leg into a massive fit ( sorry thats the best way to describe it)so we could no longer continue that. And as for different types of pain medications go i am severely allergic to codiene so i have to be real careful of what i take along with what i take OTC. Ever since this whole thing started with my leg 2yrs ago and trying out new meds and weeding out the ones that didnt work my system has been really sensitive ever since.I just want all the pain to go away and try and get some quality of life back.. I have 4 children and cant do a whole lot of physical things with them because of all these issues.. Right now i am waiting to go see the orthopedic spine doc and see what he has to say and then go back to my regular back doc (which mind you always seems to take 3 to 4 months to get into) and hopefully he'll be able to tell then where i am going from here... But thank you very much for writting back and even "listening" to what i had to say i much greatly appreciate it...I hope i have answered all your questions.. if not just ask again..haha
  • I am taking Lyrica at the moment and have tried Cymbalta before but i couldnt take it being it always made me sick 24 hours a day and the cost alone was expensive enouhg because my insurance didnt cover it and there was no generic. I have also tried the naproxen abd celebrex and i never did notice a difference so they ended up taking me off of them. And i am waiting to see a orthopedic spine surgeon now. and see what he has to say and what his opinion is about everthing. but thank you very much for giving me a response and i hope i have answered all your questions....i do appreciate it that you took the time to read my posts and respond. thank you
  • to visit this forum this evening. I usually just check out the Chronic Pain Page and the Back/Neck Surgery page. I think you might need to get some better info from your doctors. To my knowledge (and I could be wrong, but I've been around the block a million times it seems), there is no disc at S1/S2. Your last disc in your spinal column is L5/S1. It seems you are being provided with some misinformation. Are you certain that your RSD is ACTUALLY RSD? Did you have an MRI of your back before you were diagnosed with the RSD? Perhaps you have had spine issues all along that are causing the symptoms of the RSD? I know it seems like you've seen a bunch of doctors, but perhaps it is time to see one who is totally unassociated with the others to get a more objective opinion.

    At any rate, I wish you the very best. I had three totally torn discs and I was so very miserable and could barely walk, sit, or stand for long periods. Actually, lying down wasn't much fun either. I'm glad I had my lower spine fused. I can deal with a bit of stiffness so much more easily than I could with all that pain.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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