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Any advice?

Hi! I am new here and this is my first post! I need some advice...I can't seem to get any help because I am self pay, and no one seems to want to bother with me...I have seen 3 different doctors and they all basically blew me off. I didn't get any real answers as to what I can do to help the situation, or even manage pain... I had an MRI 5 years ago and that dr. told me to "try not to fall", and the last doctor I saw told me to work my abs, and get health insurance and left. So I have decided to post this on some forums to see if anyone has any advice for me. I am just wondering if there is anything I can do (other than surgery) to keep this from getting worse, or to slow it down, or to stop the tingling in my arms and legs, and the leg pain. No one will even really tell me what these results mean, I had to google it and I still don't understand half of it so if you can clarify any of this for me that would be awesome. Thanks for reading! Here are my MRI results from 5 years ago.

Findings: In conjunction with lower lumbar spondylosis, there is an exaggerated lordosis due to grade 1 spondylolisthesis of l5 with respect to s1 secondary to concurrent bilateral l5 spondylolysis, detailed below. No lumbar compression deformity or destructive intraosseous process.

T11-12 through L3-4 Normal Discs. Patent central canal and neural foramina. Moderate facet arthrosis at L1-2, L2-3, and L3-4.

L4-5: The disc is desiccated, narrowed, and aggravated by a small central bulge with inferiorly deflected midline extrusion. In conjunction with facet arthrosis, there is mild central canal stenosis and slight biforaminal narrowing.

L5-S1: The disc is desiccated, partially collapsed, and aggravated by patchy Modic type 2 reactive end plate changes and intradiscal gas, not to mention grade 1 anterolisthesis of L5 on S1, allowing uncovering of the posterior disc margin and formation of bilateral foraminal protrusions. In conjuction with marked bilateral L5-S1 facet arthrosis and pars interarticularis defects, there is a severe "up-down" biforaminal encroachment and paradoxical widening of the central spinal canal.



  • I should also say that I am only 28 years old, and I am fairly active, I love to hike, run, ski, etc. and I would like to continue to do those things but I would really like to know if I should or not...
  • This MRI is 5 years old? How long has it been since you have spoken to a NS/OS? Have you heard about teaching hospitals or spoken to any one there?

    I think my lumbar fusion was close to $200,000. I have never seen all the bills for it yet. I think my insurance companies are still fighting over $64,000 that they don't want to pay to my NS, his assistant NS, and hardware.

    What are your symptoms? We are not suppose to comment on peoples MRI's. I can tell you that 5 years is plenty long enough for things to change either for the better or for the worse. Sometimes things get better. Sometimes things gets worse.

    It sounds like you have instability on L5-S1. The big question is how are you feeling?

    Welcome to Spine Health.

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  • My symptoms are getting worse, I have tingling and numbness in my right leg and both arms, I have really bad pain in my butt and legs, not all the time, but enough. I saw an orthopedic and spine surgeon 2 weeks ago, he wouldn't do an MRI or anything, and he told me to get health insurance and to work my abs and that there is nothing I can do other than have surgery, but he didn't even really look at me, he didn't even listen to me or answer my questions. I am not interested in getting surgery at this point, I can't afford it, and I don't want it until I HAVE to...which is why I am on here, I am just wondering if there is anything at all I can do to slow down the process, and I want to know if it would be a good idea to continue running, etc since my doctor won't even answer that question for some reason. Thanks!
  • Can you go to a University teaching Hospital or find a free MRI clinic in your area? Sorry to hear of your pain and numbness and hope you find treatment somewhere. 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
  • Burning your problem might be that you went to a surgeon. If you don't want surgery you should probably see an orthopedist or neurologist who treats spine issues.

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  • Burning,
    I had my first consult with a surgeon the other day & he was very dismissive as soon as he realized that I didn't need surgery. He even stated "I'm a surgeon, I operate on people, anything other that that, I don't mess with."
    You didn't mention whether or not you are financially capable of paying for whatever treatment or tests you may require. If that is the case, if you can explain to the doc that you will pay for any procedures up front, they would probably change their tune. I think it's alot like renting a motel room & the motels don't want cash anymore, they want a card on file, so that if you trash the place, they can charge it. A doc wants insurance so that if you require more treatment than he though, he'll still get his money.
    Aside fromthat, I agree with Charry...try a teaching hospital.
    Good luc to you, keep us posted.
  • My daughter has all kinds of problems and she is a self pay. PLEASE, get some kind of insurance. She has been blown off by 5 doctors in the past month (herpayments are guaranteed by the bank - but the docs don't care!!)! Get an insurance policy at least for hospitalization and possibly doctors. There is a website where you can get up to $75 off of drugs like Oxycontin! if you need, I repeat NEED it. What drugs are you on?? I suggest you get a more up to date MRI and find a good doctor (good luck). Each part of your MRI I can kind of follow, but EDUCATE yourself. Look up the words you don't understand and learn what you have in your back. You sound like major surgery, but there are better things out there now than what used to be. I have a messed up back, herniated, bulging, torn discs. I'm lucky, I am right now on a trial with the spinal cord stimulator and I am a NEW PERSON! THERE IS NO PAIN!!! But you have from what I can slightly understand is a narrowing of your spinal nerves and passage ways. God, I wish you the very best. The pain you are in must be incapacitating. You have to get fixed and please, an insurance policy opens all the doors. I keep trying to pound that thru my daughter's head an she's like me thick headed, but when it comes to your health, you have to do what you have to do or else you will be in a wheel chair. Please, write me back at email address removed to protect SH members and I will try my darnest to help you. OK? By the way, what did you do to do this to your back? Car accident, hard physical labor, or doing stupid stuff that I used to do - digging holes with a pick axe, hauling horse manure in a 75 lb. wheel barrow, or chopping wood? You need help and I hope to hell I can help you. I will try, I have been able to help a few folks, and I don't give up on people, especially people in your kind of condition. I hope the very best for you. Please, fee free to email me on my email and let's see what we come up with, OK?? Hoping to hear from you,



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    Post Edited by Moderator haglandc
  • Physical therapy is really the gold standard treatment prior to surgery. So, if you want suggestions of where to go for help, that's really the best bet.

    The problem is, beyond that everything is EXPENSIVE. And you need current MRIs and such, which will really add up.

    Can you find out if the state has a low income insurance program? I also know that most states are currently setting up high risk pools. Because even without the surgery thing, treatment runs into the thousands (ask me how I know this...).

    But unfortunately there are only 2 treatments. Those that address the muscles that support the spine (physio) and those that address the pain. Nothing will fix it. And not having regular care by a spine specialist could lead you into more serious trouble down the line.
  • Have you been working with your primary care doctor as to what is going on with your spine and your arm issues. I ask because issues in your lumbar region wouldn't be causing you issues in your arms. If you look at a dermatone map you will see the general idea of what areas of the spine cover what areas of your body. So while you may have lumbar issues you may also have something secondary condition going on to cause you arm issues.

    Insurance is a hard deal, but I have run into the same situation they can't see you with just cash money, and if a surgeon see's you without insurance there isn't much they can do unless it is a emergency situation. Have you looked into a physiatrist for treatment. I am sure any doctor is going to want a new MRI. Who originally ordered the MRI, five years ago?

    You might do some checking around and see if you can get into any type of aqua therapy program. When your in the water your not supporting all of your weight. So that might be of benefit, but unfortunately I think your going to need a new Mri before anyone can make a real assessment as to your condition to come up with a proper treatment program. Hopefully you have a good relationship with a primary care doctor who could be of some assistance getting that done. Also you can call around and check pricing on MRI's if your a cash payer, and what discounts they would have available.

    I do hope you find someone to help you so you can get back to the things you truly enjoy. Unfortunately there is no one here qulaified to tell if the things your doing you should or shouldn't be doing.
  • Thanks for all the advice you guys. OK, I have had my coffee now let me try to answer all these questions....lol
    I know I need to get insurance...do you know of any that cover pre-existing conditions like this? and that don't charge an arm and a leg? Do you know of any jobs that have great health coverage like that? I did have a primary care doctor but my discount plan ran out so I can't go there anymore. She just prescribed me some flexeril and sent me on my way anyway. I don't take any medications other than my thyroid meds. They gave me vicodin and percocet which I am allergic to. I do have flexeril, and ibprofen if I need it, it doesn't seem to help much so I don't take it...
    So you are saying that my back is probably messed up higher up? The issues that I know about wouldn't cause the arm tingling? Great...I have been to a neurologist, and an orthopedic surgeon, on top of my regular doctor and they have all just told me i'm screwed and sent me on my way.. no help..nothing... this last guy didn't even do any tests and he didn't even LOOK at me...he just looked at my MRI from 5 years ago, and told me to go find some insurance....

    I found a place out here that does MRIs, and they will let me make payments on it..but the last doctor i went to didn't want me to get an mri because he said it doesn't matter what it looks like right now because the only thing that will help is surgery and I can't afford that so why bother...Nice huh?

    I guess I will do some searching and try one more doctor and see if he actually wants to tell me something useful and help me out. I don't want a miracle, I just want them to care...

    This all started out 5 years ago when I was in the hospital having my daughter, they tried to give me an epidural and hit a nerve, after that my leg was numb and very swollen so they sent me to a neurologist...she did the mri...she said she didn't know why that happened, and she said that the numbness may, or may not go away. my leg is still numb from that day, and I have lost reflexes in my foot and my leg just drops every now and then. My back problems have just been getting worse since that day...

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