I have been experiencing varying levels of low back pain and some right leg numbness for 6+ months. Pain is made much more extreme by standing still for any length of time. Sleeping has also become a problem - I can only lay for 4 hrs max, then the pain becomes to extreme to sleep through and I have to get up and walk or stretch before I can go back to sleep. If I curl into a ball it does help. Leaning forward is the only way I can control the pain once it begins. My job entails mostly standing and driving an average of 1500/2000 miles each month. Standing longer than 5 minutes has become so painful that it began impairing my ability to do my job. So after hoping for a muscle strain and trying to ignore the problem, treating with heat and NSAIDs I went to the chiropractor about 3 weeks ago. I am a 37 year old female, I am extremely active - working out daily and am physically fit. The Chiro took had me do some flexion tests and took X rays. No problems with any of the flexion tests, in fact bending forward is the only way I can find any relief from my back pain when it exacerbates. Chiro assured me he could take care of the problem, but pointed out that L5 showed some degeneration on the X Ray. At that point I requested a consult to a neurosurgeon. My mother has congenital spinal stenosis, that began in L5 - she had her 1st surgery at 28. Her mother also had a lifetime of back problems. I am seeing the same Neurosurgeon who has been treating her, as I thought his familiarity with the family history would be beneficial.
At L3-L4 - Minimal disc dehydration. Minimal diffuse disc bulge and facet arthritic changes causing trace thecal sac compression.
At L4-L5 - Disc Dehydration without loss of height. There is diffuse disc bulge and ligamentum flavum thickening causing mild to moderate thecal sac compression. Minimal bilateral inferior recess narrowing
At L5-S1 - Disc Dehydration without loss of height. A tiny annular fissure/tear is noted. There is a minimal diffuse disc bul
I have an appt. with the neuro on March 25. I saw the Chiro 3 times - each time the pain was worsened by the manipulations. I went from only really hurting when I'd been standing over 5 minutes or driving for an extended period to constant low level, dull pain. After the 3rd manipulation the pain was much worse upon standing and at rest. So I called my GP to see if she could give me something to help until my appt. with the Neuro. My GP (whom I've been seeing for 14years and have never asked for any kind of pain medication or seen for much more than well checks) treated me like a criminal. She read the MRI and said it was completely normal for someone my age and she saw no reason for the Neuro consult. She said I would be the healthiest patient he's ever seen. She prescribed a Steroid dose pack - which has helped and finally gave me Tramadol after I told her how much Naproxen and Tylenol I was taking every day. While I can still feel a dull ache and standing still continues to exacerbate my pain - I am able to sleep at night and have been able to work again.
So I guess my main concern is of course being scared - I have spent my entire life watching my Mother live with debilitating pain and problems from Stenosis. She has now had 8 surgeries, none of which have really been succesful. My GP made me feel totally belittled and like a drug seeker for even coming to her office. I do realize some degeneration is common in the late 30s on and most people do have some bulging discs. Am I panicking for nothing - is this a normal MRI for a 37yr old of normal weight? I kept the neuro appt. - told my GP that is why I carry insurance, so I can see who I need to see.
What are your thoughts? Opinions? Am I overreacting and just running scared.