Hello there, and I am back under a new name after much time has passed.
Last I had posted, I had just begun my recovery from an L4-S1 fusion for 2 moderately herniated discs, lumbar instability, pseudoarthrosis L5-S1 unilaterally, degenerative discs. I have since done rather well only needing trigger point injections from time to time. Lately, I have noticed a little increase in the pain from the fusion (lightning-like pain only lasting for a few seconds but rendering me unable to move at all). Overall, still so much better than before.
I also began to experience some upper back pain which I figured was just muscle spasms as I tend to get them pretty frequently. After awhile, however, the pain progressed to that infamous 'nerve' or 'radicular' pain most of us dread. So, without hesitation, I went to my neurologist to make sure I wasn't losing my mind. I was already in PT for some shoulder instability, so I figured, well, maybe they'll work on the T-spine as well.
Well, the MRI did show a small herniated disc at T5-6 indenting the ventral thecal sac (v. mild cord compression) as well as central canal dilatation, and a 'tiny' herniated disc at T7-8. My mom told me I should strengthen it, but I don't think she, even being a nurse, realizes what this has been feeling like lately. I do not feel right. Something is just off. I am losing my temperature sensation in my hands, and I am not numb, but the sensation feels different. This doesn't even coordinate with the T-Spine levels (I do have some bulging discs in C-Spine as well, but nothing significant as of 2 years ago). I suppose it's hard to explain. Nevertheless, I am hoping my neurologist will see me sooner than my scheduled appointment on the 25th. Otherwise, I will simply go to my pain management doc to see if he wants to speak with her (neuro) and get me feeling a little better. I am thinking Epidural? Not sure if safe in T-Spine. I am currently on Prednisone taper after failing to get any relief from Tizanidine 4mg once daily at bedtime. By the way, Tizanidine, a powerful muscle relaxer, is a quarter-scored pill, so taking part of it has worked while I am at work because I do not have the sedative effects. Minimal relief from this, but I figure any relief is better than none at all.
I am really worried about this T-Spine herniation. I have read a lot of mixed literature, from medical journals (I work in healthcare so the lingo isn't so foreign to me) to other patient forums to get a sense of what I'm dealing with, if anything at all. From what I gather, this will need to be monitored closely. I just fear that, being an active 27-year-old, I'm going to be told I can't run or jump or anything sudden for fear that it will worsen. I know the risks of a truly bad T-spine herniation - once that cord is compressed, there's no turning back and paralysis can set in. But how to know when it starts? Will it be overnight? Will I just start going numb one day while I'm working? I have many questions, as you can see.
To avoid turning this into a novel, I will try to post accordingly. Other medical problems include Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (type of tachycardia ... tried to have it ablated, but pathway between healthy tissue and bad tissue was too narrow, and this would necessitate pacemaker implantation. No thanks ... I'll stick with Toprol 50mg once daily). I also have Crohn's Disease, so I guess I'm just a big inflamed mess. MRIs of brain are done serially every year for Chiari Type 1 Malformation (no syrinx, but I am now worried with this central canal dilatation ... could be syrinx forming) and Pineal Cyst (to make sure it doesn't get bigger). Obviously degenerative disc disease, which is also present in that tiny herniation at T7-8. OCD and occasional depression, though these are quite controlled on Xanax (half of a 0.25 mg twice daily as needed) and Lamictal 100mg. And Abilify (unknown dosage). No narcotics for now ... just trying to suffer through the pain. Some problems with peroneal longus tendon since being hit by car on my bicycle 3 years ago. Nothing significant, barely fell off, just twisted my ankle the wrong way. Hopefully no surgery for that. I am way more concerned about the back at present. That about sums it up. Thank you for reading, and I look forward to reading your posts.
Keep your head up ... you'll see better days : )