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L4 L5 S1 disc dessication and decreased disc height

sc_OO_terssc_OO_ter Posts: 3
edited 07/03/2013 - 12:45 PM in Lower Back Pain

I'm 29 years of age and I've now been suffering from low back pain for the past 8 weeks. I've searched and tried everything there is to try for the symptoms I've had, but there has been little/no relief.
8 weeks back, I coughed on my way home and I felt like someone pulled a "hot" guitar string in my back (sorry I don't have a better description!). I felt my back getting stiff ( in the next few minutes.
After researching a bit, I realized that it's normal to hurt your back when you cough/sneeze really hard. I've been to a GP and an Orthopedic assistant and both checked for signs of sciatica. Per them, I don't exhibit any physical signs of sciatica. The orthopedic lad said there's some "degeneration" on L5-S1 which comes with age.

I can bend forward/backwards with no pain.There were a few days here and there where I'd feel that my left foot went Numb and some noticeable pain behind my left calf (not enough to be alarming - I could still continue my daily activities).
I can lift both my feet up while sitting on a high rise chair, I have no difficult sleeping, I can walk on my heels etc. I also do some of the exercises/asanas for the lower back.

While my lower back has been more than warm for the past 8 weeks, I sometimes get an itching/burning sensation on different parts of my back (upper, middle and on different sides). It goes away on it's own, but I'm not sure If I should be concerned. Both the doctors I've met were kinda dismissive which I perceived as "nothing to be worried about".
But I'm now getting worried as I haven't heard of anyone having had a low back muscle spasm for more than a few days/weeks.

I've tried
Chriopractors - After 2 sessions, I was told they're still trying to "figure out" where the problem is and I ran out of patience.
PT - my insurance doesn't cover it and my previous experience with PT brought my confidence in PT down to 0.
Acupuncture - still debating on it (would probably try it based on the responses here)
Massage - it feels good, but the pain is back after a few hours.

I have (or have had) a very active lifestyle - I play in leagues mon-thu (volleyball,soccer,tennis) and climb on the weekends. With this horrendous LBP I've been twiddling my thumbs all weekend and not doing regular activity is driving me nuts!

Please help!!



  • Also, My job involves sitting in front of the computer for hours together. I do get up once every hour and take a short walk (1-2 minutes).
  • LizLiz Posts: 9,708
    i am sure that you will find your time on spine-health very rewarding. this site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
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    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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  • This is what my MRI report reads
    L4-L5: The disc is desiccated with mild decreased disc height. There is about 3.5 mm diffuse disc bulge with osteophyte and annular tear. Mild facet degenerative changes and ligamentum flavum hypertrophy are identified. There is no significant central canal stenosis. The foramina are preserved.
    L5-S1: There is disc desiccation and severe decreased disc height. There is about 4 mm broad posterior disc protrusion with minimal osteophtes with annular tear. There is no mass effect upon the thecal sac. There are mild facet degenerative changes. There is no significant central canal or foraminal stenosis.

    I'd like to hear opinions from other folks on here who've had similar diagnoses. I've been losing sleep over this and hoping that I won't have to resort to surgery. I'm already looking at options like ADR and Regennxx.
  • When is your appointment with the surgeon? The bad news.... "Severe decreased disc height".... not good (obviously)... but the good news is all the "no's" associated with it. Most of us know and understand the anxiety test results, waiting on appointments, waiting on treatment options can cause. Try to hang in there. (and don't write off PT. I've had experiences where they did nothing and experiences where it made all the difference.... depends on the therapist.) Good luck to you!
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.

    My back pain started 5 month ago, one of renounced Dr treated me and suggested me to go with physiotherapy only. After completion of 21days course pain was gone . But now the started again
    What should I do ?
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  • Hello sc_OO_ter
    I am just wondering how you are now and how you went with those tests results. I have disc height that was almost gone 4 years ago. Have had some injections, but no help. Back to gp today wanting some more updated scans to see how it is going. Walked out with a stronger script for pain killers (its seems the easiest way for them to treat me!.
  • Cuban28CCuban28 Posts: 1
    edited 09/26/2015 - 8:12 PM
    i'll try and be brief. 2001 injury to lpwer 3 discs. subsequently had an open l 34 discectomy in 2003. since then there hasn't been any leg pain but on and off back pain and stiffness. also of note, i did become addicted to the pain killers back then but have been off them for years. 10 years of on and off flare ups. the past 3 months however has been absolutely rediculous. not much if any leg pain but my goodbees my back started hurting like it normall would during flare ups, but it didn't go away like it used to. it has lingered. physical therapy has helped, but in the last 6 weeks my back has "gone out" with the slightest movement like picking up a baby toy off ground. 3 times in past 6 weeks that has happened and each time it feels worse than the last. yesterday it went out and am now feeling something that feels like electric shock starting in hop and going down to my knee. mostly on my left side but some on right.
    to stand straight up or bend backwards is the worst. walking is aweful. sitting initially relieves it but after 15 minutes of sitting its bad in back and down legs.
    an mri a month ago--before the last two flare ups, showed parwcentral disc extrusions at 3/4, 4/5 (with midline annular fissure), retrolosthesis at 4/5, with 5 s1 being the wrist with regard to degeneration. forminal stenosis moderate to sever on right l 5 s1 level. same at 3/4. the extrusions don't look large and aren't showing much spinal stenosis but radiologist report does say "extrusion is contacting undersurface or l4 nerve root in lateral recess.

    i havent done injections yet. i need to avoid surgery. was wondering if anybody here deals with lower back problems but also has to do everything to avoid opioid treatment. they controlled my lofe for too long and cannot go down that path again. but my goodness, i can't work, walk to long, sit too long and the best position is laying down. so i have to try and find treatments without pain pills.

    the mri was down a month ago. since then two intense bouts of it going out and feeling so much worse. should i have another mri done to see if there has been more damage done in last month?

    any thoughts and suggestions would be great.

    welcome to spine-health
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