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Spinal stenosis at 29?

rosersorroserso Posts: 3
edited 12/09/2015 - 3:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

i'm hoping someone here can help me make sense of my diagnosis from a spine surgeon.

my background: 29 year old female, low bmi, no injuries or traumas, started experiencing sciatic pain 7 months ago. after months of conservative treatment with no results i am working with a spine specialist (aka surgeon).

mri results:
- right hemi sacralization of the l5 segment noted. rudimentary l5-s1 intervertebral disc.
- l4 l5: mild disc desiccation and narrowing. posterior central annular tear. central and right paracentral 3 mm disc bulge mildly contours the ventral thecal sac. normal lateral recesses and foramina. midline ap thecal sac diameter mildly narrowed at 11 mm.
- transitional anatomy at the lumbosacral junction noted.

when discussing the potential surgery, my spine specialist noted that he feels it is not the bulge causing the nerve compression but the bone and the ligament. he wants to do a lumbar laminectomy. he referred to what i have as lateral stenosis.

the diagnosis seems so strange to me. i googled spinal stenosis and sources say that it's either congenital (which neither the doc or the mri noted) or it appears in the very elderly. why is it that i would have it at such a relatively young age? i did have pretty bad posture for most of my life -- i've corrected it in the last few years -- is that enough to give me the bones of a 70 year old?

also, if anyone wants to pipe in about epidural injections i would appreciate it. i got one and my pain went away 100% but slowly came back over the course of three weeks. do you think it's worth getting a second one?

thank you for any advice! it's just awful to deal with chronic pain and i'm so happy this community is here.

welcome to spine-health

one of the most important things that members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. it is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. this is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding and your thread is more effective.

so many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. the more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, the fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

here are some questions that you should answer:
  • - when did this first start? . year, your age, etc
- was it the result of an accident or trauma?
- are there others in your family with similar medication conditions?
- what doctors have you seen? (orthopedic, neurosurgeon, spine specialist, etc)
  • . which doctor did you start with? ie primary care physician . who are you currently seeing?
- what conservative treatments have you had? which ones?
  • . physical therapy . ultrasound / tens unit . spinal injections . acupuncture . massage therapy
- what diagnostic tests have you had? and their results (mri, ctscan, xray, emg, etc)
  • . summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them . how many different tests have you had over the years? similar results?
- what medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)
  • . name of medication . how long have you been using this? . results
- has surgery been discussed as an option? (if so, what kind)
- is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
- what is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

please take a look at our forum rules: forum rules

i also strongly suggest that you take a look at our faq (frequently asked questions) which can be found at the top of the forum menu tab or by going to faq there you will find much information that will
  • - help you better utilize the spine-health system- provide pointers on how to make your threads / posts- tips on how to create your avatar (your picture), posting images, etc- general pieces of valuable information

please remember that no one at spine-health is a formally trained medical professional.
everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
as such, no member is permitted to provide
  • - analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie mri, ctscan, xray, etc)- medical advice of any kind- recommendations in terms of medications, treatments, exercises, etc

what could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
you should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

it is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). it is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are

i’ve had this for years, it hurts, i cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should i get?

diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. in many ways it’s like a game of clue. especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. the doctor is like a detective. they need clues to help them move along. so, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. that is like it is here. without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

specific comments :

personal opinion, not medical advice :

spinal problems never discriminate regarding age. we have so many members under 20 who have some serious spinal problems and require surgery.
to better understand stenosis, take a look at spinal stenosis health center

--- ron dilauro, spine-health system moderator : 12/09/15 09:24 est



  • You know age seems to play no part at all in spine problems. I'm 36 now and I keep being told I'm too young blah blah but if you have a right good look round this website, you'll meet many, many young people with old spines!!
    Also, regarding your epidural, apparently if your first one is successful, even for just a short time, the second one is supposed to be even better!!
    So do you think you will need surgery?
    Kirsti x
  • rosersorroserso Posts: 3
    edited 12/09/2015 - 2:38 PM
    Hi Kirsti-

    Thanks for your response! I guess I'm just unlucky, sigh. I'm no expert but from my google research it seems that an AP diameter thecal sac of 11mm is considered stenosis, so I suppose I've got it whether it makes sense or not.

    I'm very on the fence about surgery. If it is in fact stenosis, surgery seems inevitable -- the studies I've looked at indicate that most folks don't get better on their own and my surgeon has said the same thing. On the other hand, I have been able to manage my pain with core strengthening, lifestyle changes, and NSAIDs. I can get through the day -- albeit, uncomfortably -- and can still do all the activities I used to do.

    It's only been 7 months so I think I will wait and see where I am at the one year mark before I opt for surgery. That's good to hear about the epidural! I may try another in January and see what that does.
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  • JKDE302JJKDE302 Posts: 348
    edited 12/11/2015 - 4:14 PM
    If you never had injury or trauma do you have a family history of arthritis or inflammation?
  • JKDE302 said:
    If you never had injury or trauma do you have a family history of arthritis or inflammation?
    Nope, not at all. Also, my symptoms don't seem to match the diagnosis. I've read the typical pain pattern with stenosis is pain while walking and relief while seated. I'm the complete opposite.
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