I've been lurking on this board for a few months hoping to find someone with a similar situation to me, but no luck far. I was diagnosed with a herniated disc about 4 years ago. After playing basketball, I woke up the next day and could not stand up straight. I was only able to stand while severely bending over to my left. Dr gave me pain killer, muscle relaxers, and anti-inflam. Did about 6 weeks of PT and was all good. About a year later, same exact thing. Bent over way to the left. Same pills, more PT, but this time the PT doesn't work as well.
About 18 months later while on the golf course, back pain returns, and once again, bent all the way to the left, etc. Pills get me walking again but can't bend forward or back and anytime I'm sitting down (either at work or driving) I'm bent over to the left for at least a few minutes before I can straighten out. Get a new MRI, Dr does an ESI, and I go back to PT. ESI helps for about a mont, PT doesn't help at all, and I'm back in his office about 6 weeks later. Another ESI, this one only helps for about 2 weeks, and another 2 months of PT. Back to the Dr who thinks maybe I need to start thinking surgery.
Here's the thing. EVERYTHING I read about discectomy surgeries deal with the tingling and nerve pain down the leg and into the foot. I have a little of that, but the worst pain is in my lower back, almost at my waistline on both sides. Sitting/driving is a KILLER. Walking hurts. It's radiating into my hips, butt, and upper thigh. I always feel crooked. While the nerve pain/tingling is annoying, I could totally deal with it. The back pain is just awful. (And I've got a baby on the way and my wife wants me in the best possible shape for when the little one arrives)
First surgeon basically kicked me out of his office. Second surgeon was much nicer and said discectomy if i'm having serious quality of life issues. He said with the leg pain it's 90ish % effective, but with my back pain, it's probably closer to 75%. Worst case scenario- it either doesn't help or not as much as I thought. He said most people have a disc bulge to once side that pushes against a nerve. Mine bulge is central and it's pushing against the ligament that runs up and down the spine and that's what is causing the back pain. Sounds good to me, but I can't find ANYTHING further about this sort of condition as all I read about is the leg/nerve/tingling. (Just made an appointment with a third surgeon to get his opinion)
Am I crazy? Am I cursed? Am I a weirdo with an isolated case of f'd up back? Anyone experience anything similar? Appreciate any insight!
Mild straightening of lumbar lordosis is noted without subluxation. Vertebral heights are unremarkable. Minimal endplate changes are present at L4-L5 with decreased disc space signal. Disc space heights are unremarkable.
At the L1-L2 level, there is no evidence of canal stenosis or foraminal narrowing.
At the L2-L3 level, there is no evidence of canal stenosis or foraminal narrowing.
At the L3-L4 level, there is no evidence of canal stenosis or foraminal. Mild facet changes are present.
At the L4-L5 level, disc bulge with a superiorly migrating central disc extrusion is noted causing deformity of the ventral thecal sac with moderate bilateral recess stenosis. No significant foraminal narrowing is present. Mild facet changes are present.
At the L5-S1 level, there is no evidence of canal stenosis or foraminal narrowing.
The conus is normal shape and position.
There is no evidence of prevertebral or paraspinal soft tissue abnormality.
Impression: Disc bulge with central disc extrusion and ligamentous thickening at L4-L5 causing moderate bilateral lateral recess stenosis.