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Confused by MRI results

Short history - In 2008 I had a herniated disc at L4/L5  and bulging disc at L3/L4.  I had severe sciatic pain on my left side. After trying chiro, therapy, and injections, I finally had a microdiscectomy.  I felt great after that until I got pregnant with twins in 2014. After the twin pregnancy, I started having "episodes" of lower left back pain (but no sciatic). They usually only lasted for a week or so, and then resolved themselves.

In May of this year, I had another episode, but it didn't resolve itself.  After a couple of weeks in pain, I went to a chiro. We did a 6 week treatment plan, but halfway through I started having sciatic pain.  We finished the treatment series, but I was worse off at the end of it.  At that point, I decided it was time to see my PCP and get an MRI.

I got my MRI results yesterday, and I'm really confused now.  The MRI shows a small herniation on my right side at L2/L3.  But I don't have any pain on my right.  All of my pain is in my lower left back (more at the top of my buttocks) and down my left leg.  I also have weakness in the left leg.  Right side is perfectly fine.  My PCP is referring me to the pain management clinic, but I'm wondering if I should actually go back to the orthopedic surgeon that did my first surgery.  He's also the one that prescribed the physical therapy and injections before I did surgery.

Any idea why I'm having this pain on my left side if the discs are fine there? The sciatic pain I'm having now is identical to what I had in 2008.  I really thought the MRI was going to show that disc was herniated again.


  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 451
    if it was me, I would be asking for a referral to a surgeon as well, unless you can just get in to see your old one having seen him before.  In my case, I re-herniated almost a year post-discectomy, but I could not get back to my neurosurgeon without a referral from my GP again.  It seemed strange to me that while I was seeing my neurosurgeon for follow-up and things were progressing, I could see him every few months, but as soon as I re-herniated, they wouldn't return my calls anymore.  After many left messages over a few weeks, the office called me back to inform me that I had to start over with a referral.  It's now been 7+ months since that referral and I still haven't gotten in for a consult with him yet!  I think I would follow through with the pain management referral, I will be asking for one as well, since this waiting in pain is sucking the life out of me!
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