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Old 08-29-2009, 01:27 PM   #4
Baybreeze Baybreeze is offline
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Re: Have I really got osteoarthritis of the spine/

Barry, I'm not a doctor, but from my own experience and your description, your symptoms in your leg sound very much like sciatica to me, especially when you use the word "toothache" to describe the pain. Also, when you described an area of your leg that hurt so bad it kills you to have anythint touch it. I can vouch that...that can be a symptom of a nerve problem.
Sciatica pain is pain due to compression of the large sciatic nerve, which runs all the way down one's legs. It can get compressed from different things, one being OA! OA can cause osteophytes (which is bony overgrowth on your vertebrae). These bony overgrowths can end up pressing on surrounding nerves and if it affects the sciatic nerve, one can have exactly the symptoms you described. I have had it myself several times and it is sheer agony...as you describe. Having that can also cause leg and/or foot weakness as well as pins & needles, numbness, and that all too dreadful nerve pain. I see you are taking gabapentin, which I think is Neurontin, which is a medication that can help nerve pain. There is another similar nerve medication called Lyrica which I take for my nerve pains and it does help a lot. I also take tramadol as well as Soma for muscle spasms. OA isn't the only thing that can cause sciatica; it can be caused by spinal stenosis, disk herniations, cysts, and other things. Many times an MRI will show what it is that is causing the pain, but not always.

To me the first thing it sounds like is sciatca, so I would suggest you get another opinion and maybe see if spine specialist, if possible. Do you, by chance, have a copy of your MRI report? If not, you should get yourself a copy and post the report results here.

It is true that many people will develop OA in their lifetime, but it's not true that everyone will have symptoms or suffer any pain from it. It's also that many people will get disk herniations, but not everyone feels pain from that either. Even some people with huge herniations on MRI don't even know they have it and feel no pain...like when it's found incidentally.