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Old 05-13-2004, 04:42 PM   #1
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VirginiaGal HB User
sciatica-does it show up on xray?

Since early March, I've been experiencing shooting tingling pain down both legs,and lower lumbar back pain. Went to my dr and all the neurological tests she did came back normal.(sensation,reflexes) In the beginning, it came and went but as of last week it has pretty much come to stay. Doc put me on Bextra,(providing the dumb insurance company ever approves it) which helped till I ran out of samples, now I'm living on Advil and it isn't doing a thing. Last week, did a lower back xray series and I guess that must have turned out neg.for anything because they haven't contacted me back. Does sciatica always show up on xray?and for those of you with it, what pain med really,really helps? am getting to the point where my quality of sleep is disturbed,because of the pain and about ready to go back to the dr. I am also doing PT, which also doesn't seem to be having any significant improvements to things.
thanks
VirginiaGal

 
Old 05-13-2004, 07:35 PM   #2
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carol632 HB User
Re: sciatica-does it show up on xray?

[COLOR=DarkRed][FONT=Tahoma]Sciatica will not show up on x-ray. You will need an MRI to find the cause of the sciatica. Sciatica is an inflammation of the sciatic nerve and the cause must be found in order to receive effective treatment. I would recommend an orthopedic spine specialist. Good luck.

Carol[/FONT][/COLOR]
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Old 05-14-2004, 08:13 PM   #3
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countrygal HB User
Re: sciatica-does it show up on xray?

CAROL,i saw where you have had 2 laminectomies..... Can you share your experiences with me? I have a herniated L5 S1 with sciatic narrowing R , 2 synovial cysts DDD .. Neuro surg wants me to have this surgy and i would like to have someones outputs.... Haven't gotten much response to my thread...Sorry Virginiagal for getting off track..... I have sciatic pain down my R buttock down the back of my leg above the knee, upper and lower back pain, headaches, L lower leg (bone) at time the inner thigh and groin area even abd pain.... I take pain med but it doesn't take it away. Ask for a MRI. And good luck hope you find relief.....Let us know what you find out...

 
Old 05-14-2004, 10:26 PM   #4
Mart7
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Re: sciatica-does it show up on xray?

[QUOTE=VirginiaGal]Since early March, I've been experiencing shooting tingling pain down both legs,and lower lumbar back pain. Went to my dr and all the neurological tests she did came back normal.(sensation,reflexes) In the beginning, it came and went but as of last week it has pretty much come to stay. Doc put me on Bextra,(providing the dumb insurance company ever approves it) which helped till I ran out of samples, now I'm living on Advil and it isn't doing a thing. Last week, did a lower back xray series and I guess that must have turned out neg.for anything because they haven't contacted me back. Does sciatica always show up on xray?and for those of you with it, what pain med really,really helps? am getting to the point where my quality of sleep is disturbed,because of the pain and about ready to go back to the dr. I am also doing PT, which also doesn't seem to be having any significant improvements to things.
thanks
VirginiaGal[/QUOTE]

Even if you hadn't heard from your Doctor's office, I wouldn't assume that the xrays didn't show anything. Back in November I had xrays done and somehow my Doctor's office "lost" the result and never got back to me. With the holidays and it being a busy time of year I just kind of lived with the pain until January. When I returned to my Doctor's office in January, it turned out my xray results were never put in my file and they had to track them down. Anyway, to make a long story short, the xrays showed DDD and my Doctor's office immediately referred me to Orthopedic surgeon. An MRI revealed a collapsed disc (L4/L5) and a herniated disc (S1). In addition I have had an EMG and it revealed severe nerve compression which is causing the leg pain and weakness in my left leg. While it is true that sciatica will not show up on an xray, it is possible that the condition leading to the sciatica will be revealed, often times xrays aren't very conclusive; so it may be necessary to have an MRI and/or a nerve study. Sometimes Doctor's office's just get busy and they don't always follow-up like they should. I would call them first thing Monday. Keep us posted on how you are doing.
-MJ

 
Old 05-15-2004, 02:15 PM   #5
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VirginiaGal HB User
Re: sciatica-does it show up on xray?

thanks for the replies, glad that it doesn't just prove I am nuts!
-VirginiaGal

 
Old 05-15-2004, 05:06 PM   #6
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carol632 HB User
Re: sciatica-does it show up on xray?

[COLOR=DarkRed][FONT=Microsoft Sans Serif]Countrygal, my laminectomies were done over 20 years ago and things have changed a lot. My story isn't one to inspire you, but I had a quack for a surgeon. I had the first laminectomy and the very next day, while still in the hospital, I began having severe pain again...the disc had re-ruptured. My doctor refused to believe me, saying it was post op pain. It took 4 months to convince him; had a second laminectomy and did well for about 3 months and the pain began again...too much disc had been removed and the spine was "collapsing"; hence, my first fusion. So don't go by my results....just make sure to get a second opinion and be sure you have a good doctor, one you trust a lot. Mine had been recommended by an acquaintance who had not had surgery. I was a lot younger and a WHOLE lot dumber, lol.

I wish you the very best in luck...for a successful surgery and an uneventful recovery.

Carol[/FONT][/COLOR]
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Old 05-15-2004, 07:03 PM   #7
Mart7
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Re: sciatica-does it show up on xray?

ViriginiaGal,
Carol brings up very informed and good points. As far as surgery goes; I had a microdiscectomy in 1999, for a large herniated disc (L4/L5). The surgery was very successful, it was a relatively non-eventful recovery, and I remained pain-free for four years. However, the initial xrays didn't show anything and it wasn't until my Doctor ordered an MRI that the herniated disc and nerve compression showed up. So, it will likely be necessary you to have an MRI. Please, keep us posted on how you are doing.
-MJ

 
Old 05-17-2004, 06:39 AM   #8
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VirginiaGal HB User
Re: sciatica-does it show up on xray?

Went to the drs office this morning, because sometimes phone calls get you nowhere,and I'm not going to play phone tag for several days. Decided it best, to speak to someone in person. Well, I talked to the nurse, and she decided I needed to talk to the dr about it (fortuantly, office was running slow) and in a relatively short period, got in to see the dr.Doc said the xray showed small bone spurs between the 4th and 5th vertebrae and 1st and 2nd vertebrae, to keep up the pt and wrote a prescription for a stronger anti inflammatory. So whats this mean- do I push for an MRI right now or should I give it some more time? Pain has slightly improved, pt finally seems like its helping some. But I don't expect it to go all the way, if the spurs are causing it doesn't seem like it will just go away.
VirginiaGal

 
Old 05-18-2004, 06:53 AM   #9
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out2lunch HB User
Re: sciatica-does it show up on xray?

Hi VirginiaGal, I hope you don't mind my intrusion here!! I've been a member for a few yrs, but have been away for quite sometime, and couldn't help but add my input here!!
Your situation sounds sooooooo much like my own, it's scary!!
I was in a car accident 6yrs ago, and the x-rays my dr had done, said I had bone spurs and my spine was concave to the right!! Of course he treated it like normal wear and tear on my body, or that it was through child bearing!! Yet I was only 30yrs old at the time, and hadn't had any type of back problems before that accident!!
I've since had too many CTs and MRIs to count, that show herniated discs, bulging discs, DDD, DJD, and I've been diagnosed with sciatica!!
I have all the same symptoms you talk about, and then some!! I've had EMGs, and I'll tell you, a few drs have told me that unless they test every single nerve in your body, it's very easy to miss the affected nerve!!
You definitely need an MRI to determine if your disc/discs are pressing on the nerves, but I will say that my tests all say that "they can't rule out nerve impingement"!! I don't think there's any test, other then a discogram that can truly determine if the nerve's being pinched, unless it's being pinched severely, and it doesn't have to be severely to cause major pain!!
I haven't opted for the discogram, 'cause I know that it's one of the most painful tests you can have, and quite simply, I'm too chicken haha!
Be careful with anti-inflammatories as well!! I was put on every one you can think of, during these 6yrs, and now have ulcers to go with the rest of my chronic problems LOL!!
The only meds that have helped me, were percocet and oxycontin, which I still take!! They're pain meds, not anti-inflams, but I'm told that's the best they can do for me as surgery's not an option for me!!
I sure hope that you get your MRI, and it shows the dr a way to help you to the point that things don't become chronic!! My drs put me off, and shoved me aside, til I developed permanent nerve damage too!! They say, things will never get better for me, only worse, and I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy!!!
I hope that I've been able to help you, and not scare you in anyway!! I've just found that it's not always bright to just take drs at their word haha!! Follow your gut!! Only you know what's really going on with your body, and sometimes we have to push the drs til they know it too!! I wish you all the luck in the world, and hope that you'll ask me any questions that you have!! Take care!!

 
Old 05-18-2004, 10:26 AM   #10
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VirginiaGal HB User
Re: sciatica-does it show up on xray?

Out2lunch, thanks for your imput.I don't even want to know what a discogram is, it sounds horrible. Will get an MRI, and hope something from that shows a treatable problem. Do they do backbone transplants?lol wish something could be done to help you!
thanks,
VirginiaGal

 
Old 05-18-2004, 10:46 AM   #11
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out2lunch HB User
Re: sciatica-does it show up on xray?

Thanks Virginia, I wish they did backbone transplants too!! In a way I do anyway LOL! I'd probably too chicken to go through with it, even if they did LOL! But, thanks for wishing something could be done for me, as I do for you!! Take care!

 
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