I'm 52 and have had occasional low back pain since I totaled my Honda civic 30 years ago. Sky diving didn't help 8 years ago. Usually my chiropractor takes care of it and I am pain free, until I do something else stupid. About two years ago I lifted a heavy piece of wood furniture into my pick-up truck. Since then, almost constant pain. Sometimes worse than other times. MRI showed one herniated disc and three bulging. Here is the issue: My medical doctor and Chiropractor seem to want me to to just accept this as part of aging. I refuse. Sure, I can climb stairs and walk and sit, and do most everything. Except jogging. Dancing. Lifting furniture or playing volleyball. The pain makes me cranky from time to time, and on occasion, every few weeks, slows me down. But I certainly don't have a serious issue, at least not compared with so many people here. But, I can't run or jog. I hate that.
There are so many doctors in South Florida, from surgeons to chiropractors to physical therapy and you name it. South Florida is like a third world country, and every month some yahoo is arrested for practicing medicine without a license! So, I'm lost. Where do I go? Who do I see? Surgeon? Therapy? Who can I trust, if anyone?
My pain is in my low back, and usually to the right and into the hip. Sometimes the right leg. On occasions it moves to the left leg and once in a great while a shooting pain goes down the left leg. But that's OK, it is over with quickly. It is the dull pain, right at the base of my spine and to the right that is always there that keeps me down.
I would be interested in anyone's suggestions or experiences that might guide me.
Hi Howard, and welcome to the board. You seem to have managed fairly well up to this point, but now I think it is time for you to see a spine specialist...either a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon. It sounds like at least one of the discs is putting pressure on a nerve, and this isn't going to get better by itself...it will probably just get worse. This is not a natural part of aging. Yes, as we get older, our discs dry out and we have what is called
"degerated discs". Most people aren't bothered by them; however, when one ruptures, many painful things follow. So, see a specialist, get his opinion and if your MRI is less than 6 months old, take it with you. Otherwise, he will order a new one. After getting his opinion, go see a second specialist and get an opinion from him, too. That will let you see if they are in agreement about what your next step should be. If they differ, then a 3rd is called for. I know it seems like a lot of drs, but your back is very important to the quality of your life and you want to be certain that what you do next is right for you. Also, it will give you 3 doctors to chose from as far as your rapport with them goes.
Good luck to you from someone who has been there too many times.
Howard, I agree with Carol on seeing a spine specialist. Your back is too vital a part of you to set back and let it go downhill. As for the difference between an orthopedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon. I think an orthopedic surgeon is more for bone. My sister had neck pain and went to an orthopedic surgeon and because it involved the spine and the nerves, he referred her to a neurosurgeon. I have never gone to an orthopedic before, but know that some on here do use orthopedic surgeons. Who ever you decided on you want to make sure that the spine is their speciality. Also, like Carol said several opinions don't hurt and then you have a choice as to who you feel more comfortable with.
and welcome your symptoms sound just like mine. I make my first visit to a spine specialist on MAY 26. I am hoping they can tell me more as for now i take lortab and endure the pain good luck at finding a the right doctor.
Thank you all, I appreciate your guidance. What about some of these "Spine Centers" as I call them? They are a large group of various doctors, and they can do everything from physical therapy to surgery. They seem to cover the whole spectrum of specialists, except chiropractors. Kind of a one stop shop.
Like everyone, i agree that you get at least 2 opinions. Actually, one will do as long as you get a MRI. The MRI will tell you how significant your condition is. Herniate Disc is pretty bad and usually, this is the condition that compels people to have surgery.
Okay, what's important is getting clinical evidence to pin point the degree of problem. A Ortho surgeon will suggest Surgery. You do not want Surgery because usually, surgery just makes it worse(r)!
Try going to a physical therapist after consulting with a doctor. From the PT, learn what exercises and in general what physical activities you are capable of doing. At the same time, fine a good Accupunturist. Then make the PT exercises a part of your life and get regular Accupuntrist treatment, and relax and remember One Important Thing: You can somewhat relieve it but you cannot eradicate the condition. Its there. The point is: What stage do you or can you live with? You are middle age and things usually get worse with time as you continue to age. I would stop seeing a chiropractor. It seems those manipulations would aggravate the disc. You have nerve problems, disc impinging nerves and degenerative disc problems due to age and trauma.
Relax, heating pads, find physical therapy exercises that are useful, try some accupunture, do not over do things, your Macho Days of Youth are just about over. Take it easy and find what you can live with. Trust me, Surgery will make it worse(r). See the literature.
The difference between the two doctors is that a neurosurgeon is trained to work and operate on the nerves of the body especially the brain and the back and neck. An ortho doc is trained to work and operate on the bones. Now there is some neurosurgeons whose only specialty is the spine, the same goes for the ortho surgeons. Some of them only are trained in the spine. When I had my fusion I had my neurosurgeon who came in and cleaned out the disk and did all the nerve work and then the ortho doc came in and fused me up with the hardware. It wasn't that I chose it this way it is the way these two doc's work. But when it came down to it I think I would have chosen this way because I always heard that you would want a neuro doc doing the disk and nerve work and an ortho doc doing the fusing. Well that is my opinion for what it is worth. I hope everything goes alright for you and do not forget ask plenty of questions! It is your body and you know better than anybody how you feel! I hope you have a blessed evening!
FUSION L5-S1 WITH HARDWARE
MEGA SCAR TISSUE
DDD UP TO THORASIC AREA
DISK BULGE L4-S1