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Old 11-15-2006, 12:25 PM   #1
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Disk Bulges/Degeneration, EMG, SI Joint Injection

My MRI results showed disk bulges / degeneration. First of all, are these two terms interchangeable? My regular doctor said disk bulges... the specialist said disk degeneration...

I haven't received a copy of the MRI results myself, but I have a request in to have them mailed to me.

The specialist has me scheduled for both an EMG and an SI Joint Injection in a couple of weeks.

I'd appreciate anyone who has/had these conditions/procedures to please share with me their experiences.

Thank you!

(edited due to typo)

Last edited by ktnap; 11-15-2006 at 12:26 PM.

 
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Old 11-15-2006, 11:19 PM   #2
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Re: Disk Bulges/Degeneration, EMG, SI Joint Injection

Welcome!

Well, they are not necessarily interchangeable no. DDD is aging of the discs.. and for many causes little to no problems. But then there are many that is causes a great deal of pain. And from the DDD.. it often leaves vulnerability for further complications to arise.. ie--bulging disc.

A bulging disc is just that.. the disc itself is bulging/sticking out somewhere and no longer maintaining it's original shape. Again, many people have bulging discs and those too.. cause them no pain. Same with some causing great pain.

Why the EMG test, and SI injection? Has epidural injections been put on the table of ideas (which would go into the disc space of the bulging disc)? Are you suffering from sciatica? Which disc is bulging?

Tammy
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L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
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A Success, but still improving!

 
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Old 11-16-2006, 04:14 AM   #3
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Re: Disk Bulges/Degeneration, EMG, SI Joint Injection

[QUOTE=Justoneofus]Welcome!

Why the EMG test, and SI injection? Has epidural injections been put on the table of ideas (which would go into the disc space of the bulging disc)? Are you suffering from sciatica? Which disc is bulging?

Tammy[/QUOTE]Thanks for the welcome, Tammy!

I don't have the report of the MRI resuls in my hand yet (I've asked my doctor to send them to me; she had only sent them to the specialist), but it is the last one near my tail bone.

When I described my symptoms to the specialist (electrical shock feelings on the left side of my tailbone, and tingling in certain parts of my foot), he seemed to be extremely familiar with the condition(?) and even said 99% of the people with this are women. He was surprised I had never experienced childbirth because the stress on the pelvic region often aggravates this. He mentioned the 1% are men who have been in high speed accidents (I haven't had one of those either).

I forget why the specialist wanted to do the EMG test, but I have welcomed anybody who responds to what I've been trying to communicate to them to give me answers so I was more than happy to comply when he said he'd like to do one (LOL).

I've had this "condition?" (I'm not sure if there's a name for it) for 10+ years and sitting / laying down has been difficult so therefore I spend a lot of time running around and I've finally become exhausted enough to be persistent in getting someone to listen to me.

I've been through physical therapy twice. The first time was in 2001 and they literally did nothing for me and made me feel like it was not bad enough to pursue further help. I just finished 10 sessions with another physical therapy program last month, and this staff was much more knowledgeable, helpful, and compassionate and was instrumental in encouraging me to complain more to my doctor for help in pain management.

So, what do you know about the EMG test....? and the SI Joint injection...? I was wondering if your response meant you are surprised he is going down this path instead of epidural or another route?

Kathy

 
Old 11-16-2006, 06:57 AM   #4
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Re: Disk Bulges/Degeneration, EMG, SI Joint Injection

I'm not sure if your problem is at L5/S1 but if it is, see my post called "GOOD NEWS for anyone with L5/S1 problems". Good luck!

 
Old 11-16-2006, 07:03 AM   #5
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Re: Disk Bulges/Degeneration, EMG, SI Joint Injection

Katnipped,
Read my experience and others in the thread: [B]sacroiliac strain, pain[/B]....
Several of us are going in for SIJ. Sacroiliac Joint Injections.

jlo2

 
Old 11-16-2006, 08:13 AM   #6
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Re: Disk Bulges/Degeneration, EMG, SI Joint Injection

[QUOTE=lapis136]I'm not sure if your problem is at L5/S1 but if it is, see my post called "GOOD NEWS for anyone with L5/S1 problems". Good luck![/QUOTE]

Thanks for the information, I appreciate it. I read your post, but as of yet, I don't know if what I have is L5/S1 since I don't have the MRI results in hand. Hopefully I will get them today (I called my doctor's office and they are supposed to mail them to me.

 
Old 11-16-2006, 08:16 AM   #7
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Re: Disk Bulges/Degeneration, EMG, SI Joint Injection

[QUOTE=jlo2]Katnipped,
Read my experience and others in the thread: [B]sacroiliac strain, pain[/B]....
Several of us are going in for SIJ. Sacroiliac Joint Injections.

jlo2[/QUOTE]

jlo2

Yours is one of the first posts I read when I came to the Back forum to see what I could find out. Thanks for the information...I think I will go re-read it but I opened another post since I'm getting an EMG and I haven't found anything on the board about that. Have you had one of those tests?

 
Old 11-16-2006, 01:49 PM   #8
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Re: Disk Bulges/Degeneration, EMG, SI Joint Injection

I was offered an EMG test about 5 months ago, but didn't go for it. I was trying to take a very conservative route, and I thought that the EMG was invasive. I didn't understand. In retrospect, I think I should have had the EMG. It may have helped pin point a diagnosis. So, instead, I've been treated as if my sciatic problem is caused by 2 bulging discs, as indicated in my MRI.

A radiologist friend told me, if he did an MRI on 100 people over 50 yrs old, probably 80% of the MRI's would indicate some kind of 'spine issue,' but only a small percentage would be experiencing pain from the 'issue.' Unfortunately it's part of the aging process. Also, I believe, that with the advantage of MRI, many MD's latch onto 'whatever they see' as the 'reason for the pain.' But sciatica is just a catch-all word for pain that follows the sciatic nerve, usually going down the leg. Sciatica has many causes.

At a 'last straw' attempt to get rid of the pain, after trying so many conservative treatments, I agreed to have the epidural two weeks ago. As I wrote, the ineffectiveness of the epidural may be why the neuro-physiatrist (pain management MD) has decided to give me a SIJ. She suspects, as I have for quite a while, that my problem may be a sacroiliac disfunction. (I believe i injured the joint playing golf. Very common!

So, that's a lengthy answer to say, I probably ought to have had the EMG early on in my treatment.

I've been 'hanging around' this 'back problem' board for only a few months, but long enough to know that every back issue is so individual. It's wonderful to be able to share information, but I leave the diagnosing and medical prescription to the professionals.

Last edited by removedone; 11-16-2006 at 01:51 PM.

 
Old 11-16-2006, 06:16 PM   #9
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Re: Disk Bulges/Degeneration, EMG, SI Joint Injection

[QUOTE=jlo2]So, that's a lengthy answer to say, I probably ought to have had the EMG early on in my treatment. [/QUOTE]

jlo2
Do you think you'll go for the EMG now?

I guess the test shows if there is any nerve damage...? and maybe pinpoints which nerve?? I think I hear everything the doctor says during my appt. but somehow half of it ends up in my mind's bit bucket afterwards

 
Old 11-16-2006, 07:27 PM   #10
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Re: Disk Bulges/Degeneration, EMG, SI Joint Injection

jlo2,

All of the things I have went through, The EMG tells them how much nerve damage has been done and they can supposedly almost pin point it. I was told that is why they measure this and do thier magic and then measure more and do thier magic and so on. When they stick the needle and twist I was not overly happy. This is as well a very good indicator that the nerve is trying to heal and repair as it was explained to me. When the doctor was done he said hmm, this will make them think about several things and scratch thier heads.

The shots were not my favorite either, in the end I will have S1-L1 fused, and L4-L5 as well. Your situation sounds almost identical to mine, it took a spine specalist to put it all together and then gave me the choice of what to do.

I am very much the optimist and look forward to the surgerys and recovery and moving on. I have just turned 47 and have alot of good active years left and I think the earlier it is done the quicker it will hopefully heal. Thus a more enjoyable later years in life...


I hope things work out for you,
Roy47

 
Old 11-16-2006, 09:02 PM   #11
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Re: Disk Bulges/Degeneration, EMG, SI Joint Injection

My sister in law just took the injection Monday...she's still in pain. They said give it 3-10 days........well I don't know how much more pain she can endure. the insurance co would not Ok surgery, which the doc said she needed, until the injection was tried. Insurance co have no idea about pain I guess. She's been crawling for a week. Can't walk.........she's only 55.........
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Old 11-17-2006, 06:21 AM   #12
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Re: Disk Bulges/Degeneration, EMG, SI Joint Injection

Roy47, katnipped,

No, I don't think I'll have an EMG now. The EMG is basically a diagnostic test. The SIJ injection (Dec 4) will actually serve two purposes, curative and diagnostic. If it works, and the sciatica goes away, then the MD will know that my problem is sacroiliac disfunction. If it doesn't 'take' then most likely my mildly bulging L-5, L-4, discs are giving me sciatic pain, and I'll try another epidural, because sometimes it takes 2 or 3 epidurals to be effective.

Roy47, in my 'path to find a diagnosis' over the past 6 months, I did get an opinion from a neurosurgeon spine specialist. He said that my disc bulges were not nearly bad enough to consider surgery. That was good news to me!

Last edited by removedone; 11-17-2006 at 06:22 AM.

 
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