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Old 03-02-2007, 09:38 AM   #1
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specificgravity HB User
Unhappy Multiple bulging discs - L5-S1 DDD

I will attempt to keep this short.

I'm also posting in the "Spinal Cord" forum, since I have problems in the lumbar and thoracic region. I'm lucky like that!

Anyway! I fell about five years back, but didn't have insurance, and wasn't in massive amounts of pain, so I igored it. The pain would come and go, and wasn't there very often. It was mostly lower back, with some leg pain.

About 2 years ago, I started getting a bit of ...numbness (not the best word, but the best one I can use to describe it) around my midback - at the bra line, slightly left of the spine. I still didn't have insurance, and it wasn't hurting, so I ignored it.

A few weeks ago, I woke up at 2am with searing pain down my leg, radiating from the bottom of my spine. I have insurance now, so I called a chiro, who focused (for obvious reasons) on the lumbar region. He didn't do much, since he didn't want to mess anything up, and told me to get an MRI.

Well, the place he referred me was really expensive. I called my PCP and he said he'd write the script for me if I wanted to go somewhere else. I told him I wanted a scan of the lumbar and thoracic, without contrast. I don't know that the chiro was going to request the thoracic, but I wanted it.

Well, 2.5 hours of MRI and a contrast shot later, it turns out I have 3 bulging discs - the L5-S1 (surprise, surprise - but it's also degenerating) and also the T11-12 and the T7-8. The T7-8 is mildly compressing my spinal cord...and there's something there with it they can't identify. I have to go back in 3 months for another MRI to make sure it isn't cancer or something. The radiology report really freaked me out a bit. I'm 25, which isn't the average age for the type of cancer, but leave it to me to be the special one that gets it! I'm trying not to be fatalistic, but it's hard.

I guess my post is to 1) introduce myself and 2) try to talk to people who will assure me it's going to be okay (or at least it'll get better) and I shouldn't freak out. I see the Orthopedic doctor on March 27th - they couldn't get me in earlier than that. He's supposed to be really great at "theraputic spine injections" which would be great if I wasn't the biggest needle phobe in the world. I almost cry when I have to get blood drawn.

Granted, I guess shots are better than surgery, but there's no promise I won't need that eventually, especially if it does turn out to be cancer or if the L5-S1 disc doesn't stop degenerating.

I hate this idea of "sit tight and take some Darvocet" when I want to know what's wrong *now* and I want to start fixing it *now* and not wait.

I realize I might not get replies since this is long, but I figure the people here can understand where I'm coming from, at least a little.

 
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Old 03-02-2007, 12:47 PM   #2
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BlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB User
Re: Multiple bulging discs - L5-S1 DDD

[QUOTE=specificgravity;2832006]
Well, 2.5 hours of MRI and a contrast shot later, it turns out I have 3 bulging discs - the L5-S1 (surprise, surprise - but it's also degenerating) and also the T11-12 and the T7-8. The T7-8 is mildly compressing my spinal cord...and there's something there with it they can't identify. I have to go back in 3 months for another MRI to make sure it isn't cancer or something. The radiology report really freaked me out a bit. I'm 25, which isn't the average age for the type of cancer, but leave it to me to be the special one that gets it! I'm trying not to be fatalistic, but it's hard.

I guess my post is to 1) introduce myself and 2) try to talk to people who will assure me it's going to be okay (or at least it'll get better) and I shouldn't freak out. I see the Orthopedic doctor on March 27th - they couldn't get me in earlier than that. He's supposed to be really great at "theraputic spine injections" which would be great if I wasn't the biggest needle phobe in the world. I almost cry when I have to get blood drawn.

Granted, I guess shots are better than surgery, but there's no promise I won't need that eventually, especially if it does turn out to be cancer or if the L5-S1 disc doesn't stop degenerating.

I hate this idea of "sit tight and take some Darvocet" when I want to know what's wrong *now* and I want to start fixing it *now* and not wait.

I realize I might not get replies since this is long, but I figure the people here can understand where I'm coming from, at least a little.[/QUOTE]

Welcome to the board, SpecificGravity! Yes, you'll find people here who understand. I wish I could say that everything's gonna be okay, but I don't know you and I'm not a doctor. But I CAN say that it sounds like you're on the road to getting appropriate care and that no matter what happens, you WILL get through this and you can be a stronger person for it.

You're about to discover that there's nothing fast to dealing with back problems. I would say it's good news that they didn't rush you right into the doctor. They don't consider you an emergency. That's not to say it's not significant, of course, and it sure sounds like it is. There is normally a path the doctors and insurance companies want you to travel down with these back things, trying the easiest, least costly, and least invasive treatments first. Take it a step at a time. Take the pain meds for now and keep a record of your pain for your appt on the 27th. You might also want to start a list of questions, although until you've been seen once or twice you might not have much to ask yet.

I do urge you not to go back to the chiropractor for now. Unless and until a medical doctor clears you, I wouldn't let anyone be manipulating anything back there. He could do permanent damage. I certainly give him credit for stopping what he was doing and sending you for an MRI. Please keep in mind, though, that chiropractors are not medically trained, that is, they're not "real" doctors.

As far as the needles, depending on what they're doing and who's doing it, they may be able to give you a little sedation to calm you. They can also numb you up pretty well. You don't have to see the needles. Tell them ahead of time that you've got a needle phobia and ask if they have any suggestions for you.

The waiting game can be very hard, but don't lose hope. I can't promise that you'll get back to 100%, although you very well may. But chances are you'll see huge improvement with treatment and get back into your normal life, perhaps with just a few modifications to protect your spine. There are a number of others here who are about your age. You'll get to "know" them if you hang around. Whatever other questions you have, there are lots of folks here who have been there and done that. Post your questions, your frustrations, your comments. We'll help as best we can. You're not alone!

I wish you the best and hope your appt is all about good news!

Blessings,
Emily

 
Old 03-02-2007, 01:36 PM   #3
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Sage48 HB UserSage48 HB User
Re: Multiple bulging discs - L5-S1 DDD

Specificgravity,

BlueAtlas gave you a lot of good information. As she said, the Drs. & insurance companies have a protocal for treatment...and they follow it. It takes time, and your patience will be tried. But, if you have a good Dr., it can make all of the difference in the world. Don't worry about the needles, I haven't seen one yet (and don't want to either). The Dr. will numb you up, the worst part is the numbing shot..it burns a bit, but if you count to 10, it will stop...not much worse than a bee sting... Really.
This site is wonderful..the people are willing to share what they have/are going through with their backs and treatments. Good luck to you.

Sage

 
Old 03-02-2007, 02:42 PM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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yvette777 HB User
Re: Multiple bulging discs - L5-S1 DDD

Welcome to the hurry up and wait game...we all know that game, its a drag, but alot of times they want to see if time will improve things anyway. I to have ddd and bulging discs...and know how much fun your probably having.

I have found this place to be a lifeline seriously, we all go through very similar things, some find relief non surgically some with and some still having problems. However we all understand.

I also urge you to not go to the chiropractor...my opinion. I prefer to see someone with years of education and who is a surgeon/doctor. Their is a reason chiro's can't prescribe meds' they aren't doctors.

The best advice I could think of to give you while..hurry up and waiting is to try to walk or swim the most you can to keep muscles going and ofcourse keep your core as strong as possible if you can. Mine has really went to hell since the last year.

The better in shape we are in the better chances we have of recovering easier.

I wish you the best and am here to listen anytime. vette

 
Old 03-02-2007, 09:30 PM   #5
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Location: Hawthorne, California, USA
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kkmom HB User
Re: Multiple bulging discs - L5-S1 DDD

Hello, I just wanted to welcome you to the boards, and to tell you do not worry about your post being too long. Most of us here read the post fully. Anyways, I just wanted to tell you I am so sorry for all that you are going through right now. I know the waiting game can be though and the anxiety can get really intense. But, i just want to tell you that you are in my prayers that every thing will be ok.
Rachel

 
Old 03-03-2007, 05:47 AM   #6
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specificgravity HB User
Re: Multiple bulging discs - L5-S1 DDD

Thanks all.

I actually only saw the chiro the one time. I think he made the thoracic region worse, to be honest. It was sort of numb-ish, and now it hurts. Bah. Next time someone messes with my back, it'll be the Orthopedic doctor.

I did call my doctor (PCP) yesterday and they can't give me anything stronger than the Darvocet without making me unable to work, so right now I'm taking Darvocet and Motrin on the bad days, though to be honest, they don't seem to do much. I'm trying to not be too whiny at work, but when I'm at my desk off and on for 8 hours, it's hard. Someone mentioned going on short term disability, but I can't even imagine doing that at this stage in the game. I mean, I *am* hurting, but it seems silly to take off work just for pain. Then again, I could be wrong.

I'm also wondering that if I have to have the shots - whatever type - if they'll need to do one for my whole spine, or one per bulging disc. If I have to have 3 shots per visit, they'll have to drug me up really well. Maybe I won't need them at all, though. We shall see.


And now - off to pain meds and trying to catch up at work. Whee.

Last edited by HBMod07; 03-03-2007 at 01:33 PM.

 
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