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Old 06-18-2007, 07:45 AM   #1
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Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

Hello all,

I am "possible MS" (one brain lesion and not diagnosed yet ~ all other tests are normal) and am having issues with my feet/legs. I'm trying to see if my feet/leg problems could be attributed to my lumbar back problems.

I just had a lumbar spine MRI and the report says:

1. Moderate sized broad-based disc protrusion L4-5 with resultant mild to moderate central canal stenosis and bilateral recess stenosis. There is no apparent displacement or compression of the traversing right or left L5 nerve root.

2. Small left central disc protrosion L5-S1 without spinal stenosis or neural compression.

I also have some arthritis in L4-L5.

I have had lower back pain for the last 20+ years (injured back picking up something very heavy). For the last 2 years, I've been getting bilateral tingling/numbness in my feet, but only when I would sit for long hours on a wooden chair. A few minutes after standing up and walking around, the numbness/tingling would go away.

This year, I started getting the tingling/numbness when out walking for exercise. It would go away a few minutes after sitting down.

The tingling has now turned into "stinging" and is constant. I am getting "vibrations/buzzing" going up to my knees and my legs feel weak. The numbness gets worse with increasing lower back pain. At it's worst, the entire sole of both feet are numb. Some burning and some "cold spots" and mild calf cramping as well.

My neuro thinks that the back issues have nothing to do with what's going on in my legs/feet. He thinks it's all "MS".

My question is can mild-moderate central canal stenosis and/or disc protrusion cause any of these side effects?? It is getting worse. I am concerned that the MRI states that there is no nerve compression. I guess that leads more to a MS cause then a lumbar cause?

Any thoughts??

TIA!!

 
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Old 06-18-2007, 08:07 AM   #2
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

Hi to you!
Seems to me that your back problems can give you a lot of pain - your MRI showed pretty strong suggestions. As you read here on this board - most people go for more than one opinion - this is the best decision we make.
Yes, i do experience my legs/feet problems, similar to yours and this is only because i have back problem.
So the best advice i can give you - go and see somebody else just for your piece of mind and good luck to you...

 
Old 06-18-2007, 08:38 AM   #3
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

HI,
Welcome! I'm so glad you found your way here. I think you will be happy you found us. My back trouble started back in 1998 and oddly enough I was told I had MS and was not really treatable because all of my problems were sensory perception problems, they said I just had to learn to live with it. I had one single pin head sized lesion on my right frontal lobe and they said since they had to idea how or when that got there it wasn't diagnosable. Well I went to the Melon Center, world renown for treating and researching MS, they told me the same thing. I know how devastated you feel right now. Well I did the spinal tap the whole nine yards nothing helped. Well then my back started hurting really bad, my family dr. took a simple xray of my back, I had grade 2-3spondy, DDD, arthritis, lordsis, and stenosis. Thank GOD!!! it was just my back.

Well to speed things up until now, I had 4 fusions in the last 3 yrs or so, all 4 failed. Because it took so long to diagnose me I have permanent nerve damage and am on disability now, I'm only 45.

I don't want you to think that is your fate, back problems are way better a diagnosis than MS. Now I can't say that you dont' have MS but it sure sounds like your chances of not having it are pretty good.

If I were you I would find the best spine dr. you can find and take your test results to them and then maybe even get a second opinion from another spine dr. If I would have took my dr.'s MS diagnosis I would probably be in a wheelchair now. Don't take a "possible" diagnosis as the answer. Until someone can PROVE you have or dont' have something keep looking for answers. I did't get a back diagnosis until 2003, I lived for 5 yrs thinking I probably had MS and that whole time I kept getting more nerve damage all that time. I can honestly say I know exactly how you feel, it's a horrible feeling and I'm so sorry you have to go thru this.



From what you say the MRI results are the stenosis and disc protrusion can cause your symptoms and so can MS. You need to find a good spine dr. and go from there. I can't believe that your dr. can think that your mri results can't be casuing your problems. Did any of your tests show any lesions anywhere except the brain? unless you have spinal lesions that are causing these problems one can only think that it has to be your back causing them. Once again I'm not a dr. by no means but I do know how a MS diagnosis can be made when you only have a back problem.

Many of the symptoms you are having are the same things I live with now and will live with the rest of my life because of dr.'s misdiagnosis, dont' wait and DO ask questions of any & all test results until you get solid answers.

Please keep us updated, I will be praying for you to find the correct diagnosis and also find relief from your pain.

God Bless

Carol
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Last edited by mamakitkat; 06-18-2007 at 08:57 AM.

 
Old 06-18-2007, 08:48 AM   #4
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

Hi and welcome!

It sounds like you definitely have back problems which could be causing your feet and other problems. But, in order to rule out MS, you really need a Spinal Tap. My sister has MS and it was suspected I have it but the spinal tap showed I didn't. I have 4 lesions on my brain but they are not the kind that would be indicative of MS is what I was told. I do have a lot of back problems so it's all back with me along with Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia also has similar symptoms as MS. If there is concern though with you having MS, like I said, you need the spinal tap.

Harmony

 
Old 06-18-2007, 08:56 AM   #5
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

Hi,
Harmony, I was told way back then by the Cleve. Clinic Melon Center that the spinal tap has a 50/50 chance of showing MS, is that not true anymore?
Carol
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:02 AM   #6
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

Hi Carol,

I hadn't heard that! That's interesting. I know the Cleveland Clinic is a top place. My sister was told it was proof and I was also told it was for me that I didn't have it. I have all the symptoms though along with my back problems but since I was diagnosed years ago with Fibro, it's hard to tell. What were you told determines it?

Harmony

 
Old 06-18-2007, 09:13 AM   #7
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

HI Harmony,
They told me that it is very hard to get a solid result from many of the tests that they do. My dr. told me that the MS diagnosis is basically a combination of tests that rule out other deseases leaving MS as the only one left. Well for me the tests ruled out other things like Lupus but they couldn't really rule MS in or out until they found the back problem. Now it was nice to know I didn't have all these other things (10 total). They said that almost 40% of MS patients are never really solidly diagnosed by a test but by a combo of things. If the spinal tap shows it then it is correct but it can not show MS and you can still have it from what they say anyway.

I had a mri of my brain and I was told I had a tumor at the base of my brain stem when it was just a shadow from the mri, so you see why I'm a lil skeptical of dr.'s opinions.

It's all so confusing when your searching for answers and they give you mixed messages like that.

God Bless

Carol
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:17 AM   #8
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

Thanks so much for you welcome's and replies!

I did have a spinal tap and my neuro also ran other bloodwork to rule out "MS mimics". Everything has come out "normal". I have also read that the spinal tap can come out "normal" and you still have MS. My neuro says that it can show normal in the early stages of the disease. All office exams are normal as well.

My neuro generally uses the "McDonald Criteria" to diagnose. The criteria uses "dissemination in time and space". A spinal tap is not needed to diagnose.

I had a cervical spine MRI and that has come back "normal" as well. I did not have a thorasic spine MRI and I'm not sure if he'll order one.

I am having other symptoms. I have headaches/ear pressure/tinnitus/dizziness, all of which could or could not be MS. I just had a VNG and that indicated an inner ear vestibular problem and NOT a CNS problem (yeah). Also had a brainstem evoked potential that tentatively looks normal as well.

Thanks again for your well wishes, prayers and replies. I'm trying everything I can to find other causes for my symptoms. I'm also on the "older" side ~ I'm 44.5, so I'm hoping that this isn't MS.

I just can't understand how my neuro can say that the issues with my L4-S1 aren't causing any foot/leg problems!!

Last edited by 6-paq; 06-18-2007 at 09:20 AM.

 
Old 06-18-2007, 09:29 AM   #9
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

HI,
I had all of those tests too and they all came back normal too, which is good news but still rather frustrating for you I'm sure. I did have the dizziness and things like you.

My family dr. back then told me that all of my symptoms were all pointing to a problem with my spinal cord, possible lesions on it perhaps. But my insurance company back then refused the request for a mri of the entire spinal cord, how nice of them huh. It turned out it was my spinal cord but not lesions, compression of it. I can't understan why your doc is dismissing the back problems either. It sounds like he is being thorough but I would still find a good spine dr. and get a second opinion possibly a third depending on the second results. Then you will know for sure.

Since when is 44.5 on the "older" side? lol.

God Bless

Carol
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Last edited by mamakitkat; 06-18-2007 at 09:29 AM.

 
Old 06-18-2007, 09:42 AM   #10
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

[QUOTE=mamakitkat;3051234]HI,

Since when is 44.5 on the "older" side? lol.

God Bless

Carol[/QUOTE]

LOL..... Sorry, I meant the "older side" of getting a MS diagnosis!

 
Old 06-18-2007, 05:10 PM   #11
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

Hi,

Do you have trouble walking upright? Or trouble walking any distance? Does it hurt worse when you bend backwards or to the side?

I had stenosis and boy did that cause alot of pain and disability. It progressed very quickly for me over 3 1/2 years (well, at least that's the lenght of time I noticed symptoms and they worsened). Sometimes mild stenosis may not cause pain...just like for some large herniations may not cause pain. Everyone is different. I can tell you especially if you have some moderate stenosis, it's definitely a possibility it can be part of what's causing your symptoms.

Also to let you know, I had my ears ringing constantly, plus severe headaches, severe muscle spasms in my entire backs of legs, my thighs, abs, my entire back, my neck, shoulders, arms, hands, even into my face and throat. It spread everywhere. I also had alot of tremors. I couldnt hold my hands or arms straight, my legs would tremor while sitting. (I think the tremors were just due to the shear pain) I just ended up with symptoms in soo many areas of my body and it was mostly due to my lumbar spinal stenosis progessing so badly. After surgery, I could not believe how much of my symptoms had just disappeared. I still had some neck spasms (but I had been walking bent forward so long it took a while to calm down) but what a huge relief it was afterwards.

So I urge you to see a spine specialist to get another opinion because if any of your symptoms are due to stenosis or spine issues, it may progress and possibly cause nerve damage, etc...

 
Old 01-14-2008, 07:33 AM   #12
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

Yes, get a second or third opinion! You said, "I just can't understand how my neuro can say that the issues with my L4-S1 aren't causing any foot/leg problems!!" I can understand because docs are also human so that is why other opinions are important. I got nowhere with my Rheumatologis and Neurologist, plus my primary doc, so I moved on and have some appointments coming up this wee and next for similar issues. I am also seeing a really good orthopedic spine specialist and chiropractor this week.

My symptoms started out in October of this year with tingling in my feet, then pain in my right foot, tingling in my legs, hands, face, scalp, frequent urination, trembling, sensitive to cold and a few things I am probably forgetting.

A troubling symptom was and still is, trouble swallowing....or more like the control of my through or mouth muscles are not that great any longer. I know this can all be spine related or some other disease. I had two Neuros say based on physical tests they would rule our MS. My primary doc had an MRi of my brain stem and that was clean although shouldn't they do the Thorasic as well? I did have a Thorasic MRI with contrast but that was for bulging disks, etc.

My Rheumy wonders if this could be Psoriatic Arthritis or Ankylosing Spondylitis but I am not sure. I do get some stiffness in the joints but my biggest problem is the feet and trouble swallowing, oh and tingling in the groin. UGH!

I had a chiropractor sit down with me and go over my MRIs. I can see two bulging or herniated disks in the thorasic region and a bulging disk in L4/5. My MRIs also show foraminal narrowing.

My symptoms came on strong in October, but I was in a car accident back in 1990 which could have started all this. Since then I also had reconstructive shoulder and ulnar entrapment surgery. Which reminds me, your problem could also be Hereditary Neuropathy with liability to Pressure Palsies and I am going to ask my Neuro about this for me as well.

My symptoms had died down to where I could take a walk with no symptoms but my feet would get tingly after about 30-45 minutes. since then, the pain came back, on and off, mostly in the right foot, weakness in the ankle, pain in the hip and back of legs, tingling in the groin and trouble swalloing at times or issues with the throat and/or mouth muscles.

Look into everything and I hope you get answers. Sounds like we have some similar symptoms but I do not have much back pain other than some twinging in my low back and tightness, spasms, with some on/off pain in the thorasic area.

It was interesting my chiropractor was able to create the tingling in my feet by having me sit and reach to my toes and I also learned this at home. This kind of helps point toward mechanical issues.

 
Old 01-14-2008, 07:59 AM   #13
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

Well as long as your getting all these tests get your thyroid checked. It can cause sensitivity to cold numbness and tingling and a big sign is trouble swallowing. If left undiagnosed it can also make you feel like you're going crazy. I have stenosis too cervical and lumbar and I share most of your symptoms and I was afraid I had MS but so far that hasn't been diagnosed. (Thank God) anyway as long as you are having test mention the thyroid issue its just takes a blood test to check thyroid function. Best of luck. Dee
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:46 AM   #14
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

[QUOTE=deeannek;3389***]Well as long as your getting all these tests get your thyroid checked. It can cause sensitivity to cold numbness and tingling and a big sign is trouble swallowing. If left undiagnosed it can also make you feel like you're going crazy. I have stenosis too cervical and lumbar and I share most of your symptoms and I was afraid I had MS but so far that hasn't been diagnosed. (Thank God) anyway as long as you are having test mention the thyroid issue its just takes a blood test to check thyroid function. Best of luck. Dee[/QUOTE]

Thanks Dee. I remember having that checked and said it was fine. I thought of that as well though. Maybe it should be re-checked.

 
Old 01-14-2008, 01:30 PM   #15
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Re: Lumbar spine or MS symptoms???

haapy to help.
I have read that it is best to do the thyroid test in the morning for a more accurate reading. Some doctors have trouble diagnosing this I'm not sure why. I also had a lot of skin symptoms very very dry skin with reddish patches on my face and I was losing hair,but that wasn't obvious to doctors because my hair is long and thick, but I sure noticed especially afyter a shower. Anyway this cold be a reason for some of the tingling numbness and inability to tolerate cold. My poor fingers get so cold sometimes it feels like they are going to break right off.( toes too)
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