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Old 01-04-2008, 06:11 AM   #1
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question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

without getting into the long story....wc case, havent had a dr in 7 months, so any questions/problems i have, im having to resort to online research. hoping to see neurosurgeon soon???!!!

a couple of weeks ago, i woke up on two different days with my little toe numb...very eerie feeling...but after a bit, it was fine. (im guess i slept on my right side too long??)....anyway...a couple of days later, my toe started staying "numb" all day..it just feels odd...like something is stuck in between my toes....i noticed yesterday that my little toe is swelled...which might explain why it "feels" that something is in between the toes....i have not hit my toe at all, so im thinking its related to the back injury. i know that you can develop numbness...my question is about the swelling...is this normal??

my back injury has been going on now for 16 months...with no medical treatment in the last 7 months...things change daily or weekly....and im just starting to feel like im falling apart...i dont know what ailment is back related or what anymore!! like last night....my left arm was numb feeling...took bp...it was completely fine. could someone please help me? thanks

 
Old 01-04-2008, 06:42 AM   #2
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

I had an L5 S1 rupture and kind of lived with it for 18 months. It got better and then would go again and I had surgery to repair it. I wish I had it done sooner to be honest, so I would have not got nerve damage (I lost ankle reflex and it's still not back yet)

If it was a rupture though, I think it would cause more than numbness in the foot! When I last did it in September (before op) I couldn't even walk for three weeks. You will know when you have a ruptured disc!!

You need an MRI I guess, but your pattern of pain seems to indicate S1 nerve pathway.

Remember don't forget the sacroiliac joint (doctors only ever seem interested in discs) The main reason I got a herniated disc was because my sacroiliac joint was out and unstable. L5/S1 rides directly over and next to the sacroiliac joint and any misalignment there will cause the disc to degenerate.

 
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:49 AM   #3
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

i already know that its a ruptured disc....which has also caused nerve [U]displacement[/U]...not just pressing on the nerve.
i have no control over how long its taking to get treatment...as i stated, this is a workers comp issue, so i already know that im at high risk now for nerve damage, with it being so long since injury first happened. the last mri i had was last may.

i just wanted to know if swelling of the little toe goes along with the injury...i know that the numbness of the little toe can happen....but just not sure why there is swelling there.

 
Old 01-04-2008, 06:52 AM   #4
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

Well I have constant tingling in my little toe, but never had any swelling. In fact I don't think I could even get down or lift my leg up to have a look lol.

Sorry, really don't know if I can help.

 
Old 01-04-2008, 06:58 AM   #5
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

thanks anyway. maybe someone else can help..lol.
about 6 months ago, i started having a "bruised like" feeling in my foot when i go to stand or walk...after sitting or laying for a bit...but this is the first experiences with having numbness in something other than my leg. so i do know that the situation is worsening....just dont know what it means.

 
Old 01-04-2008, 08:03 AM   #6
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Hi Ladybug,

Let me first of all say how sorry I am that you have to go through w/c. That's terrible.

I honestly don't think it's your sciatic nerve, but please don't take my advice over your dr's. I think if it were your sciatic nerve more than just your toe or arm would be affected. I think if your sciatic nerve is being pinched or in any way affected by your ruptured disc at L5-S1 (which is very likely), you should have more pain or numb-like areas, in my opinion.

I'm almost a year post-op from a fusion at L5-S1 b/c the disc was herniated and pinching my sciatic nerve causing my entire left side from my hip down to my foot to be numb (a better way to explain the numb feeling, I think, is to say it feels like my left leg and foot are constantly on ice). Even though I still take a nerve relaxer, my dr has told me countless times that I'll never get feeling back in my left leg and foot but I'm still holding out hope.

Are you taking any meds to calm your sciatic nerve, like neurontin, lyrica or topamax?

I certainly wish you only the best.
Take care,
Scrappin'[/FONT]

 
Old 01-04-2008, 08:44 AM   #7
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

thanks...wc is definitely a pain in the behind to deal with.
i do have more problems than stated....but those are just the "new" problems that have developed recently. the symptoms are different on a daily basis, depending on what i do during the day, or days prior. no one day is the exact same as the day before. these are symptoms that i have...sometimes all at once...sometimes just one ailment or the other...nothing is constant....pain down leg...burning down leg...pain in back and buttocks and thighs....weakness in the legs....severe bouts with constipation, bruised feeling in foot, now the numbness in little toe and since last night...left arm.
there are nights that i awaken myself trying to roll over...so freaking stiff that i cant roll over without alot of straining..so to speak. some days i cant stand up straight after sitting down for a few minutes...if i do very little during the day...im fine...(well not 100% fine...but tolerable). some days i have the "rubberband feeling"....like something is wrapped around my leg restricting it.....its a battle day to day...because nothing is ever consistant, so i never know how im going to feel. i dont get out much, but of course, holiday shopping, i was out quite a bit in november...after 45 minutes of walking...in miserable pain in the mall...we left...i went to get into the van...and could not lift my leg at all....it felt like a ton of bricks on my leg...i had to literally lift my leg with my hands and place it into the van....somedays, i feel like my legs are just going to give out completely...aching like heck, and weak. when i get cold..my right leg/foot is the worst...it always feels colder than my left side...and is hard to get it warmed back up. in the beginning, i occasionally, not often though, had symptoms in my left leg...meaning...burning down the leg....etc....but over the last couple of months...my left leg is being more and more problematic...but still not as severe as my right side. there are times i cant lay on my right side at all....period....there are times that i cant lay on any side...back, stomach, either side....i just never know night to night what position and how long...it will take for me to get in the "right spot". so....as you can see....i do have quite number of problems other than my original post....i was just wanting info about the "new" problem i am experiencing.

i have pain meds...if you want to call it that....ultram with acetomenophin....but am very stingy with them....for one...they dont really work...and for two...when i run out of them....i will be SOL because i do not have a dr. have been waiting on appt to see neurosurgeon for the last 7 months.....everyones dragging their feet on it. and yes, i do have an attorney.

sorry this is so long...thats why i kept it quite short and simple in the original post.....its too much info to have to type out...and for others to absorb....i didnt want to bombard everyone with everything...when i was just wanting to know about the new problems that i have now. but hopefully, now it will give you an insight of just how problematic this is, and that it is definitely the sciatic nerve.

 
Old 01-04-2008, 09:56 AM   #8
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Hi Ladybug,

So, b/c of w/c you've basically had no treatment? What is right with that kind of a system? And then you only have ultram to take for your pain? That's like taking tylenol for a migraine. How much longer are "they" telling you that you'll have to wait to see a neurosurgeon? Is your attorney working for them or did you hire him on your own? What does he recommend? It blows my mind that in our country people get treated this way. I guess I'm fortunate my injury wasn't work-related.

Given all your symptoms, yes, I would definately say you have sciatica, stemming from your herniated disc. More than likely, you'll have permanent damage. I went about a yr and a half before I had surgery and I have permanent numbness. A numb leg and foot I can deal with, I just wish my doctor's could cure my back pain. I'll be on pain meds and will have chronic pain the rest of my life. It sounds like you will too. I can't believe your w/c doctor doesn't have you on a nerve med to relax that sciatic nerve and better pain meds.

After w/c is done with your case, can you see a doctor of your own choosing if you still are having problems? What would happen if you saw a doctor on your own now?

Take care,
Scrappin'
[/FONT]

 
Old 01-04-2008, 11:00 AM   #9
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

yep...thats it. its all because of workers comp. and yes its sad that it is this way. have no idea how long it will be before i get an appt.
i cant go to my own dr because it would void my w/c claim completely.

Last edited by ladybug8372; 01-04-2008 at 11:05 AM.

 
Old 01-04-2008, 01:30 PM   #10
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

Ladybug,
Unbelieveable! What does the lawyer say about you not having any treatment since May? You have a documented L5-S1 herniation for goodness sakes!! I had the same herniation but also had a large piece broken off and it was only 3 1/2 weeks until I had surgery. I don't want to alarm you but I have permanent nerve damage after only 3 1/2 weeks!! I don't know how you are standing the pain! Does the nerve appear impinged on the MRI? I can't speak specifically about your other pain....but after 7 months I would think any pain you have would not be surprising!! Good luck and keep us posted.

Deb

 
Old 01-04-2008, 01:38 PM   #11
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

everyone is in shock and in amazement. hes trying to get the appt made...but companies attornies refuses to answer calls/emails. we are attempting another approach right now...to get someone else involved. as my attorney says "we dont have to do anything to prove my case...they are hanging themselves all on their own".

as far as the pain...there are days that im totally miserable...but there are days that ive dealt with it so long...its become a "normal" part of my life...so im just trying to live life as "normal" as i can. you just learn to live with it and accept your limitations....some days are easier than other days to accept life this way.

im really worried about nerve damage....afraid that nothing will help now after all this long....but...it is what it is....

 
Old 01-04-2008, 03:41 PM   #12
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][COLOR="DarkOliveGreen"]Ladybug,
I feel so bad for you. No one with a ruptured disc should have to wait 7 mths and counting to even be seen by a neurosurgeon. That's unacceptable. Do you have an appt scheduled with the neuro or waiting for w/c to schedule that too?

Do you have health insurance? Would they pay for treatment if you decided to stop waiting for w/c and just started seeking treatment on your own?[/COLOR][/FONT]

[I]as far as the pain...there are days that im totally miserable...but there are days that ive dealt with it so long...its become a "normal" part of my life...so im just trying to live life as "normal" as i can. you just learn to live with it and accept your limitations....some days are easier than other days to accept life this way. [/I]

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][COLOR="DarkOliveGreen"]All of us that have dealt with back problems long-term know that while pain-meds provide great relief, they don't provide 100% pain relief, so we have all had to learn what kinds of things help make our pain manageable, but I can't imagine dealing with pain without almost any pain meds. Kudoos to you Ladybug, really, girl I don't know how you've done it. I [I]do[/I] know that you shouldn't have to live with such severe pain. [/COLOR][/FONT]

[I]im really worried about nerve damage....afraid that nothing will help now after all this long....but...it is what it is....[/I]

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][COLOR="DarkOliveGreen"]I'm sure you'll have permanent nerve damage. I do. When I first realized that I would probably have permanent nerve damage in my lower left side I was angry, but then I realized it could be worse. Things can always be worse .

Hang in there,
Scrappin'[/COLOR][/FONT]

 
Old 01-04-2008, 04:27 PM   #13
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

first of all...what i havent said is that although ive been without a dr for 7 months...the injury occured 16 months ago....so yeah...lol. a long time dealing with this!....so....i can only imagine what you will say now as far as nerve damage..lol....but im already expecting to hear that nerve damage is present, since its been so long....so i wont be shocked in the least to hear them say it.

no appt has been scheduled at this time. it truly is unacceptable....but, what can you do? yes, my insurance would take care of things...i have already looked into that much...for when the time comes for me to settle...so that i would know whether to settle for lifetime medical care...(which would mean ALWAYS dealing with wc)...or to leave medical out of the settlement. as far as pain meds....i do what i have to do..the best that i can do. there have been quite a few sleepless nights...consecutively....when it gets like that...by the 3rd night, i will cave in and take a xanax that i take for anxiety...just so that i can get some sleep. this has really turned my life upside down....in more ways than i can count...but you just deal with it the best that you can.

the sad part is...wc is HOPING and PRAYING that i give up on them and let my own insurance take over. thats part of their sick games that they play. thats why im trying to be strong and not cave in...some days its hard as heck....but on my good days....im willing to play the game as long as they are. its not right to make my ins. pay for something that they are responsible for....and yet....to a point, im only hurting myself.....so what does one do???

 
Old 01-04-2008, 07:07 PM   #14
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

I don't know if this will give you any hope or not, but my sciatic nerve has been compressed for almost 3 years, and a number of spinal specialists have told me I do not have permanant nerve damage. My leg and foot will go numb if I walk or stand for more than about 2 minutes, but I do get relief when I sit down or lean forward. I'm having surgery on Monday so I'll let you know if they're right!!

Do you remain numb all the time or does it come and go??

 
Old 01-04-2008, 07:48 PM   #15
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Re: question about L5-S1 ruptured disc

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Ladybug,

I went 18 mths with my left hip, leg and foot being numb before I had a spinal fusion. That's why I have permanent nerve damage. When I started having back problem's I went to my GP (general practioner). She gave me a script for 30 vicodin pills, sent me for an MRI and to physical therapy for 12 weeks. She was sure I pulled a muscle. My MRI showed I had 3 herniated discs - L1, L3, L5 and L5-S1 disc was pinching my sciatic nerve. After she received my MRI results she gave me a script for many, many more vicodin pills and referred me to a PM (pain mgmt) doctor for ESI's (epidural steroid injections) b/c I wasn't responding to PT. I didn't respond to ESI's either, so after many injections and many mths my PM referred me FINALLY to a neurosurgeon. He fixed 1 of the 3 herniated discs. Afterwards, I found out that my GP and PM doctor should have referred me to a neurosurgeon no later than 6 weeks from the date my back was injured to prevent possible permanent nerve damage. My NS, like so many other surgeon's, partially fixed me and shuffled me on to a PM doctor. About 3 mths ago I found out that my NS knew b/4 my surgery (even though I didn't know and he didn't feel the need to share it with me) that I have DDD (degenerative disc disease), multiple bulging discs and a few more herniated disc (in addition to the 2 my NS didn't fuse during surgery). My PM doctor is one of the very few good doctors I've encountered. He says I'm a "failed fusion syndrome" statistic and that 70-75% of all fusion surgery patients have this syndrome, basically meaning they have chronic pain the rest of their lives and require pain meds and other treatment for chronic pain. He says I'm too young for more surgery now but later in life I will need to have more surgeries, so now I just need to focus on controlling my pain. Isn't life great? I have to laugh, otherwise I would cry . I just take life one day at a time and ask God to guide me through. He gets me through, Him, my toddler son, my husband and of course my mother (). How can I be down in the dumps chasing after my toddler all day?!

Do you think the reason w/c is so slow is b/c they hope people will give up and seek medical care on their own using their own health insurance? Or do you think w/c is just too overloaded? I understand why you want to tough it out and I can't say I blame you. Do all w/c cases eventually get settled? Are you planning to settle without lifetime medical?

I've certainly had my share of sleepless nights and I have pain meds to take the edge off my pain. I can't imagine what you must go through not having anything but ultram to take for your pain. Then again, maybe it's easier for you to deal with your pain not ever having good meds that helped ease your pain. Heck, lol, if you ever do get in to see a surgeon and have surgery and get a script for good pain meds, you won't know what to do, you'll wonder how you made it through all this time without pain meds...lol...I know you will.

Ladybug, I really enjoy chatting with you and I'm hoping and praying you'll get the medical attention you so desperately need soon.

Take care,
Scrappin'[/FONT]

 
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