I was just informed by my nurse that I have an annular tear by the L3&L4. Now I haven't seen the doctor about the results yet, I will be seeing him next week. I am a little worried. I know she told me more but when I heard tear I missed the rest that she told me.
I have had leg pain all my life. I have been to so many doctors that I cannot count on both hands!! The leg pain is getting worse, and I get muscle spasms all the time, in my calf's and feet, it is so painful.
I'm so glad I found a place to post what I am going through. I have been reading about what all of you have been going through, it is awful, I haven't been to a pain doctor yet, I'm sure that will be next.
Any suggestions from any of you would be appreciated. But when I find out more from the doctor I will surely post it.
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
Re: annular tears
What types of treatment have you received thus far? Is your pain only in your legs or in your back, as well? Did you suffer a trauma?
Glad that you have identified a potential origin of your pain, so that you can seek further treatment. Ask for a copy of your MRI report before your appointment, so that you can study it and make a list ofquestions for when you go in for your appointment. That way, you can get the most out of your time with your doctor.
Are you seeing a general practitioner, or a specialist?
I have not received any treatment yet. What happened was that I went to my general doctor and told him that my legs were getting worse with pain. So he referred me to a Neurologist and I went to see him. He examined me and he ask for tests like the nerve and muscle test. Also I received my MRI and the test results for my nerve test and muscle test were normal. (which I don't understand because I do have definite muscle pain) anyways, the nurse called me about my MRI and she told me about the tear. I will be seeing my neurologist next week to discuss treatment.
I have had leg pain all my life, and when I was in my twenties I had an orthopedic find tumors on my knees and he removed them and replaced my knees with my fragments of my hip bone. But the funny part of it, I still have leg pain. It is getting worse, the only relief I get is when I put heat on my legs. Some days it could be 100 degrees outside and they will still hurt, but I go home and put my electric blanket on and the pain is gone. Weird! But I will surely post what my doctor says. Thank you for answering, this is so confusing!!
If you do have an annular tear in the disc between the lumbar 3 and lumbar 4 vertebrae, it is a problem that originates in your lumbar spine. Due to the nerve distribution, the nerve carries signals of sensation and motion from the lower back down to the foot. It runs down the front of the thigh, down the front of the knee and calf and innervates the medial ankle into the big toe.
An annular tear refers to a tear or hole in the annulus fibrosis which is the outer bands of the disc, which wrap, like a belt on a radial tire, around the gel-like center of the disc. When there is a tear, sometimes some of the "gel" from the nucleus of the disc leaks out and is not longer contained inside the disc. This can cause the adjacent nerve or nerves to become irritated or, in some cases, compressed (pinched). This results in nerve pain which can be felt at any point along the "route" of the nerve...so if your big toe goes numb, the probably cause is an issue coming from the L4 nerve.
The nerve does not have to have so much damage that it would register on an EMG as "diseased" or damaged. In other words, you can have a normal EMG and still suffer from nerve pain.
In addition to seeing a neurologist, I would suggest you consult with a "spinal specialist." This could be either an orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon whose practice is limited to the neck and back. Even though their specialty says "surgeon," rest assured that their first task is the accurate diagnosis of a problem with the spine. They then offer a plan of treatment that begins with conservative methods, often referring to physical therapy, and pain management.
In your particular case, it is likely (or at least possible) that you may have some permanent nerve damage around the knee that causes the leg pain, and now, in addition, may have leg pain coming from the annular tear.
Wow, thank you so much for the reply. That is so interesting. When reading your reply, I realized that I do have pain in front of my thigh and my knee and my lower leg (shin & calf) and now I have been having burning sensation at my big toe. What kind of treatment do they usually recommend for this tear?