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Old 04-21-2012, 02:42 PM   #1
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MRI and now nerve block

Hello all, new here.

Hurt my lower back 4 months ago, no accident, it just spasm-ed and went out. 3 months of Chiropractor got me back to 70% but can't get to 100%.

So I asked for a MRI. Results are slight bulging disc ( which doesn't feel slight to me ). I went to a spine specialist last week and asked for a nerve block, which will be my first ever.

My back is sore and tight, walking for more than 5-10 mins and it feels like it is going to give out again. Sitting for 15 mins and it gets uncomfortable. Laying down is the only relief. I use a Tens for pain.

I have no pain going into my legs, slight pain at the top of the hip/butt area. My biggest problem is the feeling of an extremely weak back, and one side of my muscles that run down the spine never relax. ( they are hard as a rock to the touch )

I know the nerve block is aimed more at "pain". Is the block going to relax the muscles and nerve so I can strengthen them back up?

I'm 38, and have never missed work more than a few days in a row over 18 years. I've been off for 4 months now because my back always feels like it's going to just go out at any moment.

Thanks for any advice.

 
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Old 04-21-2012, 04:04 PM   #2
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Re: MRI and now nerve block

Welcome to the board. I am a little confused by your post. You went to a spine specialist -- by this do you mean a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic spine surgeon?

I assume this doctor looked at your MRI, performed a physical and basic neurologic exam and then ordered a nerve block for you? Did he/she indicate what is causing your pain or why the nerve block was ordered for you?

Also, I guess I don't really know what it means ti have your back "go out." Do you mean it hurt so badly that you could not change position or what is meant by "go out?"

Last edited by teteri66; 04-21-2012 at 04:06 PM.

 
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Old 04-21-2012, 04:42 PM   #3
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Re: MRI and now nerve block

[QUOTE=teteri66;4965620]Welcome to the board. I am a little confused by your post. You went to a spine specialist -- by this do you mean a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic spine surgeon?

I assume this doctor looked at your MRI, performed a physical and basic neurologic exam and then ordered a nerve block for you? Did he/she indicate what is causing your pain or why the nerve block was ordered for you?

Also, I guess I don't really know what it means ti have your back "go out." Do you mean it hurt so badly that you could not change position or what is meant by "go out?"[/QUOTE]

Yes, went to Ortho spine surgeon. He looked at MRI and told me the results are not bad enough that he would recommend surgery. And again told me the bulg doesn't seem to be pressing too hard on the nerves. ( but something is not right back there ) I'm not dying but can't do normal everyday activities.

I have little pain. But my back is extremely weak right down around the tail bone. When I say it "goes out" I mean it can tighten up or go into such a spasm that I will drop straight to the floor in the fetal position until it loosens back up.

Heck I'm scared to even run into the gas station for a drink because it might go out inside and I'll look like an idiot.

There has to be a pinched nerve in there not allowing this hard as a rock back strap muscle to relax. It's as hard as a brick wall. The other side is normal. It is so tight I have no flexibility side to side or leaning forward.

 
Old 04-21-2012, 09:39 PM   #4
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Re: MRI and now nerve block

In addition to the injection, did the doctor suggest a course of physical therapy? If you can find a physical therapist that specializes in orthopedic cases, it may be all that is needed to get you back on your feet.

In addition to exercises, you should be given other treatments such as electric stimulation, ultrasound, massage, etc. that should allow the muscle spasms to ease up.

The fact that you do not have leg pain is a good sign.

 
Old 04-21-2012, 11:44 PM   #5
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Re: MRI and now nerve block

When my back first started having issues, it was totally locked up like yours. I could not stand up straight, just stand slightly hunched forward, leaned to one side, with my pelvis tipped forward. I just woke up one morning that way.

Are you taking any type of muscle relaxants? These are merely a temporary band-aid, but will get you some pain relief while you work on your core strength. There are some that make you really loopy, but I took Skelaxin during the day so I could work. It's not as strong as other relaxants, but it also doesn't make you stupid.

Your MRI should show whether you have a pinched nerve: this would likely be described as either foraminal or spinal stenosis. Since you don't have any referred pain, you probably don't have a pinched nerve. Often in the early stages after a disc injury, the inflammatory response from the body can cause a lot of pain and muscles spasms.

In addition to the physical therapy Teri suggested, I am a little surprised your doctor hasn't put you on a short course (usually 5-7 days) of steroids prior to performing a nerve block. I would also alternate heat and ice for your muscle spasms. Be sure to protect the skin, 15 minutes of ice and 15 minutes of heat per hour.

 
Old 04-22-2012, 10:19 AM   #6
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Re: MRI and now nerve block

Tere and Sweet

I guess "locked up " might be a better term. Cause that's what it feels like.†

He recommend PT first and I got kinda mad because I have been doing a program from the Chiropractor, without the electronic devices of coarse. So I pretty much begged for the nerve block.†

I've played sports and training most of my life. I've never had a muscle that NEVER relaxes like the one on my left side of the spine. That is where my concern is. Something is wrong for a muscle to stay like that for 4 months.†

Is the nerve block going to relieve that muscle at all ?†

I was taking flexril but it really upsets my stomach. Now I just take over the counter motrin.†

 
Old 04-22-2012, 11:35 AM   #7
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Re: MRI and now nerve block

Locked up I understand. I just never know what people mean when they say their back "goes out." Thanks for clarifying. Now I have an additional question. Are you having a nerve block or an epidural steroid injection? Nerve blocks are usually first given as a diagnostic procedure while an ESI is given to help with any inflammation that may be affecting the area, to provide a bit of pain relief so the person can tolerate physical therapy, etc.

There is an unconscious action that the human body has, and that is to keep itself stable and upright, so the person does not tip over when standing or moving. The body will go to great lengths to try to maintain spinal stability, including growing new bone and cartilage when a facet joint is beginning to lose its function. This is one reason why muscles contract.
When a muscle is in a permanent state of contraction, the fibers will actually shorten, which results in even greater imbalances...so it becomes a viscious cycle.

I would imagine that the problem is not with your muscle. The only reason the muscle is so tense and stiff is due to its "guarding" activity. Whether this is due to some instability created by the disc herniation or whatever it may be responding to, I couldn't say. A physical therapist would come at your situation from an entirely different perspective than a chiropractor. Particularly if you can find one who specializes in orthopedic cases, particularly spinal issues (neck and back), you might get some answers that the doctor is not providing. PTs work in a hands-on way and are much more in tune with the whole kinesiology thing, how the body functions as a moving being, etc. than a medical doctor....spine guys just aren't that interested in muscle and soft tissue injuries!

It may be that there is an issue with all the connective tissue that has become "disorganized" and it is preventing the muscle from elongating and stretching and functioning normally. Again, this is probably something an experienced PT could tell you...or someone who does "bodywork" --some alternative type practioners.

But I still think a good place to begin would be a course of physical therapy.

 
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:44 PM   #8
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Re: MRI and now nerve block

I understand a little better now about PT, thank you.†

This whole back thing is just so weird to me. Woke up one day felt like I was 18, then about an hour later a knife hit me in my back. I don't remember doing anything at all to hurt it.†

But I've got to find an answer and get it fixed. I have no health prob, no surgeries but I'm missing out on family activities because my back gets exhausted so quick.†

I'm not sure what type of block they are doing. After 2 †1/2 hours at the ortho doc I was just ready to get it scheduled and get home. I was running on empty.†

 
Old 04-22-2012, 04:31 PM   #9
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Re: MRI and now nerve block

Sounds like a grueling doctor's appointment! You were probably also in a lot of pain during the entire appointment.

Like you, I was an athlete (elite swimmer) when I was younger, and I totally understand going from feeling invincible to barely functioning. Before my recent injuries, I was thinking about taking up par cours. In my case, I think I had small, progressive injuries to my disc, which culminated in an acute episode.

The physical therapy would likely involve massage and traction, which might be enough to convince your muscle to quit spasming. You can also ask for a different muscle relaxant, since the flexiril didn't work for you.

I would follow up with the dr's office to figure out the exact plan. If you trust your doctor and think that a nerve block is the right thing to do for your situation, then go for it. If you think that a second opinion or a different course of treatment would suit your situation better, don't feel guilty about canceling or postponing the nerve block.

 
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:49 PM   #10
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Re: MRI and now nerve block

Sweet, have you had a nerve block? Is it all that bad?

To be honest I'm not sure I can do the PT because of such limited movement and how quickly I fatigue. I have a horse farm and I'm use to throwing bales of hay like they are pillows. I couldn't throw a napkin now. Lol

Tell me if I'm wrong, I'm thinking the block will buy me enough time to do the PT? Is that correct?

Thanks for all your help.†

 
Old 04-22-2012, 10:51 PM   #11
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Re: MRI and now nerve block

I had a series of three epidural steroid injections. They were not effective for my lumber spine (I had an extruded disc with central canal and foraminal stenosis so more severe than a bulging disc). I also had a small cervical herniation, and one cervical epidural last May still has me almost entirely asymptomatic. I had bad muscle spasms in my shoulders and neck prior to that epidural, and they were resolved by that epidural.

I had a sympathetic nerve block last Monday for a different issue. It was successful at stopping the other issue for about two days. I've read about Teri's history, and I don't remember her having a nerve block. She's had so many different major procedures, that she may not have mentioned it in her highlights of her health history.

I think that there are some other regulars around here who have had a nerve block, and if you don't get any replies to this thread about their experiences, you could post a new thread asking about nerve blocks, what they were for, and whether they were successful.

 
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