Hi I am in desperate need 5 years ago I was told that I had a prolasped disc and severe narrowing between l5 and s1. 5 yrs on Im having extreme trouble with back issues, and yet scans arent showing up much at all. I cannot walk when the pain hits, and its not an ache its a severe dibilitating pain. i have 2 small under 3 and now cant even look after them. I work in childcare and have had to have so much time off recently as my back is so severe, I normally have a good pain threshold. I have been on anti-inflamatory tablets and also seeing a physio 3 times a week, as traction is the only thing tht gives me 1-2 days releif. What other things can I do to hep me. I jst wanna give up and take an overdose of pills to kill the agony I am in constantly. Any advise would be greatly appreciated
Welcome to the board. I would imagine that you spend a quite a bit of time bending if you have small children and work in childcare. With issues at L5-S1, that alone can cause pain.
Have you had a flexion/extension x-ray to check for a spondylolisthesis? This is a situation where one vertebra slips over the top of the adjacent vertebra. It can cause instability and sometimes a nerve gets pinched as a result. It doesn't always show up on MRI. Also, what type of doctor ordered the MRI and told you nothing was showing up? If it was a general practioner, sometimes they miss the more subtle problems or irregularities that can be causing a great deal of pain. I wasted a year listening to my GP who kept assuring me that my MRI looked as normal as anyone else in my age group. Then I took my MRI to a spine specialist. It took him all of a minute to glance at it and spot the problem, which in my case was the spondylolisthesis.
I'm not sure why you would be having an increase in symptoms and yet your imaging doesn't reveal anything. Is the doctor comparing it to the previous MRI or scan? It is possible that another issue has popped up. There may be a nerve compression that is not readily apparent.
I had a one level fusion from the problem I mentioned above. After nine months healing time, I was no better than the day before I had the surgery. I had gone through all that and still had the very same pain symptoms. For another year I kept being told everything "looked fine." There was no nerve compression, at least that they could see. Turns out I had a problem that was not visible on any imaging they had done...and eventually I had another fusion and am fine now. I know the frustration of being unable to stand or walk and being told time after time that everything appears fine.
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No I havent had a test for tht. I am once again heading to the doctor as today is so imbearable, i cant move I am so over hearing there is nothing wrng when clearly there is! Thank u for your input, an going to ask for another MRI and then asked to be refered to a back specialist as I can no longer do this THanx again
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
Re: Back agony :(
Hi there -- it sounds like you may be having muscle spasms, which are a sign of the body trying to protect an injury. Sometimes, the injury can clear up, but the body is still in protection mode. If you are diagnosed with muscle spasms, either on their own or in addition to another injury, I have gotten better relief through acupuncture than with muscle relaxants. My acupuncturist places needles directly into the problematic muscle.
I hope that your doctor finds the underlying culprit and helps you out. He should be performing a hands-on examination of you (because you are the patient), in addition to looking at the MRIs (which are just a picture of you).
There was no nerve compression, at least that they could see. Turns out I had a problem that was not visible on any imaging they had done...and eventually I had another fusion and am fine now. I know the frustration of being unable to stand or walk and being told time after time that everything appears fine.
Sorry to go off course, but do you mind saying what the problem was and how they diagnosed it? I had two failed surgeries and now have a pain pump installed and am trying to find the right meds.
To the original poster: a back and the possibly a pain specialist will have various things to try.
My original surgery was a fusion at L4-L5. We (my surgeon, physiatrist, PT and this guy that did bodywork and acupuncture on me) all felt my L5-S1 was unstable and was probably the source of my pain.
Eventually I had an open surgery. This is when, after he cut me open and could see what was what, that he discovered my facet joints at L3 had worn almost completely away down to little nubs. I had no structure at that level to stabilize my spine and it was sliding around in ways that nature had not intended. Nerves were being pinched, but the pain I was experiencing was not typical of L3 nerve pain, so no one considered that it was the pain generator...and the MRI did not show the extent of the damage.
Not well yet. Dilaudid didn't do it. Morphine caused too many side effects. They slowly switched me to Fentanyl but I still had major withdrawal after the last 20% (but I am extremely sensitive). The Fentanyl may be causing some anxiety but I need more time to know because I have anxiety disorders and just had a whopper of a bout of it after the withdrawal. I'm trying to get him to try Baclofen at some point because of how much flexibility I've lost and how crampy I am. So it's wait and see at this point. Thanks for the reply. Wish they could just go in there and look around like with you but I did have that double fusion.