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Old 09-11-2012, 07:25 PM   #1
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What next when pain is bad, doctor says disc not that bad

My husband has had bad lower back pain for about 5 yrs. He has been on high dosages of pain meds, had several eps, had nerve burns, and still no real relief. Finally the pain went from the lower back and outside of his right leg to his right knee. It's so servre he can't stand or walk for longer than 10 min. he is in servre pain the rest of the night. He went to a orthro surgeon last week and he had a MRI done. It just showed 2 bulging disc, but they seemed to think they weren't that bad. They suggested phys theraphy, but he has already has had it several times and it didn't help for long. I have him going go a chrio and it has helped a little for the lower back, but not any for the leg. Still only if he does nothing. It's just not any quality of life when you can't do anything without pain. I think our next step is to see a nero surgeon or just plain nero doctor to track down the problem. We sent his MRI to The Spine Center in Tampa and they said the disc are leaking and need laser surgery, but I know nothing about them. So I don't know if we want to go to them. Especially since the doctors here don't want to do anything. Anyone out there have any ideas? Thanks, KittyKat3426

 
Old 09-12-2012, 06:35 AM   #2
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Re: What next when pain is bad, doctor says disc not that bad

Was he in a car accident? Ever?
By the way, you can have bulging disks and suffer tremendously.

 
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:55 AM   #3
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Re: What next when pain is bad, doctor says disc not that bad

[QUOTE=KittyKat3426;5054302]My husband has had bad lower back pain for about 5 yrs. He has been on high dosages of pain meds, had several eps, had nerve burns, and still no real relief. Finally the pain went from the lower back and outside of his right leg to his right knee. It's so servre he can't stand or walk for longer than 10 min. he is in servre pain the rest of the night. He went to a orthro surgeon last week and he had a MRI done. It just showed 2 bulging disc, but they seemed to think they weren't that bad. They suggested phys theraphy, but he has already has had it several times and it didn't help for long. I have him going go a chrio and it has helped a little for the lower back, but not any for the leg. Still only if he does nothing. It's just not any quality of life when you can't do anything without pain. I think our next step is to see a nero surgeon or just plain nero doctor to track down the problem. We sent his MRI to The Spine Center in Tampa and they said the disc are leaking and need laser surgery, but I know nothing about them. So I don't know if we want to go to them. Especially since the doctors here don't want to do anything. Anyone out there have any ideas? Thanks, KittyKat3426[/QUOTE]

It has been my experience that the spine centers will pretty much tell you anything to get you in there. Its weird that they can tell you that the disc's are leaking from an MRI and that you def need surgery. Seems very odd to me. I would personally go see a couple neurosurgeons.

 
Old 09-12-2012, 08:08 AM   #4
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Re: What next when pain is bad, doctor says disc not that bad

Get a second or third opinion until you get all the facts. One doctor's opinion may not be the right one. Experience is key. I am similar to his and am going for a discogram tomorrow. So they can see more exactly where the trouble is in the disc. Might want to try that. I know how being on the meds are. Either u get tired of feeling oogy or they don't want to give you anymore.

 
Old 09-12-2012, 12:12 PM   #5
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Re: What next when pain is bad, doctor says disc not that bad

Did your husband see a orthopedic spine surgeon? This specialty or a neurosurgeon is your best bet for getting an accurate diagnosis. A neurologist treats diseases of the nerves and is helpful when someone needs some tests run to see if a nerve has been damaged due to a spinal problem, but is not the best-trained for diagnosing a problem in the spine.

A spine surgeon will almost always recommend conservative treatment first. Only if it fails or there is major nerve compression will he/she recommend surgery. This is required by insurance carriers as well, so if you want a procedure paid for, the doctor has to have proof that the problem can only be treated surgically.

In any case, it is always a good idea to get more than one opinion as doctors can differ in their diagnoses.

The pain travelling down into the leg is an indication that there is some spinal nerve irritation or compression. It may be caused by the bulging disc or your husband may have some stenosis...which may be caused by the bulging disc.

Who did the nerve burning, and steroid injections?

 
Old 09-12-2012, 04:43 PM   #6
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Re: What next when pain is bad, doctor says disc not that bad

[QUOTE=Nicker;5054539]It has been my experience that the spine centers will pretty much tell you anything to get you in there. Its weird that they can tell you that the disc's are leaking from an MRI and that you def need surgery. Seems very odd to me. I would personally go see a couple neurosurgeons.[/QUOTE]

I tend to agree with you! I'm not giving up though. We are both retired and this should be our time to enjoy what time we have left, not having to be in constant pain where you can't do anything. Except for his back, his health is pretty good as he is only 65. Thank you for your help!

 
Old 09-12-2012, 04:54 PM   #7
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Re: What next when pain is bad, doctor says disc not that bad

[QUOTE=luck25;5054582]Get a second or third opinion until you get all the facts. One doctor's opinion may not be the right one. Experience is key. I am similar to his and am going for a discogram tomorrow. So they can see more exactly where the trouble is in the disc. Might want to try that. I know how being on the meds are. Either u get tired of feeling oogy or they don't want to give you anymore.[/QUOTE]

We have two opinions so far, but from the same group of doctors. I think we are going to go back and request an MRN or similar further testing. The only meds they are giving him now is 800mg of ibuprofen, which is useless. He's has tried everything from tens unit, phys theraphy, burnings, steroid shots, yoy name it. But nothing has stopped the pain so far. Thanks for the advice. I really questioned the spine center in Tampa being the answer.

 
Old 09-12-2012, 05:07 PM   #8
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Re: What next when pain is bad, doctor says disc not that bad

[QUOTE=teteri66;5054707]Did your husband see a orthopedic spine surgeon? This specialty or a neurosurgeon is your best bet for getting an accurate diagnosis. A neurologist treats diseases of the nerves and is helpful when someone needs some tests run to see if a nerve has been damaged due to a spinal problem, but is not the best-trained for diagnosing a problem in the spine.

A spine surgeon will almost always recommend conservative treatment first. Only if it fails or there is major nerve compression will he/she recommend surgery. This is required by insurance carriers as well, so if you want a procedure paid for, the doctor has to have proof that the problem can only be treated surgically.

In any case, it is always a good idea to get more than one opinion as doctors can differ in their diagnoses.

The pain travelling down into the leg is an indication that there is some spinal nerve irritation or compression. It may be caused by the bulging disc or your husband may have some stenosis...which may be caused by the bulging disc.

Who did the nerve burning, and steroid injections?[/QUOTE]

He saw two ortho spine surgeon, but they were from the same group of docs. A pain doctor did the burings and injections and handled his treatment until recently when the pain meds stopped working and the pain started to go down his right leg so bad. I'm with you, I think with the pain so bad in his right leg he has to have some nerve problem going on. I'm not letting them just tell him to live with it. Our last trip to the doctor was with a ortho knee doctor and he said it is not his knee. So back to the spine surgeon and demanding further tests. I'll keep everyone advised on what happens. Thanks to all of you for your advice.

 
Old 09-13-2012, 08:27 AM   #9
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Re: What next when pain is bad, doctor says disc not that bad

Are you going back to the same spine surgeon? I think you should go to another, unassociated spine specialist. Sometimes you even have to go to a different city to get a fresh opinion.

Did you get a copy of the MRI and a copy of the radiology report? If not, go back to the site where the MRI was done and ask for these two things. It is a good idea to get copies of tests, imaging, etc. at the time of service and keep them in a "spine file." When you go to a new specialist, you will be able to take the records with you, which will save a lot of time and will keep you from having to repeat tests, imaging, etc.

Also, if there isn't something dramatic wrong with your husband's spine, (or anyone in similar situation) some doctors can be rather dismissive of it. They see patients with disc problems all day, every day and to them, I imagine it is kind of like being asked to treat a common cold. They tend not to see it as a big problem....

So try another spine specialist and hopefully you will find someone who is more helpful. Of course, not every spine problem has a solution. The degenerative changes are something that can cause a great deal of pain, but may not have a complete resolution. Sometimes all that can be offered is pain management. But, you don't know that yet...so don't give up. Keep searching for answers.

Last edited by teteri66; 09-13-2012 at 08:45 AM.

 
Old 09-13-2012, 03:31 PM   #10
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Re: What next when pain is bad, doctor says disc not that bad

Perhaps now that the pain is going down the leg you could try one of the anit-convulsive drugs such as Lyrica or Gabapentin (Neurontin). I am no longer a good candidate for surgery and have been using gabapentin for several years with some success.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:30 PM   #11
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Re: What next when pain is bad, doctor says disc not that bad

[QUOTE=pooby;5055410]Perhaps now that the pain is going down the leg you could try one of the anit-convulsive drugs such as Lyrica or Gabapentin (Neurontin). I am no longer a good candidate for surgery and have been using gabapentin for several years with some success.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the suggestion. We see the ortho spine surgeon again tomorrow and we will definitely ask him about trying Neurontin. We are going to also, ask for more tests that may show if there is any nerve being pinched. I'll let everyone know what we find out. Thanks, KittyKat3426

 
Old 09-16-2012, 05:07 PM   #12
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Re: What next when pain is bad, doctor says disc not that bad

[QUOTE=teteri66;5055173]Are you going back to the same spine surgeon? I think you should go to another, unassociated spine specialist. Sometimes you even have to go to a different city to get a fresh opinion.

Did you get a copy of the MRI and a copy of the radiology report? If not, go back to the site where the MRI was done and ask for these two things. It is a good idea to get copies of tests, imaging, etc. at the time of service and keep them in a "spine file." When you go to a new specialist, you will be able to take the records with you, which will save a lot of time and will keep you from having to repeat tests, imaging, etc.

Also, if there isn't something dramatic wrong with your husband's spine, (or anyone in similar situation) some doctors can be rather dismissive of it. They see patients with disc problems all day, every day and to them, I imagine it is kind of like being asked to treat a common cold. They tend not to see it as a big problem....

So try another spine specialist and hopefully you will find someone who is more helpful. Of course, not every spine problem has a solution. The degenerative changes are something that can cause a great deal of pain, but may not have a complete resolution. Sometimes all that can be offered is pain management. But, you don't know that yet...so don't give up. Keep searching for answers.[/QUOTE]

I agree with you about the doctors not taking my husband's problem seriously enough, afterall they aren't the ones in pain. We do have his MRI and radiology report, so that will can take them with us to other doctors. He has already been through 4yrs of pain management and the meds have quit working for him. They put him through several nerve burnings and about a dozen eps. The surgeon said not to have anymore that they were harming his lower back muscles. We see the other spine surgeon again tomorrow and if he doesn't order further tests for pinched nerves than I will take my husband to someone who will. I'll let you know what happens! Thanks, KittyKat3426

 
Old 09-16-2012, 11:44 PM   #13
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Re: What next when pain is bad, doctor says disc not that bad

They ended up doing a discogram to pin point the disc that was causing pain. I had 3 tested but only one was really painful. My doc insisted on doing it before deciding on sx! Good luck!

 
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