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Old 12-07-2012, 02:44 PM   #1
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Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

Hi,
This is my first post. I'm 53 years old, have been diagnosed with DDD, bulging discs and osteoarthritis. Was working in the back yard 5 weeks ago, pulling heavy vines out of trees and felt like I'd overdone it. Was sore the next day, but then day 2, I had to drive 4 hours to a work function and could not sit comfortably the entire time! My lower back/ tailbone area was killing me! I scoured through every left over pain med, muscle relaxer I could find in my drawers and thought I'd just strained it. After an additional 5 more days, I couldn't take it anymore and went to the doc.

she ordered an X-ray, which found moderate OA. She prescribed pain Meds and a round of steroids. I researched therapies and found that Yin Yoga would help. went to my first session, and started the stretching exercises. The next day I was miserable! So.. I kept trying Not to take the pain pills, and tried Aleve. It just wasn't helping.

It's now week 5 and I've just gotten home from a Lumbar MRI. I had a fatty cyst removed off my tailbone area 32 years ago, but no other injuries. Could this pain really just Osteoarthritis? Heat makes it worse. I live with an ice pack shoved in my pants. Hurts to lay flat on a flat surface, but can sleep on my back. Can't sit comfortably for long than a few minutes.

I guess I'm just depressed, because I can't find anything to help relieve the pain.

Any comments or suggestions are appreciated.

Last edited by grover771; 12-07-2012 at 02:59 PM.

 
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:56 PM   #2
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

I guess I'm just wondering if its normal to have this kind of pain for 5 weeks. This is all new to me. Friends are recommending Meloxicam.

 
Old 12-07-2012, 06:12 PM   #3
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

Welcome to the board. You will need to wait for the results of the MRI to have some idea of what is going on. The X-ray will not show any damage to a disc or soft tissue or possible nerve compression.

Arthritis rarely exists alone in the spine. It causes other problems and issues, or is a result of other things going on. But yes, facet arthritis in particular can be very painful.

Due to the type of activity you describe, I wouldn't be surprised to see that you have herniated a lumbar disc.

While you are waiting for the radiology report and a visit with the doctor, you can continue to use ice for any inflammation, take otc anti-inflammatories to also help with inflammation and avoid sitting for too long at a time, bending or twisting at the waist, etc.

Be sure to get a copy of your MRI and the radiology report. It is handy to keep a personal file of your own records as you may want to see one or more specialists in the future, or need the records for insurance purposes, etc. and it saves a lot of time if you have these records at your finger tips rather than having to run around and gather them. Also, I feel stronger with spine issues, that each person must become her own advocate. This means learning what you can about the spine, knowing basic anatomy and the mechanical workings of the spine and central nervous system, learning about the basic causes of back and neck pain, etc. Having a copy of the reports helps you understand what is going on so you can discuss your issues with your doctor.

I would not suggest doing any new exercises until you know what is going on in your spine. You can cause yourself more harm than good until you know just what are your issues and whether there is spinal nerve compression.

 
Old 12-07-2012, 07:42 PM   #4
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

Thank you so much for responding. Ive been feeling a bit lost lately, not having anyone to talk to about it thats had the experience. Hubby and friends are supportive, but im sure theyre getting tired of it. I will continue to research and wait for the results.

 
Old 12-08-2012, 08:08 AM   #5
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

Hello

I'm responding to your post also because I am near your age and have struggled with the same issues. teteri66 has given you the best advice. Once you have the MRI...you will have some direction for help.

Try not to feel alone; although I do understand that as I live alone-empty nested-and I also have been on medical leave from work. I am getting better, but it is slow. For now, try to do all the things that teteri66 has mentioned, and try to stay positive. You will get better once you have a path of treatment.

I struggle with a herniated disc at L5/S1..with radiating pain and numbness, but I also have had that tailbone area pain. Sit as little as possible, or just get up and walk every few minutes for now. Hang in there and know you will find support from folks on this board. They will also have more ideas to share with you once you know for sure what your MRI says.

Stay strong. :-)

Last edited by Administrator; 12-11-2012 at 04:21 PM.

 
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:26 PM   #6
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

Thanks Calin. I work from a home office and am on the computer 80% of my work day. Funny.. I teach ergonomics, but have a hard time following it myself. Getting anxious about the MRI results, but continue to scour the net learning what I can about lower back/spine anatomy. Thankful that I've found a community here.

 
Old 12-10-2012, 11:48 AM   #7
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

I've just received a phone call from my doctors office. The MRI showed:

Rightside Disc Bulge at L5-S1 and Spinal Stenosis at L3 through L5.
I followup with her tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I'll just do some research on therapies/treatment.

Is this common?

 
Old 12-11-2012, 09:21 AM   #8
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

It is very common. From my own research I have learned that the L5/S1 is the most common disc for bulging and/or herniation, and most of us develop some stenosis from these things as we age. I expect that your doctor will recommend conservative treatment for now, which might include physical therapy, maybe and epdiral steroid injection, and pain relievers.

I think exercise is the critical element...in my opinion. You might want to look up these things and then discuss them with your doctor as well.

you might read about McKenzie exercises and the Egoscue Method. I do both of those. But don't start anything until you talk with your doctor.

The good thing is that you have "common" things going on in your back, and finding the right treatment now to help you manage it and keep pain at bay will be the key.

Good luck!! And do post any progress! :-)

I'm still hanging in there...slow but sure.

Last edited by Administrator; 12-11-2012 at 04:23 PM.

 
Old 12-11-2012, 02:54 PM   #9
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

Hi Calin,
Went to the Dr. This morning. It's a medium sized right para central disc protrusion that indents the right ventral thecal sac. She said that's what's causing my pain, and not the stenosis so much. She's referred me to an Orthopedic Surgeon for evaluation and treatment. Have an appt next week. I'm assuming that they will try Physical Therapy first. at least I hope so. Not too hip on surgery..she did start me on Mobic for my OA.. So I hope that helps. Ice is my friend. glad to hear you're hanging in as well. thanks for your help through this. ��

 
Old 12-11-2012, 06:55 PM   #10
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

Hi grover771....one thing you might want to do is get a copy of your MRI. I have all of mine on a CD, just in case I need it or decide I want a second opinion.I also read the report, so that when I talked with my OD, or the surgeon, I had some sense of what questions to ask.d

I would think some sort of conservative treatment would be tried first. Good luck and keep us posted.

 
Old 12-18-2012, 05:31 PM   #11
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

Had my appointment with the Orthopedic doc today...actually, his PA. She concluded that my pain was most likely because I had significant facet joint arthritis at L5-S1, and not from the disc bulge indenting the thecal sac. Have to admit I was a little surprised.. Can't imagine arthritis causing this much pain. I mean, I've had to take my Vicodin every 6 hours lately, it's been so uncomfortable.

She prescribed Skelaxin 800mg, Medrol 4mg and PT.. Which doesn't start until the day after Christmas. My friend is a PT, so emailed her for exercises to do before next week.

Thank you guys for taking the time to respond to my questions. It means a lot to have received your kindness.

 
Old 12-18-2012, 05:32 PM   #12
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?


Had my appointment with the Orthopedic doc today...actually, his PA. She concluded that my pain was most likely because I had significant facet joint arthritis at L5-S1, and not from the disc bulge indenting the thecal sac. Have to admit I was a little surprised.. Can't imagine arthritis causing this much pain. I mean, I've had to take my Vicodin every 6 hours lately, it's been so uncomfortable.

She prescribed Skelaxin 800mg, Medrol 4mg and PT.. Which doesn't start until the day after Christmas.

Thank you guys for taking the time to respond to my questions. It means a lot to have received your kindness.

Last edited by Administrator; 05-30-2013 at 11:05 AM.

 
Old 12-18-2012, 06:14 PM   #13
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

Did your surgeon concur with the PA or did she make the diagnosis on her own? I don't like it when PAs diagnose -- I'm not sure that is in their job description.

For something this important, I personally wouldn't feel comfortable taking her opinion without the doctor concurring.

Facet arthropathy can be very painful...and I siuppose it doesn't really matter what is the cause of the nerve compression if no surgery is planned. ESIs would affect either, as would oral medications, etc. This isn't just "arthritis" because it causes nerve irritation or compression. If it were arthritis in your ankle, for example, it might cause the joint to enlarge and be painful, but it wouldn't press on the nerve as it does in the facets.

Also if the bulge is indenting the thecal sac, this could lead to cauda equina syndrome which could be potentially dangerous...so I would want to be darn sure the disc bulge is not the problem.

 
Old 01-17-2013, 04:44 PM   #14
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

Hi Teteri66,
Well, you were right. It's now 1-17-13 and after 4 weeks of PT and traction, I'm still in the same situation. Yes, it was just the PA, as the surgeon couldn't see me until Feb. the traction seemed to help the most, and I stopped taking the pain Meds, as I was able to tolerate the pain, but last Monday when they turned on the traction, I had to tell them to stop because it started hurting. I'm back feeling pain and have made an appt. with a neurosurgeon for this Tuesday.

I was reading about the transepidural Injection. Have you had that? I'm not sure I'd be a candidate, as everything I'm reading says I'm supposed to have sciatica pain. And I don't. My hip hurts, my thigh is tight, my toe next to the big toe feels like its jammed or broken when I walk, but no shooting pain down my leg. My right leg feels heavy and like its shorter than my left. Bizarre, I know.

So, the "50ish" yr old gal takes Epsom salt baths, walks around with ice packs and pars for a answer. Any continued comments are much appreciated. :-)

 
Old 01-18-2013, 06:05 AM   #15
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Re: Lower back, scar tissue or Sacrum?

Hi grover771...I'm sorry to hear that PT and traction didn't quite do the trick for you. I'm in the same boat. I've stopped everything as I landed in emergency mid-December. New MRI; disc fragment; and now I'm scheduled for microdiscectomy. Hoping I get over a head cold so I can go through with it. At the moment, I have no leg pain, just numbness and weakness, but I feel confident with the surgeon that I will have a good outcome.

I have always heard that you will know when you have suffered enough and surgery becomes the best option. It's now the path for me. I hope you find answers. Don't give up. I do plan to post my outcomes here and I hope they will be excellent so that others might benefit and have hope! :-)

 
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