I accidentally posted on the wrong board and really would appreciate any suggestions and support. In march I began falling at work, I would get a sharp pain, as though I was being hit with a baseball bat, in my very low back and then would lose my legs. Within 10days it was happening 4-5 times a day and leaving both legs feeling weak and a burning in my back. I went to the dr, got a lumbar mri which states
Findings: no evidence of spondylolisthesis. The co us medullaris is at the upper L1 level and appears normal.
L1-L2, L2-L3 and L3-L4 level: no disc space narrowing, disc protrusion or stenosis. Normal facet joints.
L4-L5 level: no disc space narrowing, disc protrusion or stenosis. Mild facet arthrosis.
L5-S1 level: disc degeneration without disc space narrowing. Mild disc bulge with posterior midline annular fissure. No spinal foraminal stenosiz. Facet joints are unremarkable.
My dr sent me to a pain dr who has now completed all.3 epidural steroid injections, with no relief whatsoever, and to pt. My pt found that my upper body is turned inward, possibly due to posture and he began treatment for both areas. After two pt sessions I began having symptoms of pain and weakness in my right arm. I told him and he said it was probably due to the muscles being forced back to the proper place. Fast forward to 10days ago, I ended up in urgent care due to no sleep for 2days due to pain and am now dropping thing, my arm automatically pulls in to my side as though it is in a sling, and that gives me the least pain. My arm feels cold, pins and needles, overall weakness and shooting pain starting at my collarbone down to my thumb. My lower back is worse and I have finally taken a leave at work, I am a cashier, which was so hard for me because I love my job. I went back to dr and upon exam was told that my lower body is now showing signs of nerve root irritation, that was after he did my reflexes which were extremely hyper. My right arm upon exam showed an overall weakness and at 30-50% less than my left arm. Waiting on auth for cervical mri now and was placed on neurontin along with my pain med to hopefully help.with the pain. My pain dr told me yesterday that there is no reason I should be in pain in my lower body and that it must be the arthritis so he wants to do a nerve block, of which I am unsure of. I do not want to end up worse when it wares off because I felt no pain and damaged my body more. My primary finally agreed to get me a neurosurgical consult and the dr is looking over my chart and was told I should hear from them on Monday to make an appt. At this point I am ready for anything, the pain is becoming unbareable and the weakness in my arm is really starting to scare me. I am 32, a single mom to a child with an incurable disease and really can't afford, emotionally or financially, to live like this. Thank God for my parents who are hlping me raise him in a family setting, but they can't and shouldn't have to take care of us both. I want my life back!
Last edited by froggie91206; 07-20-2013 at 04:13 PM.
I think I responded to your other post, but wanted to bump this up in the line so others would see it and hopefully respond.
One thing to keep in mind is that with a lumbar problem, the pain is almost always felt in the lower back, hip level, groin, pelvis and legs. It does not work itself above the level of the first lumbar vertebra.
In the thoracic and cervical areas of the spine, you can feel pain in the arms, hands, neck and head, but, if there is spinal cord compression, you can feel it below the level of injury. (If there is no cord compression, you will feel pain at the appropriate level for the injury and along the dermatome for that particular spinal nerve.)
I am not a doctor but I find it hard to believe that you were told that you wouldn't have leg pain if you have a cervical problem. Perhaps there is other information that we are not privy to -- but in general, if there is cervical or thoracic cord compression, you can have pain anywhere along the spinal column, and in the nerves that branch off the column.
[B I went back to dr and upon exam was told that my lower body is now showing signs of nerve root irritation, that was after he did my reflexes which were extremely hyper.][/B]
This reflex issue is a sign of a cervical cord problem. Particularly since you now have arm pain, if I were in your position, I would not have any further treatments until you see a spine specialist for a proper examination and diagnosis. This could be one of two specialties: either a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon. You want to be sure that the doctor's practice is limited to neck and back problems and nothing else.
Do not go to a neurologist. I don't know what type of doctor is doing the neurological consultation, but you need to see a spine specialist, not someone who specializes in the diseases of the nervous system. There is a big difference. There may be a need to see a neurologist down the road if you need an EMG and nerve conduction study, but for now, you need a proper diagnosis. It is within the realm of possibility that it was the PT who injured you without really knowing if you had cervical problems....it is so important to have an accurate diagnosis before beginning treatment. Now you have had three ESIs, which is your limit for awhile, and you don't know if they were even injecting at the right level for your issues and main pain generator.
Does your insurance require a referral to see a spine specialist? Many spine specialists do not require a referral. You just call up and make an appointment.
Thank you so much for the info. As of now, I am only positive of the lumbar problems but also felt that something more was going on in my cervical area due to my arm. The urgent care dr said to me that he felt my pcp needed to do a cervical mri, especially since I have been to urgent care nearly every 6months for the past 6-7yrs for major neck pain and spasms. So I guess something more could have been going on all along and until the symptoms in my arm I was not being fully examined for further injury. I am supposed to go to pt in the morning after no pt for 2wks, I was thinking that I probably shouldn't until we know what is truly happening. The neuro surgical dr is one my mom has worked with and is a specialist in spines. My referral was sent over and when I called, the nurse said the dr has to look over my records before he agrees to take me as a patient and that I should hear from her by tomorrow. Luckily, he is making appts as early as 2wks, still a wait, but it's no 2-3 months like some others in the practice. Been keeping up on the tens unit today and trying not to go more than 8hrs between pain meds so as to not have to play catch up, which was a big mistake yesterday. I just get so worried about being on pain meds for so long, I really don't want to build up a tolerance or develop an addiction. Ahhhh, too much going on and my poor little guy is having a hard time not getting to rough house with mommy or get out to do stuff like we are used to cause I really can't be far from the recliner. But at the same time he has been such a sweet caretaker, making me pb&j when the pain is so bad I can't get up. Well again, thank you for all of your info and support this weekend. And yes, that was me on the spinal cord thread, don't know how it ended up there, was totally by accident. Have a good night, I am gonna try to get some sleep, hopefully
Last edited by froggie91206; 07-21-2013 at 11:14 PM.
I went to PT today at 1030am so I did not take any pain meds since I was driving. I ended up in tears in the office due to the pain in my arm, neck and shoulder. Pt also dc'd all upper body exercises and just did the tens, massage on lumbar and the pool decompression therapy. He also told me he was nearly 100% sure that i have a herniated cervical disc and was very concerned. While there he told me to call the imaging office where my MRI orders were sent since I haven't heard from them yet, as the orders were made last Tues. Guess what, they never received any orders. So I called my dr office and they finally sent them. Now my mri.is scheduled for the 1st, since they have to get auth from insurence. I asked to have them call when they get auth so we could get me in earlier if possible. I am beyond angry with my dr office at this point, an entire week wasted in getting me what I need. Did not hear from neurosurgical, so I will call in the morning to see what is going on with that. Hopefully tomorrow brings some news. Thanks again
Dear froggie, Have you had an EMG &/or nerve conduction studies on you legs or arms? This is a test that uses tiny, thij needles & a mild electrical current to find nerve root problems. I hope the NS will help you to find the diagnosis & treatment for this trouble, im so sorry but now hopefully you are better soon!
I have not. But hopefully soon I will have more answers. My PT stated yesterday that he felt I had a herniated cervical disc and that he would do no further treatment until I was evaluated. Luckily for me, NS had a cancellation. I just want to be able to get off the vicodin and be able to function without extreme pain. It also keeps me awake at night much longer than I want and the side affects with the delayed gi tract is very bothersome. I will just keep praying for answers and relief. Thanks again
Froggie, After years of off & on problems as you mentioned i have found an answer to the side effect, eat prunes! Pitted dried prunes or plums. Works great for me. I will pray for your dr appt tomorrow.
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Dear Froggie, I was trying to answer you and I wrote a post out and it disappeared to never-never land. You need a neurologist for your upper extremities, She's right it could be a pinch nerve in your thoracic or cervical area , more than likely a MRI if you had one of your whole spine would find that problem. It is probably carpal tunnel it causes numbness weakness and pain. I was dropping thing all the time and it felt like I had not very good control of my wrists/hands. I thought I had MS. It is pretty scarey. They do take little needles to ***** the skin and see how long the muscle takes to contract. The problem with your lower back is those discs that are bulging and they are just misplaced. Your best bet would be to get your Dr to order physical therapy.They teach you how to comfortably put that bulging disc back into place. Make sure PT has a copy of your MRI, they at first tried the wrong exercises on me and it just made things worse. The extension exercises treated the appropriate area on my lower back. The problem with steroids in the back over along time it can cause the bone to become weaker. Lower back pain can cause sciatica where pain shoots down the back of the legs, sometimes to the toes. I too thought that it was my legs. The only 1/2 relief I had was to set in a chair. I thought I was going to be in a w/c. But the very first visit at the physical therapy clinic , I went home pain free that first day,after they used the right exercise and after seeing 2-3 Dr.s and suffering with pain for months. Good luck! And don't worry! I promise!
Last edited by lainaray; 07-23-2013 at 11:49 PM.
Froggie, I just read the other post of yours, Physical therapy can make the matter worse. If they have a copy of your MRI that is what you want. Make sure your therapist has at least 5 years experience. Have they tried extension exercises on you? It sounds to me that is what you need by the area you mentioned.
I'm glad you were able to get an appointment with the neurosurgeon so quickly. Don't be surprised if it is a short appointment, and that he wants to see you again after you have the cervical MRI. It would be better to have the MRI first, but I understand that you are eager to get in to see the NS. Let us know what he/she thinks.
Ok, so he feels that the symptoms in my legs are caused by the same thing that is affecting my arm. The mri doesn't seem to show that I should be losing control of my legs from the bulge, he showed the scan to me, but also said the mri won't show everything. He was shocked that I wasn't sent to him sooner and also ordered a thoracic mri since I do have some arthritis in the lumbar and a degenerative disc, which for my age is not normal so he wants to see the condition of the whole spin. He also stated that I do show nerve root irritation and that he thinks it may be something in my cervical causing spinal cord compression, but we won't know until the scan. Also his nurse will be calling my insurence tomorrow to put a stat order on the mri's and rush the auth because they said my symptoms are severe. I felt very comfortable with the dr and it was nice to have my mom there too. He did tell me no more physical therapy for now and no work, continue with pain meds, and lay down as much as I can since that seems to be the only thing that helps the neck and arm pain any. So tomorrow will be movie day as my son is at his 2nd day of first grade! Thank you so much, and I am so glad I came across this board. I hate that you all deal with chronic and severe pain, but it's nice to know I am not alone. Hope you have a good night.
Last edited by froggie91206; 07-24-2013 at 07:33 PM.
Wow Gmak, I just read on another thread about your diagnosis and what you deal.with. that breaks my heart. I will be praying for you. By His stripes, we.are healed. (Don't remember the verse, but it was spoken to me many times while in the children's hospital with my son and it brought me comfort and it does for me now too).
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