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Old 09-20-2010, 12:52 PM   #1
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Unhappy Could it be more than just a herniated disc?

Hello! I'm new to the forum and unfortunately have to begin my time here with a post like this...

A little about my situation:
I'm 28 years old. Just got married, got a house, everything was going great. Then in Nov. 2009 I started getting a pinching feeling in my back. I figured I just pulled something so I just took it easy and ignored it. It continued on and occasionally I would get some pain in my right leg when I sat down, but it went away once I adjusted myself in my chair. By the time March came around, it had gotten to the point where I was getting little shots of pain every time I sat down, stood up, so I went and got an MRI. MRI showed that I had a herniated L4/L5. It wasn't a major herniation but enough to put pressure on my sciatic nerve. I started PT in April and have been going twice a week since then. The first 2 weeks, I noticed some improvement, then all the pain came back. I tried acupuncture, wearing a back brace for a few weeks, meds (relaxants, steroids, pain killers), 2 epidurals. Nothing seemed to change the pain, in fact it just kept getting worse. The epidurals each gave me relief for less than 24 hours. The strongest pain killer I took was Tramadol, I was offered heavier stuff but I figured if I was going to be in a pain-free haze, I might as well just lay on the couch without the meds. I just started taking Lyrica this morning, the Doc gave it to me after my last epidural gave me only 6 hours relief the day after I got it.

About 2 months ago, I got to the point I'm at now. Mornings are the worst. I can't put my shorts on in the morning unless I lay on the bed. When I get up in the morning I can't bend over to lift the toilet seat, I can't reach down to turn the shower on. If I drop something I have to call my wife to come help me. The afternoons sometimes aren't that bad, relatively speaking. Last night I was trying to do some stretches on the floor and my leg seized up in pain and I had to lay there for about 5 minutes. All day though, every time I stand up or sit down, I get excruciating pain in my leg. It feels like every muscle has cramped up and if I try to bend my leg, it hurts even more. I end up limping along for about 50 yards an then things loosen up and the pain goes away. Sitting down, same thing. Also have slight numbness and tingling in my ankle and arch. Can't sleep though the night. Had one good night's rest about 3 months ago.

Does this all sound like the standard progression of just a herniated L4/L5? Could I have injured something else along the way? At one point I had convinced myself I'd done something to my piriformis muscle, but then decided I was just looking for something else to blame it on. Should I get a new MRI? I'm going to see how the Lyrica works for me but the thought of living with this pain scares me. My wife tells me she's noticing signs of depression in me, and I can't argue. I cant golf, ski, ride my dirt or street bikes, play with my nephew, I have no desire to do anything because I know it'll lead to more pain, and in the next couple years we're going to want children. Still looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Any advice?

Hopefully you guys won't knock me too bad, I know from readin these forums that there are many people who are way worse off than myself and who have been dealing with similar issue for a lot longer.

Last edited by MrFergy; 09-20-2010 at 12:53 PM.

 
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:46 PM   #2
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Re: Could it be more than just a herniated disc?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFergy View Post
Hello! I'm new to the forum and unfortunately have to begin my time here with a post like this...

A little about my situation:
I'm 28 years old. Just got married, got a house, everything was going great. Then in Nov. 2009 I started getting a pinching feeling in my back. I figured I just pulled something so I just took it easy and ignored it. It continued on and occasionally I would get some pain in my right leg when I sat down, but it went away once I adjusted myself in my chair. By the time March came around, it had gotten to the point where I was getting little shots of pain every time I sat down, stood up, so I went and got an MRI. MRI showed that I had a herniated L4/L5. It wasn't a major herniation but enough to put pressure on my sciatic nerve. I started PT in April and have been going twice a week since then. The first 2 weeks, I noticed some improvement, then all the pain came back. I tried acupuncture, wearing a back brace for a few weeks, meds (relaxants, steroids, pain killers), 2 epidurals. Nothing seemed to change the pain, in fact it just kept getting worse. The epidurals each gave me relief for less than 24 hours. The strongest pain killer I took was Tramadol, I was offered heavier stuff but I figured if I was going to be in a pain-free haze, I might as well just lay on the couch without the meds. I just started taking Lyrica this morning, the Doc gave it to me after my last epidural gave me only 6 hours relief the day after I got it.

About 2 months ago, I got to the point I'm at now. Mornings are the worst. I can't put my shorts on in the morning unless I lay on the bed. When I get up in the morning I can't bend over to lift the toilet seat, I can't reach down to turn the shower on. If I drop something I have to call my wife to come help me. The afternoons sometimes aren't that bad, relatively speaking. Last night I was trying to do some stretches on the floor and my leg seized up in pain and I had to lay there for about 5 minutes. All day though, every time I stand up or sit down, I get excruciating pain in my leg. It feels like every muscle has cramped up and if I try to bend my leg, it hurts even more. I end up limping along for about 50 yards an then things loosen up and the pain goes away. Sitting down, same thing. Also have slight numbness and tingling in my ankle and arch. Can't sleep though the night. Had one good night's rest about 3 months ago.

Does this all sound like the standard progression of just a herniated L4/L5? Could I have injured something else along the way? At one point I had convinced myself I'd done something to my piriformis muscle, but then decided I was just looking for something else to blame it on. Should I get a new MRI? I'm going to see how the Lyrica works for me but the thought of living with this pain scares me. My wife tells me she's noticing signs of depression in me, and I can't argue. I cant golf, ski, ride my dirt or street bikes, play with my nephew, I have no desire to do anything because I know it'll lead to more pain, and in the next couple years we're going to want children. Still looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Any advice?

Hopefully you guys won't knock me too bad, I know from readin these forums that there are many people who are way worse off than myself and who have been dealing with similar issue for a lot longer.


>>>>>>>Hi, mrfergy and welcome to the forum. I'm sorry you have to be here under these circumstances, but I am glad you found us. We would never "knock" someone because one persons pain might be worse than another persons! Pain is pain, and when it becomes bad enough to ask for help, you deserve to get it.

I do have a couple of questions for you, tho. Who ordered the first MRI and how long ago was it done? If it has been several months, it may need to be redone as things sound like they have progressed and the pressure on the sciatic nerve has gotten worse.

If you haven't been to a back specialist, I urge you to make that your next move....either an Orthopedic spine specialist (my personal choice) or a neurosurgeon. This doesn't mean you have to have surgery, but these kinds of doctors are the best at reading the MRI and finding every detail of your problem. They are also the best at determining what kind of treatment might best help you. If you do have a pinched nerve, you should know that the longer it is compressed, the more chance of permanent damage and that is something you want to avoid.

If surgery is the recommendation, get a second opinion as you need to be sure in your mind that it's the right thing to do. On these boards you will read story after story about people who have had surgery and it failed. Keep in mind that the folks who had successful surgeries are NOT on these boards because they have no need to be here.

You might want to go to walmart or one of those places and buy a "grabber". They will know what you are talking about. You can use it to pick up things you have dropped or even to help get your clothing on. It's been very useful to me.

As to pain pills, well, most people are either sleepy or fuzzy when they first start taking them, but adjust in a few days. They will at least allow you some freedom of movement. Won't take all the pain away, but will help until a solution is arrived at. There are a couple of non-narcotic pills that might help a bit.....tramadol, lyrica, or neurontin. You can discuss it will the spine specialist when you see him/her.

I hope you will contine to post and keep us updated. Just come to vent your frustration if you want to.

Carol

PS. Lots of people in pain get very depressed, and an antidepressant can help a lot. Some of them even help with the pain. Your family doctor can help you with that.

 
Old 09-20-2010, 02:11 PM   #3
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MrFergy HB User
Re: Could it be more than just a herniated disc?

Thanks for the quick feedback.

Quote:
Who ordered the first MRI and how long ago was it done?
The MRI was done in April. I had gone to the walk-in a couple times in Feb/Mar, and they basically prescribed me ibuprofen. I finally got in to see my PCP, and she sent me to get an X-Ray, which looked fine, so then she sent me to get an MRI. After the MRI, I met with a neurologist. I've been told by the PT and the Doc who did my epidurals that he's the best in the area and if I need to get any surgery, to go with him. Neurologist sent me to PT and the epidurals. I'm going to be calling him to set up another appointment to discuss our next approach since the PT and epidurals have failed. If he suggests surgery, I will most definitely be getting a second opinion, maybe a third.

Quote:
As to pain pills, well, most people are either sleepy or fuzzy when they first start taking them, but adjust in a few days. They will at least allow you some freedom of movement. Won't take all the pain away, but will help until a solution is arrived at. There are a couple of non-narcotic pills that might help a bit.....tramadol, lyrica, or neurontin.
I'm giving the Lyrica a shot and we'll see! Tried Tramadol and got absolutely no relief from it I wasn't expecting it to make all the pain go away, but the intensity and frequency of the pain didn't change at all. On top of that, my wife was a stickler for the warnings on the label and told me I shouldn't have my usual Friday night Glenlivet with dinner while on it

 
Old 09-20-2010, 02:39 PM   #4
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Re: Could it be more than just a herniated disc?

I'm glad to know that you have a good doctor already and that you will get a second opinion. Instead of an MRI, the doc may have a ct scan with contrast done which will show nerve impingement better.

Glad your wife is on her toes....liquor does not mix well with lyrica, lol. But you might ask the doc if just one glass would hurt anything. Then he could write a note giving his permission, lol.

You take care and please do stay in touch.

Carol

 
Old 09-21-2010, 02:42 PM   #5
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Re: Could it be more than just a herniated disc?

That sounds a lot like what I just had surgery for, which was a herniated disk that was pressing on my sciatic nerve. Mine started January 2010 and by July 2010 I couldn't walk, sit up, and sometimes even laying down hurt. It was terrible! I would have burning pains shooting up from my feet to my hips and if I stayed in that position my leg and foot would eventually go numb. It was hell. Did I mention I am 19 years old? And I've never been in a car wreck or had any sort of injury. Sometimes bad things just happen to people naturally.

After three months physical therapy, two very painful epidurals, my dr finally sent me to go see a surgeon. He told me that surgery was the only way to go if I wanted some relief. Everyone told me not to have surgery because it was "dangerous" and "scary", however I went through with it. Today has been 22 days after my surgery and I feel 100% better. Seriously, the most painful part of the surgery was having to change my bandages.

I encourage you to go to a Neurosurgeon spine specialist. I've spent the last eight months in misery and it all could have been solved if someone would had just taken me and my pain seriously. It's true that a lot of people complain of back pain but when it travels to other areas there needs to be something done about it! My surgery has changed my life. I know too well what your mother's going through and I wouldn't wish it on anyone! I hope your mom can find some relief soon. Life's too short to be hurting like that!

 
Old 09-22-2010, 05:18 AM   #6
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Re: Could it be more than just a herniated disc?

Thanks for sharing the personal experience aem10. Like you said, sounds very similar. I guess I was lucky that my epidurals weren't painful, they just didn't work. Sounds like I am right where you were when you decided to have surgery. I've been noticing lately that when I stand up and my cramps up, its taking longer and longer to get it to work. Last night I got up to get ready for bed and limped around in pain for 10 minutes and it wouldn't go away. I ended up arched over the sink brushing my teeth and then a similar method to go the bathroom. Went to bed in pain and woke up in pain.

I spoke with my PT yesterday and he says that since I haven't gotten worse and haven't responded to anything they've done, he thinks that its still the disc that is the primary cause of the problem. It could have herniated worse, extruded, or be breaking off. He agreed that I should see the nuerologist, and I set up an appointment for next Tuesday. My wife is taking the morning off of work to go with me, since we will probably start talking about more serious solutions now.

Just a side rant, I can't stand it when I'm out somewhere, and I stand up and am in agonizing pain, and someone (my wife's friend) says "Yeah I know exactly what you're goin through bro, the other day at work my back hurt like hell and I had to take like 5 Advil to get it to go away". I bit my tongue. Really? 5 advil? That's must have been horrible.

 
Old 09-22-2010, 10:51 AM   #7
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Re: Could it be more than just a herniated disc?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFergy View Post
Just a side rant, I can't stand it when I'm out somewhere, and I stand up and am in agonizing pain, and someone (my wife's friend) says "Yeah I know exactly what you're goin through bro, the other day at work my back hurt like hell and I had to take like 5 Advil to get it to go away". I bit my tongue. Really? 5 advil? That's must have been horrible.
OH YES YES YES! I KNOW THIS SO DAMN WELL!

My partner of 10 years ended our relationship last December, in part because he refused to understand why I couldn't participate in things for almost a year. He was convinced I was doing it on purpose, and all he could think about was how it affected his life. It was always "Well, our friend Russ has a bad back and he does everything - he even runs marathons, why can't you just ignore the pain like he does? The problem must be in your mind.".

Some people who haven't experienced it just cannot imagine it, and nothing you say will get through to them.

AS for your issue, do remember that herniated discs usually do clear up (resorb) on their own. There are certain things you can do (e.g., McKenzie extension exercises) to help this along. Don't be too precipitous in getting an operation.

Last edited by seekonk; 09-22-2010 at 11:00 AM.

 
Old 09-22-2010, 07:17 PM   #8
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MrFergy HB User
Re: Could it be more than just a herniated disc?

Any suggestions on what I can do for the time being? I mean as far as standing up and such. I stand up, leg pains start, leg seizes up, and I limp around for 5 minutes before it relaxes and I can walk normally. Limping around hunched over has caused me to pull some muscles in my mid-upper back. I guess it's a stretch but maybe someone will say "Oh yeah, I had that same thing! I would do this stretch or get up in this way and it helped a ton"

 
Old 09-26-2010, 11:55 AM   #9
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MrFergy HB User
Re: Could it be more than just a herniated disc?

Went to the walk-in at 8:30 last night. Was in severe pain and now even sitting doesn't really help. Got enough vicodin to last me until Tuesday when I have me neurologist appointment

 
Old 09-29-2010, 05:54 AM   #10
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Re: Could it be more than just a herniated disc?

I am scheduled for a microdiscectomy this coming Monday. Hoping and praying for the best and I am confident that this is what I want to do. Vicodin has been helping during the day but after 6 PM or so I can barely walk. So before Monday I need to mow the lawn, get the A/C units out of the windows, change the brake pads on my truck and the wife's car, and reseed the lawn. Going to be a busy few days.

 
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