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Minor Degenerative Disc Disease


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Old 09-01-2018, 12:13 PM   #1
arkie77
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Minor Degenerative Disc Disease

Hello, I recently presented to my local emergency department with progressive numbness in both my feet, especially right foot, outer right ankle and around my anus and penis. It’s kind of like the end of pins and needles or a local anaesthetic. I do not have any issues with my bladder or bowel control, just unusual sensations. I have no back pain. It is about 10 days now and is slowly getting worse each day.

I had an MRI of my lower back which showed ‘signal loss on T2 of L4L5 and lesser extent L5S1 indicating minor degenerative disc disease with no disc protrusion or prolapse’. They sent me home to with an appointment to see a spine specialist next week.

Has anyone any experience with something similar or share any advice? I’m quite worried about it and feel the MRI result doesn’t point toward the ‘numbess’ I am experiencing being caused by the degenerative disc disease.

I am a fit and healthy 34 year old male. I had a sports massage the evening before the onset of first symptoms but didn’t notice anything untoward at the time of the massage.

Thanks for any advice / feedback. Can share any further information if needed.

 
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Old 09-01-2018, 05:38 PM   #2
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Re: Minor Degenerative Disc Disease

Welcome to the board. The symptoms you describe are typical of the symptoms caused by a spinal nerve compression. If you look online for a dermatome map, you will find a chart that will show you which area of the body is innervated by which spinal nerve. This should help you to understand where your symptoms are coming from. It will not provide a clue as to what may be causing the nerve compression!

Did you get a copy of the radiology report? If so, did it mention a spondylolisthesis? It might have been referred to as a "anterolisthesis."

What were you doing prior to the massage? Did these symptoms come on suddenly?

 
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Old 09-02-2018, 05:14 AM   #3
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Re: Minor Degenerative Disc Disease

[QUOTE=teteri66;5488020]Welcome to the board. The symptoms you describe are typical of the symptoms caused by a spinal nerve compression. If you look online for a dermatome map, you will find a chart that will show you which area of the body is innervated by which spinal nerve. This should help you to understand where your symptoms are coming from. It will not provide a clue as to what may be causing the nerve compression!

Did you get a copy of the radiology report? If so, did it mention a spondylolisthesis? It might have been referred to as a "anterolisthesis."

What were you doing prior to the massage? Did these symptoms come on suddenly?[/QUOTE]

Hi, thank you for your response. To answer the questions in order;

I did receive a copy of the radiography report but there is no reference to spondylolisthesis or anterolisthesis. Only “signal loss noted in the L4L5 and to a lesser extent the L5S1 intervertebral discs on T2 indicating dehydration and early degenerative change. No prolapse or protrusion. The Conus is in a normal position and visualised lumbar cord of normal contour signal intensity”

Before the massage was a fairly routine day, early morning pool swim and worked at home on my laptop. Alternating between standing and sitting. The symptoms appeared the following morning, very subtle at first but have progressed and spread from just my feet initially. Right side is worst affected and particular outer leg more so than inner leg, thighs are ok but glute area etc is quite numb too. I think they ruled out emergency ie cauda equine syndrome otherwise they would have kept me in.

How would spinal compression show on MRI? Maybe the assessment is limited as it just an MRI of spine lumbar / sacral?!

Thanks again.

 
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:43 AM   #4
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Re: Minor Degenerative Disc Disease

Keep in mind the MRI is just one piece of the diagnostic puzzle. The doctor correlates the findings with what is found on physical exam, basic neurological exam and after listening to the complaints of the patient. Sometimes what looks terrible on MRI in fact is causing no symptoms. Conversely, something that appears to have little to no impact is, in fact, a source of great pain.

No spine surgeon pays any attention to a written report. They want to look at the images and draw their own conclusions.

The reason I asked about the spondylolisthesis, which is a situation where one vertebra slips over the top of the adjacent vertebra and often is a sign of instability, is because it often results in symptoms on both sides. (Most spine issues tend to cause pain on one side. A disc that is bulging in the medial (central) zone can cause symptoms on both left and right side.

A spinal nerve compression will show up on MRI. MRI will also pick up a narrowing of the central canal, which causes nerve compression of the bundle of nerves below the termination of the spinal cord called the cauda equina. It picks up similar narrowing in the neural foramina.

Did you ever have any symptoms similar to this episode of numbness?

 
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Old 09-03-2018, 02:04 AM   #5
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Re: Minor Degenerative Disc Disease

Maybe the spinal surgeon will see things differently on the MRI scan itself, he will have a full copy of all images. The complete abscence of any back pain seems to be throwing doctors and consultants so far.

No symptoms whatsoever, just woke up and felt my feet feeling a little ‘odd’ and it’s being getting worse ever since. My right side is noticeably worse than my left that’s one thing I can say with certainty and along the outside of my leg more so but it’s not isolated to there. The areas worse affected tie in with L4, L5 and S1 through to S5.

 
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Old 09-03-2018, 08:25 AM   #6
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Re: Minor Degenerative Disc Disease

Our situations are not similar but I am an example of someone who had no back pain until years into my first foot and then leg symptoms. My first symptoms of what turned out to be a L4-5 spondylolisthesis was tingling in feer along with a problem with my middle toes drawing up and cramping. Because it was in both feet, it was diagnosed as being a neuropathy. Gradually, over a couple years, I developed sciatic pain and eventually was diagnosed with the spondylolisthesis.

More recently I had a very scary incident where suddenly I got a weird, kind of prickly sensation across the sacral area. Within minutes I lost feeling from the waist down and couldn't move my legs at all...just like I was paralyzed from waist down. I lay on the kitchen floor thinking perhaps I was having a stroke. About ten minutes later, feeling began to come back. Husband took me to the emergency room at local hospital where they determined I was not having a stroke. When they learned about my spinal history they told me to make an appointment to see my spine surgeon.

He wasn't all that interested initially. After it happened several more times over the course of 15 months, he ordered a new MRI and I ended up having surgery a month later. The central canal at the L2-3 level had become pretty well clogged up. So he went in and cleaned it up and I haven't been troubled since with those issues.

There are other things that cause numbness and tingling, other than spine issues...but I think it makes sense to start with the spine and either rule in or rule out any spinal nerve compression. I look forward to hearing what you learn when you visit the spine specialist!

 
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Old 09-03-2018, 09:31 AM   #7
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Re: Minor Degenerative Disc Disease

Those sound pretty terrifying in fairness, especially the complete numbness. Maybe we’re missing something with me by not having a clearer picture further up the spine, I’ll mention it tomorrow and edinotely keep you posted with how I get on. I feel I’ll need to be very inosostent on keeping things moving tomorrow as I’m getting worse by the day and don’t know how I’d manage mentally with another weekend / week of uncertainty.

Thanks again.

 
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Old 09-12-2018, 02:53 AM   #8
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Re: Minor Degenerative Disc Disease

Hello, so I haven’t replied in a while as quite a lot has happened since the appointment with the spine specialist last week. So as I thought the findings in my lumbar scan had absolutely nothing to do with my symptoms of numbness. The spine specialist was instantly concerned and so much so he admitted me to the hospital within 5 mins under the care of a neurologist. So after 3 more MRI’s incl brain, Upper and lower spine I was diagnosed with ‘transverse Myelitis’ which is a rare condition with inflammation of the spinal chord area. I have been treated for 5 days with intravenous steroids and now I am home on a high dosage orally. The symptoms have not worsened and slight improvements have been noted. The further concern for me is that the transverse Myelitis is usually triggered by something else, something more longer term and potentially of a neurological nature. I have an anxious few weeks to wait for the results of a lumbar puncture so I’m hoping for the best possible outcome whatever that may be.

I am a little frustrated as when the initial MRI was taken of my lower spine showing minor disc disease I was sent home to be dealt with as an outpatient and had to wait for 6 days to see the specialist. I lost a lot of feeling in my limbs during those 6 days. I was sent home a second time from the Emergency Dept during those 6 days and told I was just ‘worrying’ too much and given diazepam. I knew there was something much worse at play though.

Hopefully now I’m on the right track and sensation continues to return. It’ll be an anxious few weeks ahead pending lumbar puncture test results but were hoping for the best. If there’s a lesson in this it’s to always take any form of numbness very seriously and insist on seeing the right people especially where a neurologist is available.

 
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Old 09-12-2018, 07:35 AM   #9
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Re: Minor Degenerative Disc Disease

Quite frankly, you are fortunate that you found someone to listen and to take you seriously! So often when "something" ordinary doesn't show up on the imaging, the person is told things are OK...even though YOU know they are not. Kudos for being persistent. It is a shame that is the way things are...but it is a fact of life.

So glad you are getting help and will hopefully receive an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes the cause of these things is never determined.

 
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