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    Old 05-14-2019, 06:00 PM   #1
    nutkin517
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    Help me understand what is wrong ...

    History: 2 years ago, back went out while sitting on the couch... Was extremely painful to breath or move. Went to ER and they did an x-ray and said it was sciatica. Sent me home with pain pills and muscle relaxers and I was ok after a week. Had a sedentary job at the time.

    1 year ago, I had a hysterectomy and once I was able to sleep on my stomach again, noticed I had lower back pain. I figured it was due to loss of abdominal tone and it got better over time.

    I started a very physical job in December. I am on my feet all day for up to 10 hrs. I regularly lift 70-100 lbs and bend up and down all day.

    Beginning of April, I bent down to pick something up at work and my back went out. I felt and hear something pop and it took my breath away. Co-worker noticed and told me to sit down. Pain was unbearable that evening and I went to the ER the next day. They did x-rays, gave a pain and steroid shot, sent me home with pain pills/methylprednisolone/cyclobenzaprine and told me to stay off work for 4 days. Went back to work and after working an hour, my back would swell, become stiff, and hurt. Tried to see my doctor, but they wouldn't see me because they said it was a work injury. Tried to go through my job's worker's comp but it is federal and no one wants to deal with the paperwork so there is no doctor I can see near where I live. Went to another ER and they did a CT scan.

    The results say: decreased lordosis, grade 1 retrolisthesis L4-L5, disc bulge/disc osteophyte complex at L4-L5.

    I feel like it was just coincidental that my back went out at work and maybe I wasn't injured there, so trying to see my doctor but find out they don't take my insurance anymore. So, I switched doctors and waiting on my new insurance card for an appt.

    While I am waiting, can anyone tell me what this means and what could've possibly caused it?

    Ankylosing spondilitis and spinal stenosis runs in my family. My mother has not been able to walk more than a few feet at a time (i.e. to and from the bathroom) for 20 yrs now. I am in my mid-30s and am terrified of ending up like that. Does what my CT scan showed sound like any of that?

    What can I do until I can get in to the dr for pain? My meds are running out and pain patches (Tiger Balm, Icy Hot) aren't working anymore.

     
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    Old 05-14-2019, 06:31 PM   #2
    yayagirl
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    Re: Help me understand what is wrong...

    Dear nutkin,

    That is a hard situation! You can always ask a pharmacist which overthecounter med might work best. Be sure to only take exactly no more than directed. I find I can get by with overthecounter pain relief if I take it religiously every 12 hours. It helps to use alternate heated and cold packs on your back.

    Lifting and bending are a no-no at least for now. You may have to go back to sedentary work.
    Let us know what you find out. Be gentle and very careful not to exacerbate this.
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    Old 05-16-2019, 10:43 AM   #3
    teteri66
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    Re: Help me understand what is wrong...

    Welcome to the board.

    Iím sorry you are in pain. It would be difficult to say to what extent your situation was caused by your job as a retrolisthesis is a situation that is structural and not something caused by one-time event. It is a type of spondylolisthesis, which is where one vertebra slips over the top of the adjacent vertebra. It can cause instability in the spine at that particular segment.

    In your case, the disc between the L4 and L5 vertebra is bulging but from information provided I donít know how large it is and how serious is the retrolisthesis. Grade 1 does not necessarily cause issues that result in symptoms...but, it can. When a spondylolisthesis (which is measured Grade 1-4 with 4 being most severe) causes instability, it usually results in nerve compression. Nerve compression often causes symptoms that radiate out from the site of compression...and results in tingling and/or numbness.

    Do you have pain radiating down a leg or tingling or numbness, or is your pain located in the lower back?

    Unfortunately when a spondylolisthesis causes instability, the solution is a spinal fusion surgery. Prior to that point, conservative treatments may be tried...a round of physical therapy, a series of epidural steroid injections, etc. The person would be told to avoid any repetitive bending or twisting at the waist, and to avoid lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk...or a bit more depending on the physician! Also, you should learn to sleep on your side...sleeping on your stomach puts your lower spine in hyper-extension which is pushing your spondylolisthesis in the wrong direction! You should also avoid any activity that puts your spine in that bending backward position.

     
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    Old 05-16-2019, 02:33 PM   #4
    nutkin517
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    Re: Help me understand what is wrong...

    I do have pain that radiates down my leg, mainly my right leg. It usually stops in my buttocks, but sometimes runs into my thigh. Before I had the severe pain episode, I had noticed that my feet would get the "pins and needles" feeling very regularly, even sometimes while I was walking. This still happens. I don't have severe pain all the time now, but after I am at work for about an hour, my back becomes really stiff and feels swollen. I don't have the same range of motion at that point, either.

    I do have a steady ache in my lower back and sitting or standing doesn't really help it.

    One thing I didn't say in my original post was when the "injury" happened while I was bending over at work, in addition to the pain I felt that I very urgently had to defecate. This feeling did not subside until after I visited the ER and was given cyclobenzaprine.

    My back also feels "bruised" when I touch it right above my tailbone. It is mainly on the right side, but slightly on the left also. There is no visible bruising from the outside.

    I do try to sleep on my side now most of the time, but sometimes can't fall asleep unless I am on my stomach. I lay flat when I do sleep that way, not propped up on a pillow or anything.

    I am trying to get to the dr asap and am also looking for a job that isn't so physical. My main thing is that I don't want this to progress further.

    Last edited by nutkin517; 05-16-2019 at 02:34 PM.

     
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    Old 05-16-2019, 06:21 PM   #5
    teteri66
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    Re: Help me understand what is wrong ...

    If you sleep on your back, put a small pillow under your knees.

    If you should suddenly develop incontinence or either bowel or bladder, seek medical help ASAP. With a lower lumber spine injury, there is a risk of developing cauda equina syndrome. I donít think you have nerve compression that is severe enough for this to happen, but I always like to make people who have a L4-5 or L5-S1 issue aware of it. Look it up and read about it just to educate yourself.

    I hope you can find a less physically demanding job. Once you have a compromised lower back situation, it does not usually return to ďnormal.Ē Given your family history and already showing signs of some degeneration, it would be wise to take steps to protect your spine as much as possible!

    That pins and needles feeling can be an early sign of a lower lumbar nerve compression.

     
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