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back pain/ don't want surgery

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Old 02-08-2008, 03:13 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mandeville, LA. U.S.A.
Posts: 1
molove96 HB User
back pain/ don't want surgery

I am a 30 year mother of two. Starting about 3 mths. ago I have been having awful back pain. As time goes on it keeps getting worse. I had a CT scan done, and there were no kidney stones found. I went to the ER once b/c the pain was so bad and they found blood in my urine. I went to my Dr. a couple days later and no blood was found. My Dr. had an MRI ordered and this is the results: At the L5-S1 intervertebral disc space, there is a normal disc margin and thecal sac. There are no disc herniations or any spinal stenosis at the L5-S1 intervertebral disc space. No foraminal stenosis is noted.
Then it goes on: At the L4-5 intervertebral disc space, there is a mild diffuse, broad-based disc protrusion that slightly indents the venral aspect of the thecal sac. It extends into the neural foramina bilaterally causing a mild foraminal stenosis. No compression of the L4 neve roots in the neural foramina is seen bilaterally, however.

The L3-4, L2-3, and L1-2 intervertebral disc spaces are normal.

I've seen an orthropedic Dr. recently and he said that I most probably will need back surgery. That really frightens me b/c I have 2 children and I know I wouldn't be able to take care of them while I'm healing. He gave me some pain med. and told me I really need to limit my activities and follow up with him in a couple of wks. Are there any alternative answers to this condition. I'm really not sure how this could have happened b/c I haven't had any accidents are any falls to cause this. I also recently had a bad U.T.I. and when I wipped myself I saw alot of blood. I get U.T.I. often but this is the 1st time I saw blood. Are these two related. Please Help!!

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Old 02-08-2008, 03:48 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Posts: 2,381
Justoneofus HB User
Re: back pain/ don't want surgery

Hi there. Welcome to this board.

I doubt the UTI and your disc issues are related.

L4/L5 disc is the one that is the problem. The others seem unremarkable.

I think it was a huge leap for the doctor to say you will probably need surgery. It is so early in the game for you. That disc could possibly reaborb and heal itself. Whether it does or not.. is yet to be known. But you should try all conservative treatment before resorting to surgery, unless your body is put into an emergency state of needing the surgery. Loss of bowels, bladder, etc.

It's not easy being a parent with this issue. This does not require trauma to happen. It just happens to some of us, and most people get a disc bulging at some point in their life and never know it.

Try the conservative treatments given by the doc. If you aren't getting much better after seeing this guy a few times, I would seek out the counsel of a spine surgeon and not just a regular ortho for a second opinion. There is a huge difference in their skill and knowledge of the spine. Since you have diagnosed disc that is pressing on the foramin causing stenosis.. you need to be seen by a spine specialist for the best treatment.

Stay positive as you can. This is not a quick heal or fix unfortunately as you are learning. Hopefully you will respond well to early non-evasive treatment and wont need any surgery.

Hope this helps some.
"believe in the beauty of your dreams"- E. Roosevelt

L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
Solidly Fused Nov-2006
A Success, but still improving!

Old 02-08-2008, 04:28 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Toms River NJ USA
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apocalypto22 HB User
Re: back pain/ don't want surgery

I can relate here,I need surgery but do not really want it,pain is under control at present time,but since work related workers comp will not allow further treatment even though their independent doc says i need pain management.Is a ortho better than a neuro?

Old 02-08-2008, 06:31 PM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: san diego ca
Posts: 461
backslide05 HB User
Re: back pain/ don't want surgery

i just want to say, I wish my MRI looked as good as yours does! You don't want to be thinking about surgery at this point. Back surgery is serious business and usually after all other conservative treatment for many years usually has failed to bring relief.
Maybe you should see a urologist or kidney specialist to rule out anything caused by the urinary bleeding?
I don't think the two are related but of course I'm not a doctor.
I've had protruding disks and they are painful but they very often heal on their own in time. I would play a wait and see game with the back and check out the other for stones or infection...just my two cents.

Old 02-08-2008, 06:44 PM   #5
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: usa
Posts: 836
mznell HB User
Re: back pain/ don't want surgery

You have opened a subject that is often hotly debated when you ask if an ortho is better than a neuro. The good news is that the specialized training they go through in a fellowship in spinal surgery is almost identical. Of course if the problem is specifically with the nerves, you would want to consult with a neurologist. Otherwise things are so closely intertwined that I feel it is more a question of which doc you get along with best. In my case the neuros I saw recommended a bigger surgery than did the orthos. (I saw 8 docs before finally deciding on the one!!)

I too would recommend finding a doc with fellowship training in the spine, making an appointment and getting a second opinion. You don't want to even consider surgery until you have tried everything else.

People often get in a hurry when they hurt their backs. You must be patient because your back will often "fix" itself if you provide it with the proper amount of rest, exercise and proper care. But this takes a good deal of patience as it can take 6 months for a ruptured disc to heal itself. Surgery may sound like an easy fix, but trust me, it's not. It is not like having appendicitis, going to the doctor, going into the hospital for an appendectomy and after a short recovery, going on with life just as though nothing had happened. Maybe some back surgery was this easy, but I don't personally know of any.

You must always remember that back surgery is done for pain relief. It will not restore you to the way you were previously.

Please let us know what you end up doing!!

Old 02-08-2008, 07:59 PM   #6
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 282
scrappinmaniac HB User
Re: back pain/ don't want surgery

[FONT="Arial Narrow"][SIZE="3"]Hello Molove - Welcome to the board . I think your MRI results are great!

If your MRI only shows you have a bulging disc at L4-L5 that is not compressing your nerve, I think you will be able to avoid surgery...I'm not a doctor so I can't say for sure, but I think the odds are in your favor. Typically, when a disc is bulging or herniated most doctors recommend you first try pain meds and physical therapy....if that doesn't work they recommend you try epidural steroid injections and only as a last resort do they recommend, please use caution if your ortho doctor is recommending surgery so soon...I think he may be jumping the may want to contact your GP about setting up some physical therapy sessions...if physical therapy doesn't help, your GP will probably refer you to a pain mgmt doctor who can try some steroid injections.

Good luck to you. Please keep us updated on your progress.

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