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Got back diagnosis but not to many answers!

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Old 03-19-2010, 06:45 AM   #1
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Bell605 HB User
Got back diagnosis but not to many answers!


I had an MRI last month that showed 1 bulge, 2 protrusions, & worst 1 extruded herniation. I have had a bad L4-L5 for about 10 years with degenerative disc disease. The bulge and protrusions aren't my main focus.

I threw my lower back out 3 times in 2009 (thats nothing new either, once I threw it out getting a container out of the cupboard), but the last time was in June. This time I think it was from cleaning the whole house by myself. It was 6 weeks before I could fully function on my own. It took 2 weeks to walk on my own and straighten my spine. It has not been the same since. I am used to back pain, but this seems different so I went to my doctor (even though I know theres not much they can do) and she ordered a the new MRI.

My MRI results said:

[B]"L4-5 shows evidence of a central to right central extruded herniation with effacement of the anterior thecal sac. There is evidence of some central canal stenosis secondary to this. No significant foraminal encroachment is however present"[/B]


Everything I've googled on this makes it seem like I should be worried about the thecal sac. My doctor didn't counsel me on my results, she just had her assistant give me a copy and told me to see a neuro surgeon. My insurance company said I had to go see a Physiatrist (physical therapist) before they would let me see surgeon, so I went yesterday. He basically made me feel stupid for 1. getting the MRI in the first place cause "they're useless", and 2. for being worried about the results cause they are basically wrong. Let me say, I do not want surgery, but he told me it was ok to resume light cardio and add weights to my work out routine. My question (finally) is: DOES ANYONE OUT THERE HAVE SIMILAR PROBLEMS OR KNOW WHAT MOVE I SHOULD DO NEXT? There are so many things that I already have to rely on my 2 older kids, my husband and even my 61 year old mom to help with cause my back hurts so much. My legs and feet have been going numb (even when I wake up in the morning), but apparently not enough for this doctor. I can't afford physical therapy appts and this doctor says my gym membership will work fine. I have 3 kids and don't want to become paralyzed or something cause some guy said "go do cardio and light weights".

Last edited by Bell605; 03-19-2010 at 06:47 AM.

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Old 03-19-2010, 10:46 PM   #2
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Re: Got back diagnosis but not to many answers!

I think you need to advocate to get yourself a consultation with an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon or Neurosurgeon. The Physiatrist, in the USA, is a physical medicine physician and not a Physical Therapist. I don't know if you are in the US, but if so call your primary care physician and ask for a referral to an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon or Neurosurgeon for a consult. Bring your MRI and the MRI summary with you along with any other tests you may have had done (i.e. x-ray)
Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08

Old 03-23-2010, 08:06 AM   #3
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Re: Got back diagnosis but not to many answers!

First, I'm really sorry for the pain you are feeling. Second, I can relate with your back pain. It is not the same diagnosis but it is still pain none the less. I have been to my fair share of doctors and if one made me feel "stupid", I would call my PCP and get another referral. How can MRI's be "useless"? It gives an internal picture of your spine! I think that doctor who told you that is USELESS!

When it comes to exercising, my doctor has told me to join the YMCA and take water aerobic classes. It is less stress on your back and the water is resistance. If you want even more resistance, you can grab a float thingie. they even have cardio water classes. Just a suggestion.

Good luck to you. Insurance companies are a pain as I had to jump thru their hoops too. If one made you feel "stupid", go to another dr within that same scope of practice to fulfill the insurance companies anal retentiveness and hoop jumping.

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disc herniation, effacement of thecal sac, low back pain, stenosis

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