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back and leg problems


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Old 04-28-2012, 05:54 AM   #1
maddymat
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Post back and leg problems

About 18 years ago I had a moderately large herniation at L5. Years of Chiropractic care made life very manageable without surgery. Recent agitation/injury to my back has caused severe spasms, radiating pain down my legs with burning, numbness, pain that radiates across hips, discomfort with laying, standing, or sitting too long. Before this injury, I had minor episodes depending on what I was doing and quick recovery. I have always been very active. Now everything I do is uncomfortable/painful. MRI shows L4-L5 mild diffuse disc bulge with early facet osteoarthritis, and L5-S1 diffuse disc bulge with early facet osteoarthritis as well as osseous overgrowth. Ortho doctor told me "It is just that you are getting old. You have degeneration and some osteo. Can I get some clarification on this? I don't want to cause further damage to my back.
Mattymat

 
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Old 04-28-2012, 12:03 PM   #2
teteri66
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Re: back and leg problems

Welcome to the board. I'm not sure what information you need clarifying. It sounds like your lower lumbar discs have facet joints at those levels have continued to degenerate from the time of the initial pain/injury. When you initially had the problems, the facets were not involved, but through the years additional wear and tear is causing early arthritic changes in those joints.

The facets are the synovial joints in the spine that allow us to bend forward, backward and to the sides and to twist...without going too far in any direction, so we might tip over. The downside of the synovial joints is that they can suffer from inflammation: cartilage can wear down, replaced by bone spurs and osteophytes; ligaments can thicken as they struggle to hold the joint in place and in an attempt to keep performing its primary function which is stabilization at that spinal segment. Unfortunately this "arthritic" changes can result in pain, and stenosis which can result in nerve compression.

The bulging discs may or may not be causing pain, and I guess the same could be said for the early facet arthritis. At this point, from what you have indicated about the report, it doesn't appear that you have any specific issue that might make surgery necessary, or even an option. But there are treatments that could make you more comfortable...things like a course of physical therapy, oral medications and/or epidural steroid injections into the troublesome areas.

You might want to find out if the facet arthritis is causing any instability. This could be one situation where your current issues could lead to further structural damage.

 
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:30 PM   #3
maddymat
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Re: back and leg problems

Thank you so much. Your response was very helpful.

 
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back injury, back lower spine, lumbar disk herniation



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