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  • Out of options? Herniated discs.

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    Old 05-01-2014, 08:46 PM   #1
    KittyMN
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    Unhappy Out of options? Herniated discs.

    For the last 5 years I have had extremely bad low back pain. For 3 of those years I was told by numerous doctors that I just needed to stretch more. Finally They did an MRI and noted a herniated L4 -L5 and a herniated L5-S1 along with some spinal stenosis and slight scoliosis. It has seemed that my pain is not taken seriously, and they always say " you are too young for back problems". I was not in any kind of accident / trauma. It has just hurt a lot for a long time. The pain goes from my low back down to my knees. I've been on meds for a few years now to manage it but I usually do not feel much relief from the Norco and Tizanadine. I've done PT, MedX (more intense PT), medication, and 2 spinal steroid injections which provided minimal short term relief. I am a single mother and can barely pick up my son when needed, some days I can't lift anything. I had a surgical consult but they said 1. I'm too young for them to seriously consider surgery and 2. they wont even really talk about that as an option until the pain is constantly down to my feet. This week has been absolutely horrible as far as the pain goes and I made yet another appointment with my doctor (pain specialist) for Monday, but I don't know what to say that I haven't already said. I don't want to just keep getting refills on medication that I don't feel are working for me. I can't keep living like this. Am I out of options? Is there really nothing I can do to get this problem fixed?

    Last edited by KittyMN; 05-02-2014 at 11:03 AM.

     
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    Old 05-01-2014, 09:16 PM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: Out of options? Herniated discs.

    Welcome to the board. Have you consulted with a spine specialist? This could be either a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon whose practice is limited to the neck and back. If not, that would be my first suggestion. One can waste a lot of time by staying with a PCP, internist or sometimes even a pain management doctor as they do not have the level of training and experience in the mechanics and diseases of the spine, and can overlook the less obvious or common spine issues.

    Minneapolis has a number of good spine clinics. You may need to go through several spine surgeons before you find someone who can help you. There may be options other than surgery. It is hard to say not knowing what your issues are and what else might be involved.

    I do not know why some doctors tell people they are too young to have back problems. While it is not common, there is a certain percentage of the population that develops back problems in their teens and twenties...and all the literature tells us that the human spine begins it's aging process in our twenties.

    Have you had a flexion/extension x-Ray to check for spondylolisthesis? This is a condition where one vertebra slides over the top of the adjoining vertebra. It can result in some instability, and nerve compression, and frequently occurs at the L5-S1 level. You might ask the pain management doctor about the possibility. Did you do any activities like diving, gymnastics, cheering, when you were younger?

     
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    Old 05-02-2014, 02:33 AM   #3
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    Re: Out of options? Herniated discs.

    I've had lower back problems since I was 17, I'm now 46 and have only just had the MRI I so desperately needed, and have a herniated disc L5/S1 and osteophytes/disc degeneration on most of the rest of my spine. It's ridiculous that we're not taken seriously when we're younger.
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    Old 05-02-2014, 01:05 PM   #4
    heatherfromcali
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    Re: Out of options? Herniated discs.

    Hi there, I just wanted to say hi & to your title ~ out of options ~ you are not. I know that chronic back problems are difficult to deal with, they affect your daily life so much & having any kind of 'invisible' pain or illness is always a challenge because when others look at you including & especially Doctors, they don't always take our condition seriously & or they don't know what to do. Since, as if in your case there is no 'cause' or 'trauma' behind your pain, it's difficult to treat because surgical treatment is very expensive & the average person cannot afford it. I'm looking at having disc replacement surgery for my 2 ruptured discs & I was quoted 150k + for this kind of surgery. Fortunately for me (really looking on the bright side here) I was in an auto accident that caused my injury & the auto insurance carrier is liable for paying for it. There is no way I could afford it otherwise or since my Personal Health Insurance would not begin to cover that. Even WITH having the option of that kind of surgery, there are no guarantees, it is a gamble whether or not it will even help or heal me of my pain, or that I won't have ongoing need for more surgeries, complications, etc...Keep in mind that they are making strides every day & since you are still young, having surgery in the future remains an option. Never give up hope, hang in there...

     
    Old 05-02-2014, 02:43 PM   #5
    KittyMN
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    Re: Out of options? Herniated discs.

    I am 24 now, my son was born when I was 20 and that's when the pain started to become unbearable and the doctor appointments started. Although I was a reckless teen, I was not in any sports aside from snowboarding in the winter (with no major accidents). I had a surgical consult about a year ago and they said a microdiscectomy would most likely take care of my pain, especially in my legs... but right after that they say I'm too young. Its just frustrating because they finally know what the problem is, they know what is causing the pain, and possibly how to fix it... but wont. I've done everything they have told me to do. All the pt, all the home stretches, taken all the medication... I'm tired... I am graduating college at the end of the month and not totally sure I could even handle a job right now when I'm in this much pain everyday. It is becoming so depressing. Thank you all for the replies though! It emotionally helps to know others can relate and know that its not all in my head (which is something else many doctors have tried to tell me).

     
    Old 05-02-2014, 06:39 PM   #6
    heatherfromcali
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    Re: Out of options? Herniated discs.

    I used to live in Minnesota, look on the bright side, you survived winter If you have access to a pool, I've found that swimming & exercises in a pool or hot tub are really helpful & it's great to be able to do non-weight bearing exercises, you can still get flared up, but it's not as bad. I would suggest asking your doctor for a prescription to aqua-therapy, I found it really helpful myself, although when I said I was still in just as much pain, they didn't want to keep paying for it. Good luck, enjoy your summer as much as possible!

     
    Old 05-02-2014, 06:47 PM   #7
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    Re: Out of options? Herniated discs.

    Is the worst of your pain in the lower lumbar area or the leg?

     
    Old 05-02-2014, 07:32 PM   #8
    teteri66
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    Re: Out of options? Herniated discs.

    Is the worst of your pain in the lower lumbar area or the leg?

     
    Old 05-03-2014, 03:41 PM   #9
    Samfire
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    Re: Out of options? Herniated discs.

    Hi there.

    I am relatively new to the boards here. I am 40 yrs old and was diagnosed with Scheuermanns Kyphosis when I was in my mid-teens (nothing done about it though - not even a back brace, just a "have a nice day, bye now". I also have a slight scoliosis. In 2011 I had excruciating pain like migraine accompanied by neuralgia symptoms that left me totally debilitated and I could not even bear to touch my scalp. Eventually, after a year or pain meds and injections, I got nerve blocks into the facet joint on the right near the greater occipital nerve following an MRI that showed Degenerative Disc Disease at C2/C3 (I think!) and a diagnosis of Occipital Neuralgia.

    Now, I'm dealing with the lumbar issues - funny how they fix one problem high up, and another problem appears somewhere else along the spine. I'm experiencing all the same pain issues you're having and my numbness, pain and tingling in my legs are radiating down past my thighs now and into my lower extremities - it's worse on the right side where the bulging discs are (at L4/L5 and L5/S1) - had an MRI recently and the report diagnosed this along with Degenerative Disc Disease, although they cannot confirm the above is causing my pain, despite the agony I am in. My leg, hip and lower back ache like hell and the parasthesia and cold flushes, not to mention the dead leg syndrome, are a living nightmare. I feel about 80 years of age instead of 40, and I'm also being told that the answer to all my prayers is to engage in a Physical Therapy programme to strengthen the muscles supporting my spine and my core in general. I'm not looking forward to it, because every time I move rigorously I end up crippled

    The fact that I have very tight hamstrings which is common with Scheuermanns Disease, is going to make things 10 times harder for me, and my back aches all the time when I do physical activities, to the point where I can't function and have to sit down - I'm not a lazy person by the way - I was using my treadmill until I had to stop because of the pain. There is little known about Scheuermanns Kyphosis - it's not generally reported by medics to cause pain, but any sufferer you talk to will tell you otherwise - It's absolute hell!!

    It's strange - I did gymnastics and horse riding when I was young and was fit for a long time, now I'm just stiff and crippled and in constant pain. I hope there are some better answers out there for us. My MRI report played down my problems as if it was nothing - they couldn't even categorically confirm evidence of any nerves being pinched, but by God, I beg to differ!

    Sorry for the essay - I do tend to get carried away, but I just wanted to tell my story and for others to know they are not alone in this. My Pain Management Specialist is trying to baulk from continued injections and is pushing the referral for PT, as is my Doctor. I'm dreading it to be honest! Anyway, take care and God Bless. Thanks for posting.
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    IBS, Scheuermanns Kyphosis, Occipital Neuralgia, DDD, Anxiety Depression; Hypertension: Fibromyalgia

    Meds: Omesar 20mg; Atecor 50mg; Epilim Chrono 800mg; Seroquel 325mg; Zolpidem 10mg

     
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