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ttugrl03 04-05-2011 11:43 PM

In need of some advice??
I do not really know how to start this off or anything so I guess I will start with the questions I have. I am wondering what exactly does a pain management doctor do and what types of questions should I ask? I have a bulging disc in my back, I do not understand exactly how to read the CT scan or anything but it says its the L-5,S-1?? I am not sure if that is right?? It also says something about spinal stenosis and also degenerative disc disease. The issues with my back started 2 years ago when I had my daughter. My hips shifted, and never corrected so now one is slightly higher than the other which caused a sciatic nerve to be compressed in my back. I do not know if this meant I had a bulging disc all along or did I developed the bulging disc later. I used to be able to manage the pain with Naproxen. Well now things are so bad I can no longer stand for long periods of time, walk for long periods of time, I cant go to the bathroom correctly, those are just a few of the problems among many, I have to take 1-2 5mg Lortabs every 4-6 hours. The doctor I went to was nice enough to give me enough to last until my appointment. I feel as if someone is taking my spine and twisiting it and I feel as if someone is taking a hammer and nail to my left hip (but that is weird because the doctor says I should feel it more on my right but I do not). It took my forever to find a doctor who would listen to me because my PCP who was treating my sciatica moved. Every doctor would tell me I just pulled a muscle that was why the pain was worse. Finally though I found a doctor that did a CT scan and found the bulging disc. He is truly amazing and he reffered me to a pain management doctor. He also told me they can not do surgery because of the nerve it sits on in my spine. I am worried that I will have this pain for the rest of my life which worries me because I am only 24 years old and also because of my age I feel some doctors do not take me seriously. I have lost hope though because two doctors have told me there is nothing really they can do but treat the pain. I do not want to be dependent on meds or back injections to gain relief from this pain all of my life. Will the pain management doctor explain other options?? Will I have this pain forever?? Most of all what I want out of all of this is some answers. I just want to know if there are any alternatives besides meds and injections. Will the disc ever correct itself?? I am just so confused?? Sorry this was so long, if any of you have any advice it would be greatly apprecitated. Thanks.

maltluver 04-06-2011 10:20 AM

Re: In need of some advice??
Hi tutugirl, and welcome to the board. I think it is time for you to consult with a spine specialist. That would be either a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon with fellowship training and who limit their practice to the back and neck only. They are really the only doctors who truly understand the workings of the spine and are best suited to read test results such as MRI, ct scan, etc. Many times they will see something that has been missed.

A spine specialist will know whether further imaging is necessary and what kind of treatment would be best for you. If surgical intervention is recommended, then be sure to get a second opinion from another specialist who is not in the same office.

I think you would benefit from posting on the back pain message board as there are folks there with many varied experiences concerning the spine and might be able to offer more suggestions.

Please do keep posting and let us know how you are doing.


ttugrl03 04-06-2011 03:58 PM

Re: In need of some advice??
Thanks for your advice. I went to the pain management doctor and he told me some startling news. He said the bulging disc in my back is not significant enough to cause the pain that I am having. He says he feel I may have osteoarthritis because of the pain in my hips and he says that it can cause spinal stenosis. He also said that it could be torn tissue in my spine. He ordered an MRI because he said it will show better. I really just want a definite answer. I thought that I had one but now know that is not the case anymore. I know I am in real pain, I just do not know the cause and that is so frustrating. Then I am scared because I am thinking osteoarthritis?? I am 24 years old is that even possible?? Another thing that scares me is what if they find nothing and I will never know why I am having this pain. I know I am not imagining it. Hell the doctor just moved my legs around in weird postions to what caused me pain and what didnt. Although it didnt seem to cause that much pain intially now I can not even walk. I do not know what he did but the pain is outrageous. It hurts to sit or stand. Hopefully tomorrow I will get the answers I seek with the MRI. I am damned either way though cause if it is one of those two things that poses more questions and pain for my life. If it comes back that there is nothing then I am going to be left wondering why I am in pain? I will accept any I just really want an answer.

maltluver 04-07-2011 02:44 PM

Re: In need of some advice??
Much as I respect most pain managment doctors, I dont think they are the right one to diagnose spinal issues. They are not trained to do so, and most of them will refer you to see a spine specialist if they think you have that kind of problem.

It's fine that he ordered an MRI....again, however, pm's aren't top notch at interpreting MRI films unless there is something fairly obvious. My pm has ordered MRI's but always refers me to my spine specialist if he sees something amiss.

If I were you, I would take the ct and MRI results to a specialist and see what they think. If you have spinal stenosis, you will need the care of an expert. Stenosis means narrowing, and spinal stenosis can cause lots of problems and pain.

Please let us know the results of your MRI and what the pm recommends for you. I'm interested and concerned.


Johnxx34 04-10-2011 03:55 PM

Re: In need of some advice??
I have been in 24/7 pain for over 18 years, life goes on. your doctor is correct (of course) everyone has some bulging disks. They are only a problem if they hit some nerves or (like my case),if the disk is high enough, they can break and hit the spinal cord.
The spinal cord ends around the middle of L-2 (1ts about a foot above your junction L-5/S-1).

good luck and God bless,


ttugrl03 04-13-2011 02:39 PM

Re: In need of some advice??
Well I got the results of the MRI and he said that it is worse than he thought. The disc has a tear in it and he also said something about fluid leaking. I dont know I am going tomorrow and I will ask him to better explain what is going on or to give me a copy of the finding or the MRI or something. He said that he is going to try the epidural shot in my back and if I that doesnt help with the pain then surgery is the next step. But I have talked to many of my friends who have had back surgery and they all say not to do it that the surgery will make it worse. But then I was talking to my dad and he said that it would be better to do it now (if I even have to take it to that step) than to wait until I am older. I am just glad that finally after 2 years someone could give me a definite answer and also to know that I am not crazy and the pain isnt all in my head!! I think doctors never took me that seriously because Im 24 years old I have only been to 1 so far who actually tried to help me and now this pain doctor who has also been wonderful but was skeptical of me also but now he knows so I am thankful to God for that! Thanks everyone for yall's advice!

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