I was seeing a Phsiatrist, a nice guy. He was the first doctor to review my MRI films with me. He showed me all the places where my discs were buldging or herniated (3 herniations). He then explained what we could "try". Try means shots of corticosteriods and drugs. He didn't really do much of an examination on me. I am now to the point that I don't even want to show my MRI's to a physcian, because they look at them then draw conclusions. They don't even do their own examinations. Interesting article I read (online of course) about a study which performed autopsy procedures on the L5 disc in otherwise (albiet deceased) patients. I have no idea what the people died from as it was not mentioned. The results were pretty eye opening. The 18-34 year olds had no degeneration of the L5. The 35 to 45 had up to 75% degeneration (I don't know if that is the numbers who had it or how badly degenerated I assume the former) and the 46+ group ALL had some degeneration. Thus 46+ year olds can count on degeneration. If you read extensively about the way discs work (I have) you find that they have almost no source of nutriton after age 25-26, and with no blood flow and sealed bony endplates they can not easily get the nutrition they need to heal. They have to rely on the movement of spinal fluid to get nutrition. This is why they always tell you to keep moving through and injury and why bedrest may not be the best thing. Anyways the point is that just because it shows on an MRI does not mean it's causing pain. Obviously it does if it's impinging on the nerve canal or the nerves exiting the formina. I read that 80% of us will have some kind of spinal problem in our lives. With such staggering numbers you would think someone somewhere would figure out ways to help. Doesn't seem to be a problem easily remedied. Back to my Physiatrist (pain doctor) experience. He gives shots, so we tried the Cortico-steroids. NO luck for me. Next we tried Facet Joint Blocks, again no luck. I kept telling him I don't have much pain, mostly nausea and dizziness, and like the Nuerologists' and Nuero Surgeon before him he had no idea why. So the PAIN DOCTORS do a lot of guesswork and just try to see if what they are doing might help. The scarey part I learned afterwards is the Cortico Steriod injects actually make the ligaments and tendons weaker over time. So they may stop your pain for a while but they are actually making the problem worse! So it's a catch 22, and I'm no fan of pain, if I were in really bad pain I would get the shots, then I would try to figure out the cause of my problem and work on it while I was experiencing relief. I did 10 weeks of physical therapy, no help for my problem, but my back got stronger. Unfortunately I also took Clonazepam for 6 months - prescribed by my pain doctor - horrible side effects, always sedated, stuttering, very weak and fatiqued, etc. Coming off of the stuff was BRUTAL. I am 5 weeks off it completely and still stutter and still get occasional withdrawal symptoms like night sweats. It helped me sleep at first then made me much worse. I hear my Physatrist ordering Meds for patients all the time. Basically Lortab. MD's know how to do 2 things, CUT and DRUG. Seldom do they look outside their speciality. When I finally asked my physcian what I should try next he had no answer. So I jumped back on line and began reading. There are many treatments: Scenar, TENS, Chiro, Accupuncture, Rolfing, Deep Tissue Massage, some of which may bring relief. You can not know until you try. There is also a therapy called Prolotherapy which most MD's will poo poo away with the "It's never been proven" and most Insurance companies will not pay for because there are so few studies. But if you put your life in the hands of the insurance companies and the MD's you may NEVER recover. What is interesting about Prolotherapy (And no I have not had it, as I went into a physician to get it and he examined me and didn't think I was a good candidate for it) is that it's endorsed by MD's who have themselves been injured and found no treatment within the bounds of allopathic medicene. C Everett Koop is the most quoted, but if you do your search you will find many Professional Athletes are using it. It's funny how you become a believer when something works. And it's frustrating when there are things that work and should be tried that your physician is so arrogant that they will not even discuss with you. One final thought. On my last appointment to the Physatrist I walked up to the counter and at the same time another girl walked to the counter. We had appointments with the same doctor at the same time. 11:30 am. The Doctor had double booked us! Intentionally I belive. As they were follow up appointments, he heards his patients like cattle, dumps them in a room then bounces from room to room. Lucky to get 10 minutes with him, and usually interrupted. So I asked him what was left to do and his opinon of prolotherapy. He poo poo'd it away and said I would try "trigger point injections". Funny I have almost no muscle pain. And Trigger Point injections are the only thing left that he does and we have not tried. Out of sight, out of mind. You go to med school to make your millions. Along the way some doctors may actually care enough to want to help you, but most are wearing blinders and only know how to work within the scope of what they do. Don't get talked into expensive injections you don't understand. And research steriods before you jump on that bandwagon. Too bad there really isn't a solution for back problems that doesn't require you to be the guinnea pig for trial and error approaches.