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thiskittybites posted:
Had an episode of excrutiating back pain 15 months ago with left leg weakness and numb heel and three toes,perianeal and high vaginal pain. After complaining for 3 months finally got an MRI that showed two annulear tears in L4/L5. Very little other information given to me, Urgent addmission to A & E after completely siezing up at the kitchen sink, and unable to move. Another MRI showed nothing new apart from the two tears, one a bit bigger than it was. Told by the Neuro surgeon to go to bed for 6 weeks and stay there, which I did, with little benefit, because I have sciatic pain in the left leg,sitting in bed was terrible.Two facet joint injections did not help, and the disc at L3 then ruptured a common effect of the injections ? has any one else had this problem ? Now I have been waiting 7 months for a discography /discogram and nerve root injection, has any one else had one of these ? How bad was it ? my best friend had one and nearly strangled the Radiologist doing it, it hurt so much.I am current taking Oxycontin,co-codamol,dosolupine, unable to take nsaids as had gastric bleed.I feel like my life is in limbo, I use to run, ride my bike and swim a mile every week and now can't do any of these things, I'm worried about the effect it's having on my marridge and so desperately want to get back to work, ironically I am a nurse. I became a Nana 6 months ago and want to help my daughter out by having my grand daughter when she goes back to work. What I need is light at the end of the tunnell, please don't tell me the lights been turned off !
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bj1208 responded:
hi and welcome to the support group -

yes I have had the discogram done - I've had it a total of , ugh 4 or 5 times (LOL! Lost count)

Yes they do hurt and let me explain why ~~~~

First - there are certain types of Pain Management Physicians that perform this so you may want to get a referral to one - normally Orthopedic Spine Specialist or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist can refer you to one and normally you need to have a "SCRIPT" (written request) to have one done.

Second - once you have found one and make an appointment they will have you come in for a first consult - then the actual appointment is made. you will need to have a driver -

Third - the day of the discogram it's normally required that you not take any pain meds for a certain amount of time - THEY WANT YOU TO BE IN PAIN FOR THIS PROCEDURE.

Forth - the day of procedure they do hook up an IV into your hand (as you will be laying on your stomach) this way they can inject small doses of pain meds as needed.

Fifth - You back is washed and prepped for the procedure - ALL DONE UNDER A FLORASCOPIC X-RAY MACHINE - a needle injects a numbing agent to numb the skin and a certain depth - then another needle type is inserted into your back - into the area of concern - this is a guided type needle - and inserted into it is another needle that contains a medicine that WILL HELP INDUCE PAIN IN THE AFFECTED DISC - If the disc does not show any changes on the read-out then there usually no damage to that disc. If there is pain it is noted and the read-out will show certain factors that the doctor knows how to read. This is the part the hurts like HELL!!

Once this is done, they normally will inject a pain med into the area to help calm it down. You will be required to lay flat on your back for a certain amount of time (anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour) - they check your blood pressure etc., and also want to make sure you have no side affects. The doctor comes and talks to you about the findings - whether there is damage or no damage and how severe it is or not -

So this is the process for a discogram. I would see if your spine doc can refer you to a pain management physician for the discogram. Even though they do hurt, the physician will be able to administer the pain meds afterwards.

what you can also do, is get more than one opinion on your back - I prefer seeing Orthopedic Spine Specialist - they tend to be more down to earth and are very detailed in letting you know what is wrong and what your options are.

I know this sounds bad, but it's really the only way for the to know exactly how bad the disc is damaged or not.

Hopefully this answers your questions - if not let me know - I've "BEEN THERE DONE THAT" as far as procedures being done -

take care - Joy
 
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Rafael Levin, MD, MSc responded:
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Don't be discouraged, there is always hope.

Based on the information you provided, you now have chronic disabling low back pain and also radiating pain to your legs. Your MRI demonstrated at least one level with annular tears, but possibly others. You have failed to improve despite reasonable conservative measures including injections.

First, in response to one of your concerns, it is very unlikely if not impossible that a facet injection caused you to have a disc rupture.

Second, in your situation, discography could potentially be a useful diagnostic tool to confirm that indeed your pain is the result of your annular tears either at one or even two levels. If discography proves that to be the case, you may be a reasonable candidate to consider surgical intervention (in the form of a fusion most likely) as a last resort based on quality of life considerations. Although there are no guarantees, success rates with one or two level fusions after a positive discogram can be as high as 80-85%. If, on the other hand, the discogram fails to demonstrate a focal disc or two as your pain generators, you would probably not be considered to be a good surgical candidate.

Consider proceeding with discography, and most importantly, stay positive.
 
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thiskittybites replied to Rafael Levin, MD, MSc's response:
If the discogram doesn't show obvious problems with the discs, what could it be ? If I'm not a good candidate for the fusion option, ( I'm trying to avoid surgery ) what could the alternatives be ? Trying to stay positive Lynne.


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