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Back Pain from Car accident. PLEASE HELP!
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Anon_155671 posted:
I got into a car accident back on 8/26/10.
I was sitting at the front of traffic at a stop light and the lady behind me thought the light turned green, when it was actually the change lane signal on both sides of traffic. In getting out of the car I fell on my left arm and twisted around to stand up.

Ever since then I have had lower back pain that radiates into my right leg.
and problems with my left shoulder. I have been to over a dozen doctors since the accident.

The next day following the accident, I visited my local ER. The x-rayed my neck, and prescribed me muscle relaxers and ibuprofen. They told me I was just sore from the impact and should be fine by Monday, if not I should follow up with an ortho-surgeon, or my family doctor. (my accident happened on a thurs, fri was the ER visit.)

Monday when I woke up, I was in 10x more pain and my lower back hurt worse then before. I visited my family doctor, where they told me that they just thought I strained my back, and that I should be okay by the following week. They told me if I wasn't to call me back, and they'd x-ray my lower back.

I was still in pain by then, so I called and the x-rayed my entire spine. They said their findings were normal. But I still persisted as my pain got worse. I was then sent for MRI's of my upper spine (for my shoulder). I was later sent for an MRI of the lower spine, which found slight bulging in my L4 and L5 region, but was told that it was nothing serious.

I was then referred to a neurologist, followed by a pain management group. Then my family doctor told me that they would no longer coordinate my care, and that I would have to follow-up with the pain management facility if I wanted help for my ailments. So I did.

I then started to have persistent back spasms in my lower spine that would cause sharp pains to radiate down my right buttock, into my right leg, down the side of my calve muscle and then into my last three toes.

I decided to look for another doctor, and then remembered the referral by the ER doctor for the ortho-surgeon. He looked into my case and told me he saw nothing serious on my MRI's except the "slight bulging" in the L4 L5 region of my spine.

He said it wasn't bulged enough to cause the pain I spoke about. He told me I probably damaged soft tissue in my lower back, and muscles, and that the damage caused swelling. He said the swelling caused my muscles, and the soft tissue to press on nerves, thus the reason of the pain in my back.

I went back to him 3 weeks later in Jan., because the pain increased into my leg. He ordered another MRI, and still told me the same response as before.

I would like to know if there is something more that is going on with my lower back or if he is right? They have me on muscle relaxers and and Lyrica. Which gives me slight relief, but I still have the spasms and nerve pain down my leg.

Could the slight bulging be causing issue? Or is it just "tissue and muscle damage?" And if that is what the problem is, what other diagnoses could be made? What type of doctor should I seek out next?

I have in my possession the films from the MRI's, and could get the full reports if need be. But what else can I do in this matter? I need some type of relief!!!
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Ari Ben-Yishay, MD responded:
your pain could be from the L4-5 disc if it it persists for so long. I would see another Ortho spine doctor for an evaluation and inquire about "DISCOGENIC PAIN". He will understand this and advise you if/how this should be investigated.
Good luck,
Dr. Ben-YIshay