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    Back Pain
    Mfishken posted:
    I have been suffering from chronic lower back pain since an injury occured in 2006. Since then I would usually get one horrible attack a year that would render me immobile for several days. It would be the usual treatment of narcs and muscle relaxers. Since June of this year I have had four episodes of 10/10 pain all in a very small section of my lower left back with radiation down my left leg. A 2009 MRI showed a mild herniation of the disc between L4 and L5 and I thought this was rather surprising seeing as I was in agony. Recently I have been seeing an Orthopedic Surgeon, he performed an X-Ray which showed the spacing between L4 and L5 to be less than half of what it should be, this did not concern him. He suggested PT which was an epic failure in 2008. I am on prescription NSAIDS which seem to helping slightly but I still have horrible days where I can't even tie my own shoes. Is it normal to have this much pain with what seems to be a minor injury? The Doc has ordered another MRI and says he will just go the steroid injection route if I would prefer not to do PT. I have had over 15 kidney stones in my life and this pain is far worse than any of those. Im confused, this does not seem normal to me. Seeing as I am a Firefighter/Paramedic I am unable to return to work until this is solved. Does anyone have any thoughts on why the pain is so severe with what appears to be a mild herniation???
    davedsel57 responded:
    Hello and welcome.

    Spinal problems affect each of us uniquely. A minor injury may, in fact, can cause severe pain in some but only minor in others.

    There may be something more going on than your doctors initially thought, so hopefully the new MRI will bring more light on the subject. Surgery should always be your absolute last resort, so injections, physical therapy, chiropractic care, etc. should be tried first after an accurate diagnosis by a spine specialist. This spine specialist must be a spinal neurosurgeon or spinal orthopedic surgeon for getting the best care.

    Be sure to do your research. At the top of this WebMD Back Pain Community is a Tip that lists recommended steps for diagnosing and treating back pain. Within that tip is a post listing links to internet sites having excellent information regarding spinal problems Read through the Tip and the linked sites.

    I hope you can get answers, treatment and relief soon.
    Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.


    indytechguy responded:
    @Mfishken, I was experiencing abdominal and back pain late 2011 into early 2012 when finally I had a MRI of my abdomen and MRI of thoracic and lumbar spine in February 2012. The MRI of the abdomen was "unremarkable" however, the MRI of the spine showed that I have "mild to moderate" degenerative disc disease at L4-5 with small right "paracentral disc herniation". It also shows "mild" disc degeneration at L5-S1, T5-6, T6-7 and degenerative disc disease at T8-9 with "moderate" left sided disc herniation. My point? Like you I was a bit confused by the use of the words "mild" and "moderate" in my scan report. I was in serious pain up down and my back! I was expecting to see the words "severe" or something more urgent than mild or moderate.

    I tried the physical therapy route before getting an injection in my T8-9 area. I'm actually worse now after the injection! From my research I've seen that the MRI can't show you how much pain you can expect as each person is different. For example, from what I can understand, most people with degenerative disc disease have no pain, while others have lots of pain! The same holds true for disc herniation. It affects each of us differently. Also, it could be that over the years since 2008 your body has gone through the usual aging process and your spine, with the injury, has simply gotten worse. Hopefully the MRI you have schedule will shed some light.

    Good luck!
    It is not length of life, but depth of life. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
    betsey2u responded:
    Apparently all my discs are spaced evenly,.when I had a x-ray the doctor said it was beautiful,.and sent me to pt. I went for a month. Then After the mri,.there was a nice blip in the l5 area,.and my evenly spaced discs all showed signs of arthritis starting. I could hardly walk more than ?? half way through the grocery store without have pins and needles.
    I have to wonder about PT. a month of whimpy exercises,.and then after the ortho told me I should be happy there was nothing he could do for me,..I asked questions which were very vague in his response. He did say do the bike! and I said what if I just ignore all this and go crazy cleaning my house and whatnot? He just looked at me told me no bending twisting or lifting. PT told me if I feel pains to stop doing whatever. So thats when I started doing the treadmill because the walking hurt me the most. At that point I was angry. thinking no pain no gain. Maybe they should have told me to work through the pain instead of stopping? So far it has helped me alot. If I stop doing it?? what then? I have no idea. I am still not doing the bending lifting which I was warned about and I get that.

    The one thing I took away from PT was it is about building our core. I was also told the damage is done and they gave me info on what NOT to do. How not to sit, suck in your tummy etc. and funny since I have been doing the treadmill I am back sitting sideways like I like to lounge. HA Before I couldnt even do that. and maybe I shouldnt be!
    From what I read on the internet my blip in that area,.some people allready have and never feel a bit of pain,..they dont even know it is there. go figure.
    I wish you the best of luck on your mri.
    I wish people who solve thier back problems would come back on this site and let others know how they did it.
    You know one thing the ortho told me even though things looked hunky dory but having my arthritis and having an mri where you are laying down,..that still does not show what is happening when you are up and walking about! You have less then half the space in that one area?? it probably is clinking together and irritating nerves.

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