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Ruptures VS Bulging Discs

Started by Sniffles on 11/13/2010 6:36am

I'll try to make a long story short. In 2006 I had a rupture @ L5-S1, with horrid sciatica all the way to my foot including buttocks, leg, bottom of right foot, and the worst pain behind my rt. ankle bone. I had a Neurosurgeon do my surgery and I thought I was good til about 1 yr. ago. My pain came back with a vengence! After many complaints to several Drs. I finally found one who listened and ordered an MRI with & without contrast. Results according to the Radiologist who read my films is I have another herniation at my initial surgical site with severe scar tissue, plus thickened ligamentum flavum, compressing my the nerve root, PLUS the 3 discs above it are also ruptured. I took films and report to my Neurosurgeon and he says the 3 above are not ruptured but are bulging?!?!?! I feel crushing pain ib my lower back almost like it is collapsing on me. My Neuro Dr. said I only need to have L5-S1 done... that the other 3 pose NO problem nor will they. I do not understand why the Radiologist reports they are ruptured but my Neuro Dr. says no! Anyone had similiar descrepencies?? Thanks and good luck to all of you.

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the surgeon is most likely more knowledgeable than the radiologist but to be sure why not get another opinion. the only sure way to check would be to get a discogram.

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Easier said then done at times, but insurance has denied me a second opinion. So far as a discogram both my Neuro & PM Drs. say it isnt indicated. I just dont understand the vast difference of the Radiologist report clearly states moderate to severe herniations in all 4 discs.... yet my Neuro says only L5-S1 is with tons of scar tissue from my initial surgery. IF L5-S1 and the 3 discs above it are in fact ruptured wouldnt a fusion be indicated??? Thanks

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Sniffles,
There are tests to determine which disc is actually the cause of your pain. They are discograms and can be "provoked" or "non-provoked" tests. I have to research this more. I spoke to a couple of the institutes about these. Provoked sounds painful as they provoke the pain in each of the discs and you are semi-awake so you can tell them. Non-provoked is different and sounds more civil but I am not sure how it is done. If you have several discs and they aren't sure which one/ones are causing your pain, ask about this. I have 2 bulging and one torn lumbar disc and think i'll be facing this situation soon. In my lumbar area however there is only one herniated disc T9-10 so I don't think they'll need to do that test there. Be of good courage! (I don't like to say "good luck" being i don't believe in luck). Let me know how you make out on this. If I find anything more I'll let you know.
Homenet

PS: I used to work at a Girl Scout camp in HS and "Sniffles" was my sister's camp name. Mine was Splash (worked on pool staff ha ha)

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I'm so sick to death of the difference os opinion with all these doctor's. I'm going thru the same thing, my neuro surgeon said my L5-S1 is herniated with nerve root compression, and my pain is real, not in my head and there is nothing that can be done, surgery is not an option for me. With the same MRI film, the same week; the pain management doctor tells me there is no nerve compression, it's just herniated and he can't understand why I'm in so much pain, plenty of people have this and live just fine with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Really? I'd like to give these doctor's and workmens comp nurses' my back for just 2 hours, not even a whole day, and see how they can function normally and "just live with it"..

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Had similar issues, MRI revealed 4 bulging + 1 torn (only did Lumbar MRI) with nerve root compression, radiologist rushed results to doc expecting immediate surgical remedy. Referred to Neurosurgeon who looked at films and responded "why are you here, there's nothing wrong"!!!!! He then referred me to pain doc for epidural injection, only to find out my back was still severely sprained from 2 yrs prior so they couldn't do the epidural either! And I might add xrays revealed moderate to severe OA in entire spine as well as all other body joints, and narrowing of spinal canal.

Thank God for that running around and frustration because while being treated one whole year to get the muscles and tendons to relax, I've realized these docs are total idiots and I refuse to go under the knife OR the needle! So pain doc has me on Tramadol and Zyflamend and I'll deal with the residual pain.

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