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Electrical shooting pain in back w/L 5 annular tear?

Started by JJS on 04/27/2011 11:54pm

Hi,

I was just diagnosed with a L5 annular tear after having back spasms for 8 months. The worst pain I have felt with this injury is electrocul shooting pains on the left side of my back. I felt like I was being electrocuted every couple of minutes. The doctor said it was because the spinal fluid is acidic and is leaking to my other sensitive nerves. Has anyone experienced this? And is that what your physician has told you? The doctor also suggested doing a epidural injection in the spine. Any success with annular tears? He said it's never going to heal. So will I have fluid spill out indefinetly?

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Hi JJS,
Yes,i have(or i should say had) the exact same thing,however they took that nasty,painful ,leaking disk out of my back a month ago and fused me.I am so glad i did it,shooting pain and electric shocks like you described are gone.I did try everything including the epidurals and nothing worked.Your doc is right,the injured disk is leaking painful fluid and irritating the nerves,like i said mine was only getting worse over the past year.Best wishes,i hope you find a solution.
Blessings,
Nurse Nancy

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Thank you for getting back to me. I don't understand how the epidurals will help repair the leak. From my understanding, the epidural will help with inflammation and pain, but will it do anything for the actual leak? Will fluid just keep leaking until something is done such as a fusion? How long did you wait before you did surgery? Will 2 months be enough to heal? I'm on disability through my work and after 2 months my job is no longer protected. I was thinking of filing a workers comp claim because I'm scared 2 months won't be sufficient. I broke my Left sesamoid bone 9 months ago and returned back to work to early because of pressure from work. Then I got chronic sesamoiditis in right foot from limping. My company gave me 2 months but pressured me again to go back to work. I was using a walker for the past 2 weeks because I have 2 painful feet. As a result, now a tear.. I've suffered from back spasms for 8 months but the past 2 wks I started getting electrical shocks. How did you tear your disk?

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Hi JJS,
I was slammed off a defective chair at my work station in June 2009 and fell in a fetal position on an outstretched arm,ended up injuring my left shoulder,herniated and tore the L5-S1 disk and herniated two disks in my neck.You are right ,the epidural helps with any inflammation in the area but as far as the disk goes you would probably need a discogram to determine if that is the pain generator for sure.In my case a fusion was the only way ,disk was too far gone.They say with a anular disk tear you should wait 18 months before pursuing surgery,i was at 21 months.Pain and weakness in my leg was getting worse.Go on internet and google Disk disruption syndrome,you will find out a lot about tears and what works and does not work.In my case epidural,radio-frequency procedure did nothing.
What kind of work do you do?I know in my case i can not go back to doing what i did as a floor nurse,probably never!I have to take many rest breaks during the day and i can not lift more than 5 to 10 pounds without being in bad pain,especially my neck.I will do surgery in my neck after i recover from back surgery.Please hang in there and if it is work comp related get yourself a good attorney and don't give up.I have had to really lean on my faith in GOD during this difficult time.Let me know how everything goes.
Blessings,
Nurse Nancy

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JJS,
I'm not trying to disagree with others, but discs don't contain spinal fluid and a disc tear usually causes the inside material to press against the spinal cord which contains the spinal fluid. Depending on how you bend or move, the disc material can squeeze out and press on the cord and compress a nerve and give you this shooting pain.

The ph of spinal fluid is about 7.2 which is considered neutral, anything below 6.0 is considered acidic, so I'm really confused by your doctors explaination. Disc ruptures and tears do heal by themselves, but never back to 100%

Most injections contain a mild anesthetic which should provide some immediate relief and anti-inflammitories to reduce swelling and reduce pressure on the nerve, and sometimes steroids are added to promote rapid healing. My relief is 4-6 weeks per injection, but results vary.

I have multiple problems with almost all parts of my back from C1 to L5 so surgery is not an option for me.

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Thanks for getting back to me, both Nancy and Phil. Nancy, thx for the comforting news...after all my issues with my feet and now my back, I feel like I have some hope. It's just so fustrating. I was once a healthy, athletic 30 year old and now I feel like a granny. Ill let you know how my epidural goes. I'm scheduled for this Friday.

Phil, when you said your epidural relieved pain and imflammation...were you able to resume all activities? I'm trying to figure out if 1-2 month disability will be sufficient or if I should pursue a workers comp case. Even if I am pain free, it doesn't mean Im not at risk of tearing it further right?I do a lot of walking and have to carry stuff (about 7-10 lbs). When you say it heals, how long does it take?

Thanks!

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JJ,
I'm one of the lucky ones that get immediate relief. I notice it right after the injection when I bend down to tie my shoes, keep in mind that I don't get the local injection (some call it twilight) because I want to get the heck out of there and have to drive home.

The relief is only temporary, some people don't even notice any reduction in pain. For me it gets progressivley worse starting after 2 weeks, starts with tightness and then gets to a point where my butt hurts, and then I go back for another injection. The really major pain shooting down my leg and numbness in my thigh never came back.

Injections are only a temporary measure and really don't fix anything except for the possibility of letting your back heal naturally. Any tear or herniation can be made worse by abuse, heavy lifting, etc..

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Hello,
'
I am new to this community. I have been diagnosed with annular tears at the L4/L5 and L5/S1 levels. Like many of you I have been in life changing unrelenting completely disabling pain for about three months. I've been to several PM drs, neurosurgeons and endoscopic spinal surgeon, etc. I've had two epidural steroid injections which did nothing. I then had a discogram with CT scan that revealed the annular tear that were "leaking like a sieve." I had a procedure called a (please excuse my spelling) Percutaneous Laser Disk Decompression done about 1 week ago with no relief. For those who are further along in this horrible process, what are the options? Do annular tears ever heal on their own? Is there life after an annular tear? This has devastated me and changed my life completely. Will I ever be able to do a load of wash, clean my home, take care and ride my beloved horses again? Is anyone in this community on the other side of an annular tear? For example, has anyone had to have a fusion done due to an annular tear and how has it turned out? What about the psychological affects of being in this horrible pain for so long... Thanks for sharing.

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I was diagnosed with an anular tear l5/s1. My dr prescribed physical therapy. I am an hvac-r tech on a large agriculture school. A large working farm. Hvac is my title but i do a lot of other stuff besides hvac. I weld i dig a lot to repair or install water or electric and gas lines. A lot of heavy physical work. Im 55 years old and beat up my body pretty good. Played football as a kid through high school and basket ball into my 40's. Always physical jobs. Any way i dont think therapy can help much and not sure how im gonna work like i have to without something else. Shot or something. I put myself on light duty and we dont have much. I need vicoden to make it through the day at work. It was like pulling his teeth to get vicoden and a couple days off. Dr note. I had to ask too. Do drs understand real life. Hard work and pain. Do i need a new primary care physision or what? Anybody?

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Please stop working! I worked 2 months longer than I should have and now am living with a complete tear which lets the disc nucleus gel get out onto the nerves. This is Hell!!! It took a year to get diagnosed correctly and now it's been a total of 2 years since this all started. The psychological toll after 2 years of pain so intense that morphine is the only thing that works, is devastating. I had a failed back surgery at the same level L5-S1 twenty-five years ago and that's when my back problems really started. Probably I had tears in the disc and a discectomy opened them right up? I am not a fan of spine surgery, but I don't see any alternative. Annular tears can sometimes heal on their own, but you have to stop your life completely for months or years and there is no guarantee. I learned the hard way to listen to your body. Believe it or not, you could get even worse if you keep up with your job duties. I have been basically bed-ridden for 18 months and still no surgery scheduled.

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I was involved in a traffic accident in Jan 2014, left with headaches and jaw pain every day since. Went through all the testing, and finally 2 months ago found the cause - tears in C4 &C5, also those disks have slipped, and bulging. I didn't have the shooting pain down by neck or arms or back, the fluid from the tear is burning the nerve tissue in my head, into the jaw, and last week into my eye. Pain blocks and injections didn't help, the injections actually made it worse. Since my insurance company felt the discogram was a "experimental procedure", I paid for it on my own, and finally found the cause. Now dealing with the insurance company to approve the anterial cervical discectomy with fusion surgery, the results of the discogram are not accepted as supporting documentation. I have been dealing with horrific headaches every day, since my systems weren't atypical, it has been a long process. Regardless, most surgeons and insurance companies will not approve surgery until 18 months have passed, some cases improving. But as one poster mentioned, if you have a gusher, it isn't going to heal itself, the fluid is that acidic.

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I am a Lieutenant in the Kentucky prison system I was hurt restraining an inmate and was also diagnosed with with a tear at l5 s1. So far I have been off on worker comp, which cut me off after 5 months and said go back to work, it was a back strain. I took my Mir to a surgeon in Louisville who did diagnose the tear. I have had the shocking pain like you all leg numbness and testicular pain every day since he incident.

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Se Ba,
Sounds like you need a worker's comp lawyer to protect yourself. They work on contingency and make sure you get the time off you need to heal.

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