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Started by SPHYNX-MOM on 03/03/2010 6:25am

I was just recently diagnosed with Osteoporosis of the back. In 2002 I had a fusion operation L5-S1 for Spondyloisthesis in addition to Scoliosis. I just saw a Pain Management Dr. who recommended epidural shots and after looking at my latest MRI feels I may also have spinal stenosis (based on my constantly experiencing severe cramping in my feet, calf and thigh muscles at times when I retire at night) even though the MRI report ruled spinal stenosis out. The report stated I have a severe narrowing of the L5-L4 disk. I am overweight and realize I have to lose weight.

Unfortunately I have gotten to a point now where I can not walk or stand very long because of the pain. Recently I went away with my family and I had to rent a mortorized scooter to get around.
About a year ago I had purchased a SELECT COMFORT BED thinking that it would be good for my back. I think it was the worse thing I could have done. I believe my back is worse because of it. Does anyone have any positive experiences with a certain mattress?

Has anyone experienced severe cramps (like charley horses) in the feet, legs and thighs, to the point that you have to get up and keep walking and walking because the cramp is so tight? Not sure if it is from my back but this Pain Management Dr. seems to think it is.

Has anyone experienced epidural shots and did they help the pain?

Do you find this discussion helpful?

5 Responses


hi- i am new here too... i have multiple spinal disorders and peripheral neuropathy. i get cramps in my legs & feet all the time, which in some case limits my walking, but in others, i have to walk to try to shake off the cramps.. yes, spinal disorders can cause pain in your legs & feet. i would recommend seeing a neurologist and tell them about it. they can order an emg (or ncv)which are nerve conduction studies, and either rule in or out neuropathy. neuropathy is sometimes caused by spinal disorders. i take neurontin for my neuropathy, and it helps. i also purchased a pair of orthodic/diabetic shoes (i am not diabetic), and they help tremendously when i have to stand or walk.
as for epi's, my neuro wants to do them on me, but i have been very reluctant, as i am scared of needles going into my spine that close to my spinal cord. but i know that at some point, i will no longer have the option and the epi's will be necessary. as far as helping with the pain, some people say they do, some say they dont. they will help with inflammation & pain from it, but they will not reverse any damage done or make arthritis etc go away.


Hi Sphynx-Mom:

I suffer from spinal stenosis, arthritis in my lower back, degenerative disc disease and sciatica.

I frequently get severe muscle cramps (spasms) in my calves, and thighs, when I am lying in bed, either asleep, or just resting. Although, I have not had any in my feet as of yet. The spasms tighten up so bad that the muscles are tender for as long as two days after. I never mentioned the spasms to my doctor because I didn't think they were related to my back problems. I always thought they were due to lack of potassium or not drinking enough water. Interesting fact to know though, thank you.

I have had two epidural injections, and am due to have my third sometime within the next two weeks. The first one did not help at all. The second one helped for two days. After this one, if it does not help, my pain management specialist is considering doing pain blocks. But I have spoken to other patients who have had the epidurals, and they have gotten relief from them for longer periods of time. Everyone is different.

As far as mattresses go, the only one I have found to be comfortable is a Simmons Beautyrest Classic which I slept on in a hotel room in Atlantic City.

My own mattress is not comfortable for me anymore, but is only a couple of years old, and I cannot afford to get another one right now.

Hope you find this information helpful.

God Bless.


I am so glad I found your posting. I have DDD, formalin narrowing L2-S1, sciatica, and bilateral facet arthropathy, according to my MRI report. Supposedly no spinal stenosis. I have had terrible pain issues for 2+ years. I have the typical sciatic pain that shots down my left leg to my foot and the two little toes go numb. BUT I also have severe cramping of the toes on both feet. It's kind of like they have a mind of their own and bend upwards causing pain. I also have severe cramps in my calves, usually at night while I am asleep, bad enough that I wake up hollering, scaring my poor husband too death! My calves ball up to about the size on an orange. My wonderful hubby rubs the knots out of my calves. I have always assumed that it was potassium problem but my blood work shows that is normal. I also have cut out caffeine. And I am not dehydrated. My husband and I had a conversation last night with a friend who is a doctor and suffers from spinal stenosis and is getting a fusion later this month. My husband mentioned my calves and toes cramping and our friend and he said he has the same problem and he thinks it is probably related to my back problems. I have been getting epidural injections to my sciatic nerve (more painful than child birth!) and to my facets. They do not seem to be working. So I made and appointment to see a neurosurgeon to get a second opinion. I am definitely going to mention the toe and calf cramping. It is like a light bulb lit up over my head when my friend said he had the same problem! I kinda got the feeling that this is another piece of the puzzle of my back problems. And I don't fit the general profile for the typical person who suffers from this problem. I am only 38 and am only a little over weight. But I have always had very physical jobs so I wonder if my back is just wore out. I will keep an eye on this posting and will add to it as the mystery develops. Again, thank you so much for posting your question. I now know it isn't just in my head. :)


I had a lumbar laminectomy on L4-L5. That was in 2007. But it only held for about 6-8 months. Six months ago I quit oxycontin and oxycodone. I had been on both for a couple of years. Thats when the charley horses really started. And they are worse than I have ever had before. It's in the same leg that I have a lot of sciatic issues with, muscle weakness, foot drop, you name it. I do know your diet can have a big impact on charley horses. Make sure you are getting plenty of water and potassium. Eat bananas. Now I don't take anything for pain. I just deal with it. I'm wondering if I had these charley horses the whole time and the oxy just made it so I didn't feel it. I can't help but think there is a connection between the back issues and the charley horse.

I have done about 8 epidural shots. I don't recommend them. They did little to nothing for me. As a matter of fact, they hurt quite a bit when I was given them. Like I was covered in my own sweat from the pain and thats not an exaggeration. Frankly, I think they are a scam and largely have a placebo effect. But I'm a little bitter on the topic because the last time I had this done, the pain management clinic promised me it would be different. They lied of course just to get my money (which was mine because I hadn't met my deductible). It was going to cost me $2000 a month for shots until I hit it. My honest recommendation is don't do injections. They can actually dry out your discs in your back and make problems worse. And as you can see, it's quite lucrative for them. Requires little from them and they can do it in about 15-20 minutes. To suggest it to a person with DDD is down right unethical IMHO. They are giving you a treatment known to weaken and dry out the lining of your discs which will make them have even more problems. It's speeding up the degneration if anything. Almost like setting themselves up with a future revenue stream: you. But again, I'm bitter. Been fighting this since the 90s.

btw on the bed I went whole hog. Tempurpedic cloud supreme (nicest they make for tempurpedic) with the remote control to adjust your head or feet. That helps the most. There is a antigravity position that takes the weight off my lower back but it cost me $8k and in all honesty I don't think I would do it again.

Also want to add doctors think I may have some nerve damage due to the compression on the nerve root between L4-L5. I wonder if that could cause our issues with the charley horse. All I know is they suck bad. I have been getting them so bad I can hardly walk for a couple of days. Far worse than what I have known before.


Just found this. Pretty interesting.


For me, what was relevant was spinal stenosis can occur when you have disc herniation. Which is exactly what I had. Spinal stenosis can cause charley horses. I have been getting really bad weakness in my legs which is another symptom. Oh man. I don't want spinal stenosis.

Those EMGs don't mean squat. I have had them done. Hurt like a SOB and I never heard from my neurosurgeon who requested it again. The guy who did it said I didn't have nerve damage. Maybe that is true. But I doubt it. I think maybe the surgeon wanted that to cover his own behind. You do have to look at this defensively. Sad but true. They do. In my case, multiple other doctors told me they thought I did have. The one guy who cut me open and the person he sends me to say I don't. Hmmm. Who to believe. None. Lots of "doctors" but few practice medicine.