Herniated Disc Questions and Answers Archive 2009 Part 4

This Q&A section is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Any medical condition should be referred to a qualified medical professional.

Q: I had car accident 6 month back and initial there was less pain on neck and left back side and now increased.Then MRI Was done. MR FINDINGS REVEAL SPONDYLOTIC AND DISC DEGENERATIVE CHANGES WITH

. DIFFUSE DISC BULGE WITH POSTERIOR OSTEOPHYTE FORMATION AT C3-C4 LEVEL,

. DIFFUSE DISC BULGE WITH MILD POSTERO-CENTRAL DISC PROTRUSION AT C4-C5 LEVEL,

. DIFFUSE DISC BULGE WITH LEFT LATERAL PROPENSITY AT C5-C6 LEVEL,

. DIFFUSE DISC BULGE WITH LEFT PARACENTRAL DISC EXTRUSION AT C6-C7 LEVEL

Can you please advice about possible cure. I never had any problem of pain before, it started after accident. MR imaging of the cervical spine was performed and high resolution T1-and T2-weighted serial sections obtained in the sagittal and axial planes using a phased-Array surface coil on a 1.5 Tesla scanner. The study reveals mild straightening of normal cervical lordotic curvature with minimal retrolisthesis of C3 over C4 vertebra and C6 over C7 vertebra. There is evidence of l marginal osteophytes at multiple levels. The vertebral bodies are otherwise normal in size, shape, alignment and signal intensity. There is degenerative disc desiccation at multiple levels. Intervertebral discs are normal in height. There is diffuse disc bulge with posterior osteophyte formation at C3-C4 level indenting the thecal sac and causing bilateral neural foraminal compromise. There is diffuse disc bulge with mild postero-central disc protrusion at C4-C5 level indenting the thecal sac. There is diffuse disc bulge with left lateral propensity at C5-C6 level indenting the thecal sac and causing mild left neural foraminal compromise. There is diffuse disc bulge with left paracentral disc extrusion at C6-C7 level indenting the thecal sac and encroaching upon the inferior aspect of the left neural foramina with consequential compressive radiculopathy. The spinal cord is normal in size, contour and signal intensity. No intrinsic parenchymal lesion is seen. The thecal sac is normal and CSF demonstrates normal signal intensity. The craniovertebral junction is normal. Mikki

Q: I have had lower back pain that flares up about once a year but becoming more frequent, where it is difficult to get out of bed at times. Here is my MRI ResultsDegenerative disc disease L5-S1 with extruded disc material with mass effect on the ventral left aspect of the sac with lateralization toward the left recess and mass effect on the left S1 nerve root. No evidence of compression, mass or stenosis Mary

Q: Hello, I had surgery for three herniated discs. 3-5 months I was feeling fine, and then all of sudden the same pain came back. I went to the Dr. and he told me I have another herniated disc, right under where he had placed the plate. My surgery was to repair C4-5, c5-6, c6-7, and now I have a herniated disc in c7-8, How is this possible? Is it from the pressure of the plate? My Doctor doesn't seem to have an answer for this one, maybe you might. Thanks....very confused, and in severe pain!! Debbie

Q: Hi, I am a very active sports person and have had a disk problem in my back since I was 13. I'm now 26.A few weeks ago I landed badly playing sport. Nothing too bad so carried on playing. The Friday after I was on a Christmas night out and after a few hours I realized I hadn't needed the toilet. I knew my bladder was full and really had to squeeze the urine out. To add to this my right leg became weak and numb/tingly and I had reduced sensitivity in my crotch area and had saddle anesthesia and intense pain when I laid flat.These symptoms stayed the same and I went to my doctor the following Monday. He arranged an "urgent" mri scan for 4 weeks.Because of my previous back issue I was quite knowledgeable on the whole back issue and on the Tuesday I went to the ER.After I was examined the on call neurosurgeon tried telling me that all was ok and I should take pain meds. I argued and asked him to explain the weakness and numbness (which I knew he couldn't 100% without and MRI). He finally admitted me and the next day I was seen by another neurosurgeon who ordered an emergency MRI.This confirmed a herniation of the L3/L4 disk that was compressing the nerve roots on 2 levels and he operated the next day. The scan also showed I have what the surgeon descibed as a naturally narrow spinal canal.He performed a laminectomy and diskectomy which gave immediate pain relief as well as taking away the weakness, but the numbness was still there. The surgeon said it was a big disk herniation and could have been leaking for a while.I am now 10 days post op and all my bladder/bowel issues have gone, the crotch saddle numbness has gone and my surgeon assures me that everything wil be fine and I should be back in sports within 3-6 months. I should lose some weight.(which I more than agree with as although I am very active I am of a large muscular build).He also said the disk was "not pretty". I do know if the annulus was repaired.My question is on what I have described here can you answer the following. Do you think a full recovery will be possible and if the disk is to reherniate would you recommend disk replacement?Thanks, Mike.

Q: Do you think I need surgery or is long term physiotherapy the solution? Here is the MRI result. Problem at L5-S1 where there is a asymmetric disc bulge to the left, causing mild to moderate narrowing of the left neural foramen, as well as a sequestered disc within the right lateral recess impinging on the right S1 nerve root. There is a lot of pain on my leg and I can not walk well. Steve

Q: My daughter has been in a lot of back pain with numbness of the right foot. She just had an MRI which indicated multilevel spondylosis most sever at the L5 SI joint with prominent right side paracentral disk protrusion. A posterior annular tear causing mild central canal stenosis and severe right sided lateral recess effacement with displacement descending right side SI nerve root. She was told an epidural would not help her pain and that she would need surgery. This is very foreign to me and I am greatly concerned. Could you give your opinion of the MRI findings? Thanks, Paula

Q: I am a 56 yr,. old woman who had spinal fusion at L4-5 level in '98. That doctor put in back cages that were misplaced and too big for my spine, therefore, caused multiple herniations from L3 to S1. In 2000 after many doctor opinions they all agreed that I needed rods on both sides of my spine and cross rods from L3 to S1. During that surgery they removed bone from my right hip near the spine. However, in the last few months the pain where the bone was removed has gotten unbearable. I can not sit, stand, bend or walk for more then a few minutes before the pain is unbearable. and I started getting sharp shooting pains from the upper lumbar region into my right hip, buttocks and sometime down the front of my right leg. Ibuprophen doesn't help anymore. I went for an MRI and my Dr. told me that I have a new herniation at L 1-2 level (2 levels above where the rods and cross rods stop).......My recent MRI reported a new herniation at L1-2. Here is how the MRI report reads: "At L1-2 Level, there is a broad-based disc bulge with a moderate degree of spinal stenosis, and a downward disc herniation that is more prominent to the left of the midline than to the right, There is moderate left-sided foraminal narrowing, which might affect the exiting left L1 nerve root, All the nerve roots at this lever are displace posteriorly and the surrounding CSF is significantly effaced." In the final 'Impression' statement at the end of the report it mentions L1-2 again stating: "New disc herniation and a broad-based disc bulge is seen at L1-2 causing moderate to moderately severe overall central canal stenosis and moderate left-sided foraminal narrowing." SOoo, what does all of this mean? The first epidural shot took 24 hrs to take effect but only relieved the pain for about another 24 hrs. My next epidural will be done in 2 days. I have had injections in the past at other levels with no relief. ...The pain I am getting is originating from the L1-2 area and usually radiates into my right hip and sometimes down the front of my right upper leg and sometimes into my calf muscle. Yesterday for the first time the same sharp stabbing pain originated from the same area but this time radiated into my left hip and down my left leg. IS THIS NORMAL for the pain to switch back and forth? The pain directly on the spine is basically constant. If I were your patient would you perform a laminectomy or a discectomy (fusion)? My doctor is hesitating to do surgery but I need my life back - I can't go to work and my family medical leave is running out, I can't do housework, walk for more then a few feet - basically I am vegging on the couch and that alone is driving me crazy! I want my pain gone and my life back! What would you do if I were your patient??............One other thing, my doctor says there is nothing that can be done for the constant pain, that is getting worse, where he removed bone from my hip during the last surgery in 2000. He removed the bone from my hip around the L4-5 or L5-6 level and THAT pain and the feeling like there is a huge fist in my back is driving me crazy and limiting my activities as well. In your opinion is there anything that can be done to this hip area to relieve the pain. He took the bone from my hip real close to the spinal column so he would have to make an additional incision and that is where I get the painful, bulging sensation when I walk, stand to long or bend. SOoo, are my symptoms at L1-2 normal, especially since yesterday the pain switched sides? If I were your patient would you feel that surgery would help me? And do you know of anything that can be done for the area where the bone was removed from my hip during the last surgery in 2000?I look forward to your input, Have a GREAT day, Linda

Q: I had a microdisectomy April of this year on L5-S1. Doc told me I have another herniated disc at t12-L1 that mildly flattens the ventral spinal cord...that disc was not fixed. I am experiencing some pain in my front right rib cage area and sternum and I feel it radiating into my upper back. One doctor says its constochondritis, however I think it may have something to do with this herniated disc. What do you think, will an xray or mri show what it is? Emily

Q: I was struck in a hit and run accident while walking thru a parking lot and dragged by the vehicle and was subsequently pulled over the hoods of 2 cars having my lower back bashed into the front fender and bumper area of each. of course I was in a great deal of pain. 7 years ago I had a CT scan which showed the L4-l5 level demonstrates degenerative changes in the left facet joint and the L5-S1 level demonstrates a moderate sized calcified protrusion. which minimally compresses the anterior aspect of the thecal sac. The L5 nerve roots are seen to exit well above the disc protrusion. I have been experiencing extreme lighting like shocks of pain quite often when i turn the wrong way or if I take to big of a stride when walking, I am only 41 and was a former hockey and rugby player so at the time of the accident I was in fairly good condition. Since the injury I find it almost impossible to do more then an hour of work around the house each day before I have to stop because of muscle spasms that have been painful enough to induce nausea and cause me to vomit, and others that have given me migraines these both of these are rare but of the 2 pain causing nausea is the most common but not a regular occurrence that I keep track of but often enough to allow me to associate the worst pain I feel with a specific reaction. The pain is bad enough that by then end of every day if rating pain on a scale of 1-10 by the time I have done everything I am expected to do my pain is usually at about a 6 and I am having to stoop to over to walk because of lightning like shocks of pain and severe muscle spasms actually the muscle spasms continue all day long keeping my pain level between 3-6 at all time and am generally unable to do any kind of work including house work because of the muscle spasms and lightning like pain in my spine that causes my legs to loose strength and cause me to trip and fall several times these have left me bed ridden although I am on scrip for 100mg of oxycontin each day only as the muscle relaxants I have tried caused me nausea and stomach pain and include naprozen, celebrex,arthrotec,robacavet,flexiril, and many others I cant even remember as it affects my every day life from being able to work, before the accident I was employed. To what can I do to relieve the pain without use of opiates or surgery unless it becomes absolutely necessary. And most of all what all did that CT mean by what it said about the various levels. Troy

Q: I have had pain from left hip to left foot for 6 weeks. Pain scale 1-10..12! Unable to put on sock on left foot. Left foot weak..drops. Same with left big tow..cannot stand on heels. Sent to Ortho and was put on 4 weeks PT..no help. On Relafan, cyclobenzeprine, vicodyn...no help..had MRI last weekend. Here are findings.

Alignment is normal. No fracture , subluxation, or loss of vertebral height. Spinal Cord ends athe the L1-2 level and is at normal limits. The paravertebral soft tissue is normal. The T12-L1 and L1-2 disk levels/normal. At L2-3 there is disk dessication with mild loss of disk height. A mild diffuse of disk buldge is seen without evidence of a focal disk herniation or central canal stenosis. The L3-4 disk level is within normal limits. At L4-5 there is disk desiccation with mild loss of disk height. Additionally there is a large left paracentral and forminal entry zone disk extrusion extending inferiorly along the L5 lateral recess producing significant-mass effect and impingement on the L5 nerve root. No central canal stenosis is seen. There is mild degenerative facet arthrosis.At L5-S1, there is disk dessication without loss of height. A relatively minor disk buldge is seen without evidence of focal disk herniation or central canal stenosis. Mild degenerative facet arthrosis is present.Impression: Large L4-5 left paracentral and forminal disk herniation/extrusion producing significant mass-effect and impingement on the left L5 nerve root.What does this mean? I have not gone back to the orthopod/do not car for him too much...very young and did not offer MRI to begin with. I am 51 years young., have had no injuries or surgeries, nor do I want any. Thank you for response. Bryan

Q: My boyfriend hurt his back taking a car transmission out mid Nov of 07. He is 31 now, thin but muscular (little to no body fat), eats much healthier now but before it wasn't the healthiest diet and he smokes Told by chiropractor it was probably bulging disk or 2. (thoracic area). Has no insurance so hasn't seen doc for full work up. He has run his own auto repair biz for 10+ years and is always bending in crazy positions for long periods of time. He is extremely active even though he is in severe pain. He has seen our chiropractor about once a month for the last 2 years with not much improvement. I give him back massages at home (I am untrained) and have tried herbal suppl/vitamins with no success. His muscles are so tight in that area and no amount of heat or massage or muscle relaxants (herbal or prescription) seem to have any effect.

So I guess my question is: what do you think could be the problem? If a disk would have healed by now could he have damaged the nerves? He will describe a painful burning sensation in his back and numbness and tingling in both arms (all way to hands). Sometimes has muscle spasms in injured area too, though rarely. I know he needs to go to a doc for tests but what should we be looking for so he doesn't get written off with a "scapegoat" diagnosis? Abbi

Q: I just had an MRI and the following was the impression and I was wondering what my options are. My doctor states I need surgery but I am only 33 and am concerned. Here is what the MRI states: L4-L5 mild disc degeneration, diffuse disc bulge, posterior radial tear, moderate central and left greater than right posterolateral disc herniation, left great than right lateral recess stenosis, distortion of the course of the left S1 nerve root, mild bilateral foraminal narrowing due to disc bulge and degenerative change. Small vertebral hemangioma at teh 2nd sacral segment. Tina

Q: do you know of any information on how to treat pain in other parts of the body? I have pain in my shoulders and my upper arms. I helped a friend move and I did a lot of heavy lifting. Marty

Q: I have two herniated disc. I have been going from doctor to doctor for a pain on my right side and on my mid chest. Very painful, that sometimes makes me cry. Does herniated disc cause pain in the front of your body? The doctor keeps giving me Flexril and Tramodal for the pain, but I can't keep taking pain meds for the rest of my life, or do I? I had three steroid injections on my back, which did nothing for my pain. What do I do now or who should I see. I live in Arlington, Texas, I need help, that sometimes I wish not to live with this pain, thanks for your time. Maria Helena

Q: What do I have to look forward to, treatment options wise? Here are my MRI results:

The lumbar spine demonstrates multilevel degenerative disc changes. There is uniform narrowing caliber of the central spinal canal due to congenitally short pedicles. The conus medullaris terminates at the L1 level. At L1-L2 there is a minimal, desiccated circumferential disc buldge. At L2-L3, there is a moderate desk active disc buldge and endplate osteophyte complex. Similar, moderate disc its tip buldging disc and endplate osteophyte complex at L3 - L4.

At L5 - S1, in addition to desiccated disc ad endplate osteo phhyte complex, there is a mild facet arthrosis and ligamentum flavum hypertropy and a small central disc protrusion which causes some mass effect on the ventral thecal sac. Mild bilateral neural foraminal narrowing is present at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels , predominantly due to osteophyte. Radicular pain shooting down both legs and into the feet. Feels like shrouds of glass. Occurs when standing, lying or sitting. Unable to sit comfortably for longer than 10 -15minutes. Somedays feels like plantar fasciitis and the next day gone. Bilat sub patellar knee pain with hyper-sensitivity. "Bee stings" in the toes, achilles tendon stings. Uretheral vibrations and increased dribbling after voiding. Medial aspect of thighs with increased paraethesia. No incontinence, yet.

I just had a C6-C7 discectomy and am now a member of the "titanium" club and have four matching screws to prove it. I've been to pain management and the Pain management wants to give epidural steroids for relief. I'm on Oxycotin, Neurontin and lidocaine patches all do not provide relief.

My injuries, I suspect are from multiple military parachute jumps, one recent MVA where I subluxed both shoulders and the C6-C7 anterior disc bulge. I'm 45 years old. Dave

Q: if i get this injury once,what is more or less likely that i would get the same injury again? why? Lisa

Q: Hi, I am a 28 yr old female who injured herself lifting and moving boxes for 3 yrs. I started having real bad neck pain that radiated down to my left shoulder plus real bad spasms. I went to the doctor and was given therapy which had no effect, I saw another doctor and was diagnosed with a right sided herniated disc at c4-c5. I started feeling this pain back in Dec 2008 and didn't have any real right side pain until Sept 2009. Is this unusual? and is surgery the only option? Any info will help. Thanks. Monique

Q: Thanks for website. I have taught exercise 30 years. In the past few days I had hideous back pain -diagnosed with L5 bulge - given tons of flexarel and vicidan to combat pain as it has crippled me in my leg. Chiropractor and neurosurgeon) and told just take drugs and wait 6 weeks. It seems there have to be exercises I can do to move the nerve wherever the hell it is..... am I nuts. Is my life no drugs? Thanks again so much. Joanna

Q: Hi, My mother is 44 years old she is bearing pain in her left leg lower to knee from last 10 months her MRI report deducted that "level of L4/L5 there is a large left posterolateral disc prolapse causing sever pressure on thecal sac and exiting nerve in both neural foramen, predominantly left side" now what u suggest bcz she dont want have operation for it. thanx kindly reply soon regards. shaheena

Q: I had a herniated disc surgery about a month ago I'm still has a lot of pain even more than before the surgery. My questions is if the doctor probably damage any nerve and what I do next. Grisel

Q: Hi, Very promising web site! Thank you for all the info. First a short story. I've been into martial arts for the last 14 years of my life. Have had several pretty bad injuries (severely dislocated shoulders and such). A month ago I over-choked myself on the mat (didn't tap off in time). And the next morning woke up in a terrible pain. As a result a mild protrusion on C5/C6 and a large extrusion, pushing on nerve, on C6/C7. It's been a month, i'm off of meds right now. Almost no pain, a slight tingling every now and them. Only exercises are stretching and swimming... but that's unsatisfactory for me!Question: Will I be able to get back on the mat? I know i should take at least one more month off, but my doctor told me that I should never step back on the mat again. Really disappointing... Timur