severe lower back pain/left front leg pain/numbness

hello, I have been suffering from severe lower back pain since 1st week of Feb'09 it has caused me to have to take a medical leave from work. I have had 3 epidural spine injections, 1 facet joint injection there was not change to my pain. at this point 2 MRI's, 1 CT Scan, 1 Bone Spec Scan which show 4.6mm disc bulge @ L5-S1, impinging lft nerve,Tarlov cysts in Sacrum, L3-L4 2.6mm disc bulge,L4-L5 4.4mm disc bulge with all this the n. surgeon still says he has no idea why I am in so much pain refuses to do surgery just keeps telling me will see me in 6wks, 3mos, 6mos and has put me off work till may 2010, my pain in now in my lower back, left butt cheek, left front leg pass my knee, pain is now starting to bother me even during the night, can sit, stand for more than 15 min, walking is even worse unless I am on med's of Dilaudid,Flexeril,Lodine then pain is not as severe. Does anyone know to what size Disc Bulge is considered large enough to cause pain because this N.Surgeon seems to think my disc are not causeing the severe pain I am in????? I am in the southern california, Orange Co. Area. Any suggestion help....

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can't help you as far as trying to locate a doc, but my neuro has told me the same -- surgery is your last resort, b/c after that you have nothing else to go to.

i just had radiofrequency neurotomy (sp?) done on my left side and am having it done on the right side on 9/2.....so far so good, my only problem is that i don't like to sit still so i don't give myself time to heal....

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thank you for your reply, what surgery are you talking about? and what is radiofrequency ?

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I need to ask if you are overweight? I had the same thing but not to the extent you have. I was in a lot of pain the first time it occurred. L5-L6 compression etc. Sciatica for the leg and foot. I lost over 45 pounds. In two years. Not a quick fix. I am 59 years old. I rarely get the pain anymore. When I do, it hurts, but resolves in a few days. I would never have elective back surgery. You can't go backwards after that. I always thought that losing weight was a doctors' answer for everything. I now believe them.

beans

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no I am not, thank you for your reply.

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It sounds to me like it is the Tarlov cysts that are causing your problems, not the discs. I found out about mine in '92 and have been in the same sort of pain as you since then. There are some good web sites like the tarlovcystfoundation.net who have a lot of information and doctors recommended who deal with them. Unfortunately I live in Australia and there is no one that will go near them here.

Good luck
Maggie

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We have almost identical back problems though I also have a bulge at t/1-t/2 Why t/2-t/3 escaped I don't know. My ortho suggested surgery even vefore T1/T2 occurred. Thereare other complications that have since arose due to kidney issues so surgery has not happened. I actually found out the leg pain was gout, Treat the gout the pain went away and then PT helped the back stabilize.

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GET A SECOND OPION. THEY CAN DO WONDERS ON THE BACK NOW-A-DAYS ...!!! I'M STILL WAITING FOR MY NEW MRI TO BE SET, THEN OFF I GO. STAY IN TOUCH...

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look up "cauda equina syndrome" you never know, it affects the lower body as you describe.

Tinman

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There is a Dr. Khoo in Southern California that treats TC's and other back problems. Go to the TarlovCystFoundation.com to see the available doctors that treat your symptoms.

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surgery i was referring to was disc replacement or fusion -- radiofrequency is something that neurosurgeon recommended that a pain specialist did.. they basically send a small electrical charge to the affected nerve and 'fry' it for a while so you don't have any pain. From what i've read, it can last years or months - it's a crap shoot, but got to jump through the hoops for the ins. company :(

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Have you checked out the Tarlov cyst site yet, as a lot or neuro's don't think they cause pain, but believe me they do and people get sent around in circles for years in pain that they end up thinking is in your head if your not careful...My problem started with a ruptured disc, as well as the TC's, the first neuro did a decompression of the nerve causing the pain down my leg, which helped a lot with that pain, but not the pain in the butt etc. There seems to be only one Dr who is doing a good job with these, Dr Feigenbaum and has done about 150 surgeries by now, I have just sent him all my info for an opinion.
Good Luck

Maggie

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jstyoly,
Go to another doctor!
I too have severe back pain due to degenerative disc. the first neurosurgeon I saw said my pain did not match what he saw in the mri's so he said he could do nothing! He also told me I had the back of an 80 year old. I am 49. Never went to see him again. The next surgeon I saw had a different story. He suggested I lose weight,60 pounds now, do physical therapy, did not help, and have pain injections, no help either. He is now going to do a new type of surgery called Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion. This is a minimally invasive surgery to relieve herniated discs. They approach the spine through your side where the muscles are more forgiving making recuperation less painful. My surgery is September 9th. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Good luck to you!
jupiterjane

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jupiterjane, thank you can you tell me which disc and size of herniation and if possible alittle more about your symtoms. I do have another appointment with another neuro but if you can believe this not till jan 4th 2010.....but hoping to get in much much sooner i am on the cancellation list which i am told is not very long so wish me luck. I wish you the best. if you can tell me more as to what your test say and please keep me posted again thank you very much.

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jstyloy,
I have severe degenerative disc disease in the L2/L3 and the L5/S1 vertebrae. The L5/S1 and the L2/L3 have changes in the bone marrow near the degenerative disc. At the L2/L3 my spine goes to the right . There is severe compressed nerve roots at the L5/S1 with a hole in the bone and bone spurs in evidence. These are the worst area in my back at this time. They are bone on bone with no disc left in between. This surgery will be on the L5/S1 discs. He wants me to lose another 60lbs before he attempts the L2/L3. Easier said than done, but I will try.
Jupiterjane

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Hey jstyloy,
I had my surgery on Sept. 9th and went home late evening on Sept. 11th. Immediately after surgery the pain in my left leg , hip and butt were gone! I was fitted with a brace that I have to wear for 3 months and did a little physical therapy. I feel good, Oh I still have a little muscle pain now and then, but over all it's good. I am looking forward to having my next back surgery to repair the disc in the lower part of my back.
Take Care,
Jupiterjane

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I'm so glad you've found some relief. Please keep us posted on your recovery!!

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I am so happy to hear your news, so tell me more about the surgery and what did they end up doing, how long did you stay in the hospital? update me on how your feeling. As for me I finally got approval to see another neuro on Oct. 1st so I will give an update once I see him. Keep your fingers crossed. and again I so happy for you. Thank you.

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2plus1not3, how are you doing have you had your MRI? Keep us posted. tell me do you also have lower back issues? you state we have almost the exact problem, what have you been told ?

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I had the MRI and I am doing well. I was told that in 99 out of 100 cases they would recommend surgery or laser dissectomy but due to my kidney they do not recommend it unless it is an absolute last option. PT has helped me and as long as I stick with PC and Vitamin D I am holding steady. The MRI showed that the herniated disc has an annular tear (This is the "skin" around the disc that keeps the fluid in) but ironically my body is reabsorbing the injured disc. He rarely sees this happen but I have had other injuries that have "regenerated" if you will. The latest study by the neuro has actually shown that I have also regained nerve function. So for now I do nothing and hope that I get continue to improve. The biggest problem I have is that the nerve damage is on both ends of the nerve so now they can not distinguish when I get pain wether it is back pain or kidneys stones. This normally is not a problem but again because of my funky kidney, it does not always follow what is typical. I was recently treated for an obstructed kidney stone becuase everything pointed to it until they did an x-ray and could not find it. Not to be dismissed they did a CT scan and again it was not there. Lastly they did an ultrasound and no stone. As a last resort they treated me for muscle spasms in my back and all the stone symptoms went away.

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where did you have the herniated disc and did they say tell you the size of the herniation?

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