Ruptured disc, what to do?

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

Acheybody
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 5452
   Posted 1/19/2012 11:18 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello,
 
I'm usually over in the fibro forum, but pain is pain, and geeeez, do I have it!  Turned over in bed 7 days ago, and got slammed BAD.
 
It's only gotten worse since then. 
 
I'm sure it's a ruptured disc, because I've had sciatica for years, and dealt with lots of back pain, and I've never had anything like this.  (Tramadol keeps it sort of to a tolerable level, but not for long, and it seems to be working less and less.)
 
So why haven't I been to the doctor?  Well, I've called him, and he has done all he can do...next step, neurosurgeon.  They would surely want to do an MRI (last one was almost 3 years ago) and we flat-out can't afford it.   cry  
 
My question is, am I going to actually damage my body if I wait awhile?  Or just my sanity?  Because we may just have to bite the bullet and go into major debt if it's that or my mobility and permanent nerve damage. 
 
Anyone have experience here?
 
Thanks, Debbie
 
fibromyalgia, hashimoto's, scoliosis, lumbar disc damage, sciatica, IBS, migraines, tachycardia

Retired Mom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1749
   Posted 1/19/2012 12:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Debbie,

I am certainly not a doctor, but speak from personal experience. I wish there were a better answer, but you really need to have that looked at. When I ruined mine, my neurosurgeon told me that I would be paralyzed if I did not have the surgery immediately. I was stunned that it was so serious.

I hope your insurance has some sort of maximum out of pocket expense. If you don't have insurance then certainly seek out a place that has the lower cash payment.

Please consider this and any other answers. I only wish you the best. Back pain is so horrible.

(On a ligher note for this, my mother's back keeps going "out" and we have been able to find a product....something like a curved, molded plastic arch...that she has used to get hers back out of pain. I forgot the name of the product. It is black and has an opening in the middle of the arch for the spine to sort of fit in. It worked for her so it's worth a try and I think they are pretty cheap. We found this one at a thrift store type place). She gets immediate relief when she uses it.

All my best!
TLIF L5-S1/failed, Pituatary disorder w/HGH deficiency, Fibro, Failed Bladder Surgery & Nissen, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CFS, TMJ, Migraines, HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia w/Diabetic reaction to HGH, Bi-lateral CTS (surgery related trigger finger), Edema, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, Plantar Fascitis, Tibular Tendionitis, Adult Onset Flat Feet, Vision Issues & much more.....

Acheybody
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 5452
   Posted 1/19/2012 2:28 PM (GMT -6)   
RetiredMom,

Thanks for your response. I did make an appt. with a neurosurgeon for this coming Monday. I do have insurance, and a maximum out-of-pocket, but even so...yikes!

How did your surgery turn out? I've heard good and bad.

Debbie
fibromyalgia, hashimoto's, scoliosis, lumbar disc damage, sciatica, IBS, migraines, tachycardia

AngelinaATF
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 135
   Posted 1/19/2012 4:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh my! I too have had back pain (among other things - lupus, Fibro, etc) & any type of pain ..well, it just sucks! And I know @ the financial hardships bc ppl don't think @ all deductables & copayments not to mention inability to work! For all of us $ seems an issue.
keep us posted!
Angelina
age 41
dx: MCTD(LUPUS), RAYNAUDS, FIBROMYALGIA, L4L5 disc herniation, fracture in L3 fro EPIDURAL in childbirth
meds: Arava, prednisone, NIFEDIPINE, estropipate, cyclobenzaprine, gabapentin, hydrocod (4BTP), fentanyl patch, methotrexate - MTX (on hold), minocycline, clonaxepam (sleep), vitamin D, B stress complex, PRILOSEC, Transderm-Scop (on hold)

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 11063
   Posted 1/19/2012 4:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Debbie, sorry to read things are not going so good for you right now. If it has been 3 yrs since your last MRI, well, you are way past due for another one. Like RM said, none of us are drs here at the forum, but any time you have a nerve problem, such as a pinched nerve, if nothing is done to get the pressure off of the nerve there is a possibility of further damage and it becoming permanent. Once the nerve damage becomes permanent there is no going back. Can a dr say this will happen, no, no one can say one way or the other but it is a possibility. This happened to a friend of mine, surgery was recommended and she was terrified. She had never had any kind of surgery before and decided she would wait things out. She waited too long and by the time she did have the surgery, the nerve problem was too far gone. Her surgery did fix some other problems she had going on, but she said if she could have done it over again, she would not have waited on having surgery.

We do have people here at the forum that have had back surgeries. You have to remember their situation is totally different from yours and not all back surgeries are failures. I saw lots and lots of spinal surgeries when I worked and in over 20 years saw very few failures. A lot of the failures were from patients either not doing as they were instructed by their dr which is so important after surgery or the dr in question was not a good dr to begin with. You will never hear a patient say their failure was a result of something they did, it is always someone elses fault. A dr will never admit he messed up because then that could be a mal-practice lawsuit. If you talk to a lot of people about any kind of surgery, generally it becomes a contest of who hurt the most or who was in the worse condition before surgery and it does nothing but terrify the person needing the surgery.

The best thing to do is if you are or become a surgical candidate, talk to your dr explain your fears, ask him to see if one of his patients that he has done surgery on would be willing to meet with you in his office so you can speak to someone first hand that has been there. This is not an unusual request either and do not be afraid to ask the dr this.

Take care and let us know how you are coming along.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Post Edited (straydog) : 1/19/2012 3:04:51 PM (GMT-7)


Retired Mom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1749
   Posted 1/19/2012 8:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi again Debbie,

I didn't want to leave you hanging after asking me a question, but I'm not the best person to ask. My surgery did not have the best outcome, however, I know someone else who had a fusion done and is wonderful now. Like Straydog mentioned, everyone is different and some don't follow Dr's instructions. I did, but things just didn't go well.

I'm glad you were able to get your MRI scheduled and that you do have a maximum out of pocket. If surgery is done, then you can be happy that it is so early in the year that your other medical conditions can be treated and covered in full. It may seem a minimal consideration, but it was good to know I could use that for anything for the whole year.

Alllmy best!
TLIF L5-S1/failed, Pituatary disorder w/HGH deficiency, Fibro, Failed Bladder Surgery & Nissen, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CFS, TMJ, Migraines, HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia w/Diabetic reaction to HGH, Bi-lateral CTS (surgery related trigger finger), Edema, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, Plantar Fascitis, Tibular Tendionitis, Adult Onset Flat Feet, Vision Issues & much more.....

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3309
   Posted 1/19/2012 10:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Debbie,
Just because you have more back pain doesn't mean you necessarily need surgery. Really awful back pain is not always a ruptured disc. After years of mostly sciatica, I am seeing my pain doc for a new really bad back pain. There's a small disc protrusion pinching nerves on MRI. A lot of time the small ones hurt more than the big ones. But it's not going to need surgery unless it gets a lot worse. Worse means cauda equina symptoms, paralysis, serious numbness, etc. Google it to see how bad it has to be to be surgical. Lots of info at spineuniverse.com. And I don't mean to poo-poo your pain. Goodness knows I have enough of it and it's real!

Docs usually have to do some tests before treating, although you might get more or stronger pain meds. My doc told me to take an extra tramadol. I think amitriptyline is helping when taken at night too. 3 or 4 Advil helps me, but not more than once or twice a day. It helps with my post-op shoulder pain too. Anyway they will need an X-ray to make sure you don't have a fractured vertebra. then maybe an MRI to see just where the inflammation or bulge is. Then, if there are leg or feet tingling and numbness, the doc may want to do a nerve conduction study. I even had loss of all feeling in both legs a few times, starting to fall down with this new injury, but it wasn't a surgical issue.

After my study my doc asked if I wanted a steroid injection. It was fairly difficult to get it into the small L2-L3 space. It's easy farther down the spine. I've had a bunch of these and they usually get things under control until my body has had time to heal the disc itself. Yes, that occurs often. The trick is to stop the pain while you heal if the problem isn't critical. The pain makes it feel critical like mine did, but often it's not really. He's got me wearing my back brace when doing any activities that involve stressing the back, like twisting (sweeping a floor). It helps.

My entire point is not to jump to conclusions before you get the testing and find out what's really going on.

Acheybody
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 5452
   Posted 1/20/2012 1:04 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all for your responses.  It means a lot. 
 
RetiredMom, I'm sorry your surgery didn't go well.  That's what makes it so scary, you can never be sure. 
 
Alcie, yes, I know it could be lots of different things. Hopefully I won't need surgery. Had enough of that old bag to last me a lifetime!

Debbie
fibromyalgia, hashimoto's, scoliosis, lumbar disc damage, sciatica, IBS, migraines, tachycardia

Post Edited (Acheybody) : 1/19/2012 11:08:12 PM (GMT-7)


SmurfyShadow
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2386
   Posted 1/20/2012 6:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Debbie,
In answer to your question, it depends on how bad it is if you put off surgery.
For example, say if there's severe spinal cord compression that you don't know about by putting surgery off you can risk becoming paralyzed.

I'd at least get some tests done, MRI, Ultra Sound and find out why the pain is happening. After finding out what is going on, then you can decide on your treatment of choice.

Remember, our doctors are on our side. Don't be afraid to talk to them
"The Walking Medical Mystery"

Too many Allergies / Too many RXs & DXs

A Rare Gem for Doctors and Guinee Pig
~Medical Caregiver and Doctors Worse Nightmare~

bayoub2
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 2861
   Posted 1/20/2012 8:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Debbie
Fancy meeting you here-lol. Itmay be herniated and not full rupture, ice packs and doc asap. Yes, if you ignore it nerve damage may become permanent. My husband almost lost use of his arm b/c of ruptured disk in neck...had a great surgeon and almost 100% ROM.

Get thee to a doctor quick
Love maddie
"We never realize how strong we are, until being strong is the only thing left"
Major Depressive Disorder, ptsd, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, l3/4, L4/5 gone, bursitis arthritis sciatica

seroquel, hydrocodone clonazepam norvasc multi vitamin and magnesium

bayoub2
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 2861
   Posted 1/20/2012 8:09 AM (GMT -6)   
oops not maddie, maggie-lol
"We never realize how strong we are, until being strong is the only thing left"
Major Depressive Disorder, ptsd, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, l3/4, L4/5 gone, bursitis arthritis sciatica

seroquel, hydrocodone clonazepam norvasc multi vitamin and magnesium

Acheybody
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 5452
   Posted 1/21/2012 12:28 PM (GMT -6)   
I wish I could get into the doctor TODAY! But I guess I'm just going to have to suck it up until Monday. Hope nothing collapses in my spine until then. It's getting hard to even think straight.

I can't imagine being without my Tramadol and Flexeril.

Debbie
fibromyalgia, hashimoto's, scoliosis, lumbar disc damage, sciatica, IBS, migraines, tachycardia
New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Tuesday, July 29, 2014 5:41 AM (GMT -6)
There are a total of 2,182,142 posts in 242,672 threads.
View Active Threads


Who's Online
This forum has 153821 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, Rajaram126.
258 Guest(s), 7 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
Kevin Watson, Guardian7, Rajaram126, Discopuma, Neenaa, sueg, Deejavu


Follow HealingWell.com on Facebook  Follow HealingWell.com on Twitter  Follow HealingWell.com on Pinterest  Follow HealingWell.com on YouTube
Advertisement
Advertisement

©1996-2014 HealingWell.com LLC  All rights reserved.

Advertise | Privacy Policy & Disclaimer