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I gave up on GPS and went to ER ( BINGO )

tonyinhampshirettonyinhampshire Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Lower Back Pain

Well having been put to one side by 5 GP’s ( or so its seems ). The last doctor said that with back pain you imagine other symptoms !. How about a Physio.

I went to the Emergency room out of inspiration / desperation due to utter despair and was there for 5 hours and was seen by their assessor who then called for the Orthopaedic Consultant.

The bladder problem is not retention ( Thank God ). They did a bladder scan which showed empty when my brain is saying full. It is probably linked to the nervous system, ie messages being sent from the brain / spinal cord so I get the constant urge to urinate.

However they found things that the GPS overlooked, ie, loss of important reflexes on left side leg and wasting of muscle tone in leg ( even I didn’t notice that ). The other symptoms I have are erectile dysfunction ( 3 years ) and some difficulty keeping gas in and some pain and strange vibrations in rectal area.

The odd thing is I now have little back pain or sciatica now, that seems to have resolved over the last three weeks. I have some tingling in lower legs and although I can feel the saddle area, the pin tests showed that the right side more sensitive than left. The left leg is weaker and has lost a lot of reflexes and the consultant noticed muscle atrophy which I didn’t realise.

The upshot is that the consultant was concerned and has ordered an MRI scan which I will get shortly, followed by consultancy.

The consultant said that he wouldn’t get the knives out just yet because he thought that surgery isn’t critical at this point, an option based on MRI findings. Of course, I have assumed it to be a slipped disc but the MRI may or may not clarify whets going on. He things that a disc may have shunted just off -centre against the spinal cord roots at the lower end This can happen but it is unusual to be central shunt. Having said that my colleague has the same situation 2 years ago. He did observe Osteoarthritis with possible unstable spine on an Xray.

I am concerned about further damage. Bearing in mind this started nearly three years ago and has been left until now / not taken seriously until I went to the emergency room.

I am wondering if the suspicion is a red herring like pressure on the caudia Equine which I have signs of or perhaps some other co-existent conidition.

At the moment the worst thing is dealing with it as it is more distressing than the condition. How do you all deal with uncertainty, what keeps you positive

Take care and thanks for reading / and for any advice



  • Glad to hear you are finally getting someone to take your seriously and do something. I'm hoping that happens for me soon. The only thing that really keeps me positive or gives me hope is when I'm on here or another board and hear success stories. It makes the thought of being in less or no pain more of a possibility than a long shot. Example: I had to get bloodwork done yesterday and got talking to the lab tech. She had a 'slipped disc' a couple years ago and was in quite a bit of pain. She got to see the orthopedic surgeon who opted not to do surgery. Not sure what exactly her treatment was but she is 95% cured now. She works on her feet for hours every day and is not in pain. She runs just like before and does everything. She said it took about a year but it did heal. For me it has only been 7.5 months so there I see a bit of hope.
    Here's hoping you get the treatment you need and feel better soon.
  • Hey there...yes, general practitioners are just that, general. They are skilled at overall health and looking for obvious signs but when they can't find them, it is time to take your health in your own hands and look for the specialist.

    It's no different that having a heart condition.
    Once you have one, the GP doesn't treat you. He sends you to a cardiologist who has a 'better eye' for the details around the heart.

    I'm so glad the ER had the time to get an orthospine doctor to assess you.

    I am not doctor but what he told you is right. No need to jump the gun on surgery. Take some time to understand what the MRI is saying, what the symptoms you have mean, and see what options you have. There are many things - Physical therapy, Steroids, ESI injections, etc. that can really help the lower back. The lower back is tricky so you want to proceed with caution on surgery and explore all your options.

    That being said, if you are faced with a surgical option, come back here and we can give you good things to think about before making any drastic decisions.

    Glad you have some answers!!!
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  • Tony having gone through a herniation and the post op issues I will offer this advice....

    turn off your computer!!

    and do nothing until you have your test and speak to the doctor. You will drive yourself crazy thinking about all of the possibilities. Nothing will change between now and then so take a break. Get your test, talk to your doctor and then come back and do your research.
  • Hi Tony,
    I just wanted to say very Well Done for being pro-active about your spine health, its a shame we have to scream and shout and be creative to get the Doctors attention, but that`s the reality all the way through a spiney adventure. From now on my advice is learn to be patient,( you`ll always be waiting for something -results , appointments , phone calls back,) ask for copys of results, take a friend with to appointments and keep in constant communication with the Doctors.
    Doctors in general assume no news is good news, if they haven`t heard from you since they prescribed your last pain killers or whatever, then they will assume you are thriving on what they prescibed or you are pain free. I had a dozen or so visits & E-mails to my doctor before we found the right combination of pain killers for my needs, there are too many people suffering in silence, I`m sure.

    I hope your MRI shows up the reason for your distressing problems and above all they can find a solution. (my tank gauge always registers full when it is in fact empty too )

    Best Wishes Viking
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