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Hi, my name's Kevin

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,002
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:21 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi. From a newbie's perspective, this is a very open and welcoming forum. I am blown away by the info available and the helpful nature of the posts I have viewed so far. I am so glad I found this site.

My back issues started about 15 years ago in my senior year of college, severe lower back pain brought on by a weight lifting session. I didn't give it too much thought back then. I had an apartment mate who worked at the local hospital and provided me with some toradol samples when the Advil wouldn't cover the pain. After about 4-5 weeks of doing next to nothing but going to classes, I felt much better and got on with my life.

In my 20's I continued with my active lifestyle, playing mostly tennis and volleyball, almost year round. Figure about 10-20 hours of matches per week. That all came to a crashing halt about 6 years ago for two reasons, 1) kids came into my life which was great, and 2) a return of severe lower back pain which was not great. I have used chiropractic care to get me through numerous rough patches, and I have continued to use lots of Advil for pain management (but nothing stronger). About 2 1/2 years ago I had my first batch of sciatica, which got me to go to an orthopedist. Through a decent history and some x-rays, he diagnosed me with grade 2 spondy at L5-S1 and a possible ruptured disk at that same location. We talked about 2 disk fusion, but didn't go forward. About a year later I got a MRI which confirmed the ruptured disk at L5-S1, but also revealed a second ruptured disk at L4-L5. At that point (1 year ago), the surgeon said I would need a 3 disk fusion to correct my structural issues, and he did not recommend that type of surgery for a 36 year old with my pain level.

Through lots of core training exercises and a calisthenics regime (I laid off the weights about 5 years ago) I have managed to stay relatively accepting with my pain levels. Recently (about 2 weeks ago), I have started to get numbness in both feet that then travels up my legs after sitting for longer than 15 minutes. Standing and walking relieves this sensation. I am also getting a sharp stab of pain in my lower back a few times of day, which does not seem to be brought on by movement or any specific position. So I have made a new appointment with the orthopedist for a new assessment. He can't see me until August 15th, so I am going to float at my current pain level (I hope not worse) and new unsettling symptoms (foot and leg numbness) until then. In the mean time, I may see my friend the chiropractor to help me if need be.

If anyone can offer advice, please do. Otherwise, checking out previous posts and reading this website’s thorough info already has helped me a great deal.



  • welcome to spine-health...
  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i hope you can find some answers for your pain soon. getting a diagnosis is only the beginning. seeing an orthopedist is a good first step. you may need future tests to determine this. good luck and i hope to see you around the forum. Jenny :)
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  • Glad that you have joined us. Has any of the docs suggested a microdiscectomy? I was thinking that may be an option in order to relieve the pressure on the nerves. Of course there are no guarantees with this procedure just as there are no guarantees with fusion. I took my chances with microD as I am nowhere near ready or even considering fusion. Please make sure that all conservative treatments have failed before you consider surgery. Of course if you are risking permanent nerve damage I am sure that the doc will suggest surgery. Good luck and please keep us posted with your progress.
  • I haven't considered any surgeries since I discounted the triple fusion last year. And you guessed correctly, my concern today is nerve damage (there is lots of conflicting info out there regarding the severity, permanency, etc.) that the numbness in my legs seems to signify. When I battled sciatica before, it was always pain related, not numbness. Frankly, I am a little unsettled by the absence of the pain and the introduction of the opposite (decreased sensation).

    In any case, thanks for the tip. I will put the Microdiscectomy on my research list for future reading.

  • Kevin,

    Welcome! I found all the information useful whether it was a positive or negative outcome it was useful. The best part about this site is finding people in the same boat and going down a similar path. Good luck in your quest.

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  • Hey,

    You have the same problems as me - which after many years ive now had treated with surgery twice. Have you tried accupuncture to help with the pain - I found it really helped. Also have you tried Gabapentin (anti-epileptic meds) - didnt help with my lower back pain but was brilliant for leg/foot pain?

    I actually had a Charite total disc replacement at l4-l5 as surgeon didnt want to do two level fusion - his theory being that the fusion puts a strain on disc above and i was already showing mild damage at l3-l4. Disc replacement keeps some movement so reduces stress at level above. Had to have fusion at l5-s1 because of spondy and pars defect.

    Hope it helps...
  • No, I haven't tried acupuncture yet, although I do have a friend who practices and is certified. I'll have to consider that in the future.

    Would love to talk more since we do share the same diagnosis. Thanks for posting.
  • You have a similar history to mine except that I'm probably 25 years older.
    I too was huge into physical activity in my 30s and 40 and playing a high level of adult hockey until last November.
    Remember periods of back pain which was temporary, not permanent which it is presently.
    Considering microdisectomy but like you I am a little concerned of the long term.
    I would like to continue being active-
    In your case I would probably wait a couple of years B4 surgery.
    You may wish to try an epidural injection and try physical therapy.
    Just my 2 cents....
  • I appreciate the advice and I totally agree that surgery is not yet warranted for me. I don't consider my pain level high enough. It is just the new numbness in my feet and legs that has me worried.

    I am sorry to hear though that your back pain in its current state is leading you towards surgery. The word "permanent", especially when it comes to pain, is the one that worries me the most. Good Luck!
  • kkonopka- welcome to the site. I saw the post about numbness and when I had numbness in my left calf, my dr did an EMG with NCV. It was done with needles and electrical charges but it showed I had radiculopathy. jade
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