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Lower back pain, leg pain, urination difficulties

Hi everyone, thanks for taking the time to read my post. I am new here, hoping I can get some insight on some of things I am going through.

I am a 32 year old female, I've had lower back pain for years, mostly when standing - when sitting/laying  I had no pain. I have severe social anxiety so I tend to manage on my own unless it's really bad. I have a very high tolerance as well. About a year ago, I threw out my back. I barely bent down to finish pulling my pants up from changing and I got horrible pain. I couldn't stand or sit up straight, I couldn't walk. I had to hunch, which still hurt very bad. I went to the ER and they gave me an injection of muscle relaxant and prescribed me some medicine. After about a week I was doing much better.

However now, I am having horrible pain with other weird symptoms. For almost 2 months now, my lower back has been in non stop constant pain when sitting, standing, or laying. I can't sleep for more than 3-4 hours at a time. Having really bad social anxiety, I figured I would try my best to deal with it hoping it would ease after a while. Now just a few days ago, and this is very embarrassing to admit, I have been having problems holding my urine. My butt and genital region feel kind of tingly, like it was asleep and that "waking up" feeling. When I stand up sometimes I realize I have urinated a little bit without knowing. When walking to the bathroom, it is hard to hold the rest in and I have to hurry otherwise I will start going while I am walking. My upper/thigh region of my right leg feels tingly also, and it feels like it can give out when I am walking if I walk too fast. Sometimes I have this burning pain going down my leg, but it isn't constant.

My urination and leg issues happened around the same time about 3 days ago so yesterday I went to the ER and told them everything. I live in a place where it is common for people come in to the ER and say they are in pain in hopes of getting pain killers to abuse. I am so embarrassed because I feel like they think I was one of those people, but I don't use drugs. Or even alcohol. Anyway I was given a room, they took blood, urine all that. They gave me an anal tone test, I think it was called. I told them I felt like I was constipated because my stomach would have pains like I needed to use the bathroom, but I couldn't go and that I eventually had to use a glove and "help" myself go. They ordered an MRI, which when the results came back said it was fine, and prescribed me 3 days worth of Norco/hyrdrocodone and Motrin and sent me on my way.

My discharge papers say my reason for visit is: Pain in back. And my discharge diagnosis is: Lower back pain. I have a 3 day supply of pain killers, which are taking the edge off my back pain but I still have leg weakness and I keep accidentally urinating on myself, almost every time I stand up. They didn't mention anything about at home care for urination or how I can deal with. It wasn't even listed anywhere on my papers that this was something I was dealing with. They say to return if the symptoms worsen, they are the same. But I am not sure what I should do about walking and my urination problem. And after a few days my back pain is going to return. 3 days of painkillers isn't going to help with that at all. This is kind of why I feel like they think I am just after pain killers. I would rather have anti-biotics or something to make it go away and just endure the pain until then.

I googled back pain forums and found this place. I was hoping maybe someone had personal advice, I know medical advice is and should be given by the professionals. But I thought maybe someone experienced this also, or have a loved one who has experienced this who can share with me any information. Sorry for the long posting, and thank you again.



  • If this were happening to me I would get a second opinion.  Lack of bladder control, I have read, is a sign that your back injury is serious.  I'm surprised the doctors didn't take it seriously!  Maybe a primary care physician with expertise in bone and back instead of an ER doc would be better, someone you can use for long term care?  ER docs are trauma focused.  And they generally don't expect to see you again after that first visit.  Just my personal thoughts...
  • I would consult your primary doc. I know disc herniations can cause leg, butt, pelvic and back pain tingling and burning. It can also affect bladder control.  

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  • Agree with above statement. You should go see your PCP or a back specialist as soon as possible. Losing bladder control due to any reason in general is serious issue. Good wishes to you.
  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,519
    For starters see your PCP.  Bladder problems can mean some other bigger problem.  Most doctors I know that when they here bladder problems, they want ot address that quickly.
    Please go see your PCP
  • catapamcatapam AustriaPosts: 207
    Your diagnosis Lower back pain is obviously not correct while you have leg pain and bladder control issues that is generally related with disk herniation
    As I know the order from less severe to quite severe is
    back pain only- leg pain - leg pain and bladder control
    For last condition as yours surgery may be a possibility 
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  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,519
    Curious,  What makes you say that the diagnosis of lower back pain is incorrect?
    Many situation with bladder problems/control are related to nerve damage, doesn't need to only be a herniation.
  • catapamcatapam AustriaPosts: 207
    took it from spine-health

    yes, a ruptured disc (also called a herniated disc) can directly affect the bladder function and cause incontinence - either the inability to hold urine or the inability to empty the bladder.

    if you have these symptoms you should contact your physician immediately, as these symptoms can indicate a serious medical condition (cauda equina syndrome) and prompt surgical treatment would be needed.

  • Thanks everyone. I managed to get an appointment with my regular doctor tomorrow for a second opinion. I still have the back and leg pain, and urination issues so I too doubt it's just simply lower back pain. I'll update when I find something out in case someone else has similar issues. Maybe it can help them also. Thanks again!
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,241
    hello kellyca !

    please click on link for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I am having the same type of problem after going around with a slipped disc for several months I was in so much pain I had an epidural in my lower back and now 2 years later although my back is better I am now having incontinence problems mainly detrusor contractions are bladder spasms that come ons suddenly and are very hard to control so I am now in the process of trying to eliminate the cause. Never had any problems before the back episode an epidural other than a little occasional stress incontinence
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