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Thread: Seeing a back specialist

  1. #21
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    Had my mri and xrays done. My bottom two discs are black and the others are white. I’ll try to post a picture but not sure if it will go through here or not. I go to my follow up appointment in a couple of days to see what the doctor says.

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    Attachment 50212

    White spot on disc; possible bone spur/disc tear??
    Last edited by Outofideas; 01-16-2019 at 05:40 PM.

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  3. #22
    Mine is almost identical without the white spot (bottom two discs are also black)...I don't seem to have as much protrusion (mild-herniation?) into the spinal canal at L4-L5 and L5-S1 as it looks like you might.

    What did the radiologist write up?...Could it just be an 'artifact' ???

    Of course, my radiologist filled over a whole page describing the "arthrosis, facet-joint osteoarthritis, disc degeneration," etc, at every (expletive) level but made NO
    mention of the fact that the paraspinal muscles on one side of my back are between 30-70% smaller than the other side. I had to generate my own set of
    axial images complete with centerlines to try and convince my doctors (who don't look at MRI images) that I have a dead spine erector muscle/tendon at the L1 insertion.

    Just like orthopaedics, radiologists are only good at the stuff they see every day, not the unusual stuff...so I would DIY 'research' as best you can.
    Last edited by heliarc; 01-16-2019 at 10:04 PM.
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  4. #23
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    I’m not sure what the radiologist said. They told me they couldn’t tell me anything and that the doctor would discuss it with me on my next appointment. I have a disk with everything on it that I need to take with me to my appointment would the notes be on that?

  5. #24
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    I looked at every file on the disk and the notes section where the pictures are and the notes section is blank.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by Outofideas View Post
    I looked at every file on the disk and the notes section where the pictures are and the notes section is blank.
    they send the written report to the doctor and you can get a copy from him/her. i did look at my disk and read a few sites that give you advice on how to read your mri. i also found out that the radiologist often choses not to write out things. for example, i have a tarlov cyst that the radiologist didn't comment on because many are asymptomatic. unfortunately, not all are, and he didn't put it into the report until the second mri.

    my advice would be to take your report and google every single term in it. my doctor too skipped over things that cause pain. educating yourself on the mri will enable you to question the doctor. they often say things like blank doesn't cause pain, but when you research blank you discover many people suffer pain from blank.

    the tendency in doctors right now is to refuse to admit that the pain has causes. sad, but true, and when you know your diagnosis you can demand it be treated.

    a lot of people are happy to have a diagnosis because doctors are also fond of the there's nothing wrong: you must be imagining it trope. i hope you get some answers.
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  7. #26
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    So the doc said I didn’t have any bulging discs and the degeneration of my bottom two discs are normal for my age (33). He said he deals with problems that require surgery and since I’ve nothing that requires that he is referring me to a physiatrist in the pain management clinic in the same building as him. He said that even though I’ve nothing that he can see as a serious problem doesn’t mean there isn’t one it’s just that he only treats certain problems and the other doc should be able to help me figure out what’s wrong. I’m awaiting my report on the tests I have done so I can read it myself. The visit was very underwhelming because I was really hoping to find an answer on why I’m in so much pain. So on to the next specialist to see if he can help.
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  8. #27
    Sounds pretty much like the standard script to me...

    Nowadays (thanks in part to the opioid crisis) doctors don't like to make any other diagnosis beyond the generic 'LBP pain' or 'soft tissue injury' for anything that isn't clearly distinguishable on an x-ray or MRI. This includes most muscle-related injuries like strains and sprains, but also for chronic conditions like 'fatty infiltration', tendinopathies, muscle degeneration,etc., no matter how severe (as in my case).

    My guess is that your multifidus muscles in the lumbar region may also be affected (since there is a tendency for that to happen with disc-degeneration). But unfortunately, current medical imaging technology doesn't permit enough resolution at the cellular level to make an easy diagnosis.

    Ultrasound imaging is getting better at detecting muscle anomalies, but good luck finding a 'non-holistic' doctor or specialist that knows how to use it anywhere on the back!...
    Helpful Outofideas, Gramma Rated helpful

  9. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by awwwurz View Post
    Good luck and be careful. My family has a ton of that mess. L5S1 is the most common but it helps to narrow down if it's more a structural pain and/or nerve pain. Does it run down your legs? Out to your hands? Do certain positions make it worse?
    MRI's are fine but they won't always narrow down a nerve issue. It's a good start. Did you get contrast and non-contrast?

    Next up= fun of the EMG test. Needles and perhaps electric shocks to test out your reflexes and "listen in" on nerve issues.

    Do not rush into surgery. They should not do that unless you have a serious nerve issues where they feel you will have loss of feeling and so on.

    Physical therapy is normally the first course I believe and some NSAIDS. Watch out for any heavy medications. Not a good way to go.

    Again, avoid surgery if you can. How long have you had this issue? I see it has been years but has it differed? DO NOT RUSH SURGERY.

    I think if you have lasted this long it would be a mistake to get surgery. Especially if they start talking about a fusion. Those seem to fail a lot. My mom never got better from that mess.

    Good luck.
    Having suffered with lower b@ck pain surgery was once considered..and like the above poster says avoid surgery if you can ...I went for specific exercise plan and physio ...through an oestopath ...Pilates if you can... stretching exercise and core strengthening ..however always seek docs advice before hand...MRI scan very useful to identify problems ....good luck
    Last edited by Lordy; 01-22-2019 at 08:45 PM.
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  10. #29
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    So check this out, everyone! Went to the new doc that other one referred me to and as soon as he walks into the room and sits down he opens up my mri and X-ray images and the first thing he says is, “ok so he (other doc) never looked at the images or read the report”
    He found that I have early signs of degenerative disc disease and A TORN DISC!! Which I saw for myself when looking at the images but couldn’t know for certain because obviously I am not a doctor and just assumed that’s what it was based on my own research. He gave me cortisone tablets to take for 6 days and I start 6 week physical therapy next week and then if that doesn’t help he will try epideral cortisone shots in my back. I am very relieved that I am finally starting to get answers as to why I have so much pain and hopefully be on a good path to get this treated. I can’t tell everyone in this thread enough how much I appareciate your answers and advice. Seriously, you guys are awesome and I’m glad to be a part of this community.
    Last edited by Outofideas; 01-30-2019 at 09:56 AM.
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  11. #30
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    I stumbled into this area thanks to thigh pain and a failed attempt at the doctor's office to find relief. I had what I thought was a pinched nerve, or possible blood clot, so I went to the doctor's office just in case. Besides thigh pain when rising, sometimes so horrible I am forced to fold at the waist for a few seconds, my knee on that same side is swollen and is numb along with my shin. Multiple x-rays and a CT scan on my legs and hips and an ultrasound of my vessels showed no clot and no breaks, however this is where everything stalled. The GP basically told me come back in a week and don't bother me until then. My question is,do I need to be searching for a neurologist to help me with this problem? I am going on one week of pain and being basically useless. Obviously this isn't going to go away on its own in a few days and the GP doesn't seem to give a crap since I am not going to die from this. I am ok once I get walking, but if I have to bend over or get on my knees it can be horrific trying to maintain that position or get back up.
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  12. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artknowsme View Post
    I stumbled into this area thanks to thigh pain and a failed attempt at the doctor's office to find relief. I had what I thought was a pinched nerve, or possible blood clot, so I went to the doctor's office just in case. Besides thigh pain when rising, sometimes so horrible I am forced to fold at the waist for a few seconds, my knee on that same side is swollen and is numb along with my shin. Multiple x-rays and a CT scan on my legs and hips and an ultrasound of my vessels showed no clot and no breaks, however this is where everything stalled. The GP basically told me come back in a week and don't bother me until then. My question is,do I need to be searching for a neurologist to help me with this problem? I am going on one week of pain and being basically useless. Obviously this isn't going to go away on its own in a few days and the GP doesn't seem to give a crap since I am not going to die from this. I am ok once I get walking, but if I have to bend over or get on my knees it can be horrific trying to maintain that position or get back up.
    I have had the same experiences with doctors not seeming to care about things unless you're in the hospital and have a heart attack. Truly, when I had my heart attack my general prac. actually patted me on the back and told me he was surprised I had one. He never before has touched me. The nurse did all the touching until then. I've had other similar experiences. I think maybe they're so accustomed to their many patients sharing fearful panicked stories that they just let it roll off of them. It certainly doesn't make us feel any better though.
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    @jakemoe, @Outofideas, your experiences are so similar to mine. It gives me a real sense of camaraderie; it also scares the $#!t out of me!

    I finally, finally not only got a good MRI but also had the damn thing read by someone knowledgeable -- my new doc, who'd requested the test, was shocked at the number of vertebrae, rib and other fractures & breaks that had gone undetected up till then. She said some were pretty new and/or small and so could've been overlooked, understandably. But some were quite old and shouldn't have been missed even with just basic X-rays. I'm thrilled to be able to say NO, it's NOT all in my head and have the proof, but it's really sad that it's taken so long and I had to go thru so much trying to get people to believe I was in pain.

    My doctors rarely if ever touch me -- in fact, two of my main guys rarely even look at me: they're too busy updating the electronic records. Strange, isn't it? Aren't "healing" and "laying on of hands" supposed to be synonymous?
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  14. #33
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    The GP’s I saw for my issues were essentially the same way. I would definitely go find a specialist and go from there. Those problems sound awful! Good luck!


    Quote Originally Posted by Artknowsme View Post
    I stumbled into this area thanks to thigh pain and a failed attempt at the doctor's office to find relief. I had what I thought was a pinched nerve, or possible blood clot, so I went to the doctor's office just in case. Besides thigh pain when rising, sometimes so horrible I am forced to fold at the waist for a few seconds, my knee on that same side is swollen and is numb along with my shin. Multiple x-rays and a CT scan on my legs and hips and an ultrasound of my vessels showed no clot and no breaks, however this is where everything stalled. The GP basically told me come back in a week and don't bother me until then. My question is,do I need to be searching for a neurologist to help me with this problem? I am going on one week of pain and being basically useless. Obviously this isn't going to go away on its own in a few days and the GP doesn't seem to give a crap since I am not going to die from this. I am ok once I get walking, but if I have to bend over or get on my knees it can be horrific trying to maintain that position or get back up.
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  15. #34
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    @Outofideas, Hope you've found some relief since starting on the cortisone pills. Most people seem to dislike prednisone but it's become my savior this past year or so -- nothing else comes close to taking down the inflammation and "unlocking" my chest and back. I hope whatever variant you were prescribed works as well for you. I'll be interested to hear how PT goes for you also -- are you in a group, or one on one with a therapist?
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  16. #35
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    I’ve not started my PT yet so I won’t know how it will go. They scheduled me two weeks out after my last appt. I do have some relief. Just hopeful the pt will work as well. Thanks!
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  17. #36
    I'm looking forward to hearing if the cortisone tablets help, too @Outofideas? Do you think that's the bit of relief you are experiencing now?

    I've had the cortisone shots and they didn't work (in my lower back) - just made my legs not work for the rest of the day. Literally had to use a wheelchair until my legs weren't numb anymore. However, I believe the cortisone helps a lot of people... and tablets sure beat a shot!

    At my last dr appointment, I was scheduled to do PT again (I used to go 2x/week at first). Haven't gone yet though
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  18. #37
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    When I haven’t taken my pain medicine I still have a lot of pain. Maybe a slight relief? Hoping once they’re done it will be better.

  19. Seeing a back specialist
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