a chronology of pain, part 5

(See a chronology of pain, parts 1, 2, 3 & 4 for the beginning of this.)

My MRI report:

  1. Disc dessication from L2-3 through L5-S1.
  2. Posterior annular tear at L4-5 with central and right sided impingement upon the thecal sac.
  3. bulging annulus with L5-S1 with the annulus just touching the right sided spinal nerve at this point.

No good news.

My doctor allowed me to read the MRI report and went over what it meant with me, explaining the worst-case scenario of each item. He told me, quite frankly, that he had been expecting my MRI to come back without anything on it. I guess he thought I was making a big deal out of nothing.

Then he proceeded to give me the worst-case scenario, which involved back surgery, dessicating discs and atrophy to muscles. I came out of the conversation with him shell-shocked and freaked.

He put me on a 1200-calorie a day diet, both to reduce the pressure on my back and in anticipation of back surgery. It was his opinion that, with back surgery, in my case it wasn’t a question of if but a question of when. It was our goal, he said, to put it off as much as possible.

He gave me strict instructions on what I could and could not do. He told me that I would be deadling with back problems for the rest of my life. And he told me that he would have to monitor me closely because of the medication I would be forced to take to control the pain.

As I said, no good news.

Two weeks later, my orthopedist told me that there was nothing wrong with me.

Author: Paloma Cruz

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6 thoughts on “a chronology of pain, part 5”

  1. Surgery can work wonders. It did for me. Physical therapy for me, was painful and a waste of time. The key in my opinion is to get a really good surgeon. There are always risks of complications. It’s also important to read up on the procedure you are considering and the success rates and risks of complications. Some things like micro-discectomies have a very high sucess rate and a low possibility of complications. If you can wait you can always hope that technology gets better but living in severe pain, even with medication, is no fun. Also have a neurologist look at it, they know how nerves behave and often take a more delicate surgical approach as they are accutely aware of the fragility of the nervous system.

  2. I had disc problems that needed surgery at 22 and now again at 29. Its mostly the fault of my genetic makeup though. My lower spinal canal is narrower than normal. There are a lot of factors that contribute. If you really want to geek out on your condition you can go over to http://www.pubmed.com and type in a couple of search terms from your diagnosis. Usually you can find a few case studies regarding your particular condition that might be helpful in understanding your condition a little better. This material is pretty technical. If you want a good back disease primer you can google “herniated disc” and you’ll come up with several. Hope you get better. I’ll post again on your blog when I get back from surgery.

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