Flank Pain

Posted by bpram @bpram, Jan 6 12:33pm

My name is Betty and I am new to this discussion. I have severe flank pain which two doctors say is from my curved spine. That is because of numerous bulging or herniated disks and a stabilized compression fracture at T12. I find this hard to believe, but my abdomen has been examined and is negative for abnormalities. I have been taking Tramadol and a muscle relaxer with no relief. I just started Gabapentin yesterday and of course, it has not had time to work.
Has anyone else had this problem and have you found relief?
I am waiting for acceptance for an appointment at Mayo.
Thanks

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Betty, welcome to Connect. I am a cervical spine surgery patient, and my elderly mom also had a spinal compression fracture at T12. She has severe osteoporosis, so was not a candidate for the procedure they do with bone cement to stabilize a compression fracture. She wears a brace, but it also healed in a bit of a forward position or what they call kyphosis. She does have some discomfort that feels like aching in her hip. If she was younger, she would definitely be a surgical candidate, but at her age, surgery would just make it more painful. We are not concerned with walking since she uses a wheelchair. She is just about to begin injections to try to rebuild some bone. It seems that the severe osteoporosis was affected by a parathyroid problem that was pulling calcium out of her bones. She had surgery that removed a parathyroid gland and things stabilized, but the damage was done, and now we are trying to catch up with bone building. Her compression fracture just happened spontaneously. She did not fall and cause a fracture.

The nerves that go everywhere in the body exit the spinal cord between the vertebrae. If the spinal disc height is not maintained because of disc herniations, that space between bones gets smaller and smaller yet if the spine is held in a bent position. Herniated disc material (jelly-like) causes inflammation and can cause arthritic bony growth in places it has contacted which also can narrow the spaces where nerves exit. If a nerve is compressed anywhere along its path, a person feels pain, and that compression can be along the spine and you feel pain in the body. That is why surgeons have to be careful to identify the exact area that is causing pain before they do surgery.

I know people who take Gabapentin and it does work pretty well when it is built up to the correct dosage. I haven't taken it myself. I know we are all different in what causes pain. Some people with disc bulges and herniations don't have pain, and some do even if their imaging is very similar. I hope you will find some relief in your treatments.

Are your spine specialists helping to refer you to Mayo for an appointment?

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