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reneebird

Low back pain, irritated spinal nerve root

Posted by @reneebird in Just Want to Talk, Nov 11, 2011

Hi! I had a microdiscectomy in 1998 for a herniated disc. The surgery went fine, but 3 weeks after surg, pulled muscle or ligament in low back during physical therapy. Have had chronic pain since. Have had all the tests and scans; MRI, CT scan, myleogram, nerve blocks, EMG, spinal cord stimulator trial, pain pump. Nothing worked. I've never even had a definite diagnosis. We know there is nerve involvement. My symptoms are pain right side lower back, radiating to buttocks and down leg. Burning pain. The MRI shows some scar tissue at L4 L5, but not pressing on a nerve. The EMG said suspected irritated spinal nerve root. Does anyone else have this problem? I've wondered about surgery to remove the scar tissue, but doctors have said not to ever have surgery again. They said that the scar tissue would come back. But, they don't have to live my life, which is basically lying on the couch all day, with an ice pack and Klonopin, which is the only drug that has really ever helped with my chronic pain. I've read about newer, stronger MRI's. I've always felt if they could just see whatever might be pressing on my nerve, then possibly they could fix it. Does anyone else have this problem?

Tags: chronic pain, chronic back pain

ross

Posted by @ross, Nov 18, 2011

Yes. I had surgery at L4 L5 for a herniated disc. While finishing physical therapy, with lackluster results, I made an appointment with a yoga instructor who was a former physical therapist. She gave me stretches that with daily use over the course of about 8 months rid me of pain that has not returned in the past 12 years.

In the beginning I spent 1/2 hour to 45 minutes and after several months I was spending 4 to 6 or more hours a day. But it was worth it. Contact me and I can walk you through the initial stretches on the phone. It hurts, but it hurts good. You'll need to use ice packs after each session until the pain starts to lift.

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kharrisma

Posted by @kharrisma, Apr 26, 2012

Same problem; HNP @ L4-L5, with radiculopathy/sciatica. Was losing strength & control of Rt leg. Microdiscectomy/laminotomy cured the sciatica and restored full function. Had a good five months or so back at work, full-duty. Gradual deterioration, at first back just achy, but better next day. Then needed whole weekend to feel better. Then had to back off on activity level to avoid pain flare-ups. Eventually had to quit working altogether, currently on disability. Constant lumbar pain (4 on 1-10 pain scale is my "baseline;" it gets worse from there.) Tried PT... immediate worsening of pain. Tried numbing injections @ facet joints (6 shots at once) which actually did help. Went back for the 'full monty' (Radiofrequency Lesioning... burn the nerve) which helped for only a short while, and not very much at that. Pain slowly worsening. Asked about spinal fusion as maybe a cure... surgeon sent me for a 'discography' to see if fusion would even help (turns out, NO.) THAT HURT!! Now looking at another numbing injection at one specific facet joint (L4-L5, Rt), as he suspects that piece of anatomy based on what he did in the O.R. and my pointing out the "core" of the pain. That's tomorrow. Meanwhile, the sciatica has returned big-time. If I get relief, we'll try a "carpet-bombing" approach to RF Lesioning; apparently, numbing is kind of a diffuse thing, covers a fair amount of real-estate, whereas the RF Lesioning is a precision, pinpoint thing... it's possible to simply "miss" the target with a single burn. If that fails, it looks like I'm on acupuncture, massage/energy workers, drugs, a TENS unit, and cautious Yoga. Scar tissue ALWAYS forms whenever there is tissue damage. Removing your existing scar tissue will only result in MORE scar tissue. It's futile. There's a possibility that the nerve root is adhesed (stuck) to the scar tissue, and that can be fixed; it's not the scar tissue itself, per se, but the affect of the scar tissue on surrounding structures (like adhesions of the bowel after abdominal surgery.)

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bab86

Posted by @bab86, Jun 27, 2013

The scar tissue does not cause the pain according to my doctor. It's the inflamed nerve. I too have been having problems with an inflamed nerve at the root base l45. Now I have been to many doctors spending thousands (and this has been after surgery) and nothing has worked. I went to a traditional Chinese acupuncturist yesterday and she explained a few things that made sense. Diet is very important. I will make this as brief as I can. Lemmon squeezed in to warm water, no ice, drink in the morning. Hot tea with ginger is good also sometime in the day. Take milk out of your diet. Eat or drink nothing cold. Chicken broth made from chicken bones or fish(if you can take that) No tobacco. There a bunch of foods out there that can reduce inflamation. Also do get acupncture done. This doctor also put patches on me in the affected areas that have medcine on them. This is my last hope and I am keeping my fingers crossed. I did feel better yesterday after leaving. Also don't use artificial sweetners.

help4son

Posted by @help4son, Jun 24, 2012

Ross, were you spending 4 to 6 hours a day doing just stretches. Do you know if doing these will help to break up scar tissue? Hope you had a great weekend.

reneebird

Posted by @reneebird, Nov 18, 2011

Ross, this is so kind of you to offer to help me, however, I've never been able to do any kind of physical therapy stretches except a few years ago I was doing really good, walking and gentle back exercises. Then, unfortunately, I re-injured my back! I never dreamed that would happen and I've never been able to get back to where I was, otherwise I would love to try yoga. I saw on the Dr. OZ show about pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) and I'm going to try it. It's supposed to help, not only with pain but reduces inflammation, which I think is a big part of my problem. Hopefully, with reduced inflammation, I'll be able to get back to walking and stretching, then maybe YOGA! Thank-you so much for trying to help me. You're the only one who replied to my post. Thank-you for caring and I'm glad you are doing so well.
Sincerely,
Renee

ross

Posted by @ross, Nov 18, 2011

Renee,

The woman I learned from taught people in wheelchairs. Her class was call Yoga for people with special conditions. Can you sit in a chair, with both feet on the floor and your head and shoulders nominally above your hips? Can you or can someone help you place the ankle of one leg on the knee of the other leg? Just doing this will begin stretching your hip flexors. Pressing down on the now elevated knee will stretch them even more. But you don't need to do that, just sitting properly and putting the ankle of one leg on the knee of the other is enough of a start. The smallest beginning is better than the nothing you're now doing. If you really can't then you can't. But these stretches are meant for people with special conditions; people like me and you.
Ross

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ross

Posted by @ross, Nov 18, 2011

Renee,

I'm going off line for awhile. I nearly died from meningitis two years ago and have never fully recovered. But I will check in with you later today, but probably tomorrow. I look forward to hearing from you.

Ross

reneebird

Posted by @reneebird, Nov 19, 2011

Ross, I'm sorry to hear about your bout with meningitis and difficult recovery. Right now, my nerve is very inflamed, but when it calms down I may try that stretch. Thanks for the advice. Renee

ross

Posted by @ross, Nov 19, 2011

Good Morning Renee,

Ross here. If you've attempted that stretch and can't do it, are you able to stand? If so, try this. Stand two to three feet from a wall. Your feet should be parallel and spread apart the same distance as your shoulders. Place your hands on the wall directly in front of your shoulders, Lean forward, using your arms to support you. If this is too much for the 'bad' leg, move the 'bad' leg forward and stretch the good leg. This will stretch the back of the leg from tush to heel, the hamstrings and the achilles tendon and its attachments.

You've probably already said this and I've forgotten. Have you had cortisone injected into the inflamed area to cool down the nerve? In addition, a neurologist on the Charlie Rose show described persistent, long term pain as a disease in and of itself. The pain receptors in the brain become highly sensitized to to pain signals. This sensitivity can be reduced, and the pain reduced by taking the medication Lyrica or a similar medication. I'm hoping to have it prescribed for ongoing pain from Fibromyalgia and Polymyalgia Rheumatica.

You might also try going to the NIH website to see if there are any clinical trials for the control of pain for which you might qualify and that are in your geographic area.

I'm off to my garden. It's in the 40's and so cool enough that in shorts and a tee-shirt I won't overheat. Since the meningitis, my thermostat, probably the hypothalamus, doesn't work. It drives my neighbors crazy to see me out dressed as if it were summer and they're all cold in jackets and gloves. I'm hoping to get a diagnosis and treatment soon because summer's a real bear to endure.

Take care and talk to you later,

Ross

help4son

Posted by @help4son, Jun 24, 2012

My son has a situation very similar to Renee and he was told his only recourse was drugs. I cannot accept this for him and he is not willing to accept it either. The only difference as I understand it is that the scar tissue in pressing on or growing around the nerve. Do you have any suggestions for him. My email is jeanstowell1@aol.com. Please feel free to contact me. Please put For Steven in the subject line. Thank you.

brucepa

Posted by @brucepa, Jan 21, 2013

Have you considered electromagnetic therapy?

http://biolifetherapy.com/

BioLife Therapy System is the latest and most advanced technology in Pulsed ElectroMagnetic Therapy out of Italy and boasts unique dual transducer applicators. The transducer applicators allow for direct application of the electromagnetic treatment to the effected area on the body with specific frequency, intensity and time treatments. This allows for more efficient treatment and faster recovery of the pain effected area compared to the traditional mat only system.

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