Urinating difficulties and L1/T level

Posted by gcranor @gcranor, Sep 15 8:54am

I am having more and more problems with urinating (I need to use a catheter 6 times a day) and getting worse. I had fusion from S level to L1/ T5 ( first T level from the bottom up). The L1/T level fusion was supposed to help with my urinating difficulties (I have no prostrate issue by my urologist) but I am needing to us more catheters as time goes on. My question is what is my next problem, how do I get true answers and not more fusions? I also have narrowing of the throat (no reason known), GERD no reason know. I have a Metronic’s drug pump to help manage my pain. I have started to swim to help keep me fit, and try to keep my mind busy by volunteering. I not sure what doctor to go see to help with the spine/urinating and throat/GERD issues are they connected?

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@gcranor Hello, I am a fellow spine surgery patient and my spine issues were cervical having come years after a whiplash injury. I did look at your profile and your other discussions and since you spoke about past history of concussions, it might be worth asking your spine specialist to look at your cervical spine. In my thinking, if you hit your head, you are also jarring your spine which could cause damage to discs. A disc can have minor cracks, that later weaken and open up with aging. Normal aging causes discs to dry out a bit. It is possible with your past law enforcement career, that there may have been a physical injury to your C spine.

My C5/C6 disc collapsed and herniated about 20 years post whiplash, and caused bone spurs to grow next to it inside the spinal canal. It was compressing my spinal cord. There was also about 2 mm of movement of one vertebrae slipping past the other. As this was developing, muscle spasms would shift the vertebrae and put pressure on the cord. Essentially, that was narrowing the spinal canal further, and this did cause symptoms of uneven walking gait, and problems emptying my bladder. It was intermittent in that, when my physical therapist got my spine realigned better releasing the spasms, I could walk normally again, etc, but when the spasms returned, the walking and bladder symptoms returned again. I have some slight degree of slipping at every cervical level from X ray flexion reports. The bone spurs and extruded disc contents eventually consumed the fluid space around the spinal cord, and just prior to my spine surgery, if I flexed my neck, I sent a big electric shock down my entire body.

Cervical stenosis does cause bowel and bladder incontinence in later stages that can become permanent if there is spinal cord damage, and I think what I experienced were early symptoms that could have progressed to that if no decompression surgery had been performed. I had been warned about this by an anesthesiologist who was doing a cervical spine injection on me. It seems like you have ruled out urological reasons for bladder difficulties. I'm a bit familiar with that as my elderly dad was using catheters because he had trouble emptying.

It might be worth a consult with a spine specialist about your cervical spine and some new imaging to determine if there is cause for a spine problem there. If you don't have confidence in your current provider, you could seek another opinion elsewhere.

Has anyone examined your cervical spine before? If yes, how long ago was it? Do you have a trusted spine specialist for an appointment?

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