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Back Problems Message Board

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Hello everyone,
Im 32 and I have been suffering from lower back pain since about 2003. I first found out that I had a herniated disc in 2003 via a MRI. Which I was able to manage the pain with physical theropy for several years. About 1.5 years ago I was squating during a work out and felt what I can best describ as "grape being squished" between my disc. After several days of excruciating pain, I made it to my doctor and had a second MRI done. It showed that L4-L5 was now herniated as well and that both discs had what appeared to be a tear in the annulus.
I have had injections, nerve blocks, facet block none of which offered any relief. I also had a disc-o-gram done and were not able to duplicate the pain.
My pain is centralized around the disc itself and I have no pain, numbness down my butt or legs. Even though my MRI shows that I should have pain and numbness down my left leg due to nerve impengement on the left side of both discs. It seems to be the worst while I sit, standing for too long does the same thing. The only thing that has ever offered any relief is decompression of the disc. I get 100% relief when I hang upside down on my inversion table and the same if I do some type of traction at theropy. but this will only last for about 10 minutes then gravity seems to re-compress my discs and back to more pain.
I have been on pain meds for almost a year and a half now, oxycodone 30mg 4 times a day. they used to work great, so much that I only needed to take 3/4 of one every few hours, then I had to go up the the full 1 tab every few hours. Now, 1 tab does very little in relieving the pain even after bumping it up to 5 per day. When the meds worked I was able to get through the day with minimal pain, but now it seems as if I am immune to the oxycodone.

Does anyone have any info as to what could help me? surgery? Im only 32 and want to avoid this, but the pain seems to only be worse as each month goes by. Ive gotten to the point where I have no life.
Here are my 2 previous MRI results:

Technique: Sagittal T1 weighted, T2 weighted sequences as well as axial T2 weighted sequence is performed.

Findings: There are no prior MR examinations for camparison at this time. At the L5-S1 intervertebral disc space there is disc deydration. There is abroad based disc herniation lateralizing greater towards the left as compared to the right. The disc herniation displaces the S1 nerve root posteriorly. There is a slight flattening of the S1 nerve root. the right S1 nerver root is normal. There is no significant compression of the thecal sac. The neural foramina are normal bilaterally.
At the L4-L5 intervertebral disc space there is also a broad based central disc herniation. There is also disc dehydration. There is a slight extradural indentation of the thecal sac at the L4-L5 intervertebral disc space. There are mild facet arthritic changes seen at this level. There is a mild foraminal stenosis bilaterally.
1. Central disc herniation at the L4-L5 intervertebral disc space as above.
2. A broad based moderately prominent disc herniation on the left side at teh L5-S1 intervertebral disc space.
Most recent MRI


FINDINGS: The sagittal T1 demonstrated normal vertebral height. Mild intervertebral disc space narrowing at the L5-S1 interspace is seen. A slight bulging of the intervertebral discs both at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 interspace location is seen which apperars relatively mild.

The sagittal T2-weighted images showed mild desiccation of the intervertebral discs at both the L4-L5 and L5-S1 interspace location. Again mild bulging of the intervertebral disc is appreciated at the lower two interspace locations. No real copromise of the AP dimension of the canal is seen. Above the L4-L5 level the intervertebral discs were normally hydrated and normal in appearance.

The axial images demonstrated a slightly asymmetrical left-sided bulge of the intervertebral discs at the L5-S1 interspace location. There is a subtle bright signal seen within the asymmetric buldge that maybe represents the equivalent of a radial tear in the intervertebral disc at the L5-S1 interspace location. The abnormality here is a bulge rather than protrusion. The axial images through the 4-5 interspace location showed mild symmetrical expansion of the intervertebral disc. There is a shallow directly midline bulge. In addition there is a similar bright signal seen in the posterior midline annulus suggesting the equivilent of a radial rear in this position. No compromise of the AP dimension of the canal is appreciated at this interspace location as well. Axial views through the L3-4, L2-3, and L1-2 interspace location are unremarkable.

1. At the L5-S1 interspace location there is a mild amount of disiccation and asymmetrical left sided bulge of the intervertebral disc. In the midst of this bulge, there is a bright linear signal that could represent equivalent of a radial tear through the annulus. No Protrusion per e is seen however.
2. At the L4-L5 interspace mild generalized expansion is seen. There is a very shallow directly midline protrusion. Just behind this protrusion there is a bright signal in the annulus also suggestion the possiblility of a radial tear in the annulus. Again no significant impression on the thecal sac is seen but the findings here may also be cause for pain.

I have recently read about a standing or sitting MRI. Could having one of these done give a better picture of what is going on in my back? My pain goes from about a 7-8 sitting to about a 2-3 when I lie down. It seems that since the pain is extremely bad while sitting taking a picture while I am lying down would not show what is causing the problem. However taking a picture of my back whilee Im sitting when the pain is at its worst would show a true picture of what is going on. make sense?

I am looking for any help at this point, surgical or other. I dont want to keep living like I have been.

Thanks everyone!

PS sorry for the length of this post!

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