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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Your MRI definitely points to several "hot spots" you have going on, but also describes most of them as mild. However, when sitting you put much more stress on the discs, and what can be mild when upright or laying down can be severe enough to cause sciatica when sitting.

Sciatica doesn't always travel all the way down the leg, but when it does it usually means it's more severe.

You mention you have bad stiffness which isn't normally associated with lumbar spinal degenerative changes, but can be associated with some types of rheumatoid arthritis, such as ankylosing spondylitis. This condition often causes inflammation and degeneration of the sacroliac joints which can easily be mistaken for low back pain, and can cause severe stiffness.

Based on what you have described, I think your best next step would be to see a rheumatologist to get screened for possible arthritis conditions.

If you have no arthritis conditions, then something for you to know is that oftentimes people with mild spinal herniations/problems will get better within 1-3 years, but it can be very frustrating to go through. PT and chiropractors may help with some of the pain and may help get your muscles stronger in the right places to better support your spine and surrounding structures, but they aren't likely going to make your situation get better any faster. Going to a PT and chiropractor aren't redundant - they take different very different approaches. I can speak with confidence that almost all of us on here would recommend you be careful with the chiropractor, as some have been known to actually make disc problems worse for patients.

There is a test that may show if your problems that showed up in your previous MRI are the cause of your pain, and that's an upright MRI where you actually sit while an MRI is done. However, you would need a doctor to order that for you. If you go into a doctor's office and tell them right upfront that you don't want to have surgery, then they likely aren't going to order any expensive tests like this for you.

There are also other more invasive tests that may be down the line for you if your symptoms become so severe that you're unable to sit or work, and that would include tests like myelograms and discograms. Those aren't for you right now. Have you had and ESI's? That might help. Also, there are nerve blocks to help pinpoint the cause of pain, but the doctors may be reluctant to do this as your sciatica doesn't travel all the way down your leg.

Dealing with spine issues can be a very long and frustrating journey, and if it helps you please know there are many of us here who have already been traveling that road for some time.

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