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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


Large Tarlov cysts
Sep 13, 2014
Hi there.

I'd been having some pretty bad lower back pain for the past few months. My primary doctor told me to take a bath every night with Epson Salts and wanted to send me for physical therapy. I asked her "Shouldn't we do an MRI so we know what we are dealing with for physical therapy". She blew me off and acted like I was drug seeking when I asked for some pain medication. So, I went to my spine specialist who did a disc replacement in my neck that worked like magic about a year ago. He put me on steroids and pain meds and gave me a slip for MRI and X rays if the steroids didn't work. Well, the pain continues and was getting worse so I went for the MRI last week. I asked the radiology people to mail me a copy of the findings. Got it in the mail yesterday and come to find out, I have a large Tarlov cyst on my S1 measuring 2.7 cm. Anything over 1.5 is considered systematic, as in causing pain. I've been doing some research on the internet and see that cysts of this size usually require remediation. Either some method of draining it or surgery to remove it. Anyone else out there with this condition? I sure would like to hear from someone with the same issue.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

JB
Hi there anyone who may read this. I saw my spine doc, who I now refer to by a nasty name, last Monday. I told him how upset I was with the prognosis of a LARGE Tarlov cyst.
Then he blew me away. He said he didn't know why I would be upset because those cysts do not cause pain. I told him that I had done a lot of research on tarlov cysts and that it's the small ones (1.5 cm or less) that do not cause problems. Mine is 2.7 cm x 1.9 and they can not only cause pain, but can cause loss of bowel and bladder function, headaches, etc.
He said "you can't believe everything you read on the intranet". I was speechless. He said he didn't know what was causing my lower back pain and referred me to pain management! Everything I had read was from reliable sources such as Wickepedia, Mayo clinic, Dept of Neurology, Mayo clinic etc.

So, in desperation for some direction, I saw a doctor at a pain management place near where I work. I came with my films, copy of the MRI report and print outs from the above sources. I told the pain doc that I didn't intend to be a regular patient, but need help deciding what to do next. That doctor agreed that the spine doc blew me off and that tarlov cysts are rare. He had only encountered one person in his career that had a large cyst and she had lost both bowel and bladder function. He agreed that they certainly can cause pain. He came up with a plan. Next Wednesday, he's going to do a lumbar injection. He said if that stops the pain, than the pain is most likely from the slight disk degeneration on my L2-3 and L3-4 along with a slight disc bulge on L 4-5 that the MRI noted. He said that if it does not stop the pain, then we know the pain is from the cyst and he knows a spine doctor that he thinks highly of, that he'd refer me to.

I left there feeling much better.
I feel like mailing the original spine doc the printouts from all my research with a note to him that "here is some educational materials for you, since you don't know a damn thing about tarlov cysts".

Thanks for taking the time to read this. It does help to vent sometimes.

JB





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