View Full Version : Pinched nerve/herniated disc???
10-06-2009, 11:42 AM
I've been having a lot of new symptoms that my dr and both do not think is related to lupus or any other of my diagnosed issues. For about 4 months now (it's progressively getting worse and more frequent) I've been having a lot of pain after I walk. Now it's about a min after walking. The pain will start in my heels, then to my calves and shins (feels like my muscles are tearing away from the bones), then to my knees and thighs up to my lower spine. It's so excruciating that I have to sit down, and sometimes I throw up because of it. Just stopping the walk doesn't help. I really have to sit and the pain will soon subside, but the more I walk, the sooner the pain comes on. It started back in June and would it only happened then when I had been walking for more than thirty minutes. Now it's a minute or less. Walking to class is aweful. I have to stop several times to sit on the sidewalk. I'm sure I look crazy sitting on the ground, but it's all I can do to relieve this pain.
I went to the dr last week, and he took some blood to check my thyroid function and some other things. He found that my thyroid was okay, but my potassium levels were non-existent. I was immediately called back in and got IV potassium and was given lasix and potassium pills to take for three days. Since that didn't help the pain, I was sent for an ultrasound on my legs. The doctor thinks I could have a blood clot or a pinched nerve/herniated disc. I've been doing some research on the internet, and my symptoms do seem to follow with herniated disc and neurogenic claudication. I'm just wondering if anyone knows if an ultrasound can detect this or what other tests I might have to have. I go back to the dr Thursday, but that seems like an eternity since I can't really walk much. I also still don't have health insurance, because no one wants to cover me for a reasonable price because of all my pre-existing conditions. I'm not complaining just merely curious. I'm tolerating the pain, which I've gotten pretty good at, but when walking I can't tolerate it. I have to stop and sit. I'm also having a lot of pain constantly in my lower back, whether I'm walking or not. It gets worse if I lay flat on my back. I also get a lot of pain when I sit up straight in my chair or desk at school. I have to slouch or my back pain is worse and my legs go numb. Also when I'm sitting sometimes my leg starts to go numb in a big circular area in my thigh that soon radiates down to my toes, but this is only on my right side. It's weird. the pain from walking is ALWAYS in both legs, but this numbness is only in my right leg. My back feels like it goes numb sometimes too, but it's hard to describe because I still feel the pain around my spine, but around my hips and lower back seem to be tingling like it's numb, tho I can still feel it.
Any ideas, anyone experienced anything like this before? Just resting and trying to relax before thursday, but some input would help put my mind at ease a little.
Thanks, I hope everyone is having a good week.
10-06-2009, 06:00 PM
I have had leg pain so severe that I could barely stand, let alone walk. I ended up going to the ER because the pain was so unbearable bad. They also thought it was a clot that could be causing my pain and swelling so amongst things, they did an ultrasound of my legs to make sure there was no clot - there wasn't. The sonogram was very easy. They songoram several sections of your leg and listen to the blood flow at different parts of your leg and compare it to the other leg. They also push into your leg to interupt the flow and hear how that sounds. After much time spend with xrays, blood work, and sonograms of my legs, all they found were my potassium levels were too low and gave me 3 horse pills and an order to eat 1/2 a banana a day for a week. I don't know why potassium seems to affect us so, but the bananas seemed to help.
10-06-2009, 06:25 PM
hi amanda, you have really been dealing with a lot for the past few months. Certainly makes sense to check for herniated disc as well as blood clots. I hope your dr. can find a compassionate specialist for you if the tests come back with questions. During my years of weight training, i sometimes depleated my potassium levels, and suffered excrutiating muscle spasms. Mine were not to the level that you speak of, and i could get relief by eating bananas... Maybe a banana a day can keep your dr. away.... I know this is not the answer to your situation, but hopefully you will feel a little better once they get your potassium level up. Please report back to us about your tests.
10-06-2009, 08:04 PM
The doctor called me back today...potassium levels back to normal, ordered to take potassium pill everyday (I get sick from bananas, they make me puke :( so no bananas for me). the good news is NO BLOOD CLOT!!! Yay. I'm happy about that. But the pain and swelling are still there, so it's not from potassium issues either. Pinched nerve/herniated disc is next on the list. I'm scheduled to go back to talk to him on thursday morning to figure out the next step. Seems good to me. I just want some help. I'm really in high spirits (Thank God!) through all of this. My husband even told me I seem unusually happy for someone who's been so sick and hurting lately. He knows I try to hide how I feel, but I'm really not trying to hide it. I'm in pain, but pain we're all used to. I've just been praying hard for the strength to be able to go on, and God has certainly blessed me with that, and a very positive outlook on life, no matter what I'm going through. It's great because it's really helping get through all this crazy stuff going on in my life right now. I would even go so far as to say I'm thrilled about life (could be my manic nature from my bipolar disorder, but whatever it is, I am enjoying it while it's here) Life is good. I'm blessed with a doctor who is really working with me on payment issues. He's letting me pay everything off a little at a time, and he's in connection with a group practice that has all the x-ray,mri, ultrasound stuff, so it all gets put on one bill and I can slowly pay it off. I'm also blessed with a very loving and understanding husband who has been doing most of the cooking and cleaning for me since i'm hurting a lot. He's great. I know this probably sounds weird since I have had so many "complaints" as of late, but I'm happy, and I wish you all this blessed experience when dealing with lupus crud!
Well wishes and pain-free days to all!
10-07-2009, 06:16 AM
I had very similar symptoms years ago, and it turned out to be a herniated disc. It was my right side as well, and I waited so long that I ended up paralyzed and had to have surgery to repair the disc. That was back in 2000 and I'm totally fine now. My doctor did an EMG to check the nerves, and once he did that, he sent me to the ER for an MRI, then surgery. I'll never forget his stunned look as he did the EMG and I whined about not wanting to go to the hospital, he said, "Don't you know you're PARALYZED?!" I didn't want to have surgery, but he said my only choices were surgery or to be in a wheelchair. And at 32 years old, a wheelchair wasn't an option I wanted.
Ask tomorrow about an EMG, and they'll go from there. Good luck!!!!
10-08-2009, 12:55 PM
So I went to the doc today, and he said 99% sure it's a herniated lumbar disc causing sciatica. I have to go for an mri soon, I'll find out tomorrow when I have to go. I FINALLY got some pain management help. Flexeril and Lortab, so I'm in a much better mood. I also got a back brace to wear to help with the pain, and experience almost instantaneous relief. Not full relief, but very manageable. Life is GREAT! The doctor is really dedicated to helping me get some permanent relief. Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes...it's really helping.
Have a great weekend everyone. My nephew is turning five this weekend, so I won't be around a computer. I can't go skating with him though, but he understands. It'll be a ton of fun any way!
10-08-2009, 08:01 PM
Please read my post about my new rheumy in Ca. I was blown away when I read your post, since we were both just given the very same diagnosis!!
I'm also supposed to be getting an MRI soon, so it looks like you and I will be going through this together.
10-13-2009, 09:14 AM
So I went to go try to get my MRI today, and they said I'd have to pay $900 down just to get it done. I obviously couldn't afford this, so I called my dr and he's trying to get me an appointment at a local charity hospital so it'll be free. The only down side to this is most of the time you have to wait a really long time to get it, but if they find the herniation, they'll do the surgery for free too! I'm happy about this, I'm just worrying about how long it will take me to get in. I can't bend, my legs and feet are so swollen that my pants and shoes are too small. Also it's hard to walk because it hurts so much. Hopefully the dr will keep giving me the pain meds and muscle relaxors until I can get in to the hospital. I'm just waiting for the dr to call back now so please pray that I can get in really soon. Thanks for all the support!
10-13-2009, 11:34 AM
hi amanda. thank goodness your dr. is a compassionate and caring person. Hopefully he has some connections at the hospital and can get you in very soon. Let us know when you hear from him. Keep your positive attitude, you are right, life is good.
10-13-2009, 07:39 PM
hi Amanda. I am sorry to hear it's going to cost so much. Will they do a payment plan with you? It sounds like your going to have to wait a little bit either way so if this doc will accept a payment plan, maybe you can get it done with them like you wanted.
10-14-2009, 11:31 AM
They'll only do a payment plan after we pay the $900 up front. They said too many people don't pay so they won't let me do the payment plan unless I pay 70% down first. The total cost is almost $1500, but it's okay, hopefully I'll get in at the free clinic.
10-14-2009, 08:10 PM
Hang in there, Amanda. I really hope that we can both get through this without surgery. Ouch - the very idea of anybody messing with my spine gives me the creeps. Ask if there are non-surgical things that can be tried first, like physical therapy.
I'm still waiting to hear from my doc, and she is probably having a rough time with Aetna - they are so hateful!
Meanwhile, Jeff gave me a book called Yoga for Wimps. It has some gentle exercises specifically for lower back pain, so I'm trying those. I actually felt like going for a walk today, and walked down the block and back.
Keep us informed.
10-16-2009, 11:49 AM
HI AMANDA!!!! SO SORRY for the PAIN you have been going through! UGH!:wacko: I have had the same symptoms for quite a while,i went to the chiro and she had an MRI done on my back and she couldnt believe i have been walking around with the problem she found! I have a broken L5 and my disc is completely worn away so im grinding bone on bone! OUCH! This problem has been pinching nerves as well.:shocked: She really doesnt want me to have surgery because it COULD make things WORSE. BACK surgery is VERY UNTRUSTWORTHY. She said i could get cortizone shots for the pain and discomfort BUt that only MASKS the pain and i could do MORE damage if i DONT FEEL the pain and im moving around in ways to worsen the problem. I have been to a accupuncturist and OMG that is the BEST MEDICINE for it BUT its very expensive and is not covered. I go only here and there, which does help, i also STRETCH EVERY DAY!!!!! THAT HELPS MORE THAN YOU WOULD THINK. I work out then i stretch specifically for my injury. I also have special back support pillows for my legs when im laying down or sitting to even out my spine so theres NO PRESSURE. I WILL NOT get surgery. I also eat lots of fiber daily, this helps to keep my stomach less full and not bloated BECAUSE THAT contributes to the back pain.
GOOD LUCK!! XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
11-23-2009, 12:58 PM
Okay, so Friday I went to the local charity hospital (about an hour away) and we knew it would take a while, so I was prepared to wait. We ended up being there for about 12 hours. I got to see a REALLY good doctor who actually just recovered from having surgery for a herniated disc. They did an x-ray, but they don't do mri's in the ER they schedule appointments for them, since they do free work. I have an mri scheduled for Dec. 18th at 7 am, so that's not too long. The catch is, unless it shows that whatever is wrong is an absolute emergency, I have to wait til Feb. 1st to actually see a doctor about it. they said I can get the mri sent to my local GP but he would charge at least $100 for the office visit, so I guess it just depends on how bad I'm hurting. Also, because the ER is a charity hospital, they won't give out pain med prescriptions because people will come in just to get drugs. I hate that people exploit things like that so people who really need it have to suffer. So I called my GP today to ask for a script, and his nurse said I'd probably have to come in to get it. I would have to pay $100 just to walk in there, and we really don't have the money for me to go. I really just hope he'll give me the script since he's seen me for this already. I just want enough to help me get through until the mri on the 18th. The ER doctor also gave me some exercises to do on a peanut-shaped exercise ball. He said it will help, but I will NEED some narcotic pain medicine just to get through the exercises. I've been numbing my back with ice almost constantly just to deal with the pain. He wasn't lying either. I tried to do the exercises last night, and tears were just pouring down my face. My wonderful husband actually made me stop because he couldn't stand seeing me in that much pain anymore. I love him so much. He's been great through all of this. A true Blessing from GOD! So now, I'm just waiting to hear back from my GP. Hopefully he'll give me some meds.
I hope everyone is feeling okay and has a GREAT thanksgiving break.
11-23-2009, 02:27 PM
I've been hoping for an update from you. I'm so glad that things are finally going forward for you. Have you tried some gentle yoga stretches? Is that the kind of exercises that the doc gave you to do?
About a week ago, I made the mistake of scrubbing my couch and chairs, and then when I leaned over to switch my laundry from washer to dryer, my back "froze". I managed to limp to my bed, and painfully assumed "the child's pose". That gentle stretching hurt so bad that I cried, but after a while, it started stretching enough that it didn't hurt as bad. I took both naproxen and some lobelia with my tea that night, and I still had a rough night, but my back was better the next day.
I'm waiting 'til February, too. We switched our insurance during open season, but the new one won't start 'til Jan. 1. I'll be in Arkansas meeting my new grandson until Jan 11, so my rheumy gave me an appt. for Feb 16. That's when she'll write new orders for an MRI.
So, it looks like we're both still on the same schedule with this thing!
Keep me updated on how it goes for you. Good luck, and keep trying (gently) on those exercises.