...And The Verdict Is...

No, I have not become an asian woman or suddenly developed a flatulence problem. (Even though it looks like they are in a farting war!)

Today I had my visit with the back pain specialist. He went over my MRI results with me. I talked to a nurse on the phone shortly after the MRI. She told me that I had Degenerative Osteo Arthritic Condition and an Enlarged Disc Protrusion. Both sound pretty bad to me, so I googled them and read up about them. The treatments for both were basically the same. But I still didn't have much of an idea what the problem was or what I should be doing. The doctor I saw today, Dr. Thatcher, was awesome about going over my MRI and giving it to me in plain ol' English (which I sometimes can speak and understand!)

Basically, I have a slipped disc. Using one of those cool spine models that he had in his office, he showed me how one of the vertebrae had slipped and that is causing the disc to push up against my sciatic nerve. (The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and runs all the way down to the left foot.) My pain starts in my left buttock and runs down to my left foot. The pain is always changing, sometimes it is in my left buttock, other times it is in my left foot. Rarely it will be my entire left leg. The pain can either be a shooting pain, a tingling sensation or even just feel like my left leg is asleep for an entire day.

He offered 3 different treatments.
  1. Do nothing. No treatments and lift nothing heavy and hope that it goes away. I don't think this is an option for me because I have had this pain since the beginning of May.
  2. Steroid Injections. I would go for 3 injections (spaced 2 weeks apart) in which I would lay under an x-ray type machine that would allow him to put the injection within millimeters of where the problem is. He says that 75% of his patients get rid of their pain using this method. It should last for 1 1/2 to 2 years.
  3. Surgery. He says I would be off work for a couple of weeks, but they will go in and shave off about 25 to 35 percent of that disc. It helps about 90% of his patients, but after many years, the disc (now smaller) will not be able to support the spine as well and will start to hurt again. Also, once this procedure is done, there is no going back.
I am going to try option 2, the injections, for now. My first injection will be next Wednesday. I will have to be off work for the whole day, but he says I will be able to drive home after the shots. I have had steroid shots before, but they were never in the correct area. So while those shots never helped, I have full faith in this doctor (he really knows what he was talking about) and the fact that he will be giving me the shots in the area of the problem!


Ms. Val said...

I am going to try option 2, the injections, for now.

Excellent decision. I had no idea just how radical disk surgery was.

Just once caveat about the steroid injections: they will likely make you want to eat. A lot. I had SIs when I was pregnant with Lucas (to expedite lung development in case he was preemie like Kyle).

Anyway, one night I ate an entire pizza by myself. And then we were at a Christmas party, where I made a pig of myself at the snack table. I had to ask my aunt if she could put out more olives since I ate the whole bowl.

So any weight loss success you've had might to out the window. But It's definitely better than living with pain.

Good Luck!