Since I was 14, I have had 5 confirmed disc herniations, which happen without any strain to the area. I am told that it is incredibly rare for someone of my age to have had one, let alone 5. I need answers. I have seen many different doctors over the years, and have undergone a discectomy at the L4/5, and L5/S1 regions to reove the excess disc material and relieve pressure on the nerves.
In October of 2008, I had yet anoher disc herniation at the L5/S1 region, and it left me with numbness in my left leg, sciatica doen both, lack of reflexes in the left leg, and very intense tingling in my left foot (towards the outside hee area), which makes me unable to sleep. I have taken all sorts of medications for it, pain killers, anti-inflamatories, tried chiro, physio, massage, accupuncture, decompresion tables, inversion tables, and most recently, 2 nerve blocks. The nerve blocks, much to the surprise of my doctors actually made my symptoms much worse than they were, and increased the levels of pain and tingling in my back, leg and foot.
Now, I'm trying to go to university, but i'm finding it difficult as I have trouble sleeping with the pain and tingling, and I cannot sit, stand, or walk for longer than 10 minutes at a time. I require a cane to walk, as I have no feeling in my left leg. I NEED HELP! In all the years this has been going on, noone has been able to give me any explainations as to why my discs randomly herniate, why it is happening to someone of my age, and why it keeps happening and getting worse each time.
If there is anyone out there with any answers for me, I would greatly appreciate it. I'm fed up with living in constant pain, with no end in sight. I'm 22, I want to be able to act like it!
cant help but think there is some genetic factor contributing to your early disc trouble. i hear there is research and even some treatment now using stem cells. i know nothing about it but do know about two companies to look into. one is MESOBLAST And the other is REGENEXX.
technology is always advancing so maybe the disc aging can someday be reversed....pete
My condition is exactly as I said, I didn't have a car accident or any sort of major external trauma to the area. I used to play baseball, not exactly what I would call a high intensity sport in terms of energy levels and exertion. I didn't even slide, I was too chicken!
The first time I noticed was throwing a baseball as I always had, now whether or not this caused it, I don't know. But the herniations after wards were caused as follows: stepping out of the shower, sneezing, on a chiropractic table, and one just "went" as I was standing still. So yes, they do "just herniate". And from what I was told by multiple doctors, in someone my age, to have it happen typically would require a great strain to the area, like a car accident, or maybe falling off a cliff.
What I want to know I guess is if I have some sort of inbalance in my body, whether it be autoimmune, and my body is attacking my disc material, whether it could be some sot of degenerative disc disease, or something else all together.
Also, despite the fact that I have been feeling sort of hopeless in terms of my outcome with all this (as I have seen about 10 doectors now, many of whom don't believe me, even with an MRI in front of them!), I feel I am strong, and when I don't get anywhere, I move on to the next person that may help me.
I know I'm a rare case, that much the doctors have been able to tell me. I used to be fairly active, and enjoy walking my dogs, playing softball, and being artsy and painting and drawing. Since all this, my activity level has decline to near nothing over the years, and I have been bed ridden on several occasions. I am at the point now, where I pretty much just lie down all the time, as it is the only way I feel relief.
In terms of most typical answers and such, I feel I've heard it all. What I am looking for is someone to look outside of the box, as pete81241 did in suggesting a genetic factor.
Most people just try and get to the bottom of what i'm saying, and trying to reveal the thing I'm "covering up" or "haven;t told them". Well, there is no covering up going on, my case is as I say it. Its unusual, but its very real to me.
So please, only work with what I've already mentioned, and ask questions to me that are not "obvious", like "have I been in a car accident". If I had been, this would all make so much more sense!!!!
So please, search every corner of your brains, if you are on this forum a lotm, surely something like this has to have come up before somewhere, and I know you all have some experiance of your own for being on here. Even if there is someone you would reccommend to me in Canada - anywhere in Canada at this point, I'd be willing to follow up on it.
Also, feel free to discuss this with me more via email, I'l accept any suggestions, even if they are out there!
awaq, I don't mean you any disrespect in my message, as I'm sure there are many people that don't dsclose everything. I think at this point, my problem goes beyond the muscular level, as I have tried several types of deep tissue massage, and accupuncture. litleonefb, thanks for comming to my rescue
I'm a 34yr old male who is going thru the exact same thing you are. I have multiple herniations in my thoracic spine, multiple in my lumbar spine. Then last week I freaked out the dr cause my neck herniated. I thought he didn't believe me when I said I woke up with them. All of them. And when my neck herniated last week he didn't call me back at all. 8 days later I finally got a hold of him. I saw my neurosurgeon a couple months ago. I only had the thorasic herniations. He gave me aqua therapy and said he didn't think I needed surgery. Since then I've had 4 more herniate. Its literally in every part of my spine. I'm not getting any answers. My drs don't even want to tell me they don't know. At least tell me that. I have that nerve pain everywhere. Its in my face, arms, chest, legs, fingers. Toes. I just lay there and deal. Sometimes I take a shower and really scrub with a loofah. It doesn't work really but I feel better trying something instead of just laying thinking about it. I also had my aqua therapy cancelled today because it wasn't effective at all. It really hit me hard. I tried all the nerve meds, pain meds are getting upped tomorrow which kills me cause I'm tired of being on meds. If I don't take them though my life gets really really bad. I'm hoping that some dr remembers why he got into that field and wants to find out why. Isn't affraid of there not being an answer now, but looking into it at least. Testing me for anything. I read about multiple sclerosus. It may be what I'm going thru. I'm gonna make the dr find out. He works for me in a way. I'm tired of being lead back to the same place I started. These drs need to get this together before its too late and it is what it is. Its nice to know that there is other people out there that this is happening to.
I myself have 5 herniated discs and am only 27. Ive had them gradually getting worse since I was 12! I siply woke up one day and my back was hurting.. hasn't stopped since. Dr's tell me the same stuff- there's not much to be done..
One thing I can tell you is that is sounds like you have degenerative disc disease (which is what I've had.. and it doesn't necessarily have to be hereditary..)
it's hard b.c. I try to stay positive and keep hope for the future but essentially it will only get worse.. so we have to just find something to manage the pain until science advances to the point of being able to help us..
Things that help me;
Ice- constantly.. even when I'm working..
Pain patches- you get them at Walgreens, etc.. apply them to the worst area and it helps alleviate pain
Percocet.. that's the ONLY drug that even takes a little bit of the pain away. I'm very picky about when I take them so dr's don't think I'm addicted and I'm a druggie.. so I take one when I can't handle the pain any longer or when I'm about to go for a long drive and have to sit for awhile...
Don't lift more than 25 lbs of anything. Ever.
sit and stand periodically.. don't do either one for too long- alternate constantly
`I also invested in a Hybrid- Nation bed which is a lot like tempur pedic but massages.. this is the ONLY thing that got me to finally be able to sleep through the night..
Best of luck! please let me know if you find something that works..
I myself am like you, I could be standing and my discs can herniate. I am only a 26 year-old Hispanic Female, and in the last three years, I have had officially 6 herniated discs, and in the last three months I have acquired a total of 6 more without being in any accident, without playing any sports, etc. I am a high school teacher and spend most of my day teaching Anatomy & Physiology standing. It angers me off, because I know it is a genetic malfunction. Worse off is they commonly refer to it is as disc degenerative disease (which in truth means nothing more than you get herniations). However, when you are getting so many herniations without any reason there has to be a deficiency somewhere. I have not quite figured out where my deficiency lies, even with micronutrient testing, but I have indeed cost my insurance countless dollars. I have had eight steroidal epidurals, physical therapy, a cervical facet rhizotomy, and am now pending possible neurosurgery. I have been tested for micronutrient dificiencies and to no avail nothing was truly missing. I have bought a new bed, exercise by walking, and eat as gluten-free as possible. Gluten-free lifestyle of eating has aided in reducing a lot of the swelling in my psoriatic arthritis and neuropathy ridden body. I refuse to rely on opiates, and am becoming allergic to morphine and dilaudid. There are many treatments for the herniated discs including disectomy, NMR (Neuromuscular re-education), percutaneous laser disc compression (PLDC), etc. I'm just equally tired as all of you on this matter, however I have found a great deal of help from the use of curcumin (vitamin supplement, reduces swelling) and also of reading the book 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, which has helped me considerably in regaining some measure of movement. I used to dance until three years ago as a hobby, and rode-horses for many years. I long to return to that moment in my life. I know that being an Anatomist has assisted me greatly in comprehending my disease, but it still pains me especially frustrates me due to my youth, and all I am missing out on due to my spinal issues.
Sorry, I forgot to reply also, this doesn't run in my family. Though my mom has had back problems, they are a result ofher car accidents earlier in her life, and noone else to my knowledge in my family, immediate or not has ever herniated a disc.
one question that comes to my mind is whether the discs are losing fluid or whether the walls of the discs are just weak and unable to hold in the nucleus material. do the discs show as dark on the mris?
oh by the way there seems to have been some success on the stem cell injections and the good thing for you is that they are more successful the younger you are!
Thanks so much for following up with me. littleonefb, I actually began my medical journey with a doctor at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, and the head neurosurgeon had never dealt with this sort of thing before. He had said at the time that he also spoke with his colleagues about my case as well, and that they were a little perplexed at the time, so the idea then was that if I saw someone who delt with adults, they would have maybe seen this more. No such luck. I do however like your idea, and I might try sending letters with all my case history to various adolescent specialists.
pete81241, yes, the discs affected all show as black on my MRIs, so i'm guessing this means material is leaking? I am a strong believer in the possibilities of stem cells, and I have another appointment with my neurologist tomrrow, and this was something I was going to ask him about, to see if he knew of any treatments going on in this area. I'm very curious to meet with him, and after the nerve blocks failing so miserably, maybe hes dug a little deeper into my situation. We can only hope!
Again, thanks to everyone who has replied so far, and keep the good ideas rolling!
Just a quick update. I saw my neurologist today, and he seems completely perplexed as to why i reacted the way I did to the nerve blocks I was given. I think he was hoping a little too much for them to answer all my problems. As it is now, hes ordered another MRI to see whats going on now (my last one was in March of last year), a referral to a pain clinic, and a prescription for Zostrix to help with the foot tingles, cause I haven't really slept in days. Ahh.
I had asked him about the possibilities of stem cells, and he didn't know anything about that sort of treatment. I also (again) tried asking why this keeps happening, as in, why do i herniate discs, and again, he didn't have an answer. All anyone cares about at this stage is treating my nerve symptoms, but to me, that seems wrong. Maybe if I could treat the things that caused the enrve symptoms, I could fix what I have going on now, AND prevent anything further from happening.
Question, do you think an iridologist can halp? I hear they can find out all sorts of medical problems from your eyes? Also, the idea of a hypnotherapist crossed my mind, as all the horrible sensations in my foot are a result of my brain and nerve failing to communicate properly. So maybe if I can trick my brain into not feeling tingles, I wont?
I'm sort of grasping at straws now, and I guess I'll just wait and see what happens next. To be honest, I'm feeling pretty hopeless about this whole thing, and just don't know what else I can do! Maybe sleep would help...
I'm glad you posted and I'm glad I'm still up to see it.
First off, I think you need to take this one step at a time right now.
But first a couple of questions.
Did you see a neurologist or a neurosurgeon?
I'm a bit confused on that because the neurosurgeon is the one that would be caring for and treating spine problems and disc herniations, not a neurologist.
Second. isn't Zostrix a cream to apply to your skin? It is capsaicin the spicy part of hot peppers, I believe, but it usually used for arthritis pain.
I have never heard of it used for nerve pain, but have heard that it can cause a lot of skin burning when used.
I'm curious why the doctor didn't prescribe Neurontin or lyrica for the nerve pain you are feeling now.
Now for these steps I was talking about.
The reason the doctors are concerned about the nerve pain and treating the symptoms is this.
The nerve compression can lead to permanent nerve damage and you don't want that to happen. so they are treating the symptoms first and trying to get you under some control and pain relief.
Second. That MRI is vitally important to find out what is compressing the nerves so that something can be done to relieve the nerve compression.
I understand why you want to find out what is causing this continued disc problem and I sure can't blame you, but it appears that it is going to take a lot of time and work to do this and it is possible there may never be an answer.
I know, not something you want to hear, but it is a possibility.
I'm not surprised that the doctor didn't know anything about the stem cell research as it is relatively new and if he is a neurologist and not a neurosurgeon that would explain it as well.
Actually what is happening is not your nerves and brain communicating properly. They are doing fine, in fact.
The nerves are responding to either nerve compression or disc material irritating them and they are telling the brain this is happening. In turn the brain responds with telling the nerves to react the way they are.
That is why the MRI is so important.
I personally don't think hypnotherpay is the answer for you. You are going to feel that tingling and burning because of the nerve irritation going on either because they are compressed or being irritated from disc material. that needs to be corrected to stop the tingling, burning pain.
As for the iridologist, there is no scientific data to support this and if you google it you will find that kind of info on it as well.
I can imagine that you feel pretty hopeless right now and it's understandable, especially without any sleep.
I'm betting that is a good part of why you feel the way you do. So no panicing right now.
Try and get some sleep tonight, if you can, rest if you can't sleep and take this bit by bit.
You might want to see if you can find another spine surgeon to get a second opinion with as well.
maybe a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon that specializes in spines.
They may have some answers for you.
And if you can talk with the doctors that you saw when this first started, they may have seen something like this since you or have some further info for you.
Get some sleep and Ill see you on her later today. Night.
hi all my up in he middle of the night friends...just wanted to describe some sensations that would really take your mind off tingling and pain. cat runs in room chasing mouse. i sleep on floor under a down cover. mouse goes under cover and i feel him crawl in between my skin and shirt. cat stares at me and is ready to pounce!.well i'm thinking if i take shirt off cat might attack mouse while hes on me...not a good move. at this point in time nerve pain not a concern of mine. lol after what seemed like a minute i quickly take shirt off and mouse takes off accross the room. ah well another boring night. who says life on the floor isnt exciting....pete
No sleep for me! This tingling it ut of control! According to my last MRI, the disc that had herniated and was compressing the disc has I guess since gone back to where it should be with the help of decompression tables, though unfortunately nothing could really be done for the pain. Apparently (at least according to my last MRI last spring, there was nothing interfereing with the nerve, nothing to compress or pinch it, though with the contrast, it showed it was very swollen and irritated, though nothing was really touching it. So i'm starting to think I may already have some permanent nerve damage...its been a year and a half, and the only change has been for the worse.
I am currently seeing a neurologist, as I seem to just get passed from doctor to doctor. I had seen a neurosurgeon, whoi did a discectomy on me a few years back. When I saw him again, he basically said I didn't need surgery, and case me a drift. Another neurosurgeon said something similar, so on to the neurologists for answers. Went through a few that wouldn't listen before I found my current doc, who is a very nice man, and really listens, and admits when he doesn't know and doesn't hesitate to refer me to someone else.
As for the Zostrix, it is a topical cream from the red pepper (I got a tiny bit on my lip by accident and boy it is SPICY!). Its used for arthritis, but also for nerve pain just under the skin, which is the pain in my foot. According to the product description, if you use it often 3=4 times a day, then the burning goes away. Its supposed to work by decreasing the substance in the nerves that read as pain, so therfore reducing my pain? I'm willing to give it a try at the very least.
As for the Lyrica, Neurontin, and other drugs, I've tried a lot! Lyrica...don't even get me going on that one! I'm a rare case it seems with everything, and when I took the Lyrica, I got a few nasty side effects that are more on the rare side, like vision problems and memory loss, not to mention the dizziness and nausea that are more common. So, I went off that after a month. I tried another 2 months each of Neurontin and Amytriptelyne, with no benefit, so I went off them, as I don't want to be perma drugged up. The only one left to try is Gabapenten, but im a little nervous, as I've felt horrible on each of the other similar meds.
I know that with the iridologist and hypnotherpst I was stretching a bit. I guess i'm just a little desperate. I'm about to start another semester at school, and after 4 years, i've only earned 7 credits...I should have 20! So I want to fix this and get on with my life. And sleep...I miss sleep. The foot tingles get worse at night, and even a sheet or sock touching my foot is terible! And if I hang it out of the bed, it feels like electirc worms are moving just under my skin, and sending a pulse up my calf. Not really sure how else to explain it.
Thanks so much for your continued replies, you are keeping me sane right now!
i know what you mean about the tingle stuff can be so irritating. i have it all the time and have yet to find anything to fix it so you and i seem to be in the same boat. your problems all seemto stem from the discs. i have many other issues besides discs.
im glad you can talk to this neurologist. maybe he could refer you to someone who can do more testing to determine which discs are giving you the most discomfort.
discs have a lot of nerves inside them and the fluid inside is quite toxic to nerves. pain generated from within the disc is called discogenic pain. there are several different not too invasive procedures that sometimes help. some heat up the disc and some treat disc with laser. but if you can determine which disc is giving you the most pain at least youve narrowed it down. why not ask your neurologist who he might recommend to do testing. ....pete
Christina, Have you ever had a discogram done along with a cat scan? I just had to have this done to determine if my disc is leaking fluid. If so, my next option is to have a fusion since all other options out there are exhausted without success. Did your Doctor ever say if you had Degenerative Disc Disease?
As far as you having trouble sleeping... What meds have you tried to take so you could get a nights sleep with all the issues you are having in your legs? I just started taking the Neurotin which is the same as Gabapenten. yes, the side effects were horrible at first. Can't deal with flu like symptoms so I had to reduce my dosage. As far as falling asleep, try taking a good anti-anxiety med if it wont interfere with any other meds you might be taking. I work shift work and have pain issues and it has really saved me. I would lay there for hours but not anymore. Well, good luck to you and I hope you find some answers. Im gonna do alittle reserch to help you and will let you know what I can come up with. Sorry I wasnt much help but thought I could give advice on sleeping or discogram information to check for leaks in the discs.
Gene in chromosome 21, that affects herniating of the discs.
Look into the genetic connection. I included some links regarding chromosome 21 and the gene COL9A2. You may find this an interesting read. Just because it is genetic doesn't mean anybody in the family has to have it. It could be a de novo mutation.
My name is Chelsea. I found my first disc-herniation at the age of 15 when i woke up and couldn't move one day. I am 22 now as well and now have 3 herniated discs at multiple levels and one that's slipped. I'm currently going through much the same thing. I don't have any suggestions, but it was really comforting to me to see that i'm not the only one who's going crazy over all the doctors and dead-ends. So i'll being praying for you, and know you're not alone!