Thursday, March 8, 2012

We have an answer: Herniated disc

I had another MRI on Tuesday - this time of my lumbar spine - and got the results surprisingly quickly. It showed that I have a "broad based herniation at L4/L5" and an "annular tear" to the disc. Bottom line: the disc is bulging out and pressing on the sac that surrounds my spinal cord. This pressure is in turn firing off a nerve, which is where the pain in my hip & leg are coming from. Good times!

Actually, I have to admit, this week has been a bit better. My rheumatologist gave me some pain medication last week, which helped me get some rest and overall seemed to calm things down. So now it's manageable, albeit rather uncomfortable. I'll be starting physical therapy on Monday to see if we can further reduce the pain & swelling. If not, then I'll be headed to a pain management doctor to see about having a cortisone epidural. I'm kind of wigged out at the thought of a shot in my spine, so I'm really hoping to avoid that one!

If any of you have dealt with a herniated disc before, I'd love to hear from you. Is the pain something that comes and goes? Did you try PT & did it work? Any other thoughts/tips?


  1. I don't have a herniated disc, but I have cervical spine disc damage that has caused nerve compression. I had two rounds of physical therapy several months apart. The first round seemed to work for awhile, but then things went back to the way they had been. The second round didn't do anything. I ended up having two epidurals, about a month and a half apart.

    The thought of injections in my spine freaked me out too, especially in such a small area as the neck. But honestly, it ended up being pretty easy. If you have to have one done, make sure they use a fluoroscope to guide the needle. (This is pretty standard, but I did have one doctor who was planning to do it without one - yikes! I ended up getting them with someone else.) They also gave me Ativan to keep me calm during the procedure. It was a piece of cake after that, and I felt so much better!

  2. Thanks for posting about your RA journey, I'm also a thirty something woman suffering from "possibly" RA--but overall living with an undetermined autoimmune condition that is the pits. Keep us posted, nice to read about someone else's journey and symptoms and treatments, wishing you all the best! I also have a blog where I chronicle my journey--it has been going on for about 10 years but I just (I can't believe that it took me this long) I just started seeking treatment and answers because it is impossible to live with..

  3. Thanks for sharing.I am learning my own pains from these sites and also gathering courage that there are patients who are suffering like me.We will make it with better medication and our own strength of mind.


I welcome your comments and experiences! If you have any questions, I will try to get back to you as soon as I can.