Spinal Stenosis

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Hi

just been told i have spinal stenosis and a bulging 5th disc, i don't see a doctor for two weeks to discuss the options.

i am taking 15 pain killers a day and when its really pain full i take Morphine.

Has anyone any information on stenosis and what the options are.

i would be great full for any help and advice.

take care

Tom

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Have a look into Intervertebral Differential Dynamics (IDD) Therapy - it's apparently particularly effective for back pain due to bulging or slipped discs and stenosis. Try googling it.

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  • Posted

    Hi Tom. I have cervical spinal stenosis with bulging discs and constant pain. I had radiating pain, numbness and tingling in my upper arms from the stenosis. It all started about 2011 when I was in my 40s. I have had two neck surgeries... the first in 2012 was "minimally invasive" and completely unsuccessful. In 2013 I had a more traditional surgery where they removed bulges and opened the canal and inserted a plastic plate in my neck. This last surgery was more effective as it addressed the worst of the stenosis so that numbness and tingling is mostly gone from my arms. Unfortunately, I still have degenerated discs (along with arthritis) in my neck, from C4 to C7. This condition causes the unrelenting pain.

    I tried everything they had before I consented to surgery, so I know there isn't much more they can do for cervical spine disease. (People with lumbar ( back) conditions seem to have better outcomes. ) The neck is just too delicate. Sadly, over the past 5 years I developed lumbar spine degeneration, too. But unless my legs and/or bowels and urinary functions go bad, I will NOT undergo any more surgeries.

    The good news is my pain management provider has me on a fairly effective combo of meds. It is a mix of narcotic analgesics and anti-inflammatories. Not what I wanted and I still have bad days, but at least I can function at a low level. I've been legally disabled since 2016, and I'm not even 60 yet. But I can drive and walk and even do low impact exercises for short periods of time. I know, from my experiences, none of that would be possible without strong medication.

    I hope I haven't discouraged you. This is just my story. Everybody is different. You might benefit greatly from physical therapy or epidural injections, acupuncture or a TENS stimulator. They didn't work for me. You could be a great candidate for any of these.

    Get all your tests... nerve conduction, neurological exams and MRIs if there is any question. If your stenosis and discs are not causing chronic pain, and they are not damaging your nerves or neurological systems, you will not need surgery. Just get a good doctor to guide you through. I would not recommend seeing an orthopedic or neurosurgeon until you have exhausted everything else. Surgeons want to operate. That's what they do. Don't be swayed in that direction right away.

    Be well.

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    • Posted

      Morning Jacqline and Loxie

      thank you for your posts and sorry its taken so long in replying i have finally had a MRI scan some nine weeks after my visit to the A&E in which a doctor and a registrar said i needed a emergency scan, stupidly i thought it would be done there and then but no they said i have to go back to my GP for them to refer me which they did.

      I waited weeks for this referral despite many phone calls to the NHS bookings finally got a cancellation appointment for what i stupidly thought was for a scan, it was for MCAS an assessment with a physio his first words to me where its my decision whether i have a scan or not, i said to with all due respect you are a physio and that i have had a registrar and four Doctors say i need an emergency scan sadly this physio could not make a decision and when we got home i had a phone call asking me if i could return to the hospital the next day to me examined by a senior physio which i did, she examined me and said yes you have a problem with your L 4/5 Lumbar discs and i should have a scan but it could be another 3 to 6 weeks she said she would try and get me one ASAP. After waiting weeks and many phone calls i got an appointment for my scan but sadly i had to wait another six weeks. At this point i was about to go private fortunately my wife made a phone call and got me a cancellation, and within a week of the doctors reviewing my scan.

      I had an injection in my spine its a temporary pain killer its taken away the severe for how long they don,t know if it doesn,t work they wait me to see a surgeon

      The only reason i am telling my story is Loxie is right you will have to wait months for appointment on the NHS unless you become a pain in the backside phone up every day for a cancellation put pressure on your GPs

      if we hadn,t been a pain i would have been attending my first appointment on the 6th of December some four months after my first to A&E.

      jacqline thank you for all your advice you are both very kind

      take care

      Tom

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    • Posted

      Wow. Tom I am so sorry for the TIME you had to wait just to get imaging, all while suffering. I live in the US so we rarely wait more than a couple of weeks for most exams. And If you go to a hospital emergency room yelling bloody murder about pain and numbness in the extremities, the hospital doctors will generally order all kinds of tests that same day, including CT scans and MRIs. Their first objective is to make sure you don't have a raging tumor, a fracture, or that you didn't have a stroke. But it doesn't matter why they did the test as long as they find the problem. A good GP or internist will refer a patient for the tests, just based on your symptoms.

      Anyway, I am sorry you do have a lumbar condition. But at least it's confirmed. As I said in my previous post there are several treatments out there. I am glad you got some relief from the injection. Was it a steroid?

      To answer your question about how long the relief lasts, it's an individual thing. It could last several weeks before you need another, or just a couple of days. That's what happened to me. I got epidural injections in my neck on 7 different occasions, and they had to put me to sleep each time. A couple of times I felt better for maybe two days, depending on which medications they used. But obviously two-day relief is not effective or reasonable for a procedure requiring general anesthesia.

      So, now, all I really have is pain management. (drugs) But I have learned to live with it and function. It took months to get used to the meds so I wasn't constantly loopy or asleep. Lol. Most people with chronic spine disorders do end up on strong analgesics. Do you have pain clinics in the UK? Don't be afraid of them. Just use the meds as prescribed.

      All the best to you.

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    • Posted

      I feel so sad you've had all this delay in getting dealt with but I have to say I'm not at all surprised. I bet anyone here in the UK with a major pain or health issue will have the same sort of story to tell. It's an unacceptable and immoral situation. It has taken me nearly four years to get help for a pain issue, which started with my GP referring me to a rheumatologist to assess whether I possibly had fibromyalgia. I waited six months to see the rheumy, who regrettably was a horrible woman and told me she was 'a pill pusher' (quoting her exact words) and because I couldnt take opioids there was nothing else she could do. I then went back to GP and was referred for an ortho appointment. Again another four month wait for that appointment, to be told I needed a scan. several months wait for the scan, then another wait to go back to the ortho for results/assessment, to be told I had mild early onset OA in my neck but that it wasnt sufficiently advanced to be causing my problems, so referred for an ultrasound. Three months wait for that. Ultrasound technician said I had ruptured bicep tendon and torn rotator cuff in right arm and inflammation in left. Would refer me back to ortho. Five months wait again. Told by ortho that surgery not an option, pain meds best bet. However, I cannot tolerate things like Tramadol etc., nor NSAIDs so told to go buy paracetamol. HMPH!!! Few more six monthly check up appointments with orth then told physio might help. Waited further three months for physio appointment - which consisted of 10 minutes chat and sent home with instructions to run my arm up the wall a few times a day but to come back to check progress. Appointment desk politely told me theyre fully booked for ANOTHER three months. So here I am 4 years down the line still in flipping pain and getting absolutely nowhere. If i'd had the money to go private no doubt I'd have had extensive physio and be able to be mobile by now!! I hate the NHS with a vengeance. Socialised medicine does NOT work.

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