DibreauxMemberApril 6, 2013 at 2:04 amPost count: 1
Hi! I have had excruciating back pain that is in my lower back radiates down my left leg and both buttocks. It started in sept 12 and I had four epidurals that relieved the sciatic pain (minimally) but I remained in pain so my dr referred me to a neurosurgeon. He reviewed my MEI which shows herniation at L2,3,4,5 and S1. He didn’t agree with the radiologist and said that we should do a discogram. OMG. They were to evaluate L2,3,4,5, and S1. The needles being placed was the most horrible pain I have ever felt. On placing L5-S1 they triggered a nerve and I thought I would die. The radiologist said this should help my neurosurgeon and that my test was positive on all four levels. I am thinking great…. I will finally get surgery and can move on with my life. I play tennis and am very active. I am not used to being down for so long. My neurosurgeon calls me and says that the test was positive on all levels so it was inconclusive and that surgery would be doomed from the start WHAT???? He referred me to a pain management team. I am so discouraged. I feel like I am crazy. What if any are my options? I just want my life back!!!Donald Corenman, MD, DCModeratorApril 6, 2013 at 2:24 amPost count: 8465
A discogram is a very advanced test that is extremely operator dependent. If you are not given enough intravenous anesthesia, this can be obviously very painful when the needles are placed. This pain can make the test unbearable. If you are too anesthetized, then you won’t be awake enough to answer the test questions when asked. You can see that the anesthesiologist has to be very good at titrating the medications to have you at the correct level of consciousness at the right time.
At the L5-S1 level, the injectionist hit the nerve root which is why you had so much pain at this level. It very well may be that the discogram test was false positive (pain where there is no pain generator) due to the miserable experience you had. This is why the discogram is one of the tests that I do not trust the results unless the test is performed by someone whom I know and trust.
You mention lower back and then buttocks and leg pain. What percentage are the two different pains? If your buttocks and leg pain are at least 40-50% of your total pain, you might not need a surgical fusion to give enough relief to make you happy (or at least content).
You might consider a second opinion to gain further knowledge of your disorder.
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