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Spine feels compressed
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Spine feels compressed

Im a 20 year old female with severe lower back pain and pain shooting down my legs. An MRI indicated that I have minimal anterior extradural defect in the sagittal projection at L4-L5 and minimal spondylosis L3-L4. My family doctor says this is not causing my pain. It hurts most after sitting or exercise and feels like my vertebra are being compressed (lots of pressure) and sharp, knife like pain between my vertebra. My legs tingle and sometimes go a little numb. I've also recently developed muscle spasums. I've been through phyical thearpy, orthopedic doctors, x-rays, and that one MRI. Is there any other test that I should have? I really feel that my pain has something to do with my nerves. Please Help.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I'm sorry you are having to deal with this at your age, but I can sort of relate. My spine problems started in my early to mid 30's, I'm now 39. If you have pain shooting down your legs, it sounds like maybe sciatica. Of course Im not a doctor so I cant say for sure, but it sure sounds like nerve compression to me. I am not familiar with other tests that can be done, but I do know they exist. I remember one is a discogram and I think electromyelogram?? Maybe somone with more knowledge of these other tests will chime in here.

Where is the pain in your legs? Can you describe where the path of the pain is? And how far down your leg it goes?

Also, there is no way for certain that anyone can say if what was found on your MRI isnt causing you any pain. Plus, your spine is most compressed while sitting and standing. When you have an MRI, you are usually laying down, which takes alot of compression off the spine, so in my opinion, this may not show the full story of whats going on.

I can totally relate also to how you describe your spine as feeling compressed as I've felt that also. And now I feel like my hips and pelvis are being compressed by a large cinder block or something. I had spinal stenosis and surgery for it....before surgery my spine felt very compressed in both directions. I felt like I needed to pulled apart by my head and feet; and I also felt like I had an extremely tight vice grip around my lumbar spine. Luckily when I had my MRI's, they showed enough going on with the lay down MRI.

Oh , just thought of something else....there are now places that do a sit-down MRI, which may show the extent of compression better than the lay down ones.

Other than that, you should get another opinion. Have you seen a spine specialist at all? There are both Orthopedic and Neurological Spine specialists, you might want to see a neuro at this point.
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Avatar_n_tn
Cici, could you describe your leg symptoms? (Try to be very specific: one leg or two, constant or intermittent, numbness, tingling, burning, stabbing, aching; also location...big toe, outside of foot, heel, ankle, inner/outer calf, thigh). Given MRI showing mild degeneration without mention of disc herniations or bony abnormality, sounds like you may have some type of "micrinstability" caused by slacking of the stabilizing tissues of the lumbar spine as degeneration occurs. Treatment usually consists of specific exercises to strengthen trunk musculature. What effect do bending forward as to touch toes and bending backwards in standing have? Should see a spine specialist for sure. Another condition to look for, especially if you've had a history of back pain as a child/adolescent and/or if you participated in sports involving repetitive jumping or backward bending (volleyball, dancing, etc) is spondylolisthesis, which can be sometimes overlooked in an MRI, especially if lying, though this is rare.
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Avatar_m_tn
I gave up on the MD's and found a really great chiropractor. She is my savior and has helped me live with the pain of a herniated disc in my back.
I too have pain and numbness in my legs especially right now sitting at the computer.
Of course most people don't consider the chiros as real doctors, but I've seen what mine can do. One man came in who was told he needed back surgery, and after several treatments my chiro got him well.
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Avatar_m_tn
I hurt my back playing basketball when I was 22-years old.  I was diagnosed with a herniated disc and put into physical therapy.  Nothing helped for years.  Surgery was not even mentioned until I was into my mid-30s!!  I had to live with the pain, lack of strength in my back and left leg, and being angry (due to the constant pain). I had a microdiscotomy (sp?) in 2005 at the age of 38.  I  was rid of the constant pain as soon as I healed up from the surgery.  I still have back issues on and off, but the constant pain of the sciatics is much better.  I do have permanent nerve damage in my left foot (basically does not affect my health - outer 2 toes feel numb constantly) and do experience numbness in both legs when I exercise.  In your case, I would go see a back specialist and see  if they can help you out.  Your family doctor probally is not trained in back related pain management or familiar with all the probelms that can be associated with back problems. Honestly, I do not beleive in Chiropractors, but wish you well with yours. Good luck!!
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