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Where to turn next Please help!

I dont know what to do next.  I have had 3 mri's of lower back and hips, brain mri, emg, nothing shows up but mild degenerative disk disease.  My symptoms are off and on low back pain and constant leg achiness.  Both of my legs ache so very bad. Sometimes it is one more that the other.  Sometimes it is both. Yesterday both legs felt pretty good. Today my legs both ache and  feel shakey (shaky). Sometimes it is the hamstrings, sometimes the calves, sometimes ALL !  I can hardly stand it anymore.  I dont know who to turn to next.  I have seen chiro, neuros, ortho, who is left??  I just dont know what to do.  My pcp just prescribed neurotinin.  I dont want a bandaid I want to know what is going on!  This all started 10 months ago out of nowhere.  I am in my mid 50's and have never had any problems with back or legs.  AAAAHHHHH  help. This is terrible.  I just dont know what to do next.  PLEASE any advice is welcome.  DT
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Avatar_m_tn
Neurontin is for nerve pain, are you having shooting and or burning pain down your legs? Tingling? Where is your back pain exactly, center, left, right, where at in terms of height? What type of pain is it, does it radiate or is it just localized. Have you seen these MRI results yourself?
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Avatar_f_tn
I have pain that I call constant deep ache. Some tingling but not all the time.  All of this tends to move around!  One day it can go from top of hamstring all the way down into my calves on both legs, next day it can be just one of my calves.

My back pain comes and goes too and it is low back below waistline. Slightly to the left of my spine. Sometime I will get a catch or pull in my left lower back if I reach for something or bend the wrong way.  That part I could deal with its the leg part that is making me crazy. My left hamstring-- more so than my right, always feels tight.  I was told back in Dec 09 I had piraformis syndrome. Treated pain but then by Feb both legs were involved.

I did not see the actual MRI only the reports.  Here is what it says (and I have had 3 of these) minor DDD in lumbar spine. There are small areas of disc protrusion and annulat tear. There is minor foraminal narrowing along the anterior inferior aspect of the left L2-L3 and the left L3 L4 neural foramen. There is no appreciable canal stenosis.
This was the one without contrast -- I do not have a copy of the one with contrast but the doctor said he didnt see anything.

I just dont know what my next step should be.  All I know is I have to do something. What kind of doctor should I search out?

I appreciate your help.
DT
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Avatar_f_tn
Even though it doesnt state it in your mri, it sounds like there's some sort of nerve compression going on. You have some minor foraminal narrowing on the left side of l2-l3 and l3-l4 wich could cause some nerve compression as the passage your nerves run through narrows. Id have another neurologist take a look at ur mri as your symptoms match up with nerve compression. Have you had an emg done? That would also help determine any radiculopathies and where there're located. Take care
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Avatar_f_tn
I had one emg done on my lower left leg when this all first started (where I had some numbness and slight drop foot) and was diagnosed as piraformis by my chiro. He sent me to neuro. Emg report says...mild denervation in tibialis anterior muscle with normal recruitment. He says...the remainder of the test was negative suggesting she may have had a superficial peroneal nerve injury, not associated with the piraformis. He said  since the mri was negative a radiculopathy would see unlikely.

So now, should I go back to him?  Should I find another neuro should I find neurosurgeon?  Should I find ortho who????? I dont know who to call.

DT

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Avatar_m_tn
Like Squirtatious said, some of your symptoms do sound nerve related. It's much more difficult to diagnosis someone who has a lot of little things wrong, than someone who has 1 big thing. It takes a really good diagnostician.

Small areas of disc protrusions and annular tears can generate considerable back pain, it's called discogenic back pain. Squirtatious is right, L2-3 and L3-4 refer to the thigh and the other areas that you have pain. Sometimes the MRI's don't tell the whole story. To further complicate matters, Piriformis syndrome can cause sciatic type pain, but I don't know how it's diagnosed or treated, we used to have a member that knew a lot about it, but she doesn't post anymore. How did this Chiropractor arrive at this diagnoses.

One other thing, EMGs can be "normal" in clinically and MRI confirmed nerve root lesions. Primarily because most muscles are supplied by more than 1 level. So just because you have a normal EMG doesn't mean that you don't have a nerve problem.

I don't know that you need to see a Surgeon at this point, a lot of them aren't really interested in finding causes of pain. You need to see a Spine specialist, Orthopedist or even a Pain specialist, someone that's willing to take the time to figure out what's causing the problem. Has anyone suggested trying injections, they can help with pain and can also be diagnostic. A C.T. Myelogram is also useful in finding the problem when MRI's can't.

     
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