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Are these the symptoms of a herniated disc or maybe something more
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by lbressan17, Sep 25, 2008
I'm 27 years old.  I had a baby 12 weeks ago.  I opted for the epidural anastesia.  The doctor had to stick me twice for the epidural because he said the first time "it wasn't quite in the right spot."  I did not experience back pain or headache for the first 4 weeks after delivery. (I feel it is important to note that I was on percacet and religously taking motrin for the pain of uterine contractions during that 4 week period.)
Once off of pain meds I had a dull backache and headache.  I mostly found it annoying and was completely able to funtion normally although it was fairly constant.  Day after day the pain has become steadily worse.  Eight weeks after I first noticed symtoms, my headahces are completely dibilitating.  I cannot stand daylight. I can't sit or stand for very long before the pain becomes horrific.
My back is what is truly frightening me though.  Only in the last week have my back pains become so severely intense.  Nothing relieves the pain, but sitting is by far the worse place for me to be.  The pain is in my lumbar region of my spine radiating down through my hips like a tuning fork.  My legs feel weak, but I believe that is from the complete torture of my back.  The very spot where the epidural needle was placed is the epicenter of my back pain.  The slightest pressure on that particular point will bring me to instant tears and I don't cry easy.  There is no swelling visible. Discoloration is hard to say because I have a tatoo running right over the area, but It does not appear to have any redness.
I talked to my doctor before the back pain took center stage.  She did not offer any possible causes but agreed with the possibility of a dural punture.  I had an MRI and CAT scan.  The only issue found was a bulging disc in the region of my worse pain. (Because I am nursing, they did not perform the MRI with the contrast.)  My doctor then decided to put me on a steriod and refered me to a physical therapist.  Granted, my back pain is now worse than my headache, but I still have the headache.  I have never know pain like this.  It just won't stop and the propoxyphene-n I was prescribed isn't even kind of helping.
I want to know if I am over-reacting.  How much of a strech is it to think there is more than a hernated disc going on here?  Could a herniated disc cause all the problems I have?  What are other possible causes?  What would you do at this point?
Answer:
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by Paul J SlosarBlank, Sep 25, 2008
Headache is not a typical symptom of a disc herniation but more of a dural leak.  Back pain can be a symptom of the disc problem but it is impossible to be certian over the internet.  The MRI should show a leak but not always if it is small.  Consider a consultation with a neurologist to rule out any inflammation of the spinal canal or cord.
A blood patch may be needed to treat the headache and this is usually done by the anesthesiologist or a spinal injection specialist.
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