Spinal Stenosis and Degenerative Changes

By | September 23, 2013

I’ve had a sharp pain from the left side of my back/hip, down my left leg into my foot for slightly over a month now. I helped a mate move some furniture, nothing too strenuous and just figured that I overworked myself and thought that it would go away in a couple of days, boy was I wrong. I get sharp pains down my left leg, pins and needles in my foot and find it hard to walk and it’s very uncomfortable.

I went to the doctors and told my GP about the issue, she thought the same thing as me, gave me a prescription for Panadeine Forte and organised for me to have physiotherapy to help with the pain, as she thought it may have been a muscle related issue too.

About 3 weeks ago I was is so much pain that I couldn’t stand, sit or lay down, the pain was unbearable and went to the Emergency Department at The Townsville Hospital. They did an x-ray and told me they would forward it to my GP. So the next day I went and saw my GP who reviewed the results of the x-ray and ordered for me to have a CT scan on my spine and also prescribed me Indicid and Endep along with the Panadeine Forte for pain management.

After I went and got the CT scan done I went back to see my GP, this was September 11. The first thing she told me was that the results were quite bad, that physio wouldn’t fix it, then proceeded to advise that I would be referred to a Surgeon at The Townsville Hospital. The results I didn’t quite understand, she showed me a picture of the human body and where the nerves run / are being compress but also did research it a bit, and the outcome isn’t too good.

L2/3: A broad based disc bulge is present causing anterior indentation of the thecal sac.

L3/4: Broad based disc herniation is present causing indentation of the thecal sac. Mild stenosis of bilateral exiting foramina.

L4/5: A large central disc hernia is present causing significant stenosis of the spinal canal. Thecal sac posteriorly displaced. The discs show bilateral paracentral and foraminal extension causing bilateral mild exiting foraminal stenosis.

L5/S1: A broad based disc hernia is seen causing anterior indentation of the thecal sac. A large posterolateral osteophyte is present on the left side causing impingement on the left sided exiting foramina. Note is also made of early facet joint degenerative changes at this level. The right sided foramina is capacious. The exiting left S1 nerve root at the lateral recess is posteriorly displaced.

Note: Multilevel degenerative changes of lumbosacral spine with most marked changes at L4/5 causing significant spinal canal stenosis. Significant exiting foraminal stenosis on left side at L5/S1 contributed by disc herniation and posterolateral osteophytes.

All these big words, “anterior indentation”, “bilateral paracentral and foraminal extension”, “posterolateral osteophyte”, and “foramina” amongst other things gave me no idea what the issue was. Basically the canal which my spinal cord runs through is narrowing and putting pressure on my nerves, which is causing the pain. Also the areas that the spinal cord run through between each vertebra is narrowing too. My discs are out in my spine and are pushing against the thecal sac too.

At this stage I have to go see the GP for different medication as the ones I have now aren’t doing much to relieve the pain that I get throughout my back and leg, so hopefully there is something else to numb the pain a bit. Also I am on the waiting list to see a surgeon which I hope may be sooner than later although I won’t hold my breath too long.