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Neck and back pain, tingling and burning. Seen chiropractor. MRI done. Advise?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
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I have had neck and back problems for nearly 15 years and I have done numerous injections and have seen a chiropractor over the years - all which only temporarily gives some relief but the past 2 years my lower left back has gotten so severe that it hurts if I walk too long, it is uncomfortable sleeping at night, after getting up from sitting on the couch I feel like my back is so stiff it takes a few minutes for me to be able to straighten it up, I get shooting pains, tingling and burning that go up my back and sometimes a little into my butt area (all on the left side). Since this pain has come to interfere with my daily life and become so severe I decided to get an MRI done. My doctor whose just a general doc told me everything was fine but I wanted to see the actual results for myself and this is what my MRI says:

*There is a small rudimentary disk at S1-S2.
*The lowest functional disk is assumed to represent L5-S1.
*L5-S1: There is a shallow disk bulge. There are moderate facet hypertrophic changes.
*There is an 8 mm synovial cyst adjacent to the posterior inferior surface of the left facet joint.
*L4-L5: There is a small left posterolateral annular tear. There are mild facet hypertrophic changes.

I know my body and my pain is getting progressively worse and fast. I feel there IS something wrong and that my general doctors diagnosis of "everything looks fine" is incorrect. I need some advice!!!
Posted Mon, 2 Jul 2012 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 6 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
The findings of your MRI are suggestive of degenerative disc disease.
The treatment is done according to the severity of symptoms. Medicines are the first line treatment along with physiotherapy. If the patient responds well with medicines then physiotherapy helps in preventing further progression of the problem. Surgery is kept as a last resort to improve the quality of life of the patient.
The main treatment of such problem is bed rest along with pain killers and muscle relaxants. Muscle relaxants can help with your symptoms if used in appropriate dosage in combination with a potent analgesic. You can get these prescribed from your orthopedician.
Local analgesic gels and hot fomentation may provide a short term relief. You can use analgesic gels like Volini gel. Exercise is not advisable in the times of acute pain.
Using an LS contour belt of appropriate size might be helpful in providing support to back muscles.
Physiotherapy also plays a major role in treating such conditions. Epidural steroid injections have been used if oral pain killers are not very effective and surgical treatment is not considered. Discuss with your orthopedician and an appropriate treatment can be planned depending on the response to medical drugs.

I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Neck and back pain, tingling and burning. Seen chiropractor. MRI done. Advise? 51 minutes later
Thank you for your reply. I was wondering if in your opinion I should consult a chiropractor vs. an orthopedic doctor? Would a chiropractor do more harm than good? I have no insurance so everything is self pay and I am trying to make the best decision for me. Also I have not responded well to chiropractic treatment, XXXXXXX tissue massage nor steroid injections in the past so given that what type of surgery is done for this issue and what are my options? It is so severe that it hurts no matter what I am doing. Hopefully you can answer these additional questions and any give me any further information you may have!!
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 5 hours later
Thanks for writing again.
Consulting an orthopedician will be better than following a chiropractor's advice.
The treatment is done in a step wise manner. From your MRI findings, the degenerative changes in your back are not severe so as to need a surgery immediately.
A good combination of pain killer and muscle relaxant like thiocolchicoside is the first line of treatment and most of the patients respond to the conservative treatment.
A good combination of drugs will provide you relief according to the medical response under the guidance of an orthopedician.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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