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Spine and Back Health

Back and Leg Pain Question

04/16/2009

Question:

I am a 40 year old healthy, athletic, mother of three teenaged sons and wife. I am also a nurse. In 2003, I injured my back while positioning and caring for a 300 plus # patient. After almost 1 year of pain medications, physical therapy etc. I underwent a posterior fusion of L3-4. I had sponylo with root nerve irritation. I also herniated the disc and have degeneration of the discs below. Because I have had persistent pain since my fusion, my Doctors wanted a discogram. I underwent a discogram 1 week ago today. The entire procedure was uncomfortable and reproduced and intensified all of my pain areas. In fact, my pain has doubled. I have noticed that my right leg is weak, especially my foot. I have decreased sensation, however I still feel like my leg has a clamp on it. Is it normal to have this pain flare up, leg pain and weakness, and how long do you think it will last? I read another question that was written to you on 4/9/08, and I noticed how we share the same issues. I also have had problems with urinating. I pee 5-6 times before I settle to sleep and then at least a couple of times during the night. I never have a steady stream and I literally have to force it. It is the most frustrating situation. I underwent all kinds of bladder studies and everything came back normal. I never had this problem before I injured my back, and I think it is interesting that this person had the same issues I have. Thanks for any information you may have.

Answer:

Thank you for visiting NetWellness. On this site, we try to answer general questions about health but cannot diagnose or recommend treatment. You appear to have some very, very specific questions about your condition, which can only be answered properly by a physician who is familiar with your history, physical exam, and test results.

It is not considered normal to have ongoing worsening of symptoms after a discogram. You should contact the person who performed the test and inform them that you are worse, especially making sure they understand that your leg feels weaker. This might indicate a problem and should be looked into. Good luck. 

For more information:

Go to the Spine and Back Health health topic, where you can:

Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University