anyone familiar with stenosis?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by jbrain, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi All,
    just found out my mom has a narrowing of the lumbar spine. She was in a car accident on Halloween and has had really bad pain in her butt and legs since then, to the point she can hardly walk. She had an MRI done today and they told her it is stenosis or narrowing of the lumbar spine. I only talked to her for a minute but she was pretty upset--said she will have to see a specialist, doesn't know what they will do.

    I've been googling it and reading up on it, sounds like she may need surgery. She is 85 yrs old and up til the accident had been doing really well. She was still substitute teaching, doing aerobics and weight lifting, plannning to go on a 9 day trip to California to see the Rose Parade. She had to cancel the trip and has been depressed over that. She lives in Texas and I live in NY State. My sister lives in Minnesota. She really has no family near her so that makes it all hard.

    Anyway, if anyone knows anything about this condition please let me know.

  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I don't have any info other than what I would find online, but I wanted to let you know that I will keep your mom in my thoughts. Back injuries are so painful.

    Maybe a trip to TX to visit the doctor with your mom is in order?
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    stenosis is a narrowing inside the vertebrae, which is usually a long-term thing, so I'm thinking that the car accident has nothing to do with-it and they just found out by coincidence.
    Her pain may be from both the accident AND the stenosis ... and despite her excellent health and exercising, this is not an unusual problem for someone her age, unfortunately.

    I will ask husband tonight for more info.

    P.S. Way To Go that she's so active. I love that part!
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I don't know about stenosis. I'm sorry for your Mom and the pain she's in.

    I hope she can find some relief. The good new is if she does have to have surgery - she sounds really fit and healthy.

    Hugs for you both
  5. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Hi Jane, both my mother and mother in law have had surgery for stenosis.
    Both did much better once out of pain. My mom had a fusion also. Unfortunately she didn't limit her activity(on ladder stretching to clean ceiling fans etc) so her fusion isn't solid.

    I hear more and more of older people doing well after the surgery in terms of pain relief. Too bad that she isn't closer.
    I stayed with mom after surgery for a few days. She went to rehab and when she came home I stayed again with her.

    It's frustrating to have pain that limits a person who has a robust health.
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Oh Jane,

    Your mom has my deepest empathy. As far as I'm concerned, there is no pain that can compare to what you get from a messed up back. I'm seriously neurotically phobic about surgery but a week of hip and leg pain (that word just doesn't do the sensation justice) from lumbar problems had me *begging* a surgeon to fix me.

    I think it probably bodes well for your mom that she's so incredibly active. I hope they are able to come up with a plan that will relieve her of her pain without having to get too terribly invasive.
  7. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    I work for an ortho...

    Stenosis is indeed narrowing of the spinal canal. This is degenerative in nature, so most likely this was and has been there a long time, but was aggravated by the accident. You should probably get some recommendations for a pain management specialist (BOARD CERTIIFIED) and get the low down on him before you go. She may do fine with epidural steroid injections. The lessen the inflammation, causing less pain. Before discussing surgery, this should be tried first. She may need an EMG/nerve conduction study first.

    Just want to let you know, docs get about $1500 bucks for doing one epidural injection that takes him 15 minutes to do. This is more than an ortho gets for doing a hip replacement that might take 3 hours to do. There are docs that love to do multiple injections on patients for the money. Three is the standard. If after three, no improvement is seen, then further injections will not work. Don't let a doctor talk her into further. I can quote the medical journals for you, if you need.
  8. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Thank you so much for the great info and for the emotional support and sympathy and empathy! What a great bunch of people you are!

    I talked to my mom last night and let her know the little bit I knew from reading on the internet and I will call her again tonight to let her know what you guys have told me. She sees a back specialist tomorrow so we'll see what he says. She sounded okay last night. She said that actually the last couple days have been better painwise.

    I'm sure her good physical condition before the accident is helpful. She had Legionnaire's disease a few yrs ago and probably wouldn't have survived if she hadn't been in good physical shape before she got it. She was in intensive care for 6 weeks with that.

    I'll let you know what happens and what the back dr. says. Oh yeah, she went in for an MRI on her back and when they found out she has a pacemaker they did a CT scan instead. She had no idea that a person with a pacemaker should not get an MRI--wouldn't you think her primary care dr. would have known that before he ordered it? She was really mad at him and told him so!

    Thanks again, what would I do without you guys?

  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    From my own limited understanding - stenosis means narrowing, and you can get it in a number of places. It's not a disease in itself. You can get stenosis of an artery, for example.

    And MRI - the machine uses a magnetic field strong enough to lift a car. If you have ANY ferrous material in your body, anything likely to be affected by a magnetic field, the effect when they turn that big electromagnet on would be spectacular and perhaps also very nasty, as that bit of metal would leave wherever-it-is in your body and fly to the machine. Imagine an old war wound, the bullet still in the leg... you would hope the bullet wouldn't go through anything vital as it winged its way to the electromagnet.

    Also, pacemakers can be affected by magnetic fields in their own right, and by other weird things. You WOULD think her primary care doctor would have known and not ordered the test. That's why MRI technicians double-check.

  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, he should have known. Ack! It would have been a wasted trip. They of course ask you before they actually do the MRI, so that's what it would have been--a wasted trip.

    I'm glad she's seeing a specialist, and that she will be getting care.

    I asked my husband about what I had written and he said it was correct, but that he would need to know more about where the stenosis was, (i.e. lumbar, etc.) and that sort of thing.

    Best of luck to her!