husband medical issues-bulging disc

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Kjs, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    husband never ever goes to the doctor. He has very bad knees and once or twice a year he goes in and gets a cortisone shot in the knees and that is it. He has never had a physical, never complains.

    Two weeks ago (a Friday) he calls me from work and asks me if there is a specific hospital to go to for insurance (I take care of all bills and carry the insurance). He said his leg is bothering him. I assumed it was his knees. He said no, His right leg and right arm have been going numb for several days. This day it was very numb and not going away. (I am very aware of stroke and it's process/complications due to my mother). He will be 55 on Saturday, overweight....So I am very worried. He goes to ER. (Dr. not in) They do a CT scan of his brain to rule out a brain tumor. Then they tell him his BiPolar (BP) is very high so they do an EKG. (wonder why BiPolar (BP) is high???? just told him possible brain tumor!!)

    CT scan was fine, told him to get an MRI of his spine and to see a neurologist. Has MRI done and results show a bulging disc. He has not seen a doctor yet since MRI, they only phoned the results. We assume the bulging disc is putting pressure on the nerves causing the numbness.

    He has an appointment with a neurologist on the 29th. He has no idea what for. I am assuming he needs an EMG. I'll have to call the dr. cause it seems stupid to take time off of work, drive 45 miles to the neurologist only to be told he needs an EMG. I don't see a reason for a consult. He needs an EMG.

    So, medical bills are filing in. I guess a bulging disc is better than a stroke or heart problem.

    Anyone have experience with something like this?
  2. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    kjs, husband is 58 and started complaining his LEFT(!) arm was tingling, numb, going down into his fingers, etc. I almost panicked, thinking the worst. Last week he went to the doctor (yes, days later...that's a man for you). At this point all he's had is the preliminary x-rays, awaiting appointment. for MRI, but the doctor says "slipped disc". Now I'm no doctor, but I think this is similiar to your h's problem. The doctor has given him Lyrica and a corticosteriod....and the difference in how he feels is REMARKABLE. I know it's not fixing the problem, but I'm hoping that in his case perhaps physical therapy while he's on medications to make him feel better, might do the trick. husband was freakin' out when he talked to the nurse from the doctor's office about this, but getting on the internet answers alot of questions. Could be surgery is an option, but I think there are lots of avenues to explore before that. Let us know! Good luck!
  3. slsh

    slsh member since 1999


    I inherited my dad's bad back (thanks, Dad, LOL). In the summer of 2006, I started having excrutiating back pain. I also do not see doctors but it was bad enough to actually bite the bullet and go in. I had a bulging disk and various degenerative changes in my lower spine (L1-L5). I'm not a fan of any type of medication, so I got an rx for PT with Atilla the Hun. After the 3rd session and my back felt *worse*, I told Atilla I was done. His philosophy was no pain, no gain - which I absolutely do not agree with when it comes to backs. I then started seeing a chiropractor and doing a walking program (2.5 miles a day). It took about 6 weeks but gradually the pain decreased and things got *much* better.

    Unfortunately I got really complacent last summer, quit walking, quit chiropractor, lifted Boo too much, cleaned out basement after a flood, and ended up herniating L3/L4 disk. My right leg and hip were unbelievably painful - I mean... I'd rather give birth daily without an epidural than have that pain again! My leg was also numb from knee to ankle on the front. Interestingly - there really wasn't any back pain. Long story short, I ended up in hospital #1 where surgeon recommended diskectomy but I also am terrified of surgery, so I talked him into trying an epidural. Left hospital #1 because of staffing issues (without epidural) and by the time I went to hospital #2 two days later, I would have agreed to amputation of lower half of my body!

    Had the diskectomy and had *immediate* relief of pain though the leg was still numb. Really no pain from the surgery itself. Surgeon said it was one of the worst disks he'd ever seen - had to remove 2 "large" pieces. Unfortunately, I sneezed about 8 days later and reherniated the same dumb disk - I had been good, no lifting, gentle walking, following directions to the T, but no one had warned me about sneezing. So we did surgery again. Good news is I have no disk left in L3/L4 to herniate. Bad news is I have no disk left, LOL. If I have problems at that level again, I'm looking at a fusion unless I'm more comfortable with artificial disk results, which I'm not comfortable with right now.

    It took about 3 months for the leg numbness to go away - it still pops up now and then but just for short periods. If I overdo it or move the wrong way, my back lets me know. The pain from the nerves is very different from muscule pain.

    Just my opinion and it really depends on what level the herniated disk is at (mine was lower, sounds like your husband's is higher up since he has arm numbness too) - while pain medications are good for temporary relief, conditioning the body is essential. Rebuilding core strength, losing weight if that's an issue, and *sticking with* exercise. Epidurals do work for some people but in my mind that's a temporary fix - it just covers the pain. In my lay opinion, surgery is the one sure fix if it's a significantly herniated disk...*but* I do believe that strengthening the core muscles helps to support the spine and does relieve the pain (eventually) if you are really religious about the exercise regimen. I also think if it's a more mild herniation, anti-inflammatories help reduce the swelling and irritation while you work on strengthening. I think if I had stuck with it and been more careful about my lifting last summer, I could have postponed the whole nightmare for years. Again, just my opinion. ;)

    Sorry husband is going thru this (ain't middle-age grand???). I hear you about the medical bills. My surgeon's fee alone for the surgery was $10,000 a pop!!! Thank goodness for insurance!
  4. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I must add, in addition to never going to the Dr., husband does not believe in taking pain medication. (unlike me who has a fear of the slightest pain) He did have arthoscopic surgery on both knees years ago...and he refused pain medications. dummy!! don't know if he was trying to prove he is tough. I say give me all you got!

    Surgery..he won't do it. He will not take time off of work. A few years ago I worked at a company that had excellent insurance. I paid a high premium but was in a plan that had a $500 out of pocket then 100% coverage. Took that plan purposely so husband could get knees replaced (only option at this point) He refused due to recovery time and having to miss work. He never takes vacation, which ticks me off. We have a cottage up north (my family) and he tells me every year he can't get off work. So, difficult child, friend and myself go alone. Really irritates me. I do all the school meetings and any other type appointment. or meeting because he won't take off work. (but it is ok that I work nights and handle issues without sleep. And it is ok if I take a vacation day or leave early. And it is ok that I work two jobs) He spends many nights falling asleep on the couch while watching TV, and I told him he cannot do this if he wants his back to heal. But until a Dr. tells him this he won't listen. And I doubt he will tell a Dr. that he sleeps on the couch most nights.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Back pain is no fun - I have had a history of back pain from time to time begining in teenage years. My husband had his back go out one year. He was given the option of surgery but that is so risky - it may or may not work - it could make it worse. He opted for back exercises which he did dilegently and though it took about two years, he has recovered.

    My back went out one year on Christmas Eve and took one year to recover.

    All I can say, follow exercise plans if given to a T. They are boring and endless, however, it will pay off in the very long run. Because my husband was able to follow the program on his own, we did not pay for PT.
  6. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    My right arm gets numb and very painful off and on. A couple of years ago the pain was so bad it brought me to my knees. One day I woke up and couldn't get out of bed because my back hurt so much. I went to a chiropractor and after a month of treatment, my arm pain went away. Since then it comes back but now I know it's related to my back so I do some exercise, stretching, and back rubs, and it gets better, or at least it doesn't get worse. It takes awhile for the pain to go away completely.

    I hope your husband can recover with exercise and/or PT, since he refuses surgery or pain medications. Backs are nothing to fool with, and he could find himself on the couch unable to work at all, much less taking a few days off to vacation with his family.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This last Dec I had the 2nd level of disc fused in my neck. It has helped a LOT - no more arm pain except muscle stuff. I had the 1st one done 10 years ago and will problem have another one done in 8-10 more years. It seems to happen that way with many people.

    I would research the epidural shot if I were him. My ins co wouldn't do the surgery with-o the stupid epidural. The "pain mgmt doctor" that did the epidural screwed it up and I was in agony for almost 2 weeks from the mistake. Of course they would not let me see the doctor about the problem - cause it couldn't be HIS issue! But I did get through it and did get the surgery done. And I am very glad to be past it ALL!

    Good luck, I hope that your husband ends up getting some relief with-o surgery!