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Picture of my herniated disc

September 12th, 2009 No comments
L2-3: Mild facet and ligamentous hypertrophy. Minimal circumferential annular bulge mild central canal narrowing. No foraminal stenosis. Superior extending right extruded herniation in the right gutter extending posterior to the L2 vertebral body, 13 mm craniocaudal.

Click the image for a bigger version. The yellow circle shows the herniation. (c) Nick Howe. All rights reserved.

Four weeks ago my lower back started to stiffen and over the course of a week got worse and worse.  I did stretching exercises every day and over the course of the next week it gradually improved until I was back to normal (or so I thought).  During that second week I’d been to see my GP (‘primary care physician’) Dr Brian Moraes about something else and mentioned my back problem.  His diagnosis was “your lower back is too straight.  Don’t wear flip-flops; wear shoes with better arch support”.  Thanks a bunch.

Two days later I was sitting in the driveway repairing sprinklers (again!  I think I need to do a post about garden sprinkler problems.  They seem to fail unusually often).  I reached sideways to pick up a plastic ‘T’ piece and felt like someone had knifed me in the back.  After the initial pain had subsided my back didn’t feel too bad.

Over the next three days the pain in my back got worse and moved into my hip and thigh – classic symptoms of sciatica.  I went to the doctor on Wednesday.  This time I went to see my wife’s GP (Dr Robert Johnson), having lost faith in mine.  Dr Johnson suspected a deep ligament strain and prescribed pain killers and steroids, expecting the problem to fixed in 3-5 days. By the weekend the pain was no better and I made another appointment for the following Wednesday.  This time, Dr Johnson changed his diagnosis to a suspected herniated disc and sent me for an MRI.  He referred me to a spine specialist (Dr Ashish Sahai).

On Friday I went to see Dr Sahai and he confirmed that I had a herniated disk (L2) and prescribed an injection into the spine, which should happen next Thursday.  The injection has to be done under X-Ray to guide the needle, but allegedly I’ll be up and about the same day.

The back is gradually feeling better, but sitting is still very painful and I spend most of the day lying down.  At least it isn’t too difficult to use the iPhone and my small laptop while flat on my back.

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