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Dr. Frank
Dr. Frank, Board Certified Physician
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 9000
Experience:  Board certified general Adult Neurologist, with experience in experimental neuroimaging and neurodiagnostics.
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I have been having back pain since december. My primary care

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I have been having back pain since december. My primary care physician ordered MRI and CAT scan that revealed a t7-t8 herniation and a lumbar herniation. I wake up stiff, and I can never seem to get the pain to go away unless I am lying down. I am now starting to feel tingling in my stomach and legs if I sit for too long. I have tried chiropractic adjustment, and had limited success. I have been to the Rothman institute and they recommended cortizone injections for the pain. I visited my primary care physician again and he said this is just the way it is going to be. Do you know of anything I can do to get this pain, which is really bad at times, to go away?
Welcome to Just Answer. I am an Adult Neurologist and was contacted to answer your question.

Hello. Did you try the steroid epidural injection therapy? Some things you did not mention is Physical Therapy for stretching and strengthening your back. Topical treatments like lidoderm patches, or voltaren gel applied to the areas of back spasm? Have you tried muscle relaxants such as tizanidine (Zanaflex) or Skelaxin?

get back to me with questions if I can help Dr Frank T
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I didnt try the epidural injection because I was told it wasnt a fix, but masking the pain. I have been on skelaxin but it didnt even touch the pain. I am a weightlifter and do a lot of back and stretching exercises. When I went to a physical therapist, he told me I was in good shape and no stretches he could give me would be any different than what I do.I havent tried the patches, are they over the counter or a prescription

The patches and the gel are a prescription. Lidoderm patches are lidocaine, a local anesthetic, that soaks into the muscle and deadens the pain. You put them 12 hours on, and 12 hours off. Voltaren gel is also a transdermal of diclofenac, which is available as a pill (Arthrotec 75), but can be toxic to kidneys at high doses if used chronically. The gel does not get into your blood stream at any appreciable level.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I guess my question is "is this normal to have pain radiating to the stomach and legs" and "can anything be done to fix the problem" instead of things to mask the pain. Like I said, I am 41 years old and cant imagine this pain lasting for 8 months with no relief.

It is difficult to answer your clinical questions accurately with no imaging or clinical information. The pain to your stomach is consistent with the herniated disc in the thoracic spine, if there is compression of the spinal root at that level (hard to say without seeing your films). Pain in the legs can be from lumbar discs, but I cannot give you a better answer in this environment. I would say the doctors at the Rothman Institute have that answer, and if they suggested epidural steroids, then nerve compression is probably the problem. I have a few weight lifters that come to my office for pain management, they have histories of anabolic steroids, and HGH, and a variety of hormonal treatments, and with the training have had herniations in vertebral discs. They all have chronic pain complaints. There are other alternative treatments, like endoscopic spinal surgery for thoracic disc herniation, or hyaluronidase injections to support fragmented discs. There are clinics that are promoting PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatments for thoracic disc pain. All have their own risk/benefit. I would suggest you discuss your imaging studies with an endoscopic spine surgeon, if you want a more aggressive approach, with the hope of curing your chronic pain. Please get back to me if I can help, or rate my service if satisfied. Dr Frank t
I hope I was able to answer all of your questions. Please get back to me if I can help, and please remember to rate my service, as that is how I am compensated for my work in answering your questions. Dr Frank t
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I have never taken any hgh or steroids ever. I want to know if I can do anything in the meantime to relieve the pain. Tylenol and Advil really don't help and the pain is starting to get annoying
Call you doctor and ask him to call in some lidoderm patches. They can be fairly expensive, but will help if you have an area on your back that is less than 4 by 6 inches. It works well for acute flare ups of back pain due to spasms. I hope I was able to answer all of your questions, please rate my services if satisfied. Dr Frank t
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Will the patches help even if it is not a spasm? It hurts much of the day. It does not come and go but rather sore all the time. I relate the pain to what someone feels after shoveling snow for an hour or two. Will the patch help this too?
the patches help much like getting a trigger point injection with lidocaine, if anyone ever tried that with you. The anesthetic disrupts the afferent signals from the muscle, which is part of getting the spasm started, so you break up that cycle and the muscle relaxes. If you have tried skelaxin (800 mg), and not had much of an effect, I would not guarantee that this would work for spasm. Dr Frank T
Dr. Frank and other Neurology Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
When should I be worried about the numbness? I have been feeling worse the past few days my back has gotten much worse. The numbness has been worse in my ribs and back. How can I stop or change this?
The numbness suggests demyelination in the area of the dorsal root, as it passes the disc, so you have to consider that disc at T8/9 as the cause, and unless you address the issue directly, it will not change. If you wish to document the problem you could get dermatomal somatosensory evoked potentials at that thoracic level, but you might address your disc problem with an endoscopic spinal surgeon, who can review your MRI and give you options.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
When you say address the problem directly what do you mean? Also is there an chance o this ever going away on its own?
You has said you were offered epidural steroids, but did not do it because it would mask your pain. Epidurals do more than that, they are anti-inflammatory, and can reduce pressure on the nerve in the setting of neuroforaminal stenosis, but for most, they only reduce pain. The only "cure" is surgical to reduce pressure on the nerve root, a partial laminectomy and corpectomy on the disc fragment to change the anatomy can offer a cure. I have not seen you or your MRI, so I really cannot say if that applies to you specifically. I would ask a surgeon if that is an option for you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you
you are welcome, good luck to you.