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7 bulging discs...muscle tightening, bone pain

Hi!! I hope you are able to shed some light as to what is going on. I have a history of severe muscle tightening around my torso/abdominal area. It feels like someone is squeezing me. The muscles get very tight and hard. I sometimes (not always) get shortness of breath when these muscles get tight. I Have been short of breath for the last 8 hours or so. I take Lortab every morning for the bone pain and hip pain. I have a lot of deep bone pain in my torso & it makes it difficult to walk w/ the muscles tightening & the pain. I also have muscle wasting in left arm & arm weakness in both arms. I have curvature of the spine ( C-shaped) and a hump on the left side of spine when I bend over. I also have scalp numbness, tinnitus, hearing problems, the outer parts of ears feel numb, numbness along spine, muscle twitching, overwhelming fatigue at times. I have been dealing with this for 4 yrs. It has not been easy. The pain gets severe & my gait has changed as well as I have lost the curve at the end of my spine. My back is very straight in the lumbar area & my pelvis pushes forward when I stand. Last week I found out I have 7 bulging discs. can you please tell me if any of my symptoms are from the disc issues? My Dr. suggested MS, but my last 2 brain mris showed hyperintensities, on a T2 Flair, but not MS plaques. Can you please explain the following: CERVICAL....C2-C3=No significant disc protrusion or stenosis. C3-C4="The moderate right paracentral disc extrusion is causing mass effect on the right ventral surface of the spinal cord. Mild T2 Flair hyperintensity within the cord at this level suggests cord edema. The neural foramen are patent....How are they sure this hyperintensity is not an MS lesion...how are they sure it is from cord edema??? C4-C5=Minimal disc bulge effaces the thecal sac. The neural foramen are patent. C5-C6 (Had fusion on this one in 2008 & had no other disc issues at that time!) anyway C5-C6= No significant disc protrusion or stenosis. Right uncinate process is causing mild right foraminal narrowing. C6-C7= Mild disc bulge causing mild effacement of the thecal sac. Neural foramen appears patent. C7-T1= No significant disc protrusion or stenosis. LUMBAR...L1-L2=No significant disc protrusion or stenosis. L2-L3=Mild disc bulge & bilateral facet hypertrophy are causing mild spinal stenosis. L3-L4= Mild spinal canal stenosis secondary to mild disc bulge & bilateral facet hypertrophy & thickening of the ligamentum flavum (WHAT does THAT mean? lol!) L4-L5=Mild spinal stenosis secondary to mild disc bulge & bilateral facet hypertrophy & thickening of ligamentum flavum (Is that why my muscles feel like they are being ripped off my hips all the time?) L5-S1= Mild disc bulge abuts the thecal sac. Is all of this what is causing muscle tightness? Severe lumbar pain? I don't understand any of this, I just know most days I need a cane to walk. Thank you, I know I wrote a lot...but have been in pain for 4 yrs & miserable because I have'nt gotten any answers & I do not have insurance, so I don't know what to do.
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Avatar universal
I am no good at interpreting a radiology report.  But I can say that the physician who ordered your scan is the one who should explain to you what's going on with your spine in layman's terms.  Save the money up to go back to see him, a single appointment shouldn't be outrageously expensive.  In addition, you see, he can increase the dose of your Lortab so you don't feel quite so much discomfort.

I can also say something about your shortness of breath and tightened abdominal muscles.  Now, IF you happen to be overweight and your tummy sticks out, this will cause pressure on your diaphram, and this can cause shortness of breath.  IF this is true, you must try to lose weight.  But I apologize if you are normal sized, and so I can therefore say that, sure, it's possible your bulging discs and the pressure being put on your spinal cord is causing this, and so when you go see the doc who ordered the scan (assuming that you will eventually), you can mention your shortness of breath, which I think is significant if it's in some way related to your spinal cord; but most likely it's to do with how the nerves that come out from the back and encircle the front are what are making those symptoms.

I think you should consider either asking a doc or looking in a pharmacy yourself for a back brace of some kind, MIGHT take some pressure off your really damaged spine.  But do not wear such a thing all the time, or what muscle strength you do have might decline.  Only wear it when you're going to have to walk some distance or will be doing something that causes your back to hurt really badly.  In other words, don't wear it at home.  It's just to give you extra support when your back gives out.

By the by, soon you will be able to get very inexpensive insurance, our President Obama and the Congressional Democrats passed the health care reform bill in 2010, and at different years, diff parts of it go into effect, and one of them is to provide a pool of people who do not have insurance with a much lower rate.  You can also go to your county's health department, these free clinics you can go as a walk-in and usually be seen the same day.  But for specialists, like a neurologist or orthopedist, they would still send you to them where you'd have to pay their fees.  But could be one of those clinic docs can explain your scan report.  

Also, if you can get disability because of your back, you will automatically be put on Medicare, altho it takes a couple years for it to go into effect.  The cost is taken out of your disability monies.  The federal Department of Social Security can assist you with all that.
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Avatar universal
Thanks so much for responding! I apologize for not getting back sooner, been dealing w/ the usual & add a bad tooth &  I have had my hands full.
Luckily, I am not overweight, and actually have lost about 15 lbs in the past yr or so, yippee! lol...I think I have figured out the shortness of breath episodes...these started about 4 yrs ago...and that is also when other wierd stuff began also...I think it is b/c C3-C4 is ruptured...I think that the nerves asscociated with that area control the diaphragm, so that problem may be from the disc there. My Dr is wonderful!! (GP) I could'nt have asked for a greater man to be my Dr!! He listens to me & many have shaken their heads & said "There's nothing wrong!" Now, mind you, NEVER did the order one test, or if they did, they ordered the wrong stuff which would show nothing & when the wrong test came back fine, instead of going to a 'plan B' they refused to continue lookig for answers. I am glad I never gave up....heck, when you are in pain, there has to be a reason...people don't have pain for no reason...there is ALWAYS an explanation. I have noticed also that a lot of the muscle tightening kind of gets worse before my cycle...I know it can be hormonal & I do have a bad problem with hormones...terrible hemorrahgic cysts, endometriosis also. I have been through countless gynos, but w/out insurance, can never follow up to do a hysto & I don't really want one anyway...want to go into menopause naturally. But I wonder if it could be hormonal or nerve issues from stenosis. I have been banned from our countie's health dept. b/c 12 yrs ago they misdiagnosed me & when I questioned the dr, he got angry (*actually was a PA) & they threw me out. What is really sad about it is that when I got rechecked by a private dr a yr later, the dr said that I was right, I did not have what the HD diagnosed...the machines they used were miscalibrated. Can you believe that?! Plus, a girl I went to High school worked there as a nurse & never liked me & I think she said something to the drs there, b/c I find it odd that they could put me out for questioning a diagnosis. But, That is the reason they gave. I have chkd into disability but have to work in the meantime b/c I don't have any means of support. I am in a tough spot...but at least after 4 yrs, I am getting answers. thank you for your kind words & again for responding!!!
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Avatar universal
Dear Bellamicino,

I don't know still you are visiting this website or not. But I am sending this message to you.

I am also suffered with the same problems for the last 8 years almost from 2001 and my GP also said the same thing that nothing is wrong with me. But I took a decision and got an MRI  in the 2012 February and diagnosed the condition as below:


No Evidence of discitis or osteomyuelitis changes

Bulging annulus seen at L4-L5 L5-S1 levels narrowing the spinal canal and slightly indenting the spinal canal.
Hip/SI Joints

No obvious demonstrable pathology in SI joints and Hip joints

Whole Spine

Broad based disc protrusion seen at C5-C6 C6-C7 Levels narrowing the spinal canal and slightly indenting the cord surface.

I have only one question - Did you face any hairfall problem due to this. As i  lost almost 60 % of my hair due to this. I am a male , 33 Years.

Hope you will help me to find out, if the Hairfall problem is related to this disc issues.

Ramesh Kumar
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Avatar universal
Report of mri
Diffuse bulge of l4-l5 disc causing mild setnosis of bilateral neural foraminae.
And my vitamin d3 levels 21.
Is it curable..am 26male..am getting depressed With dis.am getting pain at left hip..and some times it moves to right leg thigh and hip and goes away..dt knw whts happening to me am scared with dis problem..currently am nt working any where from past 3months ..my mail id ***@****
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