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New Member Introductions If you just joined, please introduce yourself here. Please add a signature describing your spinal history (use the "User CP) and ask us how we can help you get started.


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  #1  
Old 10-08-2009, 01:47 PM
scduggan scduggan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 47
Default New Girl...waiting in insurance approval

Hey Everyone,
I wanted to introduce myself. I found this website over a month ago. Since then, I have filled my head (almost to capacity) with information about ADR. I have jumped through ALL the hoops to get to this point. Now all I can do is wait. My original request for ADR was denied which we expected.

My history is the same as a lot of the folks on this forum. I am a 44 year old female. I have always been extremely healthy....you might even say medically boring. For several years I have had LBP. Two years ago I started seeking specific help. To be honest, I was worried about the long term effects of all the ibuprofen I was taking. Long story short, I have DDD at L4-L5. Last week I got to see the CT scan that was taken after my discogram. During the two minutes it took to wheel me from the procedure room to the CT scan, all the florescent fluid had leached out of my disc. I have three opinions now, all from very reputable doctors that I am a good candidate for ADR. I cannot wait as I feel like I am languishing here at home. I have three sons (ages 11,9 & 7) and a husband who travels A LOT. I take narcotics and muscle relaxers EVERY Day, and am terrified of dependency. I know I am not as bad as some of the people I have read about here, as I am functioning. Not really sure I have a choice and maybe that is a good thing.

I will close now but I do have a couple of questions for the veterans. First, I do not have leg pain....only low back and radiating pain in both hips and glutes. A few times (while sitting) I have felt little phantom feelings down my leg but not necessarily pain. I do have significant leg WEAKNESS. I know it is not atrophy because I still manage to walk every morning or do the elliptical machine for 30 minutes. I continue to do this little bit of exercise because without it I have NO energy and a very difficult time sleeping. Has anyone else had this leg weakness? I am really aware when descending stairs or rising from a crouched position.

Secondly, (putting this in it's own paragraph in case I lost some of you, ha ha)... Has anyone had success getting United Health to cover ADR? I have been pouring over the Insurance Hell file and see lots of references to UHC and denials. However, all those are old, dating back to early 2007. I am keeping my fingers crossed that maybe they have turned over a new leaf. Several people I know have told me to just stay on them....the tenacious ones eventually win. I hope this is true. My OS might possibly get me in a clinical trial at Vanderbilt on kinetics. I will keep you posted. Good luck to you all.
Candee
__________________
44 yr. old female
DDD at L4-L5
low back discomfort for several years
LBP for 2 to 3 years-much worse since April '09
44 visits to chiro in 6 months
PT & ESI (failed)
Discography/CT -positive at L4-L5, annular tear & bulge
three denials from UnitedHealthcare for ADR
Surgery 2/18/10-Freedom Lumbar disc L4/L5
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  #2  
Old 10-08-2009, 04:17 PM
2cool4U 2cool4U is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 141
Default Leg weakness

Candee,

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. There are many things that can be said, and I'm sure you've read a lot of them here.

About your leg weakness: That can be a significant indication that you need treatment sooner rather than later. You need to alert your doctors. Although you feel that you still have normal function, it could be that you have specific muscle weakness that other muscle groups are compensating for. If so, you COULD have developing nerve impairment. Your doctor or physical therapist can assess individual muscle strength and counsel you on how long you can wait for potential surgery. Make sure you point this out at your next visit. It may be nothing, but it could be important.

This site is a great resource. I kept reading and reading, and then I would find more info the more I searched and pored over the posts.

Good luck.

-tc-
__________________
L5-S1 rupture 11/04, left leg pain for 2 wks
Regular exercise/pain-free until 2007
L5-S1 degen. disease w/constant pain since 6/07
PT, ESI, SI jt injections, 3-level nerve root inj. x 2
Massage, heat, ice, TENS, etc
L5-S1 Charite Jan. 19th, 2009, very happy w/decision
New back pain in upper back though.
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  #3  
Old 10-09-2009, 03:59 PM
tooyoungforthis tooyoungforthis is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 99
Default Official welcome!

Candee,

Just wanted to say an official welcome. Thank you for sharing your history with us. Have you had an EMG for your nerve function? I am hoping and praying for a quick result for you with all your diligence!

Beth
__________________
**********
~Beth.
29yrs old. No known trauma
Chiropractics, Ortho, PT, surgeon to neurologist to new surgeon.
6 years chronic pain and newer spasms.
MRI's, CT's, EMG, ESI's.
S1 nerve root deviation
Positive DDD L5-S1 discogram VAS 8/10
7.14.09 Signed up for Clinical Trial at TBI
for either a Prodisc-L or Freedom Lumbar Disc
Surgery: October 1st 2009
Recieved Prodisc-L
04-2010 Rhizotomy
12-2010 Rhizotomy #2
************
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  #4  
Old 11-22-2010, 10:41 AM
danzintommy danzintommy is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 18
Default

Hiya.
Back pain is the pits!
But the leg weakness thing happened to me too. I had a mega back pain session in June and after that I've been numb in left leg from knee down along my shin. My daughters think its funny to poke me with a pin whilst I'm watching TV and see when I react. (Well-it amuses them....grrrr )

The other thing I found out (post June) is taking long strides, walking down stairs, or trying to go up 2 at a time will result in me falling flat on my face unless I can get support on something(bannister, hand rail...I'm sure you get my drift).

So I'd just avoided stair induced facial rhinoplasty a couple of times when it all twigged (I'm a bit slow...remember the pins?)
Anyway- it does happen. The other things that I've noticed are that at time my glutes or thigh feels "corked" (Aussie slang for getting hit in the muscle) and once in a while I'll get the same feeling in my right leg.

I'm having surgery on 2 Dec.

Oh- and the insurance company rejected me at 1st. (Long story - but posted part of it in the "Insurance Hell" section in answer to Researcher's question. If I knew how I'd post the link here.)

Anyway- good luck with everything. Keep your spirits up. You are not alone- and ibuprofin is a short term solution. If you need it regularly, you need something else. I think taking it helped me to really destroy my back earlier this year.
__________________
Danzintommy
L4-5 & L5-S1 proposed Dec2010
Laminectomy C5-6 2002.

Last edited by danzintommy; 11-22-2010 at 10:42 AM. Reason: my poor spelling!
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  #5  
Old 11-23-2010, 10:02 AM
kennethhoff kennethhoff is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 71
Default

Candee -

Sorry to hear about your back pain. You've found a great forum though.

So adding my experiences (and two cents!), the fact that you have back pain and not leg pain is a good thing. Almost all my research, and the doctors I talked to from spine surgeons to pain docs, all said that ADR has a better outcome on back pain than leg pain. I am not sure why, but I can only guess that there are so many other back issues that can cause leg pain; stenosis, spondylosis, SI joint pain, etc ... But if all the other levels of your lumbar back show no problems, you know the level is L4-L5, you meet all or most all the other conditions that most docs look for in ADR, your in good shape going in.

As for the pain when getting up from a seated/crouched position, I have had that too. I think it is (in my opinion) that it is the difference in disc pressure that the body tries to adjust too that affects the disc pain. Just like when your in a pool, the weightlessness feels good for most back problems because the disc has less pressure. But then when you get out of the pool and start walking, it all comes back.
The leg weakness is usually a sign to get it fixed NOW, same with loss of bladder or bowel function.

My pain is also contained to my back (L5-S1) and hips, and I have had those phantom leg pains on a rare occasion. I have had times where I bumped into something in a store and when my hip in my right leg gets hit, I almost lose my ability to step on my right leg. But I know it is referred pain from my back.

The key is your diagnostic tests (MRI, CT, etc..). If it shows no other major signs or other disc problems, no spinal canal impingement, and a provocative discogram confirms your level, then I would think it is L4-L5.

As for insurance, I wish you the best. While some gets covered, sadly most do not. In years I think that will change, but for now it sucks. A single level ADR can average $30-$40 thousand dollars. That includes the surgery, doctors (spine, general, anesthesiologist), hospital, etc .... The other choice is if you can find a clinical trial. They generally pay for a good part of it, and you may end up paying only a fraction of the total costs. I don't know how far you are willing to travel, but Axiomed is doing a clinical trial for lumbar pain. You get either a ProDisc-L or Axiomed's Freedom Disc. There is not a study trial in Tennessee, but there are in NC and Georgia (their your closest). The link to find more about the study, locations, etc ... is: Welcome to AxioMed Spine Corporation

I have lived with back pain for 13 years, tried almost everything, and just got the OK for ADR from the clinical study end. They will pay for most of it, but as in most studies, they submit to your insurance and whatever is denied they cover. But, that is for the hospital, docs, etc... If you need PT, or have additional issues not their disc related, you pay. I too have done tons of research, asked many good questions, and am aware going in. Continue to be a good patient and be as knowledgeable going in. Ask a lot of questions, and maybe even check out the DVD Harrison made about ADR. I think it is in the front page of this forum. I got it and it is well worth it.

My Best
Ken
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