Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

L5-S1 Impingement from herniated disc

SteveASSteveA Posts: 26
Well, this is my first time posting here, so I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Steve and at 19 years old, I am probably the youngest person ever to post on this forum. I am 6'1, 215lbs and currently a sophomore at Rutgers University double majoring in Economics and Biology with the future plans of going to Medical school.

And to the issue at hand, as I have learned from an MRI done sometime around November 1st, I have DDD running down from L3 to L5, a bulging disc at L2 and L3, a herniated disc at L4 with moderate nerve impingement, and what my Sports Medicine Doc states is "Quite an impressive herniation with obvious impingement on L5-S1."

Before I continue--I'd like to share a little bit more about myself, and apologize in advance for going into such detail about my issue. I'm just worried I'm never going to be able to do the things I've taken for granted in the past. I'm extremely active (or I should say was extremely active). Through my youth I played football, and in high school I started Wrestling, playing football, and throwing the shot-put, discus, and javelin during track season. I was a Varsity starter as a Freshmen in Wrestling and Track. I believe I can pinpoint where my back problems began right here as I weighed in at 205lbs but wrestled in the 275lbs weight class--as a result my back took a lot of pounding from larger individuals. Continuing through high school, and on to my senior year I was a state ranked wrestler, an All-County DE in Football, and all county shot-put thrower in Track and Field. I received scholarships to go to several schools for wrestling, but decided on going to Rutgers because they offered me a full tuition scholarship because I didn't want to wrestle as a Freshmen--I simply wanted to focus on my grades, get leaner, stronger and healthier.

Well, nothing happened as planned. During my second semester in college(this past spring) while play wrestling with one of my buddies on the team, I managed to tear the ACL in my left knee. That sucked. I had knee surgery and had the ACL reconstructed with a patella tendon alograft off of a cadaver on March 19th of this year. Five months later, some time around mid-august, with a ton of hard-work, my knee was finally feeling healthy. Great! Or so I thought. For as my knee was getting healthy, I started feeling a sharp pain in my right glute whenever I went to stretch the hamstring on that leg. I thought maybe it was just really tight so I began putting an effort in stretching it every day. However, that sharp pain when stretching kept persisting--the 'tightness' would not go away. So I scheduled an appointment with my doc. However, just 2 days prior to my appointment, while jumping rope to warm-up in order to stretch some more, I felt a little crackle in my upper right glute/low back, and from that point on I began feeling severe and constant pain at 8 on a 10 scale focused in my right glute. All I could was lay flat on my stomach, laptop in hand and research everything that caused gluteal pain. Luckily I had an appointment with my doc in just two days. He wasn't sure what it was, so he referred me to his colleague, a Sports MD Specialist. The Sports MD guy believed it was a herniated disc but wasn't sure, so he gave me a bunch of drugs for the pain and told me to see him in a week. Within that week the pain had progressed down my leg into the outside of my right calve and down the outside of my right foot. He had me get an MRI and referred me to an Orthopedic Surgeon and PT. The Orthopedic Surgeon took a look at the MRI and saw that a fragment of the L5-S1 disc was lodged in my spine and recommended that I have the surgery to get it removed as it was also impinging on a nerve. Just having gotten done dealing with surgery and recovery period of a torn ACL, I was really against the surgery. I thought to myself, "I'm 19 years old for christ sake, I'm going to heal." However, he insisted that it was really open and shut. Either I'd have to wait 3-6 months for my body to recognize that the disc was not supposed to be there and for it to break it down, or I could have the surgery to get it removed. He also mentioned that my body may never break it down.

5 weeks later, after several sessions with a PT and a 7 day course of Prednisone for it's anti-inflammation affect, I feel much better and am able walk, and even jog a little bit, though awkwardly. I still have weakness in my right calve, I have no achilles tendon reflex, and hamstring stretches still send a sharp pain up my glute. My biggest issue though is sitting down. I I could live with everything else, but the ability to sit down a not be in pain is just something I cannot live without. I cannot sit down for longer than 30 seconds without feeling pain in my upper right glute. It's completely debilitating. Being a pre-med major, I have quite a number of difficult classes. It's difficult enough taking notes in lectures when I'm 100%, but not being able to sit down just makes it impossible for me to learn anything. And my grades have suffered. I'm really just overwhelmed--I feel like all my dreams are going down the toilet. That I'm never going to be able to wrestle again, that my grades will never be good enough for Med School, heck even my social life is non-existent as some days all I am able to do is just lay down.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. For those of you who have read this far, I really thank you! Any advice you can offer would be a real relief. Should I go ahead and get the surgery ASAP? Or should I wait it out, continue the PT and hope that the disc fragment dissolves itself? My fear is getting the surgery only for the issue not to be resolved--that there's something else causing the Sciatica. Or worse, surgery causing even more complications. I've read so many topics of people with failed surgeries and multiple surgeries. Thanks again in advance!


  • Welcome to spine-health,no one on this forum can advise you weather or not to have surgery,you should listen to your doctor and surgeon....The thing you should be worried about is its impinging on a nerve.
  • SteveA, I would suggest you get multiple medical opinions to help you decide and in my opinion, it would be wise to go to a large teaching hospital (Johns Hopkins in MD, for example) and see a neurosurgeon that specializes. I find sitting in cold water with some ice cubes (only few mins at a time) helps reduce the inflammation along with anti-inflam meds and stretching. Good luck.
  • This is my first time ever doing this type of thing. I never use the internet but I am so desperate for releaf that i will do anything. In July, I had a cat scan that showed two bulged discs.I took two weeks off work and rested my back, after that it was sore and i babied it for the rest of the summer. I work at a job where we sit all day long. For the next few months after that I was very stiff at work and the commute was uncomfortable. ON NOv. 1st I woke at 4am with excruciating pain in my left leg. I could not put any weight on it and it felt like my whole leg from my butt to my toes was in a 'charlie horse', it took me about 3 hrs to walk it off and everyday since i've been doing the same thing, i get 3 hrs sleep and then walk off the pain and never sit down, I dread going to bed at night because i know i have to deal with it when i wake up. The doctors put me on a med called Tegretol with is for epileptics supposedly for nerve pain, i think its useless, but i can't get an MRI until late Dec. Last Thursday I sneezed and fell, since then i can't really stand up straight, but I've been in this chair for 10 mins and my ass hasn't gone into a spasm. So my symptoms have changed. I no longer can lay on my stomach on the floor or on my back, i need to stand and be bent over something at all times. if i walk the pain from my calve to my foot is terrible but still better because my butt isn't involved. I now have swollen feet and calves from standing all the time and I don't know if its from being upright or if it the tylenol 3 with codeine that they put me on. All I know is that for the first time in a month I got 5 hrs sleep in a row and I can sit in this chair. I'm just wondering if anyone else has had these symtoms where you wake up with your leg in total spasm, cause i have very little pain in my lower baCK, but my leg is killing me.
  • Hey Steve - hang in there. I know it's tough. I used to be really active (running, lifting, rowing, etc.) and messed up my L4-L5 bad last year doing a deadlift. I did about 6 months of conservative treatment (epidural injections, meds, physical therapy), then got a microdiscectomy. Initial results were great, but then I got scar tissue that's caused problems worse than before surgery. Looking back, I wish I'd gotten second, third, etc. opinions before getting the surgery. You might also want to consider checking out a neurosurgeon, too, besides the orthopedic guys.
  • hey man i know exactly how you feel. i have the same disc herniation at my L5-S1 and some bulging at L4-L5. oh and btw im only 16.....i played football got awards for it and all and this year i had to sit out for the whole season and watch my team from the sidelines. i was so active before i would have football practice every nigth and then work out right aftr. now i am a potatoe and hate it. im going in for surgery in 2-3 weeks since i am getting signifcant nerve damage. the good thing about it is that my doc said that i would be able to play football next season if i have a good recovery which is all that i could wish for (it was the first thing i asked him lol).
  • Thanks for all the replies guys, they really help.

    And Ajay, wow--16, I thought I was the only teen with Sciatica. What is the surgery you're getting? A discectomy? And have you tried any other treatments besides the surgery? I'm guessing none did the trick for you.
  • SteveA said:
    Thanks for all the replies guys, they really help.

    And Ajay, wow--16, I thought I was the only teen with Sciatica. What is the surgery you're getting? A discectomy? And have you tried any other treatments besides the surgery? I'm guessing none did the trick for you.
    yeah tell me about i gotta walk with a cane and use a backrest which at least allows me to sit for a max of 20min lol. yeah my surgery is a discectomy which im getting on the 11th so your not alone among the younglings lol. ive been to physio since its been going on and such and nothing helps only thing that did was percocet which brought me some relif at least. best of luck to you
  • hey wutsup Steve A i know exactly how u feel since i too wrestled and have some herniated disc. To make a long story short it was 2 years ago during my highschool wrestling season i hurt my back in practice really badly i took a few weeks off due to the pain but came back to practice and started wrestling again because i really loved the sport and thought that i would just have to man up and tough it out because like they say no pain no gain. Well i did try to tough it out the whole season even though I was in constant pain, i could barely walk around without limping or spasming, and it showed in my wrestling because i was only wrestling at about 70% of my complete strength and capabilitys. I felt that although i was excrutiating pain that it would have to wait becuase wrestling was more important than that. WRONG. I have been diagnosed with l4,l5,s1 herniated discs, and its been 2 years now im 19 and although im about at about 90% of my complete stregth i still have back pain every now and then for no reason at all, i stretch, keep good posture and do everything possible in order not put any stress on my lower back. SO I SAY DO NOT WRESTLE OR ENGAGE IN ANYTHING THAT WILL PUT YOUR BACK INTO ANY RISK OF DANGER UNTIL YOUR COMPLETLY HEALED. As for the surgery part although i have not gotten surgery becuase of doctors advice i have spoken with neuro surgens and ortho doctors who have said that surgery at such a young age might not help your back at all and if anything might mess up your back worse, and the chance of it helping you at all is like a 50/50 chance and every ten years or so you will have to get another surgery performed on your back due to the other disc weakening which will thus complicate your life longativity in the future. I belive if your neurosurgen belives that surgery is the best option and if the postives out wiegh the risk than go for it. Also it wouldnt hurt to get another neurosurgens opinion on your back. any other questions that you or anyone else might have feel free to contact me
  • I have a herniated disc at the exact same location. I went almost six months before they found out what was wrong and got it fixed. During those six months I got to a point where I could no longer sit up and had to have help standing up. I started receiving epidural steroidal shots in my back and now feel great! You should ask you're surgeon about those. They are way less invasive and really helped me, so they might help you as well.
  • Thanks for the advice alneumil, but this thread is quite old :). It's been three months since I've updated this, and just for anyone who is wondering, I've improved drastically in those three months.

    Oh and I refuse to have any more epidurals. All they do is treat the inflammation--a symptom, and not the problem. I'm at the point where an epidural will barely help me. I'm 19 years old so I don't plan to get a shot in my back every year for the rest of my life.
  • Hi Steve,

    I know this is an old post but maybe you can give me some hope. Your last post says you're better. How much better and how did you recover? Are you still a competitive athlete? Thanks for your help.

    Here's my similar story:

    I'm a competitive ice hockey player and was going to play in college this fall but..I tore my ACL during my first game last season -Sept/08-(did patella autograft) and missed the season. I was skating again by Mar/09 and tried out & made a team in May/09 but my low back/upper butt on the same side as my knee killed me. (It had been sore for a few months prior but thought it was my tight hamstring too which I stretched daily).
    I had an MRI early June which showed moderate herniation and prescribed physical therapy which I feel made me worse. I also got an epideral shot that helped with the sciatica, but refuse to go for a second one. I skate a bit now but I still walk with a limp and hurts when I get up from a sitting position. It has been 2 months since the painful tryout, and I don't want to miss another season (let alone being in pain while doing everyday stuff).

    Side note: I find my pain increases with stress, and I don't want to get to a point where this becomes chronic.
  • Wow, your story is remarkably similar to mine—it’s almost eerie. And for that I’m going to go in real depth with you. While I can offer some hope, I cannot say you will be back playing ice hockey in full force because I have not been able to go back to my sport. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always deal the best cards, and our bodies can only handle so much. Life for you is definitely going to switch for a while, but don’t give up—the quest to be back in wrestling shape and become an athlete again has been my biggest motivation, and likely the biggest reason for my improvement. Ice hockey is very demanding, and taking one bad hit or fall can set you back months—and just the wear and tear you get during practice may cause more problems for you down the road. Similarly, while I can certainly hold up against a lot of people I wrestled in high school, against wrestlers of my caliber such as a lot of collegiate wrestlers who are at their peak and have not stopped training a day in the year, one hard takedown and I fear I’d be back to where I was in October. Wrestling practices are not easy either—and I can’t always count on my partner to be gentle.

    I’ll start with the good news. Now, several months since that week where I could not walk and all I could do was really just like flat on my stomach, I can jog, swim, and sprint, and I can finally sit for about an hour or two before I feel it necessary to stand. I've been back at the gym since February and can do just about everything from pull ups to the bench press(albeit at reduced weights). I attribute this to diligent work ethic and following proper technique. So often you hear of people becoming inactive after sciatica hits them, and that is the worst thing one can possibly do. The spine is not meant to be supported by your discs, it’s meant to be supported by the muscles of your back. Once you go inactive and you lose those back muscles, there’s little to support your spine but your discs, and that’ll only make your condition work. You need to exercise to get those back muscles back in shape. The human body is a remarkable healing machine and under proper physiological conditions it can heal just about anything. Of course, it’s not just enough to exercise—you have to exercise right. I use PERFECT form, and avoid obviously risky lifts. A lot of this is common sense but it’s still important for me to note. I can squat with weights, but I don’t do it because it could cause problems—I instead do tons of squats but with no weight at all. Additionally, never in a million years would I do a deadlift because that’s like screaming, “PLEASE DISC—BULGE OUT, HERNIATE, RUPTURE!” Another key is working your way up. When I first got in the gym, I was using minimal weights if any, and worked my way up to where I am now where my upper-body strength is nearly identical where it was before my back problems. Additionally, while I can jog, I avoid it as well—there are concussive forces that travel up your spine every time you take a stride and your foot hits the ground. The elliptical is my favorite piece of equipment at the gym.

    Moreover, what I've learned is that the most tested and proven conservative form of treatment for disc herniations and radiculopathy is the McKenzie method by Robin McKenzie, the number one most influential and distinguished physical therapist in the field of orthopaedic physical therapy. It usually involves a lot of back extensions when referring to disc herniations causing radiculopathy. The goal is to centralize the pain in your back and eventually work it out completely. A little googling, and even searching it on You Tube will help you familiarize yourself with it. Here's a quick link illustrating and summarizing some of the exercises: http://www.lasportsandspine.com/pdfs/McK-1-05-1.pdf

    I also recommend Robin McKenzie’s book: Treat Your Own Back

    You should see a McKenzie certified specialist. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some doctors are McKenzie certified, while many chiropractors and physical therapists are certified.

    My McKenzie certified physical therapist prescribed a lot of back extensions. The reason is, with disc herniations, when you bend down your lumbar vertebrae squeeze down on one side and this pushes the herniated fragment out posteriorly(out the back) and on to one of the spinal nerves that eventually becomes your sciatic nerve. Think about it, when you bend down that is usually when you feel that pain shoot down your leg. However, when you do back extensions the vertebrae is pushed down on the other side pushing the disc back in. I was told to do them every day—every couple of hours of even minutes if I had nothing to do and so long as it reduced my sciatica. The reason is that the more back extensions you do, the more disc nucleus is pushed back in--you should especially do several back extensions after you have bent down, again because you have pushed the disc nucleus out a bit and you want to push it back in. The more extensions you do, without irritating the sciatica the better. Please note that with some cases of sciatica back extensions will actually make it worse..i.e some(not all) people with spinal stenosis and similar conditions report negative effects. If this is you, where doing back extensions irritates your sciatica, of course do not do them! Again, try finding a McKenzie Certified specialist for a more individualized approach.

    One thing most people with our problem do is that we only seek treatment for symptoms and not for what caused the symptoms it in the first place. The annulus holding our discs in are in fact very strong and resilient. It takes a lot of compounding wear for it to actually tear and for our disc(s) to herniate. Obviously genetics and such come into play, but you cannot blame everything on genetics. Your herniation was probably not caused by one single action such as picking up a heavy object, taking a bad hit, or having one hard practice or whatever it was--that action was only the feather that tipped the scale. It's likely we have terrible posture, we sit down for too long of periods, have taken many hits, or have had many hard practices. One interesting statistic I've heard is that many long distance runners have lower back pain, and one of the biggest causes for marathon runners stop running marathons back issues. All the jogging and the concussive forces from their feet hitting the ground travel up to their spine--messing them up pretty badly.

    During my treatment I very rarely bent down, and if I did, it was with perfect form. I squatted down with my back as straight as possible. I did thousands upon thousands of back extensions and I never did anything that I felt would irritate my Sciatica. That was quite difficult at first, especially because sitting down would irritate my Sciatica. However, I purchased a kneeling chair. It takes a lot the weight off of your back and puts it on your shins. Pretty cool really. A lumbar roll is also recommended if you must sit down as it supports the natural lordosis (curve) in your lumbar spine helping to hold the disc in place.

    For exercising, if you are able to walk without the sciatic pain, walk. Walk a lot. If you have access to the gym, get on an elliptical. Swimming is especially recommended. That's really it though--again, you want to avoid doing anything that may irritate your sciatica as it will set you back.

    If you are in a lot of pain, the steroid injections often do help quite a bit and come highly recommended by many. I had one and it did help. Prior to the injection coughing and sneezing would cause sharp pain in my glute, after the injection I could cough and sneeze as I pleased and I took the time to really go crazy with back extensions as I could do them just about pain free. I would avoid getting more than 2-3 as it may cause tissue damage, scarring, and all that other bad stuff that is associated with steroids. That, and the effect is not permanent—it treats your symptoms not the underlying problem.

    I don't plan on having the surgery. Surgery is just unnatural, and one should really try to avoid it as much as possible, especially if you are getting results without it. Some surgeons want nothing but to make another dollar, and it's quite obvious surgeons are pro-surgery. So get as many opinions as possible--especially from doctors who really have nothing to gain from you getting surgery. For certain lifestyles of course, people have to immediately get back to work or their life will fall apart. That is really the only case I feel like that surgery is acceptable, that or when you have bladder problems and things of the sort.

    Remember, I’m not a doctor. I just happen to be a pre-med student who's seen a lot of doctors, read a lot of books, and has a lot of personal opinions. See a specialist, preferably a good one. All the specialists I've seen I've looked up on vitals.com and castleconnely.com. Ask around. It's like going to a club..Just like how some girls are prettier than others, some doctors are better than others(Just kidding girls, you're all beautiful). (heck, I’m sure I know better than some doctors when it comes to the spine.) If you have any more questions (I know I threw a lot at ya), just ask. Now, go out and conquer.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,726
    Steve, just some advice. Your posts contain a lot of good information, but just because of the length of these posts, many members will not read the entire thing
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks Ron, that's probably true, however when sciatica first hit me, it seemed as if the only thing I could concentrate on was reading things on sciatica. It helps that I post so infrequently, and am always doing my own research, so when I do finally post something I tend to ramble and pack it with everything :P

    ANYWAY, I had a lot of good info in there for a lot of the people who post on this board, so hey..if people don't read it's their loss =).
  • Hey Steve

    Ill try to keep this short

    Feb. 2008 I was lifting something about 15 pounds and felt someone stabbing me in my back, I dropped what i was doing and just laid on the floor... BTW this was at my old job... i knew this wasnt good and i went home... Next few days I filed for workmens comp but everyone thought i was just lying about my back pain to get off work.. They sent me to a clinic and they bad me do some tests. after these tests they just told me i will be fine and threw me some pain killers... well 2 months go by and no progress..

    My back hurt nomatter what i was doing and my right leg was numb almost 24/7

    i insisted that i see another doctor...
    They sent me to one but it was a joke like the other... ooo youll be ok its nothing just take these... I dont really take pills so i never really took the pain killers they gave me...

    come around may i move out of state...
    the pain and numbness still there i call the workmens comp and tell them i want a MRI
    i get conformation and find out that I herniatated 2 lower discs L4 and 6 if memory serves me right...

    they had me do PT for 3 weeks and sent me away...
    still in pain

    since Feb 2008 i was a walking ... i mean sitting zombie doing nothing ... but eating and laying down

    BTW i have been rollerblading since 2002 and am very active... While I sit at home with a messed up back my friends I skate with are turning professional (Montre Livingston to name one)... and it sucks to think that I can never do the only 1 thing that I LOVE to do...

    well i have to cut the story short as I must get back to work... its been over a year and I still have back pain in certain positions and my right leg gets numb in certain postions also ... I do daily stretches and helps abit... but what really helped yesterday was actually going out to skate..
    yesterday I skated for my first time in over a year... today my legs, abs, and shoulders are sore and my lower back is sore...
    but its not because of my herniation ... its because my lower back muscles are getting stronger...
    also I can barely walk today not because of the herniation but because my muscles are getting the work out they have been missing in over a year

    sorry for the grammer and my story prob did not make sense and because i must cut things short i had to veer off many times but i hope u get better so you can get back to the things you love

  • Yea, as for your story--I definitely feel for ya. One of the simplest, yet best things you can do is really just go workout--carefully, but nonetheless work out. It was definitely the thing that got me rolling to recovery. When your endorphins (the natural pain killers of your body) start to kick in, you just feel good all around, and you almost forget you have sciatica.

    Also, the more you workout the easier it will be to workout, and that just leads to a faster recovery. Once you get to the point were you can walk freely without pain such as with McKenzie, my biggest improvement definitely came from working on my core muscles and spinal stabilizers. That is my abs and erector spinae muscles. A little goggling and you'll find some low impact workouts for the two.

    Of course, never stop using the McKenzie method--I use it before, during, and after my workout to make sure I don't re herniate any discs during my workouts, especially during heavier lifts.
  • Hello Everyone,

    I've had back problems since I was 21. I attributed it to my job as a nurse and being overweight. At age 31 I lost the weight and was doing very well. Then I started to get the calf cramps, then came the tingles(I call them sparklies) on the foot. MRI showed bulge at L4-L5 I did conservative measures-PT using McKenzie. And no high impact exercise. I got a bike, though carrying it up and down the stairs might give me another hernia. This was last year summer. I told the doc, i felt better but wanted to run and rollerblade(my two favorite exercises) He said start slow and see how it goes. I did that and in Feb of this year developed symptoms again. I went back to PT plus added in the EPI. I had two two weeks apart. The second one was directed at the left nerve root. OH my I felt so good, Not one stitch of pain. Doc said to jog and run and blade. I had a fabulous summer. I ran two races for NYRR and set my sights on the 2010 NYC Marathon. Just last Saturday I felt pain worse than before the injection. The only time I feel relief is when I am lying down, or sitting in a V position with my leg up. I can't even walk my dog for more than a block without my left leg going numb. Before I hadn't had any numbness just tingles. I called the Neurosurgeon who I saw back in March. I went for a new MRI on Thursday. Had a Epidural shot on Tuesday. The shot had absolutely no effect. My anesthesiologist/pain doc thinks I should go for the surgery since I am very healthy. My MRI showed a far left herniation. The picture looked much worse than last year. I have my appt with the Neurosurgeon on Wednesday.

    I have been doing my McKenzie's Steve. I have a two-pack from all my core work.(one bonus of a Herniated Disk) I lost 25 pounds. I am at a healthy weight. I've been eating Ibuprofen without results. I feel like I've done all I can.

    I don't mind working hard for good results. I will stop running for a year if I have to. I am not scared of anesthesia-I will have the best anesthesiologist because I work in the Recovery Room. I've had anesthesia for other surgery and I can wake up an eat a chili dog without nausea. My neurosurgeon is highly recommend by my colleagues.

    What frightens me most is the one surgery turning into two into three into four. And being in worse pain then I am now.

    I wish everyone on this board good health and peace. Thank you all for your positive and terrifying stories.
  • Shinystarlet,

    I am a runner too. A year ago I had an L5-S1 disc rupture, a huge one. They tried psysio, which made it worse, and a bunch of ESI's. The first couple of ESI's worked quite a bit for a couple of months. Not 100% like yours, but maybe 75%. Then the pain started to creep back up and the next set of ESI's did not work. My pain was in my gluteus minimus, hamstring, and calf. The calf pain was a nine out of 10 when it was at it's worst. Also had the numb/tingling foot. I was alternating Motrin 800's and Vicodin like candy just to get the pain down to 5 out of 10 so I could function at work. They told me that they had exhausted all non-surgical options and that a microdiscectomy was my only hope, as my rupture was just too big to realistically heal on it's own. I caved in and did the surgery. It was a very easy surgery and the next day I was walking the neighborhood and back to work in 2 weeks. At about 8 weeks out from the surgery the pain came back to a 5 almost overnight. I was terrified that it had re-ruptured and went back for a new MRI. It showed quite a bit of scar tissue at the S1 nerve from the surgery. They said that there is no telling who will get alot of scar tissue, or how much, but the good news is that scar tissue schrinks fairly easily with a steriod shot. I had a selective nerve root block of steriod at the S1 nerve and within 4 days it started to work. I am now 6 months out from the shot and my pain is around a 1 out of 10, and I am jogging, walking, and doing elliptical. I can't tell you if it will go well for you but from my experience I don't regret having the surgury. It sounds like your non-surgical options have about been exhausted as well, and you can't stay on Motrin and Vicodin forever without the Motrin eating your stomach and getting addicted to the Vicodin. Good luck.
  • When I was 19 I had herniations in the L3,L4,and L5 resulting in serious nerve pain I played football in high school but hurt my back lifting the tongue of a boat trailer. I had no option but to have a lamenectomy as I was immobile the surgery helped tremendously but now Im 23 and much more active than I was before the surgery I have been mountain biking all summer as well as training for an upcoming triathlon an the pain is back I had an MRI and wiithout seeing the results yet have been referred to a neurosurgeon I want nothing more than to just be healthy and live life doing what I want to do but I guess thats all about to change Its good to know Im not the only young person out there experiencing this kind of pain good luck to you all!
  • Thanks for your post. I saw my surgeon today. He gave me a 90-95% chance for a pain free outcome. Glad to hear about the scar tissue shrinking easily. I decided not to get another EPI before surgery. I'll just deal. I don't want to waste the shot. My work is taking it easy on me.

    So I am set for Sept 14. I stopped taking the Motrin since it doesn't really work. Doc said he'd give me a script for pain meds. But I am a nurse so I can't take that while at work. And when I rest the pain is not intolerable. I am lucky that I sleep well.

    Here's hoping I do as well as you did. And it's nice to hear about your positive outcome.

  • Hey I just want to thank Steve A and others with the informative posts. I'm 6'1'' 220 and this past football season I got a herniated disc in the L5/S1 area. I've been researching like a mad man trying to learn all that I can about it and doing what I can to prevent surgery yet still be able to lift and put on size for college ball. Of all injuries I never thought this would be one that I would get. What I had/have going on is pain on my left buttock and pain/sting down my sciatic nerve. Compared to some of the other posts, I don't think it is the worst or most severe. However it is a constant distraction and quite painful at times. In retrospect, I added about 30 lbs from my junior year to my senior football year and I didn't focus enough on strengthening my lower back. I can see now that that was probably a factor in the injury. Anyways, Im getting back into lifting now although Im not squating or doing cleans. The pain is still there at times but it seems to be getting a little better. Thanks again with the posts Steve A, very helpful, I can relate to your story as an athlete. I appreciate your time and if anyone finds good stretches or treatment please post. God bless.
  • There is a program called Med-x and it is designed to work the muscles around the spine. I know several people who are pain free now after going through this therapy/treatment.

    Therapist put you in a machine that targets specific areas of the spine and you work that muscle.

    There is some studies backed by changes observed in muscle shown in MRI that reduces the herniation, I think it has something to do with oxygen getting to the area to help heal.

    It is worth using google to see if a therapist near you has the machine and asking your doctor about it.

Sign In or Register to comment.