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Hello new member looking to vent

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hey guys, 20 years old from Canada here.Over a year ago I awoke one morning and could barely stand, this lasted for nearly 6 months basicly just living with intense leg pain going through my foot.I was prescribed anti-inflams and told it will go away....It did not.Somwhere around Novemeber while doing some lifting I had the worst pain I have ever experienced in my lower back, I instantly went to my doc and he set up a CT scan.I hadto deal with it for another month or so than finally got in.I was told I have a bulge in the L4-L5 area and my sciatic nerve is being pinched..Finally starting to get some answers and can start the healing process I thought to myself.I started with physio and quickly found out it seemed to make me feel worse.I stuck with it untill just a short time ago with no success, I have also done some massage therapy with no luck as well as accupuncture.I have a meeting with a neurosurgeon at the end of June so iam hoping to get some more answers then.Thing is, the last few weeks I have been feeling terrible through not only my lower back but even my mid back.The part that scares me is this started after I had a pretty bad cough, is it possible to have thrown my back a bit more out of whack?....Also, in the way of pain meds iam very upset.My doc keeps giving me things that do not help the pain whatsoever.Lyrica, tridural,celebrex, baclofen, T-3 the list goes on and on.I went to another clinic the other day and he said I should be on somthing called oxycodone for my back pain and that I should talk with my doctor about that option.Well I did just that, and guess what....He prescribed me ANTI DEPRESSANTS, he sais that they will help me fall asleap easier and such.That still leaves me screwed durring the day though! I still have not filled the prescription and do not plan on it, iam a very happy person despite my pain so I do not feel I should be taking those!Anyway, I know my typing is not to good so I will stop blabbing, thanks for being an ear for me to talk to!


  • Hi, you are definitely not alone with pain of this type. I can't beleive that you have not yet been sent to get a couple of ESI's (cortizone/steroid) injections right at the L4-L5 disc bulge. If your disc bulge is not huge a couple of shots can schrink it and help it heal on it's own without a microdiscectomy or other surgery. As young as you are all options should be explored before cutting! An ESI or two would likely lesson your pain dramatically within 2 or 3 days and start the healing process if you don't do any lifting or bending to keep it from healing. As far as coughing making it worse, YES, it can. You need to brace yourself when you cough. Not always easy! As far as what pain medication you should be on, many of the ones you mention will not specifically help with nerve pain. Your doctor should know what will help with nerve pain. I was on Vicodin for pain and the classic Valium for help sleeping, both before and after my microdiscectomy. Before the surgery my pain level was around a 9 out of 10. The Vicodin only knocked it down to about a 5 so I don't know if there is something better for you. Valium is still as good as it was in the 70's to help you sleep though! I had a very large L5-S1 disc rupture and, like you, tried physio first. And like you, physio made it worse! Good luck.
  • Welcome to the board. You are young to be having disk problems, but you will find some other peers on the board that have similar problems.

    I too have L4-5 problems and have had two surgeries to deal with the nerve compression, so I know the pain you are feeling.

    The other poster mentioned an ESI. Being new to the board, perhaps you do not know what that is. It is an epidural steroid injection. Steroids are given for inflammation and an injection directly into the area is the fastest way to get the steroid to the tissue. The doctor should do this under fluroscopy (a fancy type of X-ray that captures real-time moving images). This way the doc knows he is positioning the needle in the exact spot that will deliver the med to the right location.

    ESIs (in the U.S.) are one of the first "conservative" treatments that are tried with a situation such as yours. This is usually done to provide some pain relief so that the patient can begin physical therapy.

    A bulging disk can heal on its own, but it does require a good deal of patience. It is possible that you have more than one bulging disk. Or, you may just have some soft tissue strain from carrying your body differently, as you try to compensate for the pain in the sciatic nerve.

    While you are waiting to see the neurosurgeon, here are a few tips to hopefully make you more comfortable. Avoid any activity that involves bending, twisting, reaching, pushing, pulling or lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk. Also try to avoid long car rides, driving on a bumpy road, roller coasters. You get the idea -- nothing that JARS the spine.

    Drink lots of water. Try to stand "square" and really think about your posture at all times. No slouching or sitting at a computer for hours with a rounded back.

    Avoid sleeping on your stomach. If you sleep on your back, put a small pillow under your knees. If you sleep on your side (best for your spine), place a small pillow between your knees. The idea behind this is to lift the top leg enough that the knee is on a level plane with your top shoulder. This supports the natural curves of the spine.

    Try not to sit for longer than about 30 minutes at a time. Get up and walk around for a few minutes, then resume sitting.

    The following two "exercises" are very good to do several times per day. They put you in a position that allows the disks to unload and takes the pressure off them.

    Lie flat on the floor, arms to the side close to the body, palms facing up. You may put the feet flat on the floor with knees bent, or just have the legs straight. Do not tilt or tip the pelvis. Just lie there, breathing deeply from the stomach for about five minutes...just relax.

    The other position is to lie flat on the floor with your hips pressed right up against a couch or chair. Bend at the hips and place the calves and feet on the seat of the couch or chair. Arms are flat on the floor, palms up, close to the body. Again, just relax, breathe deeply and stay in the position for five to ten minutes at a time.

    These are two forms of natural traction. You can do them any time you start to have pain. Whenever you have been on your feet too long, or after common activities that stress the back, like vacuuming, raking, sweeping, etc. get into one of these positions.

    Did you know that sitting puts 30% more pressure on the disks than standing? And, lying down is best of all, but obviously we can't live our lives in that position!! There are some good exercises here:


    Please post often with your comments and questions. There are many people on the board who have/had your exact problem.

    xx Gwennie

    Oh forgot...what is the name of the anti-depressant you were given? Some of these drugs are also given for nerve pain.

    Where is your pain located??

    This is good, too:

  • Wow thanks alot for the great responces! I tried those possitions you named and they feel great.I makesure I move around and keep good posture, the only thing is I do a fair amount of driving which is terrible but I can only seclude myself so much.(I live in a town about 40 minutes away from all of my friends)The name of the prescription is Nortryptalline, I cannot read my docs writing too well but thats what it looks like.The pain is located on my right leg along the outer side going down to my foot.The back pain feels much worse then my leg, its pretty much my entire lower back, it doesnt feel like its centered in one area.
  • I checked on that medication and its off-label use is for chronic fatigue syndrome and for chronic pain. It strikes me as an odd choice for the first medication given to you...but, obviously I am not a doctor!!

    That's actually a good sign to have more pain in your back than in your leg. With a disk problem, it is usually easier to heal or "fix." There is a well-known method of exercises designed by a man named Robin McKenzie that are used by many physical therapists. Many people swear by them. You can read about it here:


    When you drive, try rolling up and towel and placing it on the car seat along the outside of your driving leg. The idea is to keep your driving foot and leg more "square" and pointing forward, rather than letting the leg flop over to the side like it has a tendency to do. This in turn keeps the hips and pelvis in better alignment.

    You can also roll up a towel and use it to support your lumbar curve if your car seat is not adequate. Rolled up towels are quite useful for a variety of things as you can adjust the size easily.

    I forgot to mention that you can use either heat or ice on your lower lumbar back. Usually you'll prefer one or the other. I find that using a heating pad is very comforting and helps with the pain. I use my car seat heater a lot, not just in the winter.

    Walking is the best exercise for you while you are healing that disk. Even when in pain, try to take a short walk each day.
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