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

20 year old athlete with l5 s1 herination for 2 years plz help

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Chronic Pain
Ok I firstly would like to state im a very active physically and socially person and im currently at home on a saturday night cause of the pain that is caused when I stand for too long or sit for too long or do just about anything. with that here is my story

I played football for 8 years and other sports the years before that, then come college I stopped playing for a year to take a break, thats when the pain but mostly my stride length started to be hindered. I was unable to do sprints cause my left leg wouldnt go out far enough. Also in the morning i had to limp cause of pain and tightness in my left leg.

It seemed to get better the more active I was, so when I was running and starting to sprint more and do squats with weights (I know everyone says this is horrible but everytime I do them for a month or longer it seems I have no pain and more range of movement in my left leg over time). I started playing rugby and it got to the point where I had no pain. then I tore my hamstring and wasnt able to run or do any leg type lifts and it got worse again. then similar thing happened again and one more time about 6 months ago, the most recent time was when I was just starting my new college (I transferred my junior year to USC)I twisted my ankle really bad making all forms of lower body exercise out of the question.

This last time was the worst cause I was always in class so I was sitting down for long periods. The pain always gets really bad during finals when Im sitting for long periods and usually hunched over.

Orginally the pain was very intense in my left butt cheek but then I started doing piriformis tennis ball stretches and other forms of stretching and it got better in my butt but then I started getting numbness in my quad on the left side and sometimes tingling in my foot. The numbness may have started before I started doing the tennis ball thing but im not sure. But the intresting thing was I was final able to walk for long... er periods with out pain when I did the tennis ball stretch but then the numbness started. So it seemed to get better and worse at the same time.

I have for most of the last two years lifted despite what doctors told me to do... yes a mistake looking back. Currently im lifting doing body weight type exercises (pushups pull ups lunges etc.)usually and making sure nothing I do should hurt my spine. I tried not working out for a week or two and wasnt able to do anything except lay down coulnt or even really sleep for long because the pain and tightness got worse.

Also Ice seems to make it worse or at least imo not any better but i still do it cause everyone says to but to be honest not all the time. I also just bought a inversion table. I also started stretching my hip flexors and strengthing my core, I wish I could stretch my hamstrings but it hurts to much to stretch my left leg at all the pain sets in quickly .

I have really tight hamstrings and hip flexors!

Also recently ive realized leaning forward and doing other stuff like (that I saw was to treat spinal stenosis) that helps me release the pain so i guess this means some spinal stenosis.

I have leg pain going down my left leg on the outside of my leg that goes down to me knee (from my buttocks) when I try to straighten my leg).

Ok so I have been to the doctor(s) multiple times and have explained this to a million people. my history is
2 injections (second time i got it was the most painful experience of my life I practically wanted to cry and Im a very manly type of man)

I have done the meds like 5 times, methly predinsone or something

did physical therapy and gonna start again
did the 20 sessions with one guy but they wernt treating it properly
did it for like a month again and it helped but i had to stop
then did it again for a couple weeks

and gonna start again

I defiantly have a anterior pelvic tilt so im trying to correct that hopefully that will help

also in case it wasnt clear symptoms came on very gradually. I think having a desk job for a year after I graduated helped me screw up my back

so thats pretty much my life of pain story Im curious if there was anyone thats my age preferably male that was extremely active like me that has gotten better or any advice at all

Im currently trying a butt load of self physical therapy and if it doesnt get better hopefully get a microdisectomy

thank you in advance



  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Sounds to me like you need to see an expert, a ortho or neurosurgeon for mri and advice. The way I read, You may be able to get a prescription for physical therapy and other conservative treatments to help you. But at the same time it also seams your days of weight lifting and super physical stuff is going to make a old man out of you way before your time. The future life of pain is not worth it!
    If you step back and reread your post I think you'll find you know what you need to do. So I hope you do it! With expert advice of course.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • ok thanks for your input. To be honest weight lifting and sports is my passion in life But obviously the ability to sleep and walk pain free is more important.

    I have heard that microdisectomy might be a good option I dont know what your feeling or anyone eles feelings might be?

    is it a good option?
  • It depends on how severe the herniation is, whether it's a bulge or rupture. If it's a rupture, a discectomy is going to almost be a necessity. If you continued to push the ruptured disc material into your spinal canal, stenosis will worsen, and could eventually lead to much more pain or even paralysis.

    I would DEFINITELY recommend pushing for an MRI to get a clear look at the region. It's also good to make sure your other vertebrae aren't affected. Of course if it's not as severe, other options for treatment and/or pain control might be more attractive. Surgery has its potential downsides as well. Speak to your primary physician, and get a referral for a neurosurgeon or internal pain specialist.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Has great advice for you. And I'll second the motion.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • yeah I got an appointment in about two weeks, so hopefully that will help but in the past the doctor has told me that I cant get a surgery unless i have bladder control issues and stuff of that nature. However Other doctors I have talked to have said this is bs.

    I feel if I cant sit down or stand or walk Im in need for some more extreme form of therapy. Ive tried the conservative thing with varying results but it never fully going away for over 2 years. Im gonna give it a strong push for the surgery and try as much physical therapy and other stuff till then I think. If it gets better then I defiantly wont do the surgery but if it stays the same I might have no other choice I feel.

    But yes im defiantly going to get the MRI first. I have kaiser so Im gonna jump through a lot of hoops so if i start getting the appointment now I prob wont actually get it for months from what I hear.

    Also random question?????
    What strokes would be ok to do when swimming, Since im trying to be careful about what I do to stay in shape I hear swimming is pretty good but I wanna make sure im doing it right.
  • One question I have for you:how did you find out that the disc has herniated?If you never had an MRI or CT Scan,nobody can diagnose a herniated disc.There are a few other conditions that resemble the symptoms of blown disc.To me,your symptoms sound like a muscle issue.But I ain't a doctor.
    So,go see a doctor,get an imaging test that will provide a definitive Dx and,go from there.Whether Physical therapy or medications,you need a plan.Doing PT for a few weeks is not gonna cut it.Surgery should be your last option.Anyway,Microdiscectomy is indicated when there is a neurological deficit.
    You said it yourself,tight hamstrings and hip flexors.
    These muscle groups can cause a lot of back pain.Not to mention the other muscles.So again,get a diagnosis and,go from there.Hope you get better soon.

  • Jim says just what I was going to suggest to you. You think you have spent a lot of time in physical therapy, etc. but from reading your first post, I get the impression that you immediately return to the activities that stress that disk without giving your back a chance to really heal and get stronger.

    Also, athletes usually think they are in great shape, but very often have a bad case of muscle imbalance. This is almost as bad for the spine as being a couch potato.

    It is possible for a ruptured disk to heal on its own, but it requires a great deal of patience and time...and it is not always possible to return to all the previous activities that stressed the disks. Likewise, you can't expect to have surgery, go right back to previous activities and expect the disk to not rupture again.

    Sure it's true that some professional athletes return to their sports quickly after having had surgery. This gives the public a flase sense of what is possible. What the public doesn't see is the forty year old ex-jock who can barely get out of bed, has very limited mobility, etc. or even spends his golden years in a wheelchair because his joints are shot.

    It seems to me when you continue to lift weights when you know you have a herniated disk, you are just asking for problems. At some point, you'll have to take some time to gather all the facts and decide which is more important to you.

    Regarding swimming, it is a great sport for most as you don't have gravity pushing down on you. However, depending on what is wrong with the back, it can be equally stressful. If you have any spondylolisthesis, swimming on the stomach, any stroke should be avoided unless you breathe with a snorkle and keep your head in the water parallel with your back. Otherwise,a continue flutter kick can also aggravate lumbar disk problems. For this reason you should avoid swimming laps using a kickboard. I think if you do some gentle swimming, mixing up your strokes,it might be OK. But, again, you don't want to just start swimming laps for endurance. That continuous, repetitious motion will take its toll.

    But I agree with others. You need testing and a visit to a fellowship-trained spinal specialist for an accurate diagnosis so you will know how to proceed to recover and rehabilitate your spine. You are way too young to ignore the problems and end up with chronic back problems.

    Good luck.

    xx Gwennie
  • I did get an MRI im sorry I thought I said that. Im getting another one though soon (hopefully) i gotta see the doc first to get permission to get another one I belive.

    And yes I firmly belive that muscle imbalances are the problem and im attacking that problem very hard. Ive been doing physical therapy on my own for about a month or so now, using all the knowledge I have about this stuff basically stregthing abs and back and posterior chain well also stretching back and hip flexors and to somewhat of an extent ham strings.

    I think this will help fix it buttt if It doesnt along with other physical therapy in a couple months thats when I would consider a microdiscetomy possibly but Im gonna avoid that.

    So im pretty confident physical therapy including my own more intensive physical therapy will help but i guess we will see. Im getting and reading all the info I can on the web and from doctors all though sometimes i feel like doctors (especailly my gp) dont really underdstand whats going on with me and my specific case and are more use to older people with this same problem.

    so lots of physical therapy before I will make a decision
  • I am sorry that you are having these problems at your age or any age. I am older, but can relate in ways and want to jump in.

    I am 37 now and started having low back around age 12. We are still not sure why it likely a degenerative L5-S1 disc and facet problems. I have been very active all my life. I rode motorcycles a lot when younger, played racquetball for many years, lifted weights for almost 20 years, did running, bicycling, swimming, and more. I had pain from my younger years and ignored it and just kept going. I am sure that didn't help my problem. You are being very smart looking into this now.

    I ended up herniating my disc at L5-S1 five years ago for the last time, had lumbar fusion, and still have a fair amount of pain. Tried everything and likely doing RF lesioning next.

    Before surgery I got my disc to come back in 3 times before I needed to have surgery. If you can find a good PT to get you going that will be huge. The MRI's tell you a lot of information. I would not do much before the docs could see what is going on. Always get copies of the MRI's and X-rays for your use. Most places will give you a copy for free and I keep every one of them.

    If you have to do surgery, please meet with several doctors. I would say at least 4. Any back surgery is a major thing and make sure they do a lot of what you need have done.

    Do everything you reasonably can such as PT and changing your lifestyle to prevent more damage and current pain. Listen very closely to your body. Not many of us have a perfect back and some things that might be good for you to do might cause you a lot of grief.

    I had very tight hamstrings for many years. I thought that was a contributing point to my pain and it was not. I stretched 1,000 different ways in pain and without pain and nothing ever helped. Once I got a nerve block, a few weeks ago, my pain went down a lot and my hamstrings loosened up dramatically. When your body sees something wrong along the spine it locks down the area to prevent more damage and this is good and bad.

    I am not a huge fan of anyone from docs to chiros to PTs. I don't fault them because the back is very complex and jam packed with nerves. Most chiros should not mess people with bad discs in my opinion. Very few PTs are trained for specific back conditions so it is important to find one that is knowledgeable and listens to you. I have been to PT 3-4 times since surgery and it is has never helped and some times I was told to exercises I knew from research were bad for my condition.

    I also would say be patient with ice. I still think ice is one of the best therapies. I used it a lot (4-6 hours at a time) before surgery and still do now for pain relief.

    Lastly and most importantly keep being your own advocate. Look through boards like this and other web sites. There is a lot of very good information out there and many good people to help you. The doctors don't have all the answers and some just want to do surgery on you. Regardless you need to keep doing your own research and cautiously building a lifestyle and exercises/activities that are specifically tailored to you.

    Take care of yourself first and learn all you can. There are many good people in the medical field that are there to help you and truly want to see you healthy and physically active again. Stay positive and adjust your life away from pain.

  • Thanks everyone for the help in last couple months of done a TON and mean I honestly think i know more about this condition then about any doctor that doesnt specialize in this subject.

    But more importantly the latest development!!!!!!!!!!!

    I got an xray for the first time after 3 years of pain

    It showed that I have messed up SI joints like pretty messed up and I researched that SI joint problems can lead to herniated disc like symptoms and was wondering if you think this could be potentially the problem or if its really herniated disc.
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.