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Herniated L5 disc w sciatica and leg weakness

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi I'm brand new here! I am a 26yr old Female from NY who has a Herniated L5 disc w sciatica and leg weakness. This has been going on since Jan. I went to montauk on a Seal trail hike for my b-day and it was beautiful. it may have been 2-3 miles in all if that. The next day I started feeling sore. At this time I was going to the gym 3-4 times a week and knew I didn't do enough walking to have this soreness.
So time goes on it gets worse first my lower back began to ache with stabbing pains. I had trouble walking. finally went to the Dr in Feb and had my first nerve conduction test. (it was horribly painful and caused muscle spams) was told about the herniation. I was put on 20 mg pain killers, 3 muscle relaxers a day and Lidocaine patches. out of work for 2 weeks.
then i went to physical therapy. Saw 2 neurologists,had 1 MRI, 1 Pelvis CT scan, the pain meds stopped working. I saw a chiropractor for a few months which did help...so much so I felt fine by May no meds, no appointments. I Moved and went on vacation!!
Now it is back after about 6 weeks. So i went back on the meds and saw my primary Dr who did another Nerve conduction test... ( NEVER AGAIN!) and told me he is at the end of his rope...all he can do for me is give me meds. Even asked me how many pain killers do i need! He said surgery is a 50/50 chance so he is not very enthusiastic about it but i should go back to the neurologist he sent me to to see if I need surgery...if so he can recommend a good surgeon .

I promised my family I would get a second opinion so i went back to see a different neurologist first for his opinion then i am going to compare his to the neurologist my Dr recommended. So this Dr ordered another MRI he wants to start fresh. I am also getting a EMG test...and honestly i don't know which is worse that or the conduction test. it doesn't look fun from what Ive read online so far.
I'm just really getting fed up with all these tests and appointments. I even went to the emergency room before all this and they said to see my doctor that sent me all over for 6 months so i can end up back at that hospital 6 months later. i don't really like the neurologist my Dr recommended. all he said was oh "I don't Know" it had me thinking *hit i should be come a dr and make a ton of money saying I dont know to people all day!

I think that I'm getting the run around because I'm 26. I was working 2 jobs and going to the gym a yr ago. I was 30 pounds lighter. Now i couldn't make it to work today because of the pain. I secured my position as best I could with a formal Dr letter ect. Now i am able to take a day off with no pay because I'm out of sick time since Feb. My insurance covers 80 percent. I have medical bills everywhere. collection calls. my credit score went down. Just so many issues since this happened.
I'm worried about the surgery,about having children,about my debt.
its just a real nightmare. People i know are supportive
( mostly!) but they don't understand. I'm really looking for advice from people who understand the impact on life,pain,treatment,surgeries, and the meds.
well that's pretty much the whole story!
Its time to get up my a** is actually completely numb!!

any feedback would be appreciated.



  • Sorry for the reason you found us. Your frustration is shared by all of us who have spinal issues.

    I am curious why you have not seen a fellowship-trained spinal specialist? This can be either an orthopedic spinal surgeon or a neurosurgeon who have had additional training in the spine and back and who devote most or all their practice to the care of patients with spine and back problems/disorders. Neurologists are specialists in nerves, but they do not have specific training in the back and spine. It is fairly unusual to have a nerve conduction study as one of your first diagnostic tests. Many people with a herniated disc NEVER have an EMG or Nerve conduction study.

    You probably would have been better off having a full course of physical therapy and perhaps, an epidural steroid injection. The majority of herniated discs heal without a surgical intervention.

    It sounds like the disc may have healed and then with your move and increased activity, you may have reherniated it.

    Regardless of what has been done in the past, I would suggest you get a consultation with a spinal specialist. You can take the MRI films with you to the new doctor, and the reports from the neurologist as well. You should be able to get some suggestions as to how to proceed so that your pain is relieved and your herniated disc is resolved.

    You can learn more here: http://www.spine-health.com/video/lumbar-herniated-disc-video

    and here: http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/herniated-disc/lumbar-herniated-disc
  • Hi am new here as well can't believe your symptoms are exactly the same as mine and I have been through the same process and still 12 months on am still in real bad pain in my legs and back.
    Am on tonight to see if anyone else has any has experienced this,I was sat in the chair I could feel my legs tingling,when I stood up I fell to the floor as I had no strength in my legs .
    i experience pain I my lower back but the pain in my legs is the most concerning does anyone have any advice .
  • Hi molly. I had the same symptoms due disc bulging in l4 n l5 but in my rt leg ..weakness , numbness n shooting pain in entire leg,was  not able to walk or lie down straight on bed due severe muscle spasms in back muscles. I was suggested by neuros for surgery. Thankfully took second opinion n the neurosurgeon suggested me the procedure called nucleoplasty before opting for surgery .. It worked for me as  I  dont have any pain but I m still working on strengthening of my rt leg with the  help of physiotherapist. Discuss with your Dr and check feasibility of nucleoplasty in your case as they only decide .. All the best n take care..
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