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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Lower Back Pain
I am an 18 year old pre-medical student who has been suffering for 5 months with L5 S1 pain. my tests have been normal but my mri said i had a slight l5 dic bulge. nothing serious.. i have been diagnosed with siatica durign the first month after the injury.. the second month i was diagnosed with my my L5 Facet joint being "jarred".. the third month i got an epidural injection that made my left leg numbness and weakness skyrocket.. the next month my doctor said my l5 disc was slipped but my mri/ctmyelogram/xray/bone sacn/ all said other wise.

i have been on conservite care for now but it has done nothign and i am afraid that my nerve function in my leg will be irreversible. I have concluded (i know its not healthy to self diagnose but 5months+ with no answer has been hell) that my facet joint being jarred out of place as diagnosed by physical exam by my second doctor has become loose at either the base down by where the nerve is. some movements make it worse or better.

I belive that my disc bulge has pushed my nerve out into the area where my facet joint has been effected.. thus making movemets such as side to side, back and forth making pain and numbness substantiually worse. and the nerve injection was done at the root and maybe the fluid could have "pushed" my nerve more into the area around my joint? and when in am fixed postition such as laying flat is the worst due to the fact that there is unlimited pressuse beause my nerve is being crushed under my joint???

Idk guys i was real fired up about this but i am no doctor and maybe delusional from trying to figre out what is wrong for so long.. have a look and tell me if i am on to somthing or have lost my mind!!!

thank you!


  • Could you describe what you mean by "jarred?" Did you have flexion X-rays?
  • lol thats what my doctor said too and i was liek what??? i injured it deadlifting too much and on my last rep i came up to the right and leadned back.. so she saifd thtat my joint on my left side the one that was hyprextended when i lifted to the right maybe became loose? idk exactly but it makes sense and yes i had flexion xrays but they werent clear
  • Did they check for spondylolisthesis with the flexion X-rays?

    It would be easy enough to have a facet nerve block to see if the suspected facet joint is the source of your pain. I don't really see how the facet joint can loosen up...but I suppose it is possible. I would think the bone could crack or could break off, but I don't see how it could come loose. You can read about facet joints here:

  • i guess i ment in easier terms can your joint cause siatic nerve compression along with slight disc buldge?
  • Sorry to be so dense. Yes, practically anything can cause sciatic-type symptoms. The actual sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It runs directly under a number of the big muscles in the buttocks, such as the piriformis. For whatever reason, if one of these muscles becomes inflamed, it can irritate the sciatic nerve. This can feel just like a herniated disc or other things that compress the nerve.

    A problem with a facet joint can definitely cause symptoms similar to a herniated disc. See the following quote from the Spine-Health article I referenced in a previous post.

    "Interestingly, when the acute lumbar or cervical facet joint inflammation is at its peak, the symptoms may closely imitate those of a herniated disc,...."

    The facet joint is not directly compressing the sciatic nerve. It is affecting the spinal nerve root that refers pain to a particular part of the anatomy -- in this case down your leg. It is this pain that people commonly call "sciatic" pain. But in this case, it would be caused by the S1 nerve root, not by the actual sciatic nerve...even thought the pain feels similar. (If interested, search for "dermatome map" to see which spinal nerves refer pain to which area of the limbs...)

    Can you increase the pain by bending backwards? Do you have any tenderness over the area where you injured the facet?
  • I'm 18 too and an athlete. About a year ago I thought I injured my back in the gym. My back hurt on/off. By May 09 after a lot of physical exertion my back killed me and I had pain going down my leg into the calf/ankle.
    MRI showed moderate HERNIATION/RUPTURED disc (no such thing as "slipped disc, but some people use this term; it really means herniated disk). The "jelly" in my nucleus was in my spinal canal compressing the nerve.
    I got a cortizone shot, phys. therapy etc.
    Nothing helped. I became depressed as I could not play my college sport for months.
    My mom then told me about Dr. John E. Sarno and his theory/treatment. I learned that MOST people have degenerated discs (esp. L/4 L/5 and the S1/L5) by the age of 20. There are many studies that show most people do NOT have pain from this. The pain is mostly from muscle tension and the nerves/tendons are affected too.

    Don't worry about the nerve. Nerves heal and they can adjust to compression (a neurologists confirmed this too).

    Nerve symptoms are 99% from stress/tension or muscle spasms. You don't need to worry unless you have a tumor or some big fracture (that heals too).

    I was given so many scary labels they made me feel like a freak at the doctors' offices, chiropractors and physical therapists. Turns out I was 'crooked' because my muscles were spasmed/tight and I held myself differently. Not because these 'abnormalities' caused my problems.

    I realized, ON MY OWN and believing Dr. Sarno's theory, the back pain was from inner tension/muscle tension/anxiety. Also, a lot of college students experience their first back pains-I know many.

    I stopped all medical/physical treatments and stopped worrying. It has been 4+ months since that MRI and a year since my first pains.

    I'm doing GREAT now. I'm playing my sport in college, studying and working out intensly 3x a week too.
    I get stiff and maybe a twinge here and there, but I stopped worrying about it.
    I bet you are FINE. After 4-8 weeks of healing you should increase your activity slowly and not fear your back. Fear locks everything up.
    I've seen many success stories from people who do not sit there and stew over diagnoses from doctors. Medical people scare you to death and are happy to give you treatment ($$) and to 'try' and help. Sorry if I offend some people/doctors, but my mom also recovered from back pain by stopping medical treatments.
  • Dr. Sarno has made an entire career (and a ton of money) off of telling people that their pain is all in their head and that if they deal with their deep seated emotional disturbances, they'll be just fine.

    I don't know of many people 'round these parts that are drinkin' that kool-aid. ;)
  • I'm sure that, for some people, the pain is 'all in the head', but for most of us here who suffer from specific conditions this is unfortunately not the case. Many back/neck injuries are short-term and clear up of their own accord, but these straightforward and limited injuries cannot in any way be compared to the kind of serious ongoing conditions that many people have to endure on a long-term basis. Try telling someone who suffers from severe stenosis, spondylolisthesis, facet joint arthropathy, neuropathy or any other similarly debilitating condition that it is all in the mind or due to muscle tension (!).
  • I never said the pain I had was in my head. Dr. Sarno never said pain is in your head. Also, he never said it has to be due to deep seated emotional disturbances. Mine was just normal worry stuff. I was having a anxiety about making a college sport team, making the wrong choice of college, not sleeping well, worried about school, leaving home, etc. It is about how I dealt with stuff being a worrier, striver, afraid, etc.

    But most doctors had no problem attributing and treating my back pain based on the MRI results which were 'really bad' according to them.

    I'm just trying to help this 18 yr old guy see things another way. Like me, he is having a physical pain and weird nerve symptoms. This can start from an injury or unknown reason, but it should heal. But if we have on-going worry, the nervous system reacts and you get migraines, or back pain, neck or whatever. You then have better or worse days. My pain went up/down from 3/10 0 9/10 over a year. This pain was never in my head. Sarno's book never mentioned pain is in the HEAD.

    If you've been to doctors that say you have nothing truly serious, or who have tried to "cure" or "help" you by offering surgery or shots without success, then you have nothing to lose to consider this.

    Why should anyone be offended? I was in pain too and my mom much worse many years before me (she had several herniated discs, arthritis in the spine, twisted pelvis, etc)

    I spent a whole lot less $ educating myself on the true cause/effect of my pain by reading a used paperback book (less than $5), than the $thousands going to physical therapists, rheumatologists, pain clinics, prescritpions, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, wellness centers, chiros, personal training for core stability, massage, etc. You go through all that and if you are not cured than why not try a different approach?

    I am fortunate to be cured, and so I want to give my testimonial and I am not making any money off this.

    So...if the 85 year old guy (Sarno) made some money by helping thousands of people. Good for him. Others in the medical field make way more and so do the drug companies. He's a legitimate doctor at NYU and discovered something that has worked for many people.

    I'm cured, so why not accept my testimonial? People here are searching for answers and when all else fails this costs nothing to explore. You can reject it and then come back to it again. Or not at all.

    Why not say that cortizone shots are KOOL AID too? They did not help me and in fact they hurt me more.

    Keep an open mind. I came back to post months after I had made a desperate plea for help when I got my MRI, had chronic pain and thought I'd never play my sport again. I couldn't even drive.

    I was suffering for over a year and I'm 18 now. My mom was 35 when her pain started ten years ago. She's been pain free for 8 yrs. So I just want to throw it out there in case it helps one more person.

    Know that most people who are cured don't bother coming back here to post. This will be my last post.

    All the best to everyone,

  • Mapleleaf, if you get to read this, the above mentioned condition is very real. You said - no such thing as "slipped disc, but some people use this term; it really means herniated disk). You have been greatly misinformed if you believe this. My L4 vertebrae slipped over L5 causing horrendous pain. A herniated disc is another entity of its own and can heal on its own over time.

    Good to hear you are "cured". I do hope your pain never returns.

    Best to you,

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