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How can some of you walk, it causes me so much pain

karenlkkarenl Posts: 42
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Spinal Stenosis
I have several disc bulges in my lumbar section, herniated discs at T11-T12 and C5-6 C6-7. Walking is my biggest problem , standing , then sitting to lying down. I know it's so important to keep moving but when the pain is so bad and tears flowing down your face how do you people do it. Please help me, I know I am making things worse just hanging around.


  • Hi Karen :) I am so sorry to hear of your great pain levels.

    Have you talked with a PT to see what they may have to suggest?

    I can walk with about a level of 3 maybe 4 of pain using my walking poles. Without them the pain level is 10+ and I can't walk.....
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • I found that by making myself get up and walk, it helped kick in my body's natural endorphins after 15-20 minutes. I actually feel better and have better pain relief at this point, so I will then use that to extend my time walking.

    I agree with Beth that having a PT give you guidance might be a big help. Have you discussed with your doc, just how much walking hurts you?

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    From reading your post, it appears that you have herniated discs at all three major spine levels.
    (Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar)
    It was not clear if you have had surgery for any of these at this point or what treatment you are currently under.

    Walking, or that matter almost any exercise for post surgical patients or those suffering from disc problems is the initial few times. It takes some courage but also willingness to do what is needed.

    At the rehab aqua pool I go to, I have seen a number of post surgical patients who come into the pool and after their first visit the stop coming. Why? Because it hurts! Its not a question of being tough, its more a question of being strong willed, thinking positive and knowing that continuing to do walking or other exercises is going to be the key to your future well being
    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 to all that have answered. I have not had surgery yet. I am only 7 months into this pain and from I can see I am new with it compared to what most people have been going through. My Dr. does not want meworking becasue of the amount of walking I have to do for work. part of my job is to tour 86000. square ft. to ensure that my staff are cleaning as they should. This has put a lot of pressure on me because most days I can barely make it from the garage to my office .I have tried PT early on and it set me back. I ended up back in bed with heat , ice and pain meds for days. I have been to the pain clinic and received a few shots, so far they have not worked . I am due to go back in another shot in a week. I am going to listen to my doctor and take time off , try PT again and take it from there. I try not to take pain meds if I can help but lately I seem to be losing that battle.
    neuro surgeon appt in 3 weeks , maybe he will have a better plan for me . I wonder if a walker on wheels would make it easier to walk . Maybe get out there and roll up and down the street , sounds better then sitting around doing nothing.
  • Do you feel any better when pushing a shopping cart at the store? If not, I doubt the walker will make much difference for you.

    With some spinal conditions, when a patient leans slightly forward, it opens up the disc spaces enough to give the spinal nerves just a tad more room and it hurts less to walk as a result.

    It is important to keep exercising. If you have access to a pool, you can walk in the pool, or, better yet, get an exercise belt. Go in shoulder-deep water and "walk or run" with your legs, or cycle with your legs. This can provide some aerobic exercise and be gentle on your joints at the same time.

  • I'm sorry you're not able to walk much. I think it's a great idea to get a walker with wheels and a seat if that will get you out. I just got a manual treadmill and I just went on it for 5 minutes so far since I just got it last night but will try it a few times a day. I'm not able to get out and walk either and can't walk in the winter which is coming up so I'm trying the treadmill. I was lent a waler for a few weeks by my Mother's friend and I felt so liberated to get out and walk with it because I had something to hold on to. At least the treadmill has handles to hold me up also so I'm looking forward to trying some form of exercise. Good luck. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Karen,
    I know how hard walking can be with a herniated disc. I herniated L5S1 and experienced a full month when any type of walking was torture. At the low point, I couldn't walk for more than 48 seconds without having to lie down from the agonizing pain.

    My physical therapist was pushing me to walk, but she didn't want it to be an exercise in pain endurance. So this is what I did: I decided to just walk around the inside of my house, into every single room (8 rooms, including the bathroom). I couldn't do this continuously; so I gave myself permission to lie down at any point, in any of the rooms, when I had to. I'd lie down and rest until the pain subsided enough to get up. And I'd continue on, through each room, lying down as necessary. I did this 7 or 8 times a day. I'd also go out on the porch.
    Gradually, as I improved, I was able to walk further. I expanded to out of doors: I took short walks in the yard, around the house, etc. I'd also lie down on the grass if the pain got too bad. (Only works when the weather's nice). Then I expanded, taking short walks around my rural small village. I even picked my walking routes strategically so I'd know I wd have a place to lie down other than just the side of the road. Now I can walk any distance, and I've even gone back to running (very gradually).

    Walking is tricky when recovering, because all the science and literature says you have to do it to get better--but on the other hand, it does no good when it's horribly painful. When I started feeling ALOT better, there were a couple of occasions when I walked too far and too much, too soon, and as a result, had some pain setbacks. It's an individual balancing act--you have to have both caution AND bravery.

    (Also, a word of caution about canes and walkers. I used a cane during the lowest point, and it may have helped a little. But after that, I found that walking with the cane didn't make the pain less or enable me to go further--but it did make me feel like I was frail and weak, so I put it away...)

    Hope this helps. Good luck to you and hugs...Laura
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