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Re-occurring back pain/sciatica

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
Hello everyone,

First post here...

I was first diagnosed with a herniated disk at the L5/S1 location in March 2009. I went on the 7 day oral steroids and started physical therapy. I got better, then had a relapse around the middle of June-I was carrying a propane tank and stepped up into my house and I felt a nice tingle and the pain just shoot right down my left leg. I had to go "back" to the doctor. I then received two EDI's in late June and early July because the pain would not cease-I was on vacation and the beach house had many steps. The first injection didn't work, but the second injection did. I was fine up until a few days ago. The pain started again w/ a tingling in my leg/foot and then I was walking up some steps and felt a tingle in my lower back, but the pain centered itself in my lower back-it didn't shoot down my leg like it did in June. I am experiencing pain in my lower back w/ some pain in my calf and foot. I have some leftover muscle relaxers and narcotics for pain. I have scheduled an appointment w/ my regular doctor to get some more anti-inflammatory meds/muscle relaxers/narcotics. Also, I made an appointment w/ my physical therapist for a back massage-that really seemed to help earlier this year. Seems like steps seem to trigger these episodes. I also use an ice pack every night and find that this works wonders. Anyone else had this happen w/ walking up steps??? Anyone have any suggestions other then to avoid steps as much as possible? I don't really want to do PT all over again. I know how to do the exercises for core strengthening. I am hoping I can do a 7 day oral steroid treatment w/ the massage along w/ some back exercises. If all else fails, I will get another EDI. I don't want this pain to linger on into the holidays.



  • It sounds like you have a bit of a herniation in a disc that is flirting with becoming a bigger herniation. So far you've been able to back away from a more serious problem, but the disc herniation has not healed completely.

    If you are like most people, after a flare of back pain resides, the person is careful for a period of time, but gradually goes back to his old ways. Eventually, the movement/activity aggravates the disc and the situation repeats itself. People usually stop doing their back exercises and the vicious cycle repeats itself.

    You could probably have another ESI to get you through the holidays. I don't think stairs are the problem -- it is probably more all the activities that went along with going on vacation...perhaps driving in a car more than normal, carrying suitcases, etc. It is usually not the activity a person was doing right before a disc herniates or ruptures, but an accumulation of events that lead up to it...and the final activity is just the "straw that broke the camel's back."

    This website has many valuable articles written by spinal specialists that will help educate you to the various things you can do to help your situation.


    and some treatment options:

  • Yes, steps can be a problem because you are shifting your weight and your core muscles have to work overtime to stabilize your spine. Additionally, if you have a medical practitioner that is giving you that many injections and steroid treatments I would think seriously about a second opinion. You don't say what kind of a medical specialist you are seeing but given the amount of injections, it sounds a lot like someone who is into pain management, they are big on steroids and injections.

    I would seriously consider getting someone else to look at your spine, seriously!

    Best wishes to you and I hope you are able to overcome this before the holidays, as you stated!

    John Zajaros
  • You really need to be careful at this time as you have a herniated disc which is borderline full blown rupture. As you start to feel better and you put too much pressure on the herniation it bulges out further and the pain shoots down your legs. A few weeks later you feel better and than repeat. A herniated disc takes quite some time to heal. I am about 6 mos from my beginning the right PT and finally starting to see progress after two esi shots. I think it will take up to a year honestly.

    This is a condition you may have to just understand and deal with for the rest of your life unless you want to do a more serious intervention with surgery or some other new procedure.

    If you really start to feel better and keep with the exercises for atleast 6 mos I would try to have another MRI to see if the herniation has decreased. All your description is classic herniation and if you had not had one yet please do to verify.


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