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new here, looking for experience/advice

mikem14mmikem14 Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi everyone,
I'm new to the board. I am (was) a very active and fit 32 year old male. I play hockey 1-2 times a week and a VERY avid golfer. DIY'er around the house and the last exercising I did before I herniated my disc was P90X.

August 12th, golfing on the 5th hole, teeing off-swung the club, felt a pop and completely out of commission like THAT. Spend the next 3 days laying on the floor and shuffling around like a 95 year old. 3 weeks later got a CT scan which read:
Vertebral alignment is normal. At L5-S1, a small focal left lateral/foraminal disc herniation is identified encroaching on the left neural foramen and elevating the left L5 exiting nerve root sleeve. Small posterolateral marginal spurs also contribute to the foraminal encroachment. The other visualized disc levels and facet joints are unremarkable. No fractures.

I have been through 6 PT sessions. I am moving around fine, but still have a "tooth ache" in my lower left back. I still feel slight numbing/tingling in my toes from time to time.

That is my sob story. I guess what I am wondering is...has anybody here had a similar diagnosis? Will life as I knew it (ie physical activity) continue? Or maybe someone understands the diagnosis on the scan and understands the severity? The issue is I haven't been told definitively by any of my doctors what my long term prognosis will be and I don't know anyone my age that has had this happen.
Its been roughly 4 months now. Not sure where I should be in recovery......Just really lost I guess.

Thanks to any and all responses.


  • And even more happy for you that you have found Spine-health. It can be very challenging to learn to navigate through going from being very high functioning to having a spine injury. I do hope that your progress in PT is a sign that your injury is well on the way to healing.

    I hope that you get some helpful responses to your questions as well. There are some tremendously kind and helpful folks here!

    I am not a medical professional and do not know how to read the results of your CT in a medical capacity.

    I do however completely understand needing to hear exactly what your CT scan means. I have Lumbar issues as well, and began my treatment with PT and epidural injections.

    To answer your question about your diagnosis and prognosis, it sounds like it is time to ask for an appointment with your physician and discuss the questions that you have. I would begin with the doctor who ordered your CT scan and the doctor who ordered your PT. Ask the physician to have an in depth conversation with you regarding your diagnosis, progress and treatment options.

    I have found that I seem to have the most productive appointments when I write down my questions in advance, and bring someone with me to my appointments. For me, it is just better to have another "set of ears" because the terminology can be confusing and the information can be difficult to hear on an emotional level.

    When my physiatrist frost informed me that I had a ruptured disc at L 4-5, I nodded my head up and down, got up and walked out of the exam room and left! This is most definitely not how I normally behave. I had been in the same "crawling around on the floor" state that you describe just prior to this, so I was really a mess.

    Please do keep us posted with your progress if possible, and I hope that this was of some help to you.


  • Thanks Jackie- ya, I guess I am still in the "where do I go from here" phase. I have asked many questions to my docs about prognosis but never really gotten a straight forward answer. I guess its my fault for accepting the elusive answers and leaving.
    So all in all I think that is why I joined here. I am hoping to hear stories similar to mine and see success down the road.
  • Hi Mike,

    I wish I had a crystal ball to tell you. I will tell you that you need to take your back seriously if you want to get back to normal (no pun).

    Your story sounds similar to mine but I never made it to the golf course. I stretch upon waking up one morning...and that POP...put me out of commission completely!! I tried for 10 hours to get up from bed (with a few prescription meds my Primary care ordered for me) and couldn't. I had to have an ambulance take me to the ER. Why do I tell you this? To give you hope that you are doing better than I was after that infamous "POP".

    Definitely see your doctor.

    Definitely continue the PT even after the sessions.
    The key to lower back is to keep that core strong!!!
    Also, limit bending, twisting, and lifting. That isn't to say you can't play golf but you do have to tone down the power swing probably.

    Glad you found this board.
    Who sent you for PT? Your general doctor or a specialist? I ask b/c it's probably worth finding a fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeon or neurosurgeon. I don't say that b/c of surgery (as a matter of fact, you want to be careful with back surgeries as they are not to be taken lightly) but because they specialise in the spine and know what to 'track' if your history continues.

    Keep us posted.

    I suspect icing and ibuprofin/NSAID helps, right? I know it kept the inflammation down and some pressure off the sciatic nerve.
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. your doctor is really the best one to give you details on your scan.. please have a good look around and make yourself at home. i hope you take advantage of the many friendships you can make here and the tons of information available here for you to gather.. good luck! Jenny :)
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