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Hello - L5 S1 problems

MerylTMMerylT Posts: 26
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi. I've been recently diagnosed with end stage disc degeneration of L5 S1. I have not slept in a bed for almost 5 years and have to sleep in a recliner. I don't get any nerve pain. My problem is if I lie down or stand still for any length of time I get pain in my lower back area and my buttock muscles seize. My consultant says that because I have no disc left when I go into any position other than sitting the area is so unstable the muscles try to stabilise this instead and lock up. Every morning I can't even bend enough to touch my knees but this eases during the day and the pattern repeats every day.

I have been put on the list for a L5 S1 fusion with a Wallis ligament to go on L4 L5 to protect the disc above the one which has degenerated. The rest of my spine is ok and the discography showed the same result as my MRI. I am hopeful this will solve my problem as I can't go away anywhere on holiday due to the problems with sleeping in a bed.

I have not come across anyone who has had this particular problem with lying down. I first noticed it after I had a back massage and couldn't get off the table or bend to put my clothes on! I can sit for hours no problem and as long as I don't try to bend in the mornings or go out before the muscles unlock I can manage without any painkillers. However the problem isn't going to go away so surgery appears to be the only answer (I have tried massage, osteopath, physio, pilates etc).

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has had the same problem and whether fusion surgery helped them.



  • Hi Merly,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health, have a look around and you find many here with spinal fusion in the L5-S1 area. You might want to also post your question in the back forum as there more of the lumbar members reading there.

    I can tell you that I have the issues laying down as well, and or sitting up in bed with my legs straight in front of me. But I can sit with my legs up to my chest without much issue. The only thing that I do religiously everyday is stretch. But I also do take meds for cervical spine issues, so we know they run over and cover that area. One thing my doctor suggested is to keep my thigh higher that my buttocks to relieve some of the pressure. He says that changes the pressure points or something to that effect. So for example if I sit in a chair with my legs on the ground I keep a something under my leg to keep the pressure off my lower back. Why it helps I have no idea really, but it does. I am using all conservative type treatments to treat my lumbar and surgery is not in the picture, well i say not anyway.

    keep us posted on how you do. Once again welcome to spine-health.
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. so glad you dropped in! it is unfortunate but many spineys have to sleep in recliners.. check out the "Sleep Forum" for some ideas and fellow sleepers.. if surgery is the way to go i do hope you get atleast two opinions. it is so important to have the most information you can gather.. good luck with whatever way your pain issue go.. i do hope you find some relief soon.. Jenny :)
  • Two weeks on fully mobile and pain free- AMAZING! Really can't believe it.
    33 year old female, pretty active (part time firefighter) and so happy that I can keep my job and continue with a career that I love.
    Lumber discetomy L4 L5 with degreneration below (think S1???) + a Wallis Ligament fitted.
    If anyone has any questions give me a shout.
    Good luck
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