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L5 and S1 Lower back pain advice appreciated

lornaelizabethllornaelizabeth Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Chronic Pain
I have been having lower back pain now for 6 months. It started with just low back pain with relief when flexed but then became painful in both my legs. I now have pain shooting down both legs, I get cramp in the night and wake up most mornings in pain. During the day my pain eases with the medication im on. I am currently on; Diazepan and Dyhydrocodeine. However my most recent visit to the doctor today meant that I am now also on Ampitrylines (25 mg). The doctor refered me for an MRI scan and found that I had a bulging disk in L5 and S1 which was mainly in the middle.
The doctor told me that he cannot explain or understand why im getting such shooting pains and cramps in my legs as it is not on a nerve. He told me that he would refer me to Orthapeadic triage and that they will probably set up excercise and possibly injections.
I feel this pain is all encompossing of the world and the doctor is telling me that my symptoms do not match my "diagnosis" which is confusing me further. I feel like I am being given medication to deal with the presenting problem but nothing is actually happening about the actual problem.
I am 21 year old female, i had no injury and cant explain why this has happened.
I cry everyday, have put a stone on and am so down about the lack of support i feel i have.
Any advice would be warmly accepted.
Many Thanks


  • Welcome to SH. I am sorry you are having so much pain.You are so young to have to be dealing with this.

    I hope you are able to get into a spine specialist.
    You have come to the right place. If anyone can understand your pain and frustration it is all of us here. Sometimes people that don't have neck/back pain just don't "get" it.

    I know that I had a doctor that said they couldn't understand why I had the numbness in a certain part of my foot when the problem was from another nerve. I felt that they thought I was lying (turns out after another MRI that I had an impingement at another nerve, that was the "correct" area of numbness).Frustrating.

    Hopefully your new doctor will be able to help you with trying new things ie physio, heat/cold to help with your pain.

    We are all here for you whenever you need to talk.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Sorry to say this but it does sound like nerve damage. I hope you the best.

  • Your doctor is doing the right thing sending you to a back specialist. Keep in mind you can see an orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon. Both deal with the back. The neurosurgeon has more training...b/c he also specializes in the nerves but both are specialists for the back.

    You are 21 so most doctors (if they are good) will avoid surgery. Lower back surgery, in my opinion, is a slippery slope and at such a young age...you want to try all conservative measures.

    As for diagnosis, the doctor ususally listens to your pain and looks at the MRi and maybe other tests. He may recommend physical therapy, NSAIDs (anti inflammatories), and possibly steroid (medrol step pack, prednisone or even ESI injections) to help reduce inflammation from the bulging disc.

    Hopefully the specialist can help you out.

    Sorry you are having such troubles.

    Some key tips while you are waiting:
    - no bending, twisting, or lifting things
    - walking is good for you (flat surfaces)
    - drink water, stay hydrated
    - don't sit for too long (every hour get up an walk around)
    - when sleeping, try sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees. when you are on your side, put a pillow between your knees

    Let us know how the follow up appointment goes.
  • Thank you for all your advice and support :) Its such a frustrating and long process. Ive had problems before with my arm where I had to have an external fixator put on it due to my bone not growing properly (it took months for them to diagnosis this problem to) and its bringing back bad memories. Im due to qualify soon and hope it wont effect work to much. Being on a Forum like this helps as you get to see that you are not the only one.
    Thanks again
  • Sounds like you need to see a different doctor. It is very hard to be taken seriously, I don't know why. 9 years ago I had the same symptoms you describe, and each time I went to the doctor they would hand me a back care handbook, and send me home. BS. One trip to the walk-in clinic, a compassionate doctor, and an MRI had me on the OR table in days. I felt better when I woke up. Part of the disk had broken off (did not show on MRI) and was wedged into the nerve. Outside of that, my best recommendation for you for pain relief is a trip to a Pain Clinic, and have an injection of cortisone injected into your spine. The first one helped, but not completely, so I went back after 4 weeks and got another. I was pain free for years. ( This was after the surgery, a few months) I am suffering again, not sure why. One day at a time. Don't give up!!! Please try the injection if your doctor will order it..
    Good luck!
  • What you are experiencing is not that uncommon. I have the same sort of symptoms but mine is not eased much with the medication I've been on. My doctors have also told me that the disc herniation (dx via CT scan) is not pinching the nerve but I have shooting pains down both legs and numbness down one. I will be having an MRI next month so hopefully that will tell the truth. I hope you find a treatment that will work for you. I'm sorry I have no good advice, I'm in the same boat as you and also appreciate everyone else's replies to this issue.
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