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Sciatica now and back pain for years

bjbbj Posts: 1

I am 35 years old, fit and generally healthy with lots of exercise etc. I have suffered back pain with my lower back "slipping out" for about ten years. This has always caused me major pain, about 4 times a year, where i must see a dr and get some tablets. As the years have gone on, I find my lower back having a dull twinge more often and the results of when it really "slips" has been worse - can't move, walk etc until tablets help with the pain. Then I am back to normal etc. Then a few months later, back it all comes again.

Three weeks ago I was admitted into hospital as cycling to work felt the twinge in my back again. Then by the time I got to work I had all the classic signs of sciatica. All in the left leg - numb in lower outside of the leg area, pins and needles in foot, and non stop dull pain in the backside etc etc. This is the first time for the sciatic pain (in fact I didn't even know what sciatica was until now) and still lower back pain but only slight. The pain in the leg and backside is worse than the back pain by far.

Anyhoo.....I have been to physios, pediatrist, drs for many years. My core strength has never been great but is ok. Stretching is core to my daily pattern and no problems there for many years trying to make this all go away. These things have not worked

Got an MRI on Wed as a result of a specialist appointment to be had in two weeks time. This will be the first time I have been to a specialist for this issue. Please find below the MRI results. I don't really understand what of this is serious or just normal for blokes of my age with wear and tear on our backs. For eg: it the 11mm, 15mm, 18mm disc extrusion normal or large. Is the L5 nerve the real cause of my issue here or is it the other parts of what is written here.

Really, is any of this serious, maybe in need of some sort of surgery, is this the sort of thing that gets surgery or does it need to be much worse - or do I need to suck up the pain when it comes for another ten years etc.

I really do appreciate any insight you guys may have to help me out with any future decisions. Thanks in advance.

TECHNIQUE: T1 and T2 sagittal followed by axial T2.
FINDINGS: At the L5/S1 level there is a focal disc extrusion which extends into the left lateral recess and extrudes superiorly to narrow the left osseous exit f oramen. The disc extrusion measures at least 11mm anteroposteriorly by 15mm tran sversely by 18mm craniocaudad. The extruded disc lies posterior to the left sid e of the L5 vertebral body. It causes compromise with distortion and displacemen t of the L5 nerve root. There is minor posterior displacement of the forming lef t S1 nerve root however there is no significant distortion.
At the L3/4 level and L4/5 level there are broad annular disc bulges which indent the anterior aspect of the thecal sac, however do not cause significant central
canal, lateral recess or foraminal narrowing.
Mild facet joint degenerative change is noted at all levels.
The vertebral column itself demonstrates normal signal without evidence of abnorm al bone marrow oedema. Disc desiccation noted at the L4/5 and L5/S1 levels. The distal spinal cord demonstrates normal signal and terminates normally with the c
IMPRESSION: L5/S1 disc extrusion. The extruded disc extends into the left later al recess and subarticular space superiorly to lie posterior to the left side of the L5 vertebral body. It causes distortion and displacement of the left L5 nerv e root.


  • Hi BJ

    The symptoms you are describing sound similar to my experience. I am too 35, used to live an active lifestyle, biked daily etc, ended up with a L5/S1 herniation. I don't know if this is the same as "extrusion". I think it is. Your disk extrusion is on the left side. Mine is in the center of the disk. It doesn't constantly push on the left or right nerves, but sometimes only, but does give me everyday dull pain in the lower back.

    I went to see orthopedic doctor yesterday for a second opinion. He told me that I am not a candidate for surgery (the first doc sent me off to a surgery). He recommended a bunch of exercises and if things get worse - epidural shorts into L5/S1 area. My doc said what many others say here, try to stay away from surgery through conservative treatment as much as you can. once surgery is done, there is no way back; our bodies can heal itself if we create appropriate conditions.

    My experience has been life-changing. I mean it changed how I do everyday things - how I sit, work, commute, sleep and exercise. No more mountain/road biking for me, not until I am fully recovered. No more weight training and not even running at my current stage.

    Anyhow, good luck, and hope everything works out well for you.
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