Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

advertisement
advertisement
Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

Notice
All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Another L5-S1 herniated w/ questions.

sierradmaxssierradmax Posts: 4
I spent a good amount of time yesterday looking over previous posts related to a similar condition I'm experienceing. I didn't want to hijack the similar thread recently posted by "Nick" but I could not find one post here where anyone was back to normal (100%). Most would describe 80% or a pain level around 2-3 as being "liveable". Either people do not return a post or we are stuck with living with some amount of pain.

I'm 30 year old male who received an MRI report late February which showed a disc herniation at L5-S1 level. To make a long story short, In January, I developed a slight pain at my sciatic nerve which my doctor suggested PT to relieve the piriformis. A month later and the pain migrated down my leg to the point where I only had 15 degrees of motion in my left leg. An MRI reveiled the disc herniation. I then started the long process of meeting with neurosurgeons (some were 3 weeks out). I met the first and felt real confident. He gave me 3 options. Live with it and try PT to relieve the pain, Epidural steroid injections, or operate to shave the disc. I chose the injections as I described I had limited time (I'll get to that later). I then had to wait to meet with an anesthesiologist (sorry for spelling). In the meantime, I decided to stop in and visit a chiropractor. The chiropractor educated me for the first time on what was going on. He explained that the previous flexion excercises (to relieve the piriformis) were ultimately doing more harm than good. He had suggested the opposite, extension excercises and follow "Mckenzie" protocol. He said this could utimately push the disc nucleus back in place and make the pain go away. I felt somewhat relieved.

Over the course of that weekend (between chiropractor visit and anesthesioligist), I followed those extension excercises and the pain only got worse. I decided to go ahead with the first injection which I received on 3/21. The injection was unsuccessful. They were only able to administer about 25% of the cortisone because every bit injected shot a pain down my leg. The result was that the area was too inflamed to administer the full shot. It was decided to place me on predisone and wait 2 weeks for the inflamation to subside and try again. The anesthesioligist said I need to pretty much do absolutely nothing for 2 weeks. DIFFICULT FOR ME TO DO!

Where I have conflict is between what the chiropractor is suggestion (mckenzie protocol) and the opposing views of the neurosurgeon and anesthesiologist. They described that it is only successful in about 5-10% of pateints. That the outer disc is torn, it will never heal, the herniation will always be there and with my condition, it's the swelling around the nerve that is pinching the nerve, not the disc so the excercises could potentially irritate the inflamation further. Not sure what to do? I hear that Doctors hate chiropractors....

Getting to my work situation.... As I described, this came about back in early January and my job requires me to do alot of extensive traveling for short to long duration and perform construction (which isn't the best for back related injuries). I had told ALL doctors that I had a long project starting first week of april. Between all the waiting, doctors visists, etc., here I am the last week in march and Our company had to scramble to find another employee to take my place. This makes me extremely upset and somewhat depressed/concerned for my job. On top of that, many household exterior projects have been put on hold in a time where we have had perfect weather...

So,
1. Do people ever fully recover from a disc herniation?
2. Am I to assume that the disc will always be herniated and I now have to think "back smart" for the rest of my life?
3. I'm about a week into "doing nothing" and taking predisone. So, I'll continue to follow the anesthesiologists recommendation but does the extension excercise routine further inflame the area?
advertisement

Comments

  • My son had the same operation as you are talking about .Ands he is almost back to being 100% I also had same operation as my son had I aso had same operation as my son .With the same DR but mine went all wrong. I had nerve damage. And I will never be the same as before So every operation is different. I hope this help



    Jim
  • Hi,
    Im so sorry for your situation. I have 3 pinched nerves. The only thing that helps is prednisone. I am now taking 20mg daily and cannot stop. If I stop, then I cant walk. I also take enormous amouts of pain killers. I cant waLk when I cut them down. I wish I had had surgery to begin with because nkw they wont do it due to the meds I have to take. My advice. Do not get physically dependant in Prednisone or Narcotics. Take them as needed. When you need surgery, then you wont have trouble getting off all of them. Prednisone can cause excessive bleeding during surgery
  • Hi,
    Im so sorry for your situation. I have 3 pinched nerves. The only thing that helps is prednisone. I am now taking 20mg daily and cannot stop. If I stop, then I cant walk. I also take enormous amouts of pain killers. I cant waLk when I cut them down. I wish I had had surgery to begin with because nkw they wont do it due to the meds I have to take. My advice. Do not get physically dependant in Prednisone or Narcotics. Take them as needed. When you need surgery, then you wont have trouble getting off all of them. Prednisone can cause excessive bleeding during surgery
  • Hi,
    Im so sorry for your situation. I have 3 pinched nerves. The only thing that helps is prednisone. I am now taking 20mg daily and cannot stop. If I stop, then I cant walk. I also take enormous amouts of pain killers. I cant waLk when I cut them down. I wish I had had surgery to begin with because nkw they wont do it due to the meds I have to take. My advice. Do not get physically dependant in Prednisone or Narcotics. Take them as needed. When you need surgery, then you wont have trouble getting off all of them. Prednisone can cause excessive bleeding during surgery
  • it really depends on you, how long you've been in pain, your neurosurgeon, haw you deal with the recuperation requirements, etc. IMHO the L5/S1 herniation appears very popular so to speak. But, we do put so much pressure and strain on that area. Your prognosis could be great or it could be poor. When I had my first fusion there, my sciatica pain was gone immediately and I was pretty comfortable for about 6 mos. Then the pain in the small of my back came back but, thankfully, not the sciatica. My first fusion failed and I had to have it redone 5 years later, this past May. The second fusion helped but I'm still in severe pain and I've had a spinal cord stimulator implanted but I'm still on a lot of narcotic pain killers. You seem to be pretty young to have the surgery and one of the negatives is that the discs around the fusion begin weakening and you may have to have additional fusions. I was about 30 when I first started having pain in the lower back and leg. IMHO, at your age of 30, if you can get by on your pain pills for now, I'd go that route but if the meds don't make much difference, what choice do you have? After my 2nd fusion I started therapy in a warm pool but I was in so much pain after the sessions, my doc had me stop the therapy after 3 sessions. I expect the recommended exercises continue to annoy your nerve and exacerbate your pain. I imagine you should be resting the leg until the nerve calms down, presuming it does. I know my response is all over the place but, again, it really depends your body as we are all very different and respond differently. You should try to find a good pain management MD that can help you manage your pain - most of us on this board are under the care of a pain MD. Keep us posted on how you are doing and the best of luck to you.
  • The term EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT is so true.. Its so true it will never sink in... My father was plauged with back issues for 25 years.. He would come on for 2 weeks and he would be bed ridden, then he would be semi normal for the rest of the year.. Docs would tell him he needed fusion since he was 43yo.. he is now 64 and has very little back pain however he has had 2 HIP REPLACEMENTS and he right leg as atrophy.. again eveyone is so different..

    I am very similar to yours.. I played HS and College sports and abused my body. I never though had issues i would have them.. Anyways my back issues came out of nowhere in 2011.. Just mild back pain for 2 months and one hell of a buring BUTTOCKS.. no leg pain.. actually walking made me feel better..well after 2 months i went to a DOC and he had me take a MRI which showed a MESS.. I have l3-4, l4-5, l5-s1 with moderate stenosis and DDD and herniations at l3-4. l4-5.. mild buldge at l5-s1.. Anyways I got 3 opinions and they all said DO NOTHING other than shots and PT.. Well i just took it easy for 3 months.. sleeping was a pain but between massages and cardio(NO WEIGHTS) i felt better(NO RUNNING OUT SIDE).. after4-5 months i was semi normal but back was always stiff.. Anwyays all this mess was jan 2011-May2011.. Then from May 2011 to Nov 2011 I was like normal.. I started to work out lightly with weights again . just doing machines for chest, arms, etc.. nothing crazy no squats or over the head.. ANYWAYS I WAKE UP ONE MORNING 1st week of Nov 2011 and BAM left leg calf pain and mild painin right leg.. I was freaking out cause inever experienced sciatica.. ANYWAYS these symtoms this time where TOTALLY different what i experience the FIRST TIME BACK ISSUE GOT ME.. So now i can sit with no issues BUT I CANT WALK.. The first time I CAN WALK BUT CANT SIT.. WTF is going on.. So i see all the docs again and even seen the BEST OF THEBEST.. One neuro wanted to do 3 level fusion and the BEST OF THE BEST SAID NO WAY. You dont have bad enough symtoms and you dont have Spondilosys (instablity).. So i suffered for 3 months hard able to walk and stand with out pain.. So today is March 25,2012 about 5 months after this horrible LEG PAIN and i am NOW semi normal.. I dont do weights of anything and I am trying to lose weight( iam about 25lbs overweight).. Sorry forthis LONG EMAIL.. Give it time my friend!! PAIN IS ALLOT better they said than NUMBNESS or weakness.. I read an interesting artical on how it can take 2 years for your body to absorb disc material.. I mean who does nothing for 2 years.. My sugestion is as long as u only have pain and your doctor okays it.. drinks lots of water and try to do sometype of cardio exercise along with massage therpy for a few monthss CONSISTENLY.. Forget that PT stretching it made me worse tooo. keeping good blood flow helps .. I am not a doc, but i am glad your docs are pushing u away from surgery..My back issues started at 37... Goood luck and keep us posted!
  • sierradmax, I so get your situation. 6 weeks ago, I agreed with my neurosurgeon and wanted to go the 'conservative' route. Since my back and leg pain (along with neck, shoulder and head pain) has just gotten worse, and I've tried steroid injections, PT - that was horrific and the doctor said no more, now he wants me to take drugs - Lyrica and Zanaflex and wait 3 months. He mentioned surgery - but 'we're not going to do that yet'. He mentioned epidurals - but I feel I have had so many steroid injections this year that I'm beyond what I should have - and I know from watching the hubs go thru them, they aren't a 'fix', just a bandaid - or like putting orajel on a tooth that aches - doesn't 'fix it'. He said it was a good thing I just want to work and live my life b/c he doesn't write ppl out of work (never asked to be written out) - he says my hubby needs a simple operation but he should try epidurals first - oops he already had his series of 3, ending 1 week before our wreck so he has to wait 3 months. PA says hubby's disc is in worse shape then mine - hub argued that it might be but at the moment I'm suffering more (and when you read our myelogram reports, both sides of L4-L5 and L5-S1 are messed up and not allowing room for nerve roots - well golly gee that's why we both have bilateral leg pain. He said hubby could have epidural again in 6 months, but that he is worse off than me and needs surgery - then tells him to come back in 6 months and me in 3 months--- no we didn't catch his little trick of setting the hubs up for another series of injections that haven't worked before and that in 6 months. I think after a patient has tried some conservative measures, doctors (not really - we never have seen the doctor - we only see the PA or NP and now refer to the doctor as 'wizard of oz') - doctors should consider how limiting the problem is - which we did tell him. They should let the patient have some say in which route to go. For me, I was super against surgery - now with it getting worse by the day, I'm begging for it. But the way I see it, the hubs and I are cash cows and they want to milk it for as long as they can. Are we looking for a new neuro? You betcha!
    sierradmax said:
    I spent a good amount of time yesterday looking over previous posts related to a similar condition I'm experienceing. I didn't want to hijack the similar thread recently posted by "Nick" but I could not find one post here where anyone was back to normal (100%). Most would describe 80% or a pain level around 2-3 as being "liveable". Either people do not return a post or we are stuck with living with some amount of pain.

    I'm 30 year old male who received an MRI report late February which showed a disc herniation at L5-S1 level. To make a long story short, In January, I developed a slight pain at my sciatic nerve which my doctor suggested PT to relieve the piriformis. A month later and the pain migrated down my leg to the point where I only had 15 degrees of motion in my left leg. An MRI reveiled the disc herniation. I then started the long process of meeting with neurosurgeons (some were 3 weeks out). I met the first and felt real confident. He gave me 3 options. Live with it and try PT to relieve the pain, Epidural steroid injections, or operate to shave the disc. I chose the injections as I described I had limited time (I'll get to that later). I then had to wait to meet with an anesthesiologist (sorry for spelling). In the meantime, I decided to stop in and visit a chiropractor. The chiropractor educated me for the first time on what was going on. He explained that the previous flexion excercises (to relieve the piriformis) were ultimately doing more harm than good. He had suggested the opposite, extension excercises and follow "Mckenzie" protocol. He said this could utimately push the disc nucleus back in place and make the pain go away. I felt somewhat relieved.

    Over the course of that weekend (between chiropractor visit and anesthesioligist), I followed those extension excercises and the pain only got worse. I decided to go ahead with the first injection which I received on 3/21. The injection was unsuccessful. They were only able to administer about 25% of the cortisone because every bit injected shot a pain down my leg. The result was that the area was too inflamed to administer the full shot. It was decided to place me on predisone and wait 2 weeks for the inflamation to subside and try again. The anesthesioligist said I need to pretty much do absolutely nothing for 2 weeks. DIFFICULT FOR ME TO DO!

    Where I have conflict is between what the chiropractor is suggestion (mckenzie protocol) and the opposing views of the neurosurgeon and anesthesiologist. They described that it is only successful in about 5-10% of pateints. That the outer disc is torn, it will never heal, the herniation will always be there and with my condition, it's the swelling around the nerve that is pinching the nerve, not the disc so the excercises could potentially irritate the inflamation further. Not sure what to do? I hear that Doctors hate chiropractors....

    Getting to my work situation.... As I described, this came about back in early January and my job requires me to do alot of extensive traveling for short to long duration and perform construction (which isn't the best for back related injuries). I had told ALL doctors that I had a long project starting first week of april. Between all the waiting, doctors visists, etc., here I am the last week in march and Our company had to scramble to find another employee to take my place. This makes me extremely upset and somewhat depressed/concerned for my job. On top of that, many household exterior projects have been put on hold in a time where we have had perfect weather...

    So,
    1. Do people ever fully recover from a disc herniation?
    2. Am I to assume that the disc will always be herniated and I now have to think "back smart" for the rest of my life?
    3. I'm about a week into "doing nothing" and taking predisone. So, I'll continue to follow the anesthesiologists recommendation but does the extension excercise routine further inflame the area?
    I am who I am!
  • I thought i would give an update. I spent two weeks taking it really easy but doing alot of walking. It seems as if walking helps. I went for a 2nd try for an injection on Wednesday and it was successful. Painful but successful.

    Granted it's only been 3 days since my injection but the pain is less severe. I can now put on my own socks and shoes. Although I still have a slight pain in my calf and hamstring, which I hope will be relieved with the continuation of walking and possibly PT. I think this pain has to do with the lack of mobility I've experienced for 3+ months. Doctor told me to give it 2 weeeks and if all is well, not to see him for 6-8 weeks. I'll report on a weekly basis and hopefully my experience is a positive example for someone else.
  • This stupid PA went from : well we can do surgery to well you need an epidural to well we'll just put you on more medications and I don't want you to know the side effects but you're not diabetic so they'll be fine. I'm not diabetic, but I am high risk for diabetes, runs rampant on both sides of my family. So I'm researching now to see what would the problem be with Lyrica for diabetics - if it goes thru the kidneys, no way! I have treated this conservatively for 6 months now - just not with the same doc - the hubs has for years - just not with this same doc. I'm over conservative measures and the 'insult to injury' was from a wreck on Feb 23. I want to close the chapter. If I can't find anyone else, I'm going to Carolina NeuroSurgery & Spine Assoc - I want more than pain relief. I want the herniated disc fixed and the bone spurs removed so I don't have to go through this over and over and over. I would have went for the epidural for my neck problem - gladly - the daily migraines that are tenancious and last pretty much 24 hours - but not excruiating if I take meds - sometimes even meds won't touch them) I'm aggravated with a PA who talks to us with disdain for taking the very same medications his clinic prescribed and warning us of the dangers of addictions. I don't want to take them - so fix me! Tried physical therapy and that brought on headaches like I've never known in the 40 years that I've had migraines and everytime w/in 15 minutes not just my neck and back and head would hurt but the pain in both legs was worse every time. So the doc said not to go. I fail to understand how taking Lyrica and Zanaflex will make my bone spurs and herniated disc go away or make for more space so my nerve roots are not irritated. And with high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, GAD, I'm on enough meds - I want less meds, not more. I know surgery would mean more temporarily but I compare this to the hysterectomy I had 20 years ago - I had horrific pain from endometriosis and adhesions. Hysterectomy had to be done with an abdominal incision - yes it was excrutiaing - but I could see that pinhole light at the end of the tunnel even when I woke up form surgery. Now all I see is darkness. I want my spine fixed so I can have my life back. At 56, I really am not interested in letting some bonehead PA decide it's okay for me to give up 3 more months of my life.
    I'm venting.......still so angry at shoddy care!!! The lumbar epidural - I'm very familiar with it - my hubby completed his series of 3, 1 week before our wreck. He got very temporary relief from them, but yes he did get relief from #1 and #3 - unfortunately it was literally 1 week before the wreck for #3 so that was very short lived - just days. Here's what I know from that. With herniated discs, bulging discs, stenosis, etc - our spines are not in good shape for an accident of any type. I want mine fixed and stable - I'm afraid if I'm ever rear-ended like that again - I'm done. Never had spine problems till the first wreck I was in 20 years ago, made worse by the one 10 years ago and now here I am worse than ever.

    I see the value of the epidural - but I don't believe in the 'one size fits all' theory. It is good to know how it works for others - and my anger is directed at the doctors who have that attitude!

    I'm glad for your post - and I'd go get an epi today in hopes of some temporary relief, at least. Maybe if I got good relief it might even change my mind - unfortunately I'm likely never going to know - b/c the doc that would set that up wants to see me in 3 months. I would bet I'll have had surgery before then.
    I am who I am!
  • I thought I would dig up this old thread and describe my outcome.

    My summer regiment of chiropractic care and light excercise was yielding positive results. I had left in September for a two month long project in "not a fun country". Quite a bit of extensive lifting, working 12 hrs. a day for 2 months straight put alot of wear and tear on my body. Granted, I wore a back brace durign strenious tasks but, during the last week, while kneeling, I bent to one side and the pain came back as if I "hit a light-switch". I was helped back to my feet and never made it back to work. 6 days later, I was back in the states meeting my Neurosurgeon and I had enough. It was time for surgery.

    About 2 weeks later, I was under the knife to perform a discectomy, not a micro-discectomy. 1-1/2 hours later, I was awake and noticeably different with no pain stemming down my leg when I bent my neck forward. Aside from the surgical discomfort, I was sent home the same day! Doctor said if I could eat, drink, walk, and go to the bathroom on my own, no sense in taking my hard earned money for an overnight stay in the hospital (I liked how that doctor thinks!).

    I was told no lifting anything more than 5 lbs. for 5 weeks. My wife would seperate milk in half (milk is 8lbs. by the way). I was back at the office in 3 days. Following 5 weeks, I started PT where core strengthening is a must. Best workout apparatus is a yoga ball. Granted, I'm a 220lb. guy who thought less of a yoga ball but this is now my favorite device to use in core strengthening. I'm now 8 weeks post op. and I'm slowly pushing it. 20-30 lbs. w/o a back brace is easy now but I lift differently. Anything more I wear a backbrace but I won't touch 70lbs.+ right now.

    I'm not condoning the natural approach or cordisone, nor am I applauding the surgery. Again, every case is different. I was fed up with seeing so many different doctors and getting so many different opinions. In the end, it's your decision, they should only reccommend procedures and clients need to feel comfortable with his/her doctor.
  • HillaryHHillary Posts: 1
    edited 01/31/2013 - 11:01 AM
    sierradmax said:
    I spent a good amount of time yesterday looking over previous posts related to a similar condition I'm experienceing. I didn't want to hijack the similar thread recently posted by "Nick" but I could not find one post here where anyone was back to normal (100%). Most would describe 80% or a pain level around 2-3 as being "liveable". Either people do not return a post or we are stuck with living with some amount of pain.

    I'm 30 year old male who received an MRI report late February which showed a disc herniation at L5-S1 level. To make a long story short, In January, I developed a slight pain at my sciatic nerve which my doctor suggested PT to relieve the piriformis. A month later and the pain migrated down my leg to the point where I only had 15 degrees of motion in my left leg. An MRI reveiled the disc herniation. I then started the long process of meeting with neurosurgeons (some were 3 weeks out). I met the first and felt real confident. He gave me 3 options. Live with it and try PT to relieve the pain, Epidural steroid injections, or operate to shave the disc. I chose the injections as I described I had limited time (I'll get to that later). I then had to wait to meet with an anesthesiologist (sorry for spelling). In the meantime, I decided to stop in and visit a chiropractor. The chiropractor educated me for the first time on what was going on. He explained that the previous flexion excercises (to relieve the piriformis) were ultimately doing more harm than good. He had suggested the opposite, extension excercises and follow "Mckenzie" protocol. He said this could utimately push the disc nucleus back in place and make the pain go away. I felt somewhat relieved.

    Over the course of that weekend (between chiropractor visit and anesthesioligist), I followed those extension excercises and the pain only got worse. I decided to go ahead with the first injection which I received on 3/21. The injection was unsuccessful. They were only able to administer about 25% of the cortisone because every bit injected shot a pain down my leg. The result was that the area was too inflamed to administer the full shot. It was decided to place me on predisone and wait 2 weeks for the inflamation to subside and try again. The anesthesioligist said I need to pretty much do absolutely nothing for 2 weeks. DIFFICULT FOR ME TO DO!

    Where I have conflict is between what the chiropractor is suggestion (mckenzie protocol) and the opposing views of the neurosurgeon and anesthesiologist. They described that it is only successful in about 5-10% of pateints. That the outer disc is torn, it will never heal, the herniation will always be there and with my condition, it's the swelling around the nerve that is pinching the nerve, not the disc so the excercises could potentially irritate the inflamation further. Not sure what to do? I hear that Doctors hate chiropractors....

    Getting to my work situation.... As I described, this came about back in early January and my job requires me to do alot of extensive traveling for short to long duration and perform construction (which isn't the best for back related injuries). I had told ALL doctors that I had a long project starting first week of april. Between all the waiting, doctors visists, etc., here I am the last week in march and Our company had to scramble to find another employee to take my place. This makes me extremely upset and somewhat depressed/concerned for my job. On top of that, many household exterior projects have been put on hold in a time where we have had perfect weather...

    So,
    1. Do people ever fully recover from a disc herniation?
    2. Am I to assume that the disc will always be herniated and I now have to think "back smart" for the rest of my life?
    3. I'm about a week into "doing nothing" and taking predisone. So, I'll continue to follow the anesthesiologists recommendation but does the extension excercise routine further inflame the area?


    I had the fusion done 2 years ago after spending months in bed and on pain pills , the pain went away e weeks before my surgery. I would guess if there is space between the vertibre for the disc to get back in place you could recover .It took so long for me because the mri showed the stenosis and that I had little space there. Maybe that's why it finally got off the nerve,The surgeon said that this was just a break from my condition I would have been bedridden again very soon..So far... glad I had the surgery
  • There are MANY stories of people healing on their own. I was not one of those, but don't lose hope.
advertisement
Sign In or Register to comment.