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Pregnancy and Disc bulges

Hello all! I am new here and so glad I found this site. I had two back to back car accidents in 1 year in 2002. I have had back problems all my life tho. In 2003 I had my last MRI that showed a bulge in L4-L5 with an annular tear and a bulge at L5-S1. It has always been painful but for the most part I have been able to cope with it with only the occasional flare-up where my doctor would prescribe Lortab. Then I got pregnant!! The pain became unbearable and I was on bed-rest for 4 months!! I of course was not able (and did not want to take any pain relievers while prego) I expected most of the pain would be over once I delivered the baby... It has not gone away!! I am currently seeing a pain management doctor and for the most part my pain in under control with medication (oxycodone) and yoga. I am wondering if anyone else has experienced increased pain during pregnancy with these issues and if anyone has has a bulge that worsened over a 10 yer period, or do these things heal without treatment? This is probably a stupid question...cause of course the extra weight ect. will make the pain worse... just wondering if anyone has a similar situation. I am hungry for answers and anyone who has any advice for me in this pain management arena.


  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. AS far as to your question of being prego's this question has been raised before and if you place that in the search bar at the top of the page you should come up with other threads dealing with it. Some will say they got better while some got worse. Being prego's can actually move the area around as the baby goes. As far as it going away, yes many can heal on there own. The fact is many people walking around, if you imaged there spine, they could have these conditions and are not effected, pain wise. It is kind of the way the ball bounces some it will bother and some not, especially if the issue is hitting a nerve. If the pressure is removed off the nerve some of the pain will go away. You can discus this with your pain management doctor and they can also explain it. Congrats on being almost pain free. Sometimes there is no such thing as being completely pain free, but rather to a state you can deal with it.

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health.
  • It is common for women to experience back pain during pregnancy because of the added weight and stress on the spine and pelvis. Women who suffer from a bulging disc and become pregnant may find their lower back pain increases and requires additional treatment.
  • AidensMommy361AAidensMommy361 Posts: 56
    edited 06/24/2012 - 4:41 PM
    The pain during my pregnancy wasn't anything abnormal until I was about 38 weeks. It wasn't nearly as bad as my pain now :(

    It was for me and I also have bulging l4-l5 and l5-s1. Also a bulge at t11-12 and spinal stenosis. It is hard to play with my son like going to the park or whatever because I cant be on my feet for more than 20 minutes, but it was so worth having him when I did, even with the back problems.

    I was 20 when I got pregnant and 21 when I had him. Not sure if this helps any but like I said, my pain wasn't anything worse than usual until the last few weeks, I cant say if birth or other things made my back worse (severe pain didn't start until he was about six/seven) months old, but say it is because of labor or being pregnant... would do it a million times over.

    My neuron surgeon told me last Friday that I do need surgery and at this point my problems will not get better with PT...and since there's no way I will have surgery right now, I'm a stay at home mom with a toddler! Lol I'm doing pain management until I'm ready to move ahead with the surgery.
  • oiyI am here and just researching the subject. I am 36 almost 37 years old. I have a 17 year old already and want to get pregnant soon before I may not be able to. I have lived with my boyfriend for 5 Years and we are engaged. We are talking seriously about having a baby now. I have 2 bulging discs L4, L5 lower back. I also have degenerative disc disease in my neck. I suffer from back pain, spasms that are extremely painful, and numbness down the arms and now leg. I have ha an epidural to help with pain but didn't work. I've done p.t. exercise and recently yoga. I talk pain meds daily for the last 6 years and now rely on them to get me through the day. I work full time but not too active other than working and keeping up on the house. My fiance is extremely active and does not like to sit around the house. The differences in our daily lives are proving to be quite opposite. I love him and don't know want to lose him to this. I want to do things with him yet never have the motivation to get up and go because of the pain. We can work on this issue, more exercise get myself stronger and push through. My real concern is getting pregnant. We are ready and I'm telling myself I'm ready but I'm scared because I don't know how much worse the pain will get. Not 19 with this pregnancy. I will have to quit smoking and quite taking my pills. I am worried about the affects of that. I want to have a baby no matter what the sacrifice and I don't wan back s surgery. My fiance is younger than me and has no children of his own and it is his purpose in life to have a child and carry on hisname. Looking for alternatives to taking the meds during pregnancy. I would like to get off them for myself as well,
  • current status of your spine. Disc bulges are common, as are ddd........ddd is considered a normal finding on someone over the age of 18-21.......it simply means that as you get older, your discs loose some of their natural hydration. In most cases, it is simply not considered to be painful, unless there is another reason , such as nerves being compressed or a herniation of the actual disc. Radiologists have to list anything that is not considered anatomical in their reports.....

    As far as having a disc bulge, again, it is not considered a big deal in the world of spine problems, it means that the disc is sitting a bit outside the normal margins where the disc usually sits. Unless it is in contact with a nerve root or the canal or some other condition that is causing pain.......the majority of the population will have some degree of disc bulging at some level or levels in their spine.
    The seriousness of the tear is determined by whether or not disc material is leaking out......in many cases it is not....and if that is the case, then there is little that can be done to treat that particular condition.
    Core strengthening excercises and finding out exactly what may or may not be going on with your spine is your best option , and then consulting with a board certified spine surgeon to see what treatment options are available is the best steps that we can recommend.
  • Thank you Sandi for the links, I will look into that now. Its great that I'm not that bad but the pain is there. The doctor's are working on Trying to see if there's more than we know because of how often the pain and uncontrollable spasms. Doctors thinking maybe thoradic syndrome. Main focus right now as the doctor's can't do anything else for me, is to kick the daily meds completely. Once again, thanks for the links.
  • http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/upper-back-pain/causes-upper-back-

    Talk to your doctor about a proper tapering plan..........done correctly, you wouldn't even feel the withdrawal.....the doctor can provide you with one easily and slowly reduce the dosage a little at a time over a few days between each dosage step down.
    I hope that you get the answers you seek......
  • There are quite a few of us here (myself included) who have serious spine conditions & managed through pregnancy to have perfectly healthy babies. My advise is to follow Sandi's recommendations & then get yourself into the best possible shape. I practiced as many 'natural, alternative' therapies as I could prior to & throughout pregnancy. Uncontrolled pain can cause tremendous stress on your baby you need to be able to manage your pain without medications before you start down this road.

    Smoking is also very bad for your spine. Even if you were not considering pregnancy I would advise you to quit. There's a forum here to help & support you. Good luck with everything. ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • You're right. Just a matter of where to start. I want to be active for myself and my family. I take norco 4 times a day equals and ib profrin 600 2 times and SOMA mustle relaxer at bedtime. I had to go without my pills a few times and it was hell! I just don't have the motivation due to fear and I've been depressed because of this. I really hate that I've become dependant on this as I've always been a very strong person I am weak when it comes to this. I feel too young to be living this way. I wear my back brace all the time, live on my heating pad., and have chair supports everywhere I used to be a private caregiver for years lifting and moving "dead weight ".
  • Cleaned houses and had to give that up too. Had to take a desk job. Can't stand too long. Hate that I have to hold on to somethijg while standing. I want to be able to walk, exercise, hike, wheeling, etc. I love the outdoors but have become a homebody. Just gets depressing feeling like like I'm not in control. Nice to know there's support out there. Thank you for your feedback.
  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 05/04/2014 - 9:08 AM
    I started with aromatherapy & visualization, just taking some time for me. It's about getting your 'head in the right place' & it's bloody hard! Don't beat yourself up. This is a marathon. Work on building & flexing those muscles but do it gently & in a very controlled way. I found a specialist pregnancy & pain massage therapist, she was a life saver. There are also yoga specialists around.. Lots of women develop back pain while pregnant. There's a whole industry set-up to help with this. Find someone you can trust. Just a tip..if they don't want to see MRI results etc RUN AWAY!
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 05/05/2014 - 8:01 AM
    THAT is a definate no no unless you have had surgery........all that serves to do is make your spinal muscles and core muscles that much weaker......you need to start small, walking short distances and increasing them a little at a time, until you are able to walk a bit more distance and a bit faster.....you need to rebuild your core muscles and your abdominals as well, and increase your endurance. Soma is highly addictive and is seldom prescribed any longer because of it......work with your doctor, they can provide you with a tapering plan and try other medications that aren't opiates to see if they help.
  • Sandi. When do you think back braces are a good idea, other than post surgery? I noticed that a couple of the specialists offices I've been in recently had advertisements up for 'advanced, custom fitted braces'. I've always found that 'keep moving' had been essential advise for me. I know from my parents generation that rest on a hard surface & restrictive corsets used to be popular treatments but I thought all that had been rejected as doing more harm than good. Why are these things coming back?
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • M 24 years old..15 months back this back pain started .thn I went to doc ,Dr ask me fr xray and xray diagnosis was gap in L4-5 disc.physiotherapist ask me to do back strengthening exercises and last month my MRI report diagnosed disc bulging L4-L5
    And tarlov cyst in s1 .Even after IFt and ust and excercises,no improvement in pain.Sitting is very difficult causes more pain in lower back .
    Please help me

  • I actually had to get a couple ESIs to help manage the pain I was in. I also took Lortab as needed per my OB. He felt comfortable with me taking pain meds while pregnant, as long as I took them as prescribed and only as needed (both of which I followed to exactly). I was afraid at first, but my OB said it was worse for the baby if I was in excruciating pain, as the stress could affect him. Luckily, I had a great team of doctors while I was pregnant and was able to stay relatively comfortable throughout. That was no easy feat considering I'm 5' 3" and usually 110lbs, but got up to 170lbs while pregnant. I couldn't even roll myself out of bed sometimes! I delivered without any complications to a healthy boy. I have since gotten back down to my 110 pre-baby weight but still have really bad back pain. It's almost worse now because I've got a 30+lb toddler that I'm picking up/carrying. Managing the back pain is part of my everyday life now (has been for the last 9 years) and I'm afraid will continue to be for the rest of my life.

    Sorry for the rambling - just wanted to share my experience. Good luck!
    Herniated L4/L5, pinched L5 nerve, degenerative disc disease, ruptured L4/L5 with scoliosis
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