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Help, trying to heal a herniated disc

Hello, I'm a 27 year old male. I'm 6'3" and about 228 lbs.
I have been battling on and off with a disc herniation of my L5-S1disc for the past few years.
My typical symptoms at first were about 8-10 months apart. What would happen is I would bend over to grab something
and sharply stop my downward motion or rise up in a jerking motion. I felt a warmth in the small of my back,
It would be sore the rest of the day until I went to bed, laying granted me relief, only to awaken in the AM with a
debilitating shooting/dull/stabbing pain in the small of my back when the muscle would contract.
I'd have to walk bent over with my hands on my knees supporting my weight. I've had 5 of thes episodes. The first 4 times they would subside and go away for months. This was a work injury initially and it was diagnosed as back spasms/sciatica each time. It happened again for the 4th time and I decided to go to my family Dr. who ordered an MRI/X-ray.
As stated before, it was a l5-s1 herniation, herniated to the back right hand side.
The 5th time it happened I awoke in the AM fully expecting my back to be "out". I tried to get out of bed and as soon as I shifted my weight to my feet my back clamped up like a vice with spikes on it. I fell to the floor where I suffered brutal spasms for about 20 minutes at 15-20 second intervals. Without continuously blabbing on and on any further, basically my back hasn't recovered like it used to. Dealing with low back discomfort on good days, and radiating pain on bad ones. I was let go from my company due to the reoccurring incidents and I lost my insurance. Which was phenomenal by the way. I digress, now I'm trying to get this damn thing to go back in or heal. And am worried sick that it isn't going to ever heal on its on. I'm the sole provider of my wife and son and have a physically demanding job. Other than posture and losing weight I fear there's not much else I can do.
Any advice or opinions or any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Or even to simply share your story.


  • Merk57MMerk57 Posts: 16
    edited 09/10/2012 - 4:50 PM

    Like you, I also experience some back spasms. I am on a long slow recovery from a microdiscectomy for a disc herniation on my l5/s1 and have experienced back spasms (although maybe not as intense as your most recent). When they have happened to me I wind up with pretty intence sciatic pain afterwards that tends to last about a week before it begins to clear up. My physical therapist (I strongly recommend seeing one if you can) explained to me that when there is or has been trauma in the back, the brain pretty much stops using the muscle groups in that area (your core muscles). Other muscle groups will try and stabilize our movements over compensating for our weak "core" muscles. There are many stretching exercies and core strengthening exercises that can be done at home is p.t. is not an option for you. I recommend you speak with your dr. before attempting stretches and core exercises on our own.

    best of luck to you
  • Tx MarinerTTx Mariner Posts: 9
    edited 09/10/2012 - 10:16 PM
    My previous employer sent me to 8 PT sessions. That's where I got the stretching routine from.
    How long has it been since your surgery? I fear that surgery may be in my future, whether it's within the next couple of years or decades away. Has it been beneficial to you? Thank you for the input!
  • I had my surgery May 29, 2012. At first, everything seemed to be going as planned. Then I had a re-occurence of sciatic pain after a bout 7 or 8 weeks. Within a couple of weeks that seemed to subside after a couple of weeks then I had some severe spasms in my lower back and I was down again for a couple more weeks. After about a month it healed to the point of being completely pain free. This was the first time in about 2 years that i actually had no pain what so ever. Then it all came crashing down again with more back spasms while pulling dinner out of the oven. Since that day I have been getting back spasms off and on. I had another MRI done a couple of weeks ago and will be seeing the surgeon today with regards to those results. My surgeon believes that my current pains are either due to a disc herniation again or scar tissue. She said if it is a herniation, I'll be having surgery again if it's scar tissue, then there is nothing that can be done. I assume by nothing can be done she means surgically. I will also be seeing my family doctor about the results of the MRI on Thursday. I think the second opinion will be beneficial. My surgeon also informed me that the surgery was to relieve the sciatic pain but I will always have lower back pain. Strange part is, I do not seem to have much if any lower back pain it's all sciatic pain at this point. Having said all this, I do not regret having the surgery at this point since the pains were getting worse and worse leading up to the surgery date. I don't believe that I'm any further behind now than I was prior to surgery. I am just anxious to return to work and back to a normal life.
  • Wow, that's quite the story. And I fear the scar tissue is the case with me. Actually as I write this I am at work on a tugboat and have sensations that warrant extreme caution so as not to "pull my back out" again. Wish it would just go away already. The nuerosurgeon that treated me seemed to think PT would be enough. And if that was unsuccessful then we'd try the injections, and THEN consider surgery if THAT didn't work. I really feel that they weren't all to gung ho due to it being a work injury, but then again I'm no doctor. Thank you for the time you've shared with me, I've enjoyed having someone to commiserate with. I wish you the best of luck with your condition and hope you return to normalcy soon.
  • Hey,

    I'm not sure if you have come across my forum, but it seems my sciatic pain is NOT caused by the scar tissue. It appears I may have piriformis syndrome or something of the likes. A nerve root block did not provide me with any relief meaning that, the site of injection is not the location that the never is being disturbed and causing pain. This seems to be good news and bad news. Good news that it is not scar tissue causing the pain as there is not way to get rid of scar tissue. Bad news is, the Doc is not 100% sure of the cause of my sciatic pain, it is assumed at this point that the piriformis muscle is the culprit.

    I hope things have been getting better for you too!
  • I know for a fact that it's a herniated disc. Damn thing is a pain the butt, sometimes literally.
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