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28 year old healthy male: Help me to understand what is going on.

Hey everyone. Just wanting to drop in and ask some questions about my battle with my pain/herniation.

First off, I just want to say that this has been the MOST humbling experience of my life. I truly now can understand the fight many people are having the LBP. I am so much more grateful for things I have in my life i.e. family, friends, roof over my head, etc.

Here is the link to my full story
But I’ll give you a brief overview. I’d done the whole gamut of conservative treatments (minus epidural) So feel free to skip to the end with the questions .

-Up until the L5/S1 herniation I was healthy, normal 28 year old male. Exercised, ate right,etc.
-Years of running, lifting, sports activity and prolonged sitting at work took its toll april 2012.
-Started having “sore back” that got worse and worse. Finally couldn’t stand the pain. Saw doc/ got an MRI June 4 2012. MRI showed herniation approx 6-7mm, left leg mainly. Doc assures me this will heal with proper time and treatment.Ok, fine.

-Mederol dose pack.
-Start physically therapy. Seems to help a little. Still do my stretches/core exercises EVERY day.
-Take ibprophen 800’s 3 times a day, take fish oil, MSM, vitamins, etc. Drink plenty of water.
-Walking, stretching seems to help. Sitting kills me.
-I am still able to work, albeit with pain. (I’ll be getting a sit/stand desk soon) thank goodness.
-Saw a pain management doc about an epidural injection yesterday. The guy was a total ass/jerk. I’ll be getting a second opinion.

Day to Day:
-Here is how it goes on most days.
-Wake up, low to no pain. Start to feel pain my noon from sitting at work. Getting up every 20-30min helps alieveate pain some.
-By the end of day, I am in pain.
-Night pain seems to die down, some nights can be pretty bad though.
-I do light cardio work. Bouncing on therapy ball seems to help.
-Ice/heat. You know the drill…

-90% of day outside of left foot is numb.
-The worst: about 5-6 times a day, I get what I call “flare ups”. Literally out of nowhere I get SHOOTING, UNBEARABLE PAINS down in my left foot. I mean jump out of my chair and scream pain. Lasts about 10 seconds, then subsides.
% of pain each day:
-10%-20%: low to no pain (at best)
-60%: varying degrees of pain
-20% awful unbearable pain.

My questions (congrats if you made it this far!)

-I had really back lower back pains when this things started (april/may). Now the pain has greatly subsided. Very rarely does it hurt bad. What does this mean?

-The sciatic pain is what is driving me CRAZY. I can’t seem to beat it. I’ve been at this for about 4 months now.
-May/June/July: Constant numbness and throbbing pain: Shooting pain on occasion
-August: Constant numbness, much more tingling. Still shooting pain. “flare ups” Some pain starting on right leg (very minimal though)
-Sept: Constant numbness, no tingling. Have more of burning sensation. Like my foot is on fire. Still have “flare ups”
My question being: Are there stages that the disc goes through when / IF it is healing? Sorry for the length
Most of all, I just want to know WHAT is GOING ON in my body…and how I can help to beat this damn thing!?

I'm a fighter...so I don’t plan on giving up…but some days…man. My thoughts and prayers for all those suffering.


  • 32 Good health, fairly active. LBP for long time but got bad 2010. Saw chiro, he helped took about 2 months. Had maybe 2 months pain free then sciatica slowly crept in. Treated with chiro for almost a year, then got CT scan showed L5S1 herniation. Went to pain mngmt Dr had 3 ESI over 8 months. After 3rd wore off sciatica took over, couldnt stand, barely slept. Had microdiscectomy sept 6th, recovering now. So to give you the best opinion I can based solely on my exp...

    Doc shouldnt have assured you it would just go away, that may happen for some, I dont think those ppl make it to this forum.

    ESI is the next common step for your situation. For some it is enough, for others it just does not work. BUT if you do look for a surgical option later, it seems insurances want to see that you have gone through all steps including series of ESI before they will approve. So ESI is def worth doing either way. and if the doc was a jerk, go see another even if his plan is the same.

    What is going on? well no one can be sure. But if its continuing to get worse, Its prob not healing itself.

    What can you do? Sounds like you are doing everything you can & should be right now, you are following the conservative no surgery approach. All you can do is see it through. For me surgery had to be done, and after doc said it was way worse than expected. Ther MRI does not show everything. My nerves were compressed badly, I wasnt gettin any better without surgery. Recovery is going well though, check my other posts Ive got a few detailed threads.

    Good Luck!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • First I started Amitriptyline for the sciatica then switched to Lyrica but the best relief for me was Cymbalta. My L5-S1 HD and anular tear healed within 15 months and I only knew from another MRI but have developed other issues due to age,trauma and DDD.

    Usually they start with injections before surgery is done though and nerve pain meds but your Family Dr. could help you with those as opposed to waiting a PM Dr. if he feels it would help.. Sciatica is an awful pain especially the sharp shooting pain. have you seen a Neurologist yet as when my sciatica and numbness was getting worse she sent me right away to a Neurologist but gave me nerve pain meds, anti-inflammatory Naproxen and a muscle relaxant but my back pain was so bad I needed also a pain medication. Hope you see your Family Dr. soon and let him/her know the numbness and shooting pain is worse! Take care. Sara
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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