Welcome, Friend!

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

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.

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

L4/L5- S1

Hi My Name is Jamie and I am new to the forum. I have several questions and issues. I will fill you in and please give me any info and advice. I am 36 and have a lumbar injury from work. After 3 weeks of PT, which made the pain worse, My Ortho dr decided to do an MRI. Results, L4-L5 L5-S1 Herniated Disc and 2 bulging. One of the worse he has seen in a long time. I injured this by being thrown backwards while my legs were pinned from my knees down ( kind of like the punching bag we had as kids you punch it and it goes backwards and come back up).
I have already had one epidural last Thrusday and it helped with some pain when standing for about 10 hours and then it has gone back tot he same thing. I will be going for a second epidural Wed. and my Dr appt is on Thursday. As time has gone by I have gotten worse. It went from back pain and some issues moving around to leg pain (sciatica) and numbness and now I am falling. If I stand up both of my feet go to sleep. My right leg and foot are completely numb. I find myself walking on the side of my foot instead of normal ( which can cause probs in the future if it continues) My right hip feels like someone ripped it out of its socket and put in back in backwards. This is awful!. When I stand I find my self hunched over and having to stand still for a few before staning straight up and walking or I may fall. I have to get out of the vehicle with 2 feet as my right leg has given on me and I found myself on the ground. I will say that since the first epidural the vibration I was getting up and down my leg isn't as bad as it was. My Dr offered the Epidurals and if they didn't help he then said I would have to have a discectomy. He didn't want me to do but one epi and if there wasn't a significant amount of difference then he was going to send me to the the nuero but I can get one more in before the appt so I thought I would see if it would help. I know a epi is just a temporary fix for the most part but the pain has become awful and the meds are not helping. Also, I can not take NSAIDS (anti infalmmatory) due to the Ortho Dr put me on them and a few days later I found myself in the hosp vomiting blood - the NSAIDs caused very bad ulcers. I work as a Rural Mail Carrier and have been on workmans comp since Oct. 26.... I am limited on doing anything and life has gotten hard because of this.... I assume when I go Thurs. he is going to send me to a Nuero for surgery... Any help or advice is appreicated.


  • Hi Jamie, welcome to Spine Health. Sorry you're in so much pain with it getting worse. A few years back, I didn't get much help from the epidurals, but they were better than nothing. With that much pain and disability, would be a good idea to see a neurosurgeon. If you see one, then take your time in deciding what you want to do. Apart from the injection, are you on any other painkillers?


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Hi Trish,
    I am on Robaxin, Flexeril and Lortab. None of which helps. I can not function during the day with Flexeril and Lortab. Robaxin doesn't do anything. My back pain has gotten worse as well. I have tried to do some of the stretches that did help some but they seem to be more bothersome now.
  • hi jamie, i have the same as you, almost i have bulging l4,l5 and hernitaed l5,s1. i take gabapentin, 300mg 3 to 4 times a day, i also take one celebrex, and most recently nucynta er 100mg twice a day. i started the nucyta about 3 months ago, and it has helped quite a bit. they also recommended microdiscetomy for me, but i have a physical job where i have to lift up to 75lbs, so i have put it off, especially after reading all of the people that reherniate. so i stretch every morning, and some times get on the inversion table for 5 or 10 minutes. at this point i dont know when or if i will get the surgery, i spend about $80 a month on prescriptions, and they help.
  • DaveFusionDDaveFusion Posts: 476
    edited 12/24/2012 - 3:45 AM
    Jamie, sorry your suffering.

    Your numbness and weakness in your leg is concerning, as your nerve is being damaged.

    In the FAQ, (at top of page in the Medical section), there are 3 links about preparing for and questions to ask your surgeon. I highly recommend you read them and prepare for the consultation.

    Making sure you have the right surgeon is extremely important and can't be over emphasised.

    There is other great information there that I encourage you to read. The more you learn, the better your likely outcome will be.

    Good luck and hope you fare better than others here and myself.

    Let us know what happens on Thursday.
  • Thank You All. I will read upon the info and I will post and let you know what the Dr says. I am concerned about nerve damage as well. I have had nerve/ muscle / tissue damage in my left arm from being placed wrong on the operating table during a hysterectomy in 2007 so I know all about the nerve damage and it has me highly concerned, two years of pt on the arm and still only 50-60% usage....
    As far as lifting, my job requires me to be able to lift up to 70 lbs... this is also a factor.
  • KeeweeKKeewee Posts: 92
    edited 12/25/2012 - 10:03 PM
    Sorry you are in so much discomfort.
    Catfishman mentions Gebapentin - this medication is very affective for nerve pain only on some patients.
    I would be concerned about the numbness. Unfortunately I ignored mine and woke up one morning with complete numbness in both legs. After rushing to hospital and having an urgent MRI (and loss of bladder which was pretty embarrassing) I was diagnosed with Cauda Equina and had a discectomy and laminectomy on the same day.

    Thankfully my recover was not too bad, back at work within 4 weeks.
    However, I was left with permanent nerve damage in my right leg being numbness of the 4 smaller toes and random patches on my right leg.
    The only time this has been problems is when I have been in the gym doing lunges (my foot wobbles) and when I have broken the toes and not realised.

    I was VERY lucky!

    Moral of the story never let numbness remain unchecked.

    P.s - post surgery steroid injections worked for me to a point, and then were no longer affective.
    The usual core strength stuff of course should always be attempted and physio before considering surgery.

    Take care and good luck!!

    2 level Discectomy 2000 open surgery
    L4/5 Discectomy & L5/S1 Laminectomy 2005- (Cauda equina) open surgery
    5 x joint injections 2012
    Discogram Dec 2012
    Dec 2012 - 360 Lumbar Fusion L4 -S1(BMP), Disc replaced L3/4, Bilat trocanter injects
  • Welcome to the boards. I agree with Dave (Hi Dave, haha) in that your symptoms seem to be suggesting some serious nerve function issues. I would definitely prepare a list of questions and do some research on nerve problems. I too have herniation at L4/5 & L5-S1. I went through many ESIs, rounds of PT, a failed discectomy, a discogram, and I am now scheduled for an ALIF in 8 days. The injections always aggravated my back as well, so I definitely understand the frustration there. Doing some light stretching and exercises may help, but if there is nerve damage it won't be an end-all to the pain. Right now I'm on Neurontin 300mg x 3 a day, 7.5 Norco x5 a day, and using Ambien to get some kind of sleep. I really hope your ortho or a neuro can figure out what is really wrong and get it fixed ASAP. It sounds like you are in so much pain, and that is no bueno.
    DDD L4-5 & L5-S1 w/ herniation
    Failed discectomy, 8-15-11
    Discogram, 11-14-12
    L4-S1 ALIF (2 plastic cages, 2 plates and 8 screws), 1-4-13
    FBSS & SI joint dysfunction, 12-30-13
    1 year post-op CT hardware scan & left SI joint injection, 1-17-14
  • Thank You for the welcome. Thanks for the info KeeWee and DLTS.. I had a second epi done this morning and OMG! He put an extra round of 'numbing" medicine in there because when he started he hit something and I yelled... I can handle pain to an extent ( meaning I wouldnt take pain meds after a c-section) but as soon as the numbing medicine wore off ... the pain is much much worse. My right leg and "cheek" is alseep within 45 seconds of standing up which it wasn't this bad before the epi...nothing changed so far otherwise and the meds are not touching any of this. I will see the doc tomorrow and will let you know. This is awful!
  • Dr today... He is sending me to a neurosurgeon.... He said surgery was the only thing left... It was expected... He did say they would probably do a myelogram first.
  • Once you see the neurosurgeon, then you'll know what's ahead of you and can research what he recommends. We're here to support you too.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • DaveFusionDDaveFusion Posts: 476
    edited 12/28/2012 - 7:45 PM
    Good that you are moving in the right direction.

    Did you notice the link to 'find a good surgeon' in the FAQ?
    If not, you may wish to look at http://www.spine-health.com/blog/finding-a-good-spine-surgeon

    What's the waiting time to get into the surgeon?
  • This is workmans comp so it really depends on who will accept workmans come... however I have been doing research on neuros for a few weeks now.. I have narrowed it down to two and whoever can get me in the quickest. I am down to being unable to drive (ugh!) and when I get up my right leg falls asleep immediately....its that feeling when your leg goes to sleep and when you touch it it makes you laugh...yet it hurts too.... very aggravating... this has gotten worse since the second epi.
    My question is...can you tell me about a discectomy... my ortho dr told me that probably what I will have to have... I have read about it from several websites but would like some personal reviews....
  • DaveFusionDDaveFusion Posts: 476
    edited 12/28/2012 - 9:29 PM
    Lots of posts from patients here.

    Mine didn't go well. Others do.

    10% reherniate.
  • Was for the micro discectomy, but after some more testing and consults two if the three surgeons I went to suggested a fusion instead. The reasoning is because the discectomy would only relieve the butt and leg pain and not my back issues, which was the cause of the leg pain! So after doing more research and reading through sites like these, I too believe that a fusion would be best. One surgeon proposed the ALIF which scared me half to death, but my original surgeon (and who I felt most comfortable with) was one if the only doctors in this county that performs the MIS TLIF. So I decided to take this route. I heard you say that your issue was mainly with your legs, so this may be your remedy. But as many people have stated out here, your surgeon will propose the best procedure, surgery, or resolution for you.
    Lumbar DDD
    TLIF 1/2/13
  • Thank You so much I would just be glad to get some relief. I am worried about after getting whatever surgery the dr suggest that I won't be able to perform my usual duties on my job.... Rural Mail Carrier which involves alot of bending and heavy lifting. Not too mention alot of standing and then alot of sitting in the vehicle, from my understanding all of this can cause it to re-herniate....
  • PaulPPaul Posts: 730
    edited 12/29/2012 - 9:18 PM
    Jamie Howington said:

    My question is...can you tell me about a discectomy... my ortho dr told me that probably what I will have to have... I have read about it from several websites but would like some personal reviews....
    I have had a version of it called "transforaminal." Twice actually.

    Only two very small perforations were made on my side. Stitches were not even needed. Just two bandaids. The surgeon uses flexible instrumentation and scopes. Combined with CT / MRI scans and flouroscopy, he could "map" his way to my herniation.
    The tradeoff is that he could not directly see the herniated nucleus material with his own two eyes. He saw it through the scope and a tv monitor. The upside is that there is no collateral damage like common approach microdiscectomies render.

    I'm going to private message you two links with helpful info.

    Also, I wanted to speak (type) to the notion of surgery helping alleviate referred leg pain but not back pain. I am living proof that this idea is false. I had 90% back pain and the surgery got rid of all of it. The remaining leg (calf) sensations took about 6 months to fully resolve afterwards (in my case).

    You mention that you are lifting 70lb objects. If I may, I'm going to speak in all candor: This amount of weight is beyond the capability of the injured disc now. Once a disc is injured like that, it is never 100% again and thus, shouldn't be loaded like that again. In the link I sent you, are pages of how discs pathology works. In short, if a disc's outter covering is torn, scar tissue attempts to close it up. Scar tissue is much weaker than the covering itself. Hence, if the covering tore, the scar tissue will also tear under the same loads.

    As back patients, we unfortunately have to deal with these new limitations in our lives. I am no longer able to golf, kickbox, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, run, lift heavy objects, but still, I have been able to find happiness. For excersize, I bike now and I've grown to really enjoy it.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Paul, Thank You for all the info.... The thing is about being a Mail Carrier " if you can't do your job then you can't work" I have had no problems with doing this until I was injured by being thrown backwards while my legs were pinned in.... I am not sure how all this will pan out but hopefully it will. Thank you for the links I will check them out, all of this helps me for when I go to see my Dr. Thanks Again!
  • HudsonJHHudsonJ Posts: 19
    edited 01/07/2013 - 5:46 PM
    I saw the Neurosurgeon today and he feels I need a microdiscectomy... I have read alot online about it but hearing from other who have had it done helps.... any insight????.
  • The microdiscectomy that is. How many surgeons has this been, recommendation wise? I'd at least get 2-3 then you'll have your answer. I've met ppl, physically, who have this done and swear by it. My one gf, I would have never known that she had back issues at all. Good luck with your journey... But just make sure you do your research!
    Lumbar DDD
    TLIF 1/2/13
  • Anakalia1980AAnakalia1980 Posts: 20
    edited 01/08/2013 - 9:32 AM
    Hi Jamie. I too am a work comp back case. I herinated L5/S1 and L3/L4 and L4/L5 are bulging. After crawling through much red tape (I was injured on 9/6/2011 and did not have surgery until 9/19/12, after being told I needed a discectomy on 1/5/12) and way over the limit on conservative treatments (100 plus chiro and one failed ESI) I would have to say all a discectomy is good for is to relieve leg numbness and pain. I had a left dropped foot and numbness in my left leg. I too experienced everything from my leg falling asleep to nightly spasms and pain. All of which was aggravated by having an ESI. I too worked in a field that was body labor extensive. I had been taken out of work from being into too much pain even after being put on restrictions. If what you are looking for is relief for your leg then go with the discectomy. This surgery did not relieve my back pain though.
  • Thank You. I haven't replied back due to the loss of a child in our family. This has been a tragic week I hope to never relive. I have done alot of research and have had 2 opinions both giving the same and I expected it. I am waiting on my approval of surgery. Thank You all for your input. I do have a question i there anything pre-op I should know. They said they would giver me a packet on everything once surgery is approved but if it is approved they will be able to do it within a few days. I am one who likes things done ahead of time. Any input would help. Thanks.
  • My prayers go out to you and your family. Read the pre-op sticky forum. There is a lot of good info there that will help you get prepared and the items you will want to have prior to your surgery.
    Lumbar DDD
    TLIF 1/2/13
  • Hi, my name is Kathy. I have had the most unbearable low back pain and leg pain for 5 years, for a variety of different reasons I could not get anyone to listen to me, so I finally changed primary physicians and they were kind enough to order an MRI which came back herniated disc L5 bulging left, so they sent me to pain management and I went through 2 injection procedures that only made the pain worse, so I requested a referral to a surgeon. The day I went in the neurosurgeon had my MRI in front of him and after the usual exam, walking etc. He left the room and came back and told me that my MRI report was wrong, that he had conferred with his partner and what I actually had was a synovian cyst in the lumbar facet joint. I had surgery on November 1, my leg pain is pretty much gone, but the low back has become a sharp burning, stinging pain, I have pain now in both hip joints, restless leg on the left and both feet and toes tingle. The neurosurgeon said it was the way you look at the MRI picture which clears up the diagnosis of the cysts. I am praying physical therapy will help the back, but feel like I am in a very dark tunnel and don't know what is ahead. I welcome any thoughts or info.
  • HudsonJHHudsonJ Posts: 19
    edited 01/15/2013 - 2:49 PM
    kh1545, I know everyone is different but I will say the physical therapy made me alot worse. If I had it to do over with I wouldn't have went to PT. The Physical therapist kept telling me that I didn't need an MRI and that he could fix me after several weeks of therapy. After 6 weeks I was much worse. I went back to my Dr and he sent me for and MRI and in turn we found the herniated discs and bulging discs. After that my Dr stopped all physical therapy. I am still waiting on approval for micro. Found out today that my Dr office didn't send in the paper work so now it will be another week or so...
  • What your physical therapist was telling you reminds me of what my chiropractor kept telling me. I had over 100 sessions and he never fixed me. Be sure to keep on top of the doctor's office about your referral and once your referral has been submitted where your adjuster stands on things. If you do not push them then no one will. Remember that this is your back and your life so it is not important to them since it is not them. I love my surgeon to death and trust him, obviously with my back, but he has the worst staff ever!
Sign In or Register to comment.