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Herniated Disc L4/L5 - Need advise HELP!

Hello All!

So I am new to this site. I am looking for some advise and help! I am 34 years old. I was diagnosed with a herniated disc (L4/L5) back in November. The pain started bothering me in September 2012. I did have about 2 months where I felt great, but it came back a couple of months ago. I have been to PT to the point where I have exhausted all my allowed visits for the year. I don't think any of these helped at all. I am now trying a Chiropractor. I actually go for my second visit tonight. I also have had nerve block injection 2 weeks ago and going again tomorrow for a second.

I am in agony. I am taking so many meds. I am on Neurontin that we just started, along with a Prednisone pack. I am also taking pain meds. Some nights I need Valium to sleep. The pain is my right buttock and goes all the way down my right leg. I can barely walk, I can not stand for any long period of time. I feel like I am losing my life. I used to be active. I can't even go shopping anymore due to the walking. Getting dressed in the morning is a killer!!!

My Ortho doctor has been conservative thus far, but made mention of surgery. A Micodiscectomy. I am at point where I feel like this is the only thing that is going to help me. I am so depressed that I want to schedule it now. Please anyone who knows where I am coming from let me know your thoughts!


  • catfishmanccatfishman Posts: 185
    edited 06/03/2013 - 12:03 PM
    danny i have been the same way for over 2 years, i take gabapentin 4 300mg a day, 1 celebrex a day, and nucynta er 150mg every 12 hours. i sleep fine, my pain is the worst when i get up in the morning, once i have been moving around, i am alot better. i do not know what to to you, i do stretches every morning also. they recomended the microdiscectomy for me also, but i lift heavy objects at work, so i feel it would be a waste. and i feel that i am not ready for surgery, only you will know when you are ready, wish you luck.
  • flowerpotsfflowerpots Posts: 379
    edited 06/03/2013 - 12:20 PM
    I like you had same pain that didn't get better with shots,PT,Chyro,nothing worked.I ended up having ALIF L4L5S1 surgery in march.I m still in recovery but getting better everyday.It has to be your dosition good luck.Your at the right place ,we support each other.kathy
    Kathy B
  • Hi Danny! I'm sorry you are going through all of this. First, don't give up on the neurotin. It took months (yes, I know that's kind of depressing to think about) before I saw the true affects it can give. It can really help you if you continue to work with your prescribing doctor in terms of dosages/time. Steroids also take awhile to "activate" (but more in terms of days, not months). Plus steroids will continue to "act" even after you have taken the last one... so hopefully you will get some relief soon. I personally found Valium to not work with me alone, and when mixed with pain killers made me way over the top loopy. I found that flexiril worked better (more true pain relief instead of just loopy to the point I don't care about the pain), but that is just me. Perhaps you could ask to swap or try something different at your next appointment. Like everyone on here, I don't like taking prescription medicine unless absolutely necessary. I have found that a combination of Tylenol PM and melatonin help me GREATLY on the nights I'm in mild-moderate pain or just so uncomfortable I cant sleep. Although both are available over the counter I can't suggest enough that you call your PCP to make certain that the Tylenol PM and melatonin are safe with your medical history/current medication.

    I'd like to caution you about the chiropractor. Most people on here, as well as my personal physicians and the physicians in my family feel like chiropractors are great for managing certain types of pain but should NEVER be used once a disc problem has been diagnosed. Did your Ortho specialist suggest the chiropractor? If so, then I suggest you follow the treatment plan. If you decided on your own to try the chiropractor, PLEASE at least make contact with the surgical nurse to be sure it is safe for you with a herniated disc.

    Last, I can't suggest enough the constant stretching of all the muscles in your legs... like multiple times a day.

    Best of luck to you.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • Thank you all for your replies! I really like getting this feedback.

    Flowerpots - Did the pain in the leg go away after surgery. I am so scared to do it and not have it work. I have read horror stories on here, but also read great success stories.

    AllMetal - The Chiro that I am going to so, i decided to do on my own. It is a spine rehab center, so far I am not feeling any reflief. Thank you for the suggestions about the meds. I might look to the Tylenol PM. The valium does help me to sleep but I fear that I am becoming addicted to it. I just don't know what to do anymore, but I can't keep living with this pain all the time!
  • Hi Danny,
    I know EXACTLY how you feel - going through the same exact thing for a second time.
    2011 I was in a car accident, I had a herniated disc in my neck and back.
    They operated on the neck first - cervical fusion/disc removal and 11 months later they did a microdiscectomy on my L4 L5, the pain was gone immediately and I was back to work in 5 weeks. I felt like a new person, I was mobile - able to move around without pain.
    The only problem for me is that I have to lift heavy items at work sometimes and I lifted a 100lbs patient simulator from a wheel chair to a patient bed and my L4 L5 ruptured again in April. Now I am on workmans comp and lost my position at work because they deemed me unable to lift 125lbs... I did all the PT, steriods etc but no relief. I now have a choice of a discectomy (revision) or a fusion (scares me but will assure me that it will never rupture again), so I know how your feel.
    The narcotics - take what you need to get through each day, be careful to not take Tylenol if you are taking Vicodin or Vicodin ES, it will shut down your liver functions (can be fatal).
    Just be careful when recovering - even if the doctor tells you that you are 100%, beware of lifting heavy items for at least a year, believe me - you don't want it to rupture again. Do all your PT and try to strengthen your core.
    Please let us know how you are doing.
    Cathy G.
  • In the beginning the nerve pain was awful but now I have it less and less.Im 11 wks out and feeling pretty good.I still have rehab to go to 3 mths out.The dr says 98% success if I do what he says. Good luck kathy
    Kathy B
  • You all have no idea how good it is to hear that I'm not alone in this. I just got home from my second injection. I am not feeling any relief yet. Actually I'm kind of sore, more so than when I went in. Does anyone know of this is normal or if this injection is even going to work? I'm getting so frustrated!

    Cathy G were you out 5 weeks due to your type of job? I work in an office so I'm hoping to only be out a week or 2.
  • Hi Danny,
    If you have an office job, I bet you will get back to work sooner, my position has to lift 100lb robotic patient simulators - so I was on light duty on my return for a month. Please - beware of the Vidocin - Tylenol mix, I have learned from the nursing educators that it is deadly and causes immediate liver failure (we ran a simulation on the entire scenario).
    You will feel so much better after your surgery, just keep in mind that the nerves have been compressed for a while and might take a little while until you are back to yourself. Keep your chin up!
    Cathy G.
  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 06/05/2013 - 2:33 PM
    I was always sore after injections.... and that lasted a few days.... and then it was usually another week before I stopped for a second and thought, man.... I am in less pain.... (not pain free, but less)... The first injection did nothing... The second injection did ok, My third injection gave me the MOST relief... so hang in there.... I've read multiple stories on here where it took the 3rd injection to really work, which I assume is the reason doctors due them in a "series". Try ice on the injection site, that helped me... heat made it worse.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • So I saw my Dr on Friday. He still doesn't feel that surgery will be beneficial for me. He has changed my meds and I am now on Lyrical, Mobid (i think) for the inflammation and a new muscle relaxer called Soma. We are also going to try an epidural injection this time. God I hope it works. Has anyone had an Epidural injection and can share thier experiences?
  • catfishmanccatfishman Posts: 185
    edited 06/16/2013 - 9:13 AM
    i have had 4 they are not that bad at all, well not for me.the reliefdid not last long though. i went to work right afterwards, probably not the best idea.
  • Hey Danny,
    I know everybody has different results and has to make the tough decisions and I did also. I decided that the pain was way too intense plus I completely lost all feeling in my right foot and the loss was slowly moving up my leg. I had L4-L5 discectomy surgery new years eve 2008, I was 47 yr old and would do it again if needed, the pain was completely gone, feeling in my foot returned within a week and within a year I was able to run again, not as smoothly, meaning I'll not break any track records just because some of the nerve was damaged. It was a saving grace to me. I know it's tough decision Danny, just do what your gut says and good luck!!
  • Danny1978 said:
    So I saw my Dr on Friday. He still doesn't feel that surgery will be beneficial for me. He has changed my meds and I am now on Lyrical, Mobid (i think) for the inflammation and a new muscle relaxer called Soma. We are also going to try an epidural injection this time. God I hope it works. Has anyone had an Epidural injection and can share thier experiences?
    epidural injections do not hurt at all, i was so scared the first time i got there that the doctor prescribed me valium to calm my nerves but he numbed the injection site, waited a few seconds and hes like can you feel that and i was like no why he said because the needle is in your back, so needless to say i didnt feel anything i didnt even know the needle was in my backm he then put contrast in back to see on the xray where he needed to put the medication. the cortisone when he first put it in stung a little but that was it and i felt pressure. Tinjection site was very sore for a few days but just felt like a bad bruise. i had some reaction to it which they said was normal i had bad headaches the night of and felt nausious but it was gone the next day. I had two of those shots and they worked for a couple weeks and thats it now it seems like the pain is worse.
  • I have had the same lower back problem and recently a spinal fusion at L5 - S1. that is a more serious operation. If you can give it up to a year the disk can shrink and the pain may go away. If you get numbness in you leg you may need the operation. For night pain try Flexerill or Methocarbamol (2 x 500mg) instead of Valium or if the Soma doesn't work. Taken with a pain med like Tramadol and Tylenol it can help a lot. Much of the pain is caused by muscle spasms. I also take one Neurontin at night but found that taking more caused me to feel spaced out all day. Vicodin is normally mixed with acetaminophen which is not deadly but just don't take extra Tylenol with it and no alcohol.
  • Tammy123TTammy123 Posts: 1
    edited 12/17/2013 - 7:50 AM
    Hi Danny,

    I have been through exactly what you are experiencing. Over the last 3 years, I have had 2 discectomys and a spinal fusion on the L5/S1. Two of the surgeries happened this year with the fusion being done on 10/28. I have had the injections and the epidural. None of it worked. You need surgery to fix this problem so go get a second opinion if your doctor is not offering this as a solution. I agree with the member who said be cautious with the chiropractor. I would not see a chiropractor AT ALL as they could actually make your situation worse (especially if they are unfamiliar with a herniated disc). Make sure you find out how many MM the disc is out. Also, find out if a microdiscectomy is actually going to fix this problem or if they need to go ahead and give you a fusion. I have been battling this for 3 years and wasted a lot of time and heart ache by not having the fusion right away. However, everyone is different but it doesn't hurt to ask the question. Be extremely proactive about your health and do not let "conservative" measures stand in the way of you getting better. Otherwise, you will be in my situation. Good luck.
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