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L5-S1 Herniation

theCyclistttheCyclist Posts: 6
I am a fortnight into this so my first posts will just give a little history and a run up to "Day Zero"

Fit and healthy 52 year old male. I did have a disc herniation 5 years ago which you can read about here LINK which I recovered from fully, and have had 3 or 4 good years before this disaster. The first herniation was L4-L5 affecting the left leg, this one is LS-L5 affecting right leg.

Since I was 35 I have had some occasional, relatively minor problems with pain in my right buttock, nothing to ever stop me doing anything, but it has been a a bit of a nuisance from time to time. When I had my other herniation 5 years ago a MRI showed that there was loss of disc height at L5-S1 with a bulging disc contacting but not compromising the right S1 nerve. Presumably this contact has been the cause of this minor irritation for many years.

I am not sure what has caused this latest herniation, however a couple of things come to mind. About 10 days before "Day Zero" I had been for a big walk in the hills, as I was walking off I was a little uncomfortable, no back pain , just felt stiff and awkward. My neck was also a little painful - the only other time in my life that I have had a painful neck was during my last herniation ordeal 5 years ago. And also, the day before this walk in the hills I had one of those silly sneezing fits, 15 minutes of none stop, completely out of control, sneezing. (it can happen to me at this time of year (grass pollen))

Now for the week leading up to Day Zero - about 4 days out, one evening I had trouble sitting down, butt pain only when sitting. The next day I had problems sitting down at work. In the evening I done about 30 miles on the bike (cycling), no pain and felt good. Got home and had to eat my dinner on the floor like a dog - too much butt pain when sitting. The next day was the same, could not drive the car for buttock pain, although I was able to be pain free on a five mile walk with the dog.

Tune in tomorrow for "Day Zero" :-)


  • I realised on getting out of bed that there was something incredibly wrong, could hardly get down stairs for the pain in the butt. I made an emergency appointment to see my GP, there was no way I could sit in the car, luckily we have an estate car (I believe they are called station wagons in the usa) and I was able to lie down in the back and the wife drove me to the surgery.

    At this point I wish I had requested a home visit - what was I to do in the waiting room, it was busy, I couldn't sit down and couldn't really stand, so I just lay on the floor (how embarrassing); stupid receptionist come and told me I was not allowed to lie on the floor (what is wrong with these dragons, someone unwell in a doctors surgery - whatever next). Thankfully before the air turned blue, a doctor arrived and said "I better see you now". So I manage to hobble into her office and flop down on the bed.

    A quick examination and a look through my notes and she said "no prises for guessing this one, looks like your bulging disk at the lumbar sacral junction has herniated and is now squashing the S1 nerve. She prescribed building up to 600mg of Gabapentin 3x a day plus 50mg Tramadol every 4 hours. and some Senna to help with the inevitable constipation from the Opioids. - there is no anti inflammatories for me as I reacted badly to them 5 years ago.

    So a very painful journey home, and the rest of the day was just hellish rolling around on the floor in pain.

    I will do the first week tomorrow, so be sure to tune in for another enthralling episode :-)
  • theCyclistttheCyclist Posts: 6
    edited 07/01/2013 - 6:53 PM
    If I thought the first day was bad, the second day was worse, in fact it continued to get worse every day until day 4. Pain levels were just truly astonishing. The butt pain was bad, but compared to the top of the calf it was a minor irritation, I thought there was someone in there with a blow torch! And on top of all that the sole of my foot had sort of went numbish (may be better described as just finished walking 20 miles with wet boots on in the winter) And my little toe was nearly completely numb.

    Can't stand up, can't sit down, can only roll around on the floor in agony and crawl backwards, yep, can't even crawl forwards - I guess unless you have had a slipped disk you'll probably think i'm exaggerating - I'm not, the level of pain is truly astonishing.

    I'm not getting on with my pills, every time I take the tramadol I feel sick, so I bin the lot and go to my trusted paracetomol, they are even more useless than the tramadol and gabapentin, and that takes some doing, but least they don't make me feel sick.

    So the rest of week one was total *****(edited - we are a family friendly website), no sleep just rolling around on the floor in agony, toilets fun, can't sit down, I will spare you the details, but involves a bowl and a very understanding wife.

    So that's one week done.

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  • Rainboots80Rainboots80 Posts: 7
    edited 06/30/2013 - 1:48 PM
    I am going through a similar experience. No butt pain but mine is left hip, lower outside/front of my leg and foot. Tomorrow marks 2 Months for me. You are right that no one knows what it feels like unless they have been there. I have given birth 4 times and that was no where near the torture of Sciatica.
  • I'm sorry to hear that you're experiencing such pain. I too have suffered a L5-S1 disc herniation. The first time round I didn't experience the burning in the calf and the foot numbness - just the terrible sciatic pain.

    This time round (have been dealing with it for 6 months) I've lost feeling in my left foot and my calf randomly 'catches fire'.

    I found that many of the pain killers that I was prescribed made me feel ill and that the ones that didn't make me sick did nothing for the pain - they just left me spaced out and unable to function. In the end I stopped taking them and just tried to push through the pain. I wouldn't advise it, but if you can't tolerate the pain killers, there's nothing worse than feeling ill and like you need to vomit when you back is that sore that you can hardly sit without pain.

    I found the best way to get comfortable was in the pool - I had my family drive me to the pool and let me float/walk in the pool for 20-30 minutes to take the pressure off.. It's not something you can do all day, but the half hour of pain relief was a great start.

    Hope you get some improvement quickly.
    July 2009 - L1, L3, L5 disc hernation
    Jan 2011 - L5/S1 Microdiscectomy
    Dec 2012 - return of neural symptoms
    June 2014 - fusion recommended - awaiting insurance approval
  • theCyclistttheCyclist Posts: 6
    edited 07/02/2013 - 5:01 PM
    You will notice that the moderators have edited the post (3 above). As I am very much against the use of bad language myself, I would, for the record, like it to be known that the word I used would not be considered as even mild profanity in the vast majority of the English speaking population. In fact a quick search of this site reveals the word has been used on at least 2190 occasions, and in many occasions has been used in the subject line.

    The four letter word in question, which I will not use again as it apparently offends,
    To my mind the word very eloquently describes what we go through with Sciatic pain.

    I note, my last effort to defend myself on this issue was removed, so I am in no doubt the moderators will also remove this post. What a great pity they do not allow free speech or the basic right of someone to defend themselves.

    Please keep in mind that thuis is a private forum site, offered as a free service by the private company. As such, freedom of speech is something that is carefully monitored. We allow people to defend themselves, and we have always asked that to be done via private messages. But since you are a new user, I can overlook this for now. Please also remember that this is an International site with no age restriction. What one word may sound ok here could be an insult to another person. - Ron DiLauro
  • KeytanKeytan Posts: 41
    edited 07/02/2013 - 4:54 PM
    wow, my last comment was completely deleted.. cant say im surprised. guess this is not the place for me.. I highly value free speech. especially when I used no foul language AT ALL
    what a shame.. farewell all

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