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Greetings from my Herniated Disk at L5-S1

Hi all, I've been reading many articles and forum posts on this site over the past two weeks due to the titular condition I have. Seeing such a supportive community, and dealing with depression thanks to the sciatic pain over the last two months, I have decided to throw myself to your mercies for some counsel.

The history is brief, as no particular event seems to have set things in motion. I am currently just shy of 25, at 5'8 and 200lbs, a good 50lbs more than I know I ought to be. It has been a gradual weight gain over about five years now, and though my MRI reads arthritis, I have no family or personal history of it (though I also was recently diagnosed with inverse psoriasis). About two months ago, when the pain started, I did what I could for what I thought was merely a back spasm - I was seized up on the left side, and the pain was incredible. Some muscle relaxants, a heating pad, I thought I had it figured. About three weeks in to my "minor" issue, I woke up completely seized, unable to even flip onto my side and went to ER for it. XRays were clean, ultrasound fine, so they sent me home with some mondo pain killers. Eventually I got an MRI after a lot of fussing with doctors:

L5-S1 shows central and left paracentral disc protrusion compressing the left-sided exiting nerve root. Spinal canal is not stenosed. Both sided neural foramen are not significantly stenosed.

I can barely parse that this is at least not grave news, but I haven't been able to get an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor until basically the three month anniversary of my back trouble. To make matters worse, the day after this appointment, I'm supposed to be flying out of the country for an archaeology project for a whole month. The anxiety of the pain, and the debilitating nature of sciatica have really left me devastated, as having previously been in rather good health, I had never once thought that the Freshman Fifteen (times two or three...) could wreak such havoc on a person my age.

I am hoping to find some good support here, not to self-diagnose or freak out any more than I naturally do, and would like to provide the same for any others in my situation or the same, as I don't think I've ever had a more dire need of a good group of kind people who know that this kind of pain isn't imaginary.


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  • I'm so sorry this is going on for you. Don't beat yourself up about the weight issue. Lots of thin people have the same problems and lots of heavy people don't have any back issues. In fact, my family is all over weight and I'm the only one with back issues... no one even has mild back issues... and I'm just slightly smaller than you.

    And I'm hoping your spine specialist can provide some kind of pain management the same day so you can enjoy your Archeological Dig. It sounds wonderful! Where will it be? What are yall expecting to find? Have you spoke directly with the specialist's office about your appointment. Sometimes you find a sympathetic ear if you are very cordial and explain what is going on. Don't call at the end of the business day, and don't call very first thing in the morning as those are busy times. But do call and explain you are leaving the next day and ask if you can be put on a "cancellation list? and if they don't have one, politely ask how often they'd suggest you call to see if there had been cancellations. Maybe you can get in sooner.

    Hang in there. You aren't alone. You've come to a good place. Welcome.
    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.
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