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l3/l4 herniation pain.. help please

bucwoodbbucwood Posts: 13
edited 09/07/2013 - 6:54 AM in Lower Back Pain

First post on this forum. Tons of valuable information here, thanks!

Two years ago I had a micro-disc surgery on L4/l5 and have been in good shape ever since. About a month ago I flipped a canoe and got my foot stuck under the seat. I was pulled through a rapid attached to the boat and was beat up pretty bad. The next day I started feeling the numbness, leg pain, and lower back pain associated with disc trouble. The leg pain seems to come and go, but the pain in the back area (not muscular) is intense. I had an MRI and it showed a large bulge at L3/l4 and another smaller one at l5/s1. Surprisingly, my old surgical area wasn't affected.

My question is about the back and hip pain. During my last back event, I rarely had back pain. It was focused in the leg... sciatic pain. Now I have the occasional sciatic pain, but tons of pain in my back. I can barely move and often can barely walk. I have extreme pain in my lumbar area and in my upper hips. It's awful. My back surgeon is so quick with me, I feel like he was hyperfocused on my leg pain and previous surgical site and wasn't listening to my complaints of back pain.

I'm on the typical pain meds (Norco, Mobic, predisone), and have an ESI scheduled for next week. Has anyone else experienced the back specific pain with herniated/bulging disc, or is there something else possibly going on? All I know is that I'm miserable and need to find some relief. I have a physically challenging job and 2 young children that don't want to see daddy laying on the couch. Hopefully the ESIs will help, another surgery sounds awful. I don't know if a discectomy is the key since it isn't bad leg pain anyway.


  • A bulge and a herniation are not the same thing. A bulge can be positional, meaning that depending on how you are laying during the MRI or standing for that matter can give the appearance of the disc looking like it is outside it's normal margins. If it is in contact with a nerve root, or in the event of a herniation, and coming in contact with either the nerve root or the thecal sac, then that is where the nerve pain is coming from.
    Is it possible to have low back pain with little to no neuropathic pain or intermittent neuro pain? Yes, it is a possible. I don't know how long ago the accident with the canoe was, but it is also possible that you bruised the hip and low back badly- bone bruises take some time to heal, according the ortho that I saw when I thought that I had broken my hand- turned out that there was a nasty bone bruise and it took a couple of months to resolve.
  • My accident was over a month ago. I feel like my pain is getting worse. The MRI showed pinching of the nerve by l3/l4 disc. It was very central and no bias to the left or right. The last time I did this it was extruded and looked like a marble in my nerve canal. This recent MRI was more subtle, but even obvious to my eyes. Almost all of my pain is in the back and the upper left hip, but it has slowly started in the right hip too. I took a nice walk today and had sciatic pain in my thigh. Now I can barely move. Although the MRI doesn't look as bad, I swear I think I'm in worse pain this time. I hope the injections work........

  • could be bursitis, and especially if you are laying or walking differently than you normally did. And the pain may be worse, in fact if it is bruised, it can take a while to heal..........
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