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L5 S1 sciatica pain

Hi Guys,

I am new to the Forum was wanted others advice.

I am 32 years old. Active person - weight lifting 4 times a week and football twice a week before I injured my back.

I was lifting weights at gym in last week of Jan this year and had serious back in my back. Dropped weights and struggled to move. Was in agony. After sleeping that night I woke up in agony. Pain in lower back and all the way down my right leg from buttock to calf.
I spoke to doctor who prescribed meds: Diazepam, Co-codamol & Naproxne.
Took these for a month and pain level was still high. I say a Physio as advised by doctor - they tried acupuncture and told me to do some stretches. They also told me to keep training at gym and if in pain stop! I did go once and after few minutes pain was back so never returned. After 6 weeks in to this pain level had gone down but still hurting (about 6 out of 10).

I went back to doc end of March - told to see consultant - he did MRI - confirmed bulging disc (L5-S1) that causing pain - recommend cortisone shot - which I took the following week. After that I was back in pain and told to take the same meds as before. I am off diazepam but taking Naproxne and Co-codamol to this did. I saw constant last week and he said the flexion in my right leg was better as I could get it to 90 degree, only get it to 45 when I saw him first time. It's been 3 week since the injection and pain was awful this weekend and today. Consultant has told me to come back in 3 weeks to check on my progress. He doesn't recommend surgery as bulge is not significant enough and another shot at this stage. He said keep at meds and stretching.

I know I'm not alone here but would like to hear your opinions or if you experience the same. I badly want to play sports again and even picking up my daughter causes pain at the end of the day. It's been almost 3 months and am still suffering. Is there something I've missed I should be doing or not doing? Will I ever play football again or get back to lifting weights?

It's really getting me down at this stage.


  • Hi, well first off I'm sorry to hear about your injury! I did my back in a year ago lifting weights. I got back to exercise after 3 months and tweaked it again doing crossfit. I recovered quick and kept active. This year I messed it up again doing box jumps and now I'm opting for surgery to speed up my recovery. The thing with disc injuries is that they take time to heal. Things you should be doing are posture work and lots if walking. I also found cycling good as the flexion takes pressure off my nerves. You have to be patient. Try some different meds also I worked my way onto pregabalin which is a really effective nerve pain medication (hellish withdrawals but worth the relief). Another good idea is to build your upper body and legs if you can to keep muscle tone but only if it can be done pain free. Good luck, take your time and keep moving.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • baby_got_backbbaby_got_back Posts: 5
    edited 04/15/2014 - 9:59 AM
    Thanks for the reply.
    I've been lifting for 10 years and muscle is shredding fast - always had a fast metabolism so diet is down from 6 meals to 3. I'm afraid that the pain will be there working out esp being on my feet lifting and putting pressure on my back so I've got my head around the fact I can't train for a while. Also training legs is a no no as suggested by the physio. I'm starting swimming this week and hope that helps. Not being able to play soccer is something I'm not ready for as I've been playing since I was 5. I hope back heals over the next few weeks/months and start building strength again and hopefully play soccer in the autumn.
  • in my opinion .if you have nerve damage ..and it sound like you have ,,,I think surgery will be the way to go so the nerve can be freed up .if you need surgery don't be talked into massive operations like fusions ..a micro discectomy sounds like it will sort you out .BUT THATS ONLY MY OPINION AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS RED ..YOU MUST TAKE THE ADVICE OF THE PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL PEOPLE .have you tried a TENS ?? that may help ..I got good relief with pain killers and a TENS helped back the pain killers up but for me ..the TENS no longer has any effect .
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
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