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Active 20 Year Old - Chronic L5/S1 Herniation - Contemplating Surgery

sloanssloan Posts: 2
edited 04/29/2014 - 4:35 PM in Lower Back Pain
Hey guys,

To start off, I was 16 years old when I first initially strained my back. I was on a friends trampoline and did a back flip. Well, being the idiot I was, I did it with my shoes on, while it was raining, and landed it; as soon as I landed it, I immediately slipped forward and had my upper body brace my fall while the force of the trampoline coming back up bent me in half and I immediately just layed on my back in agonizing pain and after about five minutes I got up to gauge my motor functions. Walking was fine and running felt odd. To add on, I played football and wrestled and weight trained extensively prior to this so I am a very engaged person when it comes to body composition and mobility. I still did after and was not able to continue wrestling due to the fact my back was so tight I couldn't even get in a stance; and football was a struggle where the chronic pain only affected me in the summers and I was always able to kind of get by in football without throwing my body on the line.

Since then, I have been to three physical therapists and resorted to pain meds and just last year, Christmas of 2013, I did the epidural injection into my L5/S1 herniated disc. Even being numbed, I felt the most intense searing pain slide down my leg to my last two toes on my left foot. I was in excruciating pain and the woman who injected the needle saw this and rather than inject into the disc, she placed it on the L4/L5 area so the cortico-steroid could drip down into the affected area.

Currently, I am a college student whom is always stressed and, honestly, so depressed that I feel so sorry for myself and convince myself it will never get better. I am five years into my chronic on and off pain and still stay active physically. I went the route of not doing much exercise and ended up feeling worse mentally, physically, and even emotionally; I have been working out almost everyday doing lower back exercises and semi body building training solely for the fact that it is one of my passions as it is a place for me to reflect and find peace in my life. I feel like this peace has been taken from me as I am always having to worry about if I slip up at any moment my disc will protrude even further into my nerve column.

The pain I feel at this moment is on and off, currently on. My everyday movements are hindered by tightness in my lower back, hips, and legs. I also cannot feel a certain nerve down my leg that leads to my last two toes on my left foot, as stated earlier. I am tired of waking up in the morning and making it such a process of slow and developing pain while it takes me at least two hours into my day of moving to get to class and remain sedentary only to stand up at the end of a lab and sort of hit a restart button on my back, my mood and my mental health.

My question is: What can I expect from a microdiscectomy?

My core and lower back muscles are strong and flexible, I just cannot extend my back because I feel the vertebrae flare up in pain if I go back even just 15*.

I have such a wave of anxiety flow through me when I think of being worked on in my lower back region due to the botched epidural injection that, to this day, haunts me from how much pain I was in. I would love opinions because I am at wits end going through this cycle of pain and depression that I can tell is straining my relationship with my friends and family, I am a very happy person but sometimes this pain summons such a form of depression that just consumes me. So any advice at all, personal anecdotes or advice or support into a decision will help me so much with this. Knowing people who are suffering from the same condition that haunts me gives me some comfort because being twenty years old I only know a handful of people who suffer from this.



  • hi there , im sorry for your pain,and your struggling,
    you never mentioned if u had an MRI, or have visited a neurosurgeon.
    have you tried aqua therapy? are you on meds or painkillers now?
    how chronic is your pain lately, when is your pain more,lying down, walking,sitting.how often your pain is hitting.
    i think i m having the same case of urs, but well.you have to know the exact cure you need for your exact case,if you can provide more infos about your pain.that would be more useful for anyone to help.
    as for me, i am avoiding the surgery,and im doing great so far.cos i was diagnosed the right way.and going through specific guidelines.which is the most important thing to go through, because if you ever do wrong movements or wrong exercises and hurt ur back, the clock of being healed restarts to zero.this could be restarting for years.
    i hope i would be more helpful, if you provide more details or more clear questions to be answered.
    i have an L5S1 herniated disc.same symptoms as yours.left leg.with pinched nerve.S1.moves to my two small toes.
  • Yes, I had an MRI which reveled a herniation in L5/S1 and a slight herniation in L4/L5. My pain is stagnate throughout the day, the hardest part is going from sitting to standing. Only using the OTC drugs when necessary. Tried aqua therapy jt just never really got down to the root of the issue which was the structure of the spine itself.
  • hello again, i can feel what you have.and i am not even totally out of it.
    but what helped me for your situation, was aqua stretching and backstrokes swimming. these two. were really the best ever, and i started feeling way better just after 5 to 6 sessions.i'm now living for 2 weeks without any painkiller, not even paracetamol.and i feel im improving.
    again, to be clear, if you can. take few days off work. lay down on ur back. if u got any pool access.do it for 1 hour daily,and then spend ur whole day on ur back.trust me.it's worth the shot.give it a try for few days.cos sitting is the worst u do ever to ur back and ur herniation, and if you want to know exactly about the exercises, i can send u some videos.
    Never lose hope!
  • rparkrrpark Posts: 2
    edited 05/05/2014 - 1:34 PM
    Haha, I'm 20 and got a herniated disc when I was 17. I'm wondering has anyone noticed that your spine Is tilted sideways towards the lower part? I feel like I need to find a way to get better before it's too late since it's already been 3 years. I did take a MRI more than a year ago and have done physical therapy as the doctor said it would help, but I didn't get a good outcome. What's the best way of healing a herniated disc? Also, in my case it is strange because I never got into an accident to end up like this, I was simply taking out a plug from the wall and I was unable to move for a while.
  • Surgery is always a last resort and here are a few reasons why. The next few treatment options you need to look into if these are new to you:

    - Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)
    - Lumbar Traction
    - lower back roll when sitting
    - Back extension exercises
    - Stretching all the tight muscles in the back of your leg, buttocks, and lower back.
    - Straight leg raises - also called the nerve glide
    - Never do crunches or dead lifts
    - avoid any stretches or exercises that cause you to round your lower back

    Your condition sounds very severe, as was mine. I considered surgery and now I am glad I was encouraged to avoid it despite 6 months of or relentless pain.

    The main Idea is to target tight muscles in your lower back with intramuscular stimulation. This treatment uses an acupuncture needle to release knots in guarding muscles. It is not acupuncture. You need to find a physiotherapist or other doctor trained in IMS.

    The next most important treatment that turned my situation around for the better was lumbar traction. Here you are strapped into a device that pulls your hips away from your torso. This takes pressure off of your compressed disc and gives it a chance to "breath"

    For the best relief while sitting. Use a rolled up towel behind your lower back to encourage your lumbar curve while sitting and take pressure off of your lower spine.

    I hope this gives you a breath of fresh air to know there are a few more options out there. Give yourself a lot of time to heal and if anything you do seems to make the pain down your leg worse, stop doing it! it will irritate your injured nerve more. With that said keep on exercising, only doing light walking, or gentle swimming. This encourages circulation and reduces inflammation.
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