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L5/S1 Herniated Disc

salemdsssalemds Posts: 2
Hello All,

In December, I started having lower back pain and ignored it until mid January when it started hurting a lot. I saw an osteopath (which didn't help much) and said I might have a disc injury. So I went to a Sports Med clinic and they told me to do physiotherapy and get an MRI. At this point, I only had sharp pains in my back and buttocks (sometimes thigh). I started physio and pretty much told me to fix my posture and gave me several MacKenzie exercises. I did physio for 2 months and nothing changed so I finally did the MRI. I was actually getting better by that point when I did not have to take any painkillers. I've been taking Robaxacet platinum (ibuprofen + methocarbamol) daily. I got the MRI result and had an L5/S1 herniated disc. I kept doing physio and about 4 weeks ago pain started shooting to my calf and ankle. Mornings were the absolute worst. Been taking robax twice a day, it helps a bit but keeps coming back. At this point, I stopped the stretches the physio gave me and saw a surgeon who pretty much said my case is not severe since I dont have nerve damage or numbness or pins/needles. just sharp pains. He said I dont absolutely need surgey but I can do it if I want and that I will eventually get better in 1-2 years! I've tried a chiropractor and nothing so far. What else can I do? Decompression therapy? Steroid injections (heard it was ineffective)? I just want to get back to normal. I'm a ball hockey player (3x a week) and go to gym (2x week). I stopped doing it in december. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much.


  • 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
  • scionxsscionx Posts: 27
    edited 05/09/2014 - 4:26 AM
    At first I only had the pain down the leg, calf and buttock and it eased over about 5 weeks and I thought I was out of the woods. Then the numbness and tingling set in. My foot will go completely numb, sometimes it burns and tingles so bad I want to scream out. This is almost worse than the pain. Doctors do not seem to want to operate on the idea of pain alone. The numbness and tingling is what changed their treatment approach with me. I have three lumbar disc herniations.
  • salemdsssalemds Posts: 2
    edited 05/09/2014 - 7:02 AM
    I'm sorry to hear that man, sounds brutal. I hope surgery solves everything. I don't have numbness or tingling yet but I'm scared things will get worse. I don't know what else to do.
  • So sorry to hear about your pain. I totally understand you wanting to get back to your sports and exercise asap. Just wanted to make sure you know there are other innovative treatments out there that are new and very effective, so don't feel like surgery is your only option!
  • I am curious to know if you found a solution, and if so, what worked? Thanks, I really hope you did.
  • chadsteincchadstein Posts: 3
    edited 08/12/2014 - 7:33 AM
    10 years ago I was diagnosed with a "massively" herniated disk in the L5/S1 space. The "biggest" my doctor had ever seen. Had tingling and sciatica on my left side down to my toes. I would highly recommend getting a corticosteroid injection. It gave me immediate relief. It's relatively safe. Next follow up with physical therapy and ultrasound treatment. That should get you on your feet again. Then gradually start your exercises focusing on building up your trunk muscles. ALWAYS ice down your lower back after exercising. Spend at least 20 minutes or more a day stretching, especially those that target the piriformis and surrounding ligaments. Doing this gave me lasting effects. Until now. Having a bit of a relapse. But I'm out of shape. Too heavy to be running long distance which is how I injured it in the first place. Post edited for medical advice/treatment

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    5.06 You agree not to post information that is considered to be formal medical advice.

  • Spiny_MaloneSSpiny_Malone Posts: 225
    edited 08/19/2014 - 3:10 AM
    Since the disc is now removed for me... If I could talk to my younger self I would say listen to your spine and treat it very well. I would have also kept up yoga. Stretching properly with a flat back and support. Don't rush into anything and be mindful of your back and keep asking the docs along the way. All the best to everyone reading this... Keep breathing through it!
  • Hi!

    Similar situation, sciatic pain driving me mad with a very very weak left leg ( was not driving, stairs were a nightmare, normal life affected in so many little wats!).

    Two months pt with no improvement lead to referral to neurosurgeon who did mri that showed herniated spinal disk which was pinching the sciatic nerve.

    Weighed up my options and went with surgery now to heal up sooner so I can get to the re-learning how to live my life with degenerative disks and avoid this in future ( vs waiting for possible heal itself for months and months, then start getting back to "normal"). Personal decision at the end of the day.

    Surgery was a breeze, in hospital was very relaxed and the sciatic pain just disappeared. Instantly!

    At home for four weeks lying flat on my back, no walking during this period, no sitting upright, no exercises or stretching (this neurosurgeon recovery guidelines due to high risk of re-herniation).

    I have phantom sciatic pains which are short and dull, less than the real pain. And nerve is a little twitchy now and again (after two months of being pinched). And left leg is still weak from not using it. That's all after two weeks. No longer had "I'm going to cut off my leg" pain, all gone (please!).

    At the end of the day, it's your pain and your life that is affected by it. So make the best choice for YOU.

    Good luck!

    Ps. Spiny Malone - agree! Wish i had stuck to all my pilates promises :)
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