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Herniated discs with sciatica- Extreme pain

r123rr123 Posts: 3

This is my first post on this forum but I've read some posts and found that this is a great place. I am female, 21 years old with sciatic pain/numbness in left foot (for a long time now back and forth) and recent severe right thigh and groin flare up. I've been in pain for almost 3 weeks now with nerve flare up for over 2 weeks now. I've had some lower back pain and on/off bending to the left for almost 3 years with with being in and out of physical therapy. My MRI yesterday showed a slight herniation at L3-L4 and a slight-to-moderate herniation at L4-L5, the big thing is an extreme herniation with a free fragment pressing on my nerve at L5-S1. I have an appointment with a spine specialist later this week but appointments are hard to find. I live in the east so I have had many falls due to black ice and snow, and I was hit by a car once and fell on my buttocks 8 months ago, but nothing strange happened afterwards.

I am in school in a rigorous program which requires much sitting down and studying. My program is very tight with no room to move classes around and no breaks longer than 3 weeks. So I'm not sure if I should take some time off. I haven't been attending for a few weeks.

I'm wondering if there's anyone else out there with a similar issue and ways to cope either at home or clinical advise.



  • Have you thought about looking into online classes? At least until you get the pain controlled. I've taken time off of school which was a good thing considering I wound up having a second spinal surgery. Sitting can put a lot of strain on your back, I can only sit for so long before it becomes increasingly irritated. It sounds like you're on the right path by seeing a spine specialist. There may be other conservative treatments that can be tried assuming it's nothing too severe. The last thing you want to do is lay around all day but at the same time you should pay attention to the activities that make it worse. Hopefully you leave your appointment with a good treatment plan in place.

    Good luck!
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • The symptoms you are having may be related to the disc fragment...however, Lcochran is correct, look into changing your program around so that you can do online courses for the time being, and maybe consider rearranging your schedule so that you can accomodate any treatment plans that the surgeon comes up with. A consult with a surgeon is no guarantee that you will require surgery but looking into your options with your course advisor would be a good idea.
  • r123rr123 Posts: 3
    edited 06/22/2014 - 9:44 AM
    Thank you Lcochran4 and sandi. I unfortunately can't do online classes because my program isn't offered in that way but I might end up taking some time off. I have heard that the free fragments sometimes get reabsorbed but I'm not sure if that's true or how long that will take or how long it will last and if it ever pops out again. I'm still not able to stand or sit for over a few seconds and as soon as I lay down from standing I get this stabbing pain that is unbearable!
  • I had a large free fragment that was impinging and displacing my S1 nerve. The pain was unbearable and pain pills and muscle relaxers were useless for me. I had 2 multi-level transforaminal epidurals. The first gave very minimal relief and the second gave about 30% relief. If I hadn't been at a pain level of a 10 this might have been a substantial amount of relief. The recovery time from the shot is quick though and you wouldn't have to miss more school, and perhaps it would give you time to see if it can heal or if perhaps PT can help. Physical Therapy is often quite helpful as welI. I did have to have surgery due to the severe impingement of the S1 nerve, but I'm grateful for the pain relief I did get while waiting for the surgery.
    L5-S1 with migration microdiscectomy on 6/16/14
  • I've been in pain for over 10 years. 1 month ago my rt leg started hurting then left. For 1 week and 3 trips to ER. Pain subsided now my 2 feet are numb and I cannot walk. What's going on. And of course I can see a specislist till the 9th of ajuly. Will I ever have feelings again. I'm a 52 active woman. Exercice 2 xs a day. I'm in tears.... any comments.
  • What did the ER tell you? If you can not walk, you need to be seen by a surgeon for evaluation and diagnosis and the sooner , the better. We can't begin to guess what might be causing the symptoms, however if you really can not walk or stand, then you obviously need to be seen by a doctor.

  • You may want to contact his office and explain that you can't walk, they should be able to get you in sooner, rather than later. If not, find another surgeons office.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    The disc fragmenting and/or pressing on the nerve root generally does not heal on its own and requires surgery.
    Whenever a nerve root is involved, most spine specialists opt for surgery sooner than later. When a nerve root is impinged and left untreated, more than likely the recover period for nerve pain will be much longer. There is also a chance of some permanent nerve damage.

    Not trying to scare you , but it will be important to discuss all of your options with your doctor. They will be ones that will outline the best course of action for you...

    That being said, and you are in school, lots of sitting. That could create a problem. I am sure it is very uncomfortable know and could only become more uncomfortable. When does your semester/schooling end for a break?

    When a nerve root is being impinged there really aren't that many things you can do to minimize some of the discomfort and pain. Ice can help, moving around, not staying in one place can help. It varies from people to people.

    Take care of your back and spine. School will be around for ever.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • School ends mid-August so only 1 month left of the semester. You are right, school will be there forever, but my school finances come into play and complicate things further. I'm still not able to walk//sit for more than a few minutes although the oral methylprednisolone course helped a bit and I noticed some improvement before starting it. I'm in PT but we don't do anything major, just bridges and icing/e-stem machine. I've been lying down on my back for the past month and a half now. No life whatsoever. My phone is what keeps me entertained and I do things for exams lying down as well. I'm seeing a surgeon next week but surgery isn't really ideal with some issues in my medical history.
  • kikikatekkikikate Posts: 1
    edited 07/14/2014 - 4:16 PM
    Hello everyone.i like to help you.I hed sciatica pain.i could not walk.nothing halped me.not massage.not chiropractor ,pain was geting worse.my friend toled me about acupressure Mat, and i lied on this mat for one hour,imidaitly feled beter.and i did next day ,in 2 days pain was goneeeeeeeeeeeee.its was miracle.i was in pain almost 2 year .i lied twice and now i am pain free.so please try its helps you.try couple times
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