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Before surgery/ l4-l5 hernitation

Hey guys,
im 3 days before a discectomy surgery on my l4/l5 disc
Im 23 year old male bodybuilder for almost 4 years.
About 6 months ago while deadlifting i hurt my back, had to rest for couple days because i could barely walk.
After about a month most of the pain gone but i had pain while trying to put straight my leg.
Firstly it didn't bother me because during the day i had very little pain and i was still going to gym every day for the next 5 months. After this period about 2-3 months ago the pain started to grow so i had to use medicins(ibuprofen) almost every day. After 1 pill i had no pain for entire day.
I've dont RMI and it show hernitation 1cm on l5/l6( yes i have 6 disc on spine)
I started PT and had nice result,was training my core every day. after 1,5 mont the hernitation is down to 9mm but i still have sciatica pain when rising leg. Doctor told me that the only way to complete avoid pain is surgery.
I'm gonna have surgery in couple days so im asking if there are some people with similar simptoms to me?
I dont fell pain after walking(only sometimes when i overdo with traing) i can sit without pain for 2 hours and i feel no pain while lying on bed.
So it's wierd because the hernitation is big. I hope thanks to very low pain now i will be able to quick recover after and go back to bodybulding. My surgeon said i will be fully healed within 2-3 months thanks to very light symptoms now
What do you think?


  • I am in a similar situation. I am 27 and last october I herniated 4 discs squatting (very little weight for me 150lbs) The disc causing the pain is my L5/S1 which is a 1.8cm that impinges the nerve and tendon(they have actually separated from the spine) I was in the UK and the NHS wouldnt do anything but I have returned home to the states recently and got an MRI and saw a surgeon. I will try PT for 4-6 weeks and see how it goes but every doctor I talk to seems to think surgery is the best option. The pain for me got better a few months after the initial injury and was able to return to working out. In the past few weeks it has come back and cant even walk more than 30 minutes without pain. I will probably take the surgery route but need to decide if I want to wait til after the semester or not.

    From what I understand is that it depends on how or how much the nerve is impinged. Most doctors have said they dont know why one person is having pain and the other not or even why one day I may have pain then the next not but still doing the same thing.

    If the pain isnt severe enough and you saw shrinkage of the rupture maybe continue with PT a bit longer before doing surgery since surgery has so many risks and isnt a guaranteed fix. If you do go through with it, let me know what it was like that is something I am worried about is I have not had a serious surgery like this before and a bit nervous myself.
  • i'm going to have surgery because PT won't fix the problem. It can help you by strenghtening your core muscles so they will keep spine and you will fell less pain.
    Currently i started vacations before my last year in university so i will have almost 3 months to get back to normal sport activity after it :)
    I will be posting here informations after surgery too :)
    You know people writing here ale like 1% off total who had surgeries and that is why there are also some bad experiences after.
    Today i fell quite okey
    I'm now 2 days before operation, just woke up and preparing for job. Was at the disco yesterday and felt no pain(was dancing for around 3 hours)
    Today feel little pain but it's normal in the morning :)
    Hope after surgery all the pain will be gone :))
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    It is true that there are many members who have had successful surgery and moved on and others post here and a lot are still in pain.
    All spine surgery comes with a risk and no guarantees, but these risks should be looked at before undergoing surgery. You will be given restrictions which you will need to abide by to give surgery a chance.



    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • mavik0mmavik0 Posts: 29
    edited 07/14/2014 - 7:33 AM
    tomorrow going to hospital for surgery! wish me luck!
  • sxepridessxepride Posts: 12
    edited 07/14/2014 - 1:23 PM
  • you'll do fine. i just had mine done a week ago. I just wrote a write up on here for my symptoms and surgery under the back surgery forum section.
  • I'm late. Still, I wish you goodluck and that everything goes well.
    mavik0 said:
    i'm going to have surgery because PT won't fix the problem.
    I believe this ^ is a great understanding of the root problem. People kept telling me "PT! PT! PT!" and I did some, but to me, it was like doing PT on a broken arm. The theory is the same: If I strengthen the muscles around the broken bone, they will help support it and heal it.

    I know people will get mad at me for saying that^ but I contend that the herniated disc is like the broken arm bone in the example. You just can't fix a herniated disc with PT.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • mavik0mmavik0 Posts: 29
    edited 07/15/2014 - 5:18 AM
    due to some problems in hospital my surgery is scheduled to next week...
    im so EDIT off

    Post edited to remove inappropriate language...Liz spine-health moderator.. Please read the Forum rules
  • Hope the second time around there wont be any issues and it will be 100% successful. I am trying to see if I will do mine next Thursday or maybe the 29th/31st or hold off a bit. :/ Might try PT here in the states a few weeks though(i did in England for a month or so but it didnt do anything) and previous PT with ankles, knees and shoulders did nothing so not optimistic.
  • tomorrow going to hospital for stay and wait for surgery there. I will probably know around friday what day will my surgery take place.
  • hey, my surgery got sheduled 3 times since that.
    I had it yesterday 12/08/2014 due to doctor it went very well- last about 1,5h/ Bulge was very huge and they did get rid of it.
    Im now 28 hours post op and feeling quite good. Back is stiff but less then yesterday. I tried to walk today but have 3/10 scale sciatic pain down my left leg(haven't got it while walking before) but doc said it's normal because it is still very early and it should get away soon. While lying on bed i feel absolutely no pain. Starting tomorrow i will be walking more(im limited today to go to bathroom only) and will see how it goes. I think everything will be okey. I have no trouble sleeping and im now getting 2 times a day pain meds (but i think i don't need them)
    My surgery was done by one of the best neurosurgeon in my country with GREAT succes rate with this kind of surgeries so i think ill be ok
  • Congrats! The nerve thing I experienced too but freaked a bit cuz I had none for 3 or so days post op then last friday/saturday it bothered me but it went away by monday. Though it did hit me lying down too. I had my surgery last tuesday and I have just gotten to a point where i dont think i need the vicodin(only just now took the first of the day its 11pm lol) Dont push yourself too hard with walking I rested the first day back like you did then only got out of bed the next day to use the toilet or go get food then the 3rd day did a walk and have very day since, monday i walked too far(about a mile) at once and have had spasms since until today. I would just aim for qtr mile trips for the first week and slowly increase. Good luck on the continued recovery!
  • glad to see you doing fine.
    I was able to walk like 300m today and have very little sciatic pain. Probably it's because the inflammation of the nerve(im takin ketonal 3x per day) so i hope it will continue to get better and soon it will totally vanish.
    Also have some pain in butt while turning from my stomach to back and standing from bed which didn't have before but as i said its like 50 hours post op so everything is still fresh and maybe need more time to heal :)
  • I was told I should stay off my stomach, sleep only on side and back. Plus for the first few days I used my crutches - just to take weight off then leaned on them a bit less each day but I still use them to help me get out of seated postitons which really helped eliminate that pain. Might help you to use something like that? I also took my nerve med once i noticed the sciatica a bit just to help til it went away. I had the same butt pain, kind of at the top of the glute and right where the hamie starts. The only pain I felt was from the incision site just feels like different pain. But this evening I sat in our recliner(not reclined) with pillows behind but I think I st too long as i ache a bit going to bed. I used a lot of ice and still do. Ive got a lump at the incision site(it looks like he pinched the skin too tight or here is swelling/clotted blood in that area) and that makes it difficult to be on my back when i first lie down. Do you have the same?
  • my incision site doesn't hurt so much, i keep getting this sciatic pain in my top left butt while standing up or while turning. After i stand sometimes during walking i get some sciatic in my calf too but it goes away quickly. I still can't walk like normal people because my left leg can't move as fine as my right. I didn't have problems with walking before and didn't have sciatic while doing it but i hope it will go away fast...
  • Walking funny is normal. Took me nearly a week before my strides were even half what they were. They are mostly back to normal stride length now. The sciatica, when did it start? I would keep a log and record the date, time and what you are feeling. I had it but it would go away for a bit then come back repeat and sometimes I would forget it happened. Then be sure to be in contact with your surgeon. If you are having pain they should know and will tell you what is best. Some ice might help with the nerve as it is most likely from inflammation or since during the surgery the nerve and muscles get banged around and pulled on so there is expected to be some pain after.

    Also, does it feel only like sciatica or could it be muscle soreness? Since those muscles got pulled on there could be some referred pain from that. That is what my surgeon told me.
  • Before surgery i had sharp sciatica attacks that were more painfull but they were gone quickly after standing up.
    Now i have sometimes pain in down of my left butt while turning around or doing some moves.
    When i walk or stand there is 95% of time no pain, when i sit there is no pain but i still cant straight too much my leg while sitting because it is causing sciatica.
    While lying on my stomach there is no pain at all.
    I take ketonal 100mg twice a day(but i don't see any real changes so i think i could not take it at all) + i take my meds like glucosamine with kolagen and vit complex.

    Had you the same with streching leg while sitting after surgery or you could just put your leg straight in knee without pain?
    My doctor said it's normal to have pain flares because it is still very soon after surgery.
  • They didnt have me stretch post op. In fact told me none for the first week minimum. But yea, it is normal what you are explaining. For me the sciatica would come at random times never figured out what caused it then it just went a way. What day PO is this for you now? It is still in the first week so dont worry too much. Do something that takes your mind off of it, i found thinking about it made it worse.

    Right now the only issue I am having is it is still hard to sit but i force myself to. But then I get this pain(like a sharp burning pain) on my lower right quadrant when i sit back on that spot. Freaks me out tbh. I need to make sure I am walking more, missed mine yesterday and should really be doing 2 or more a day today though finally was able to make about a mile and i was exhausted after.
  • today is 6th day after my surgery. Finally I'm able to sleep on my side and it is getting easier to get up etc.
    Still not walking normal but it is not bad. I'm off meds but i will ask my doctor to give me maybe some muscle relaxers or nerve pain meds. I was taking ketonal 100mg twice a day but it really didn't affect my sciatica or anything- felt the same.
    When i walk there is most times no pain, when i sit straight for short periods of time there is sometimes some pain in my buttock but not often.
    I just wanna this sciatica pain to get rid off because before surgery i was able to do alot more. But still it's really early.
    I will see during next week what will happend.
    I noticed pain when i wake up in my lower back/buttock?(can't really tell correctly) but after i stand it goes mostly away.

    Im freaking because with me there were more people for that procedure(some of them second or third time having discectomy-but all on l5-s1 and mine is l4-5) they all have 100% sciatica relief after the surgery and before they were worse than me. Maybe during my procedure nerve was pulled more or something..)
  • Yea, i wasnt having a lot of pain prior either but it was greatly affecting my daily life. Couldnt workout barely walk around so i went and got it done with. so i was a bit nervous as well post op about everything, still am. Actually tempted to take the vicodin today cuz I am havnig pain on my back and it got a bit worse. But it is well off to the side and only hurts when I am sitting and i lean back and when i move from there to the couch to take pressure off, like a burning sharp pain.
  • mavik0mmavik0 Posts: 29
    edited 08/19/2014 - 12:06 AM
    i came home yesterday and i overdoo a little, was walking more than before and did more things so in the evening my back was very sore ( it wasn't nerve pain or something, just all my muscles around back seemed very exhausted and they hurt, needed to change my bed with my brother and took 2 pain pills) When i wake up in the morning everything was okey so im glad. I get butt pain less often and when im doing everything properly my nerve pain is like 5% of the day so it is good.
    Though still cant walk normally but i think in couple of days everything will progress fine(just have to remember not to do so much stuff. Also my surgeon said i dont really bother about reherniating because he said i had alot of muscles around my back and they had some struggle to pull them all away) i guess over 3 months of rehab and strenghtening my back daily before surgery was a good choice.
    I have a check up in 5 days and next week im probably be good to start PT ( need to strech my harmstring, other then those i was fine with mobility)
    I try not to sit often cuz when i stand up after longer period i get some buttock pain but its not so bad and last only a couple second(i noticed it get less and less every day)
  • Yea I was told I could do PT but it wouldnt do anything(unless I am still having a lot of pain) and my GP said I shouldnt. Today was pretty bad. Had to sit for about 3hours for work orientation and couldnt get up. Get home and my back is having the pain ive been having but a bit worse. then while i was lying there i felt a similar tear feeling as when i first hurt my back but this time followed by the burning feeling except it lingered for quite a while. to the point i had to take a vicodin(tried ibup first though) still a bit bother some. Just need to be more careful i guess. Still trying to figure out how long I should wait, after my pain goes away, til I should return to running and lifting. Cant get an answer from anyone here or elsewhere. Just dont believe it is smart/safe to start now like my surgeon said i could.
  • you need to take it little bit slower i think if you get some flares up with pain.
    Im in good situation because i really don't have to do anything for next 4-5 weeks so i can take this time to fully recover.
    My nerve pain is like 98% gone, getting better day after day. Still some back pain sometimes but nothing bad.
    I noticed i have some pain after i overdo(walk and do too much stuff) in front side(i cant correctly tell where, its like down left side of my stomach and upper side of my leg in front? you know what i mean?) but it's totally different pain and after i lay down for a bit it goes away so maybe it's some muscle thing or something.
    My incision side hurts sometimes when i walk to much etc but as i said it is getting better day after day.
    I wasn't sitting for more than 20-30 min because for first i don't have and i don't wanna irritate the nerve :)
  • My pain is all in about a 3 in or so diameter area around the incision. Aches like it did before I hurt myself plus muscle soreness then when I sit back into my car it feels like I just got jabbed even if the seat barely touches. Unfortunately, I dont have a choice either I suck it up or i dont have the job and though it is only 14 hours a week i need the money. Gave them the doctors note but it is a student job so we have student supervisors rather than full time and ive been in this situation after a knee injury and they let me go(sited my class schedule not being what I said it would be but it was due to needing breaks more often) and they let me go after a week.

    Not sitting now though, just standing for 5 hours or so right now. Hoping the pain goes away within the next couple weeks though(thinking it is mostly due to muscles still healing). Wont return to doing any exercises other than walking and swimming(starting next week) until a week after I dont notice pain. and even then it will be light stuff

    What kind of pain is it you have? I mean can you describe how it feels?
  • since yesterday i didn't noticed this pain so maybe its gone :D it wasn't for sure nerve pain. Maybe because i wasn't walking normal that side of the leg hurted.
    Now the only pain i have when I do normal step with my left leg(wasn't doing it untill yesterday) i have very little pain like 1 of10 in my left calf. But I noticed that every day i can put my lelft leg more and more straight.(4 days ago i wasn't able to sit in car and put a clutch with my left leg without 5-10 pain and now i can do It with very little different pain in calf(1-10) I will still wait 2-3 days before driving car because i don't wanna to irritate it even a little.
    I started doing some isometric exercises while lying in bed or walking. I Put some pressure on my core when i take a step(it's good to strenghten core muslces without doing any moves)
    I hope next week I'm gonna start a PT(will know tomorrow cuz i have appointment with my doctor)
  • hawk057hhawk057 Posts: 76
    edited 08/22/2014 - 4:18 PM
    I was given a sheet for iso but was told not to do them til i was told(never told me at the appt) So I think I will do them tomorrow. Going for a swim and see how i feel after so might go do some core stuff too.

    Today though and a bit yesterday i have noticed a pain(like sciatica) down my right leg while at work. It only lasts for a few seconds then comes back after an hour or so and goes away again. I should go ask about PT to do some stretching and help so I am able to return to a exercise without issue.

    What do you intend to do at the gym? Dont know if I would do any lifting(at least not much) and not run unless of course your surgeon says ok.
  • I have an appointment with doctor today. I have a little problem with my incision site, 2 days ago i overdid a little(too long walk) and had a little blood leak from my incision. So i will be probably told to take it slower before streching with PT.
    I won't go to the gym before my first PT session when im gonna ask what moves are safe for me.
    Probably will be going there because i love spending time there:P doing some core exercises, exercisses on rehab ball, streches etc. Maybe some little arm workout or chest with very low weight just to put some blood to my muscles.
    Still have some pain while walking in my left calf.. It's like when im moving my left leg i get a little pinch in it(it's not painfull but it irritates me, like 1/10 on scale pain but it's different pain than sciatica)
  • hawk057hhawk057 Posts: 76
    edited 08/23/2014 - 10:00 PM
    You should go for a swim. I just did today. First cardio since the surgery and it felt great. did 75 minutes in the pool and the only time I felt anything was when I pushed off the wall and near the end i felt asome pulling in my back so i stopped using legs. Hit the bike but only lasted a minute or two before pain so I walked 1/2 a mile. Goin back tomorrow to swim only then monday will stop by PT and ask if I need a referral.

    Note from moderator

    Please keep in mind, what works for one patient my be harmful to another. Its always good to hear what others have tried, but before you try it on yourself, contact your doctor
  • can't go to swim because my incision isn't healed yet(i had normal open discectomy) and it have hard time healing..
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