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Herniation L5-S1 - Diagnosis to Recovery Journey So Far..

lharr1985llharr1985 Posts: 1
So the what happened i hear you ask well here goes,

Bit of background on myself. I'm 29, played football all my life and I'm a very active person, fit strong and a clean bill of health. Don't smoke, drink occasionally and stretch regularly.

Around 7 months ago i was playing football, jumped up for a header and landed "stiff legged", almost instantly i felt pain in my back but carried on as i thought (stupidly) i can run this off. How wrong i was! The next day i could barely move and when i did eventually get myself up i was hunched over and not moving very well at all. As day went on it got easier and easier until the point where i could walk again but i had a dull ache in my lower back still. Decided to go to see my GP who referred me to a physiotherapist who in turn diagnosed my with a herniation to my L5-S1 disc, i was given exercises to do and he also used acupuncture to help with the pain (which i found actually helped a lot).He also recommended that i purchase a McKenzie Roll for when i sit down to help support my posture. Everything helped and eventually all the pain went and i thought i was fixed.

Exactly 2 months later i was getting out of the shower, turned to get a towel and ping! literally PING, my lower back goes again but this time an awful lot more pain and this time INSANE pain going down my right leg all the way to my foot... it scared the hell out of me. This time it was different, i couldn't walk full stop for at least 3 days, even then it was a huge struggle, the only way i could walk and if i was hunched over, i was dragging my right leg as i felt i had to control of it due to the pain. The pain at this time was a solid 10/10, absolutely ridiculous amount of pain. Soon as i was able to i went straight to my GP who diagnosed the same problem as last time but more severe. I was absolutely gutted and knew by the pain right away that this wasn't going to go away quickly. My doctor gave me pain relief (Co-Codamol), anti inflammatory (Naproxen) and a muscle relaxant (diazapame).. this combination was horrific, i was drowsy constantly and very spaced out which i didn't like (also the pain relief gave me constipation which was the worst pain you could imagine). At this time (about 1 week in) i wasn't sleeping very well, i couldn't get comfortable laying down at all. Strangely the only position i was pain free was sitting down laying back slightly. Every thought went through my head at this point... "will i be like this forever?" was the most frequent. Its strange what pain does to you mentally, i felt useless.

Luckily i have a a wonderful girlfriend and she kept my chin up, anyway i decided i needed to get this sorted and got in contact with a chiropractor explaining over email what had happened and pleaded for help. She replied very swiftly and within a few days i was at my first appointment, after a few tests she knew right away what was wrong and assured me that it could be sorted (just hearing that alone gave me a massive boost). I couldn't stand up staright at this point and walking was possible but very very difficult and stressful, pain was about a 9/10 now. She explained i had herniated a disc which was pushing on my sciatic nerve but also that the muscles around that area were contributing to my sciatic nerve pain. She tested my muscle strength and reflexes and obviously my right side wasn't the best. She set to work right away with gentle massage and stretching and also told me (which no one had before) to put ice on my back for 15 min intervals a few times a day and this alone was a game changer! It reduced the swelling like nothing else and my pain literally halved to about a 4/10, all in the space of a week.

As the weeks went by (i had weekly appointments) she introduced a bit of spinal manipulation in to the upper spine staying away from the lower back (which is basically popping your back) and finally i was able to stand up straight! After 6 weeks walking has got easier and easier though still painful but manageable pain now. Im not fully recovered yet but i do believe i will recover fully without surgery. This chiropractor has literally nearly healed me with her hands and i can not thank her more.

I guess my little story serves no real purpose in the uninjured world but i hope it helps some of you guys at the first stages of a herniated disc to banish those negative thoughts that build up deep in my your mind, It can be lonely and horrible but know your not alone.

I'm not completely healed yet and i will keep you posted on my progress but i looks positive.

Id also like to add i had no MRI scan as the chiropractor knew instantly how sever my herniation was... Why chiropractors aren't available on the NHS is beyond me !


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Welcome to Spine-Health

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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