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L5-S1 herniation

I started to get sever back pain on January 22, 2015, at first my doctor thought I had muscle pain but after several weeks of pain my doctor ordered an MRI and informed me that I had herniated my l5-s1 disc. I have pain in my lower back and shooting pain down both legs. In mid Feb. I started to get a pins and needles sensation on my right foot. The pins and needles feeling has been getting progressively stronger to the point where I can barely feel my sock when it's on my foot. My doctor refereed me to a neurosurgeon and I saw him on March 25, he noticed that my right leg is significantly weaker than my left leg and is planning on doing a microdisectomy at the end of April (I am in my final year at university and really need to be make it through April to write my exams).
My family doctor and my neurosurgeon keep warning me about red flag symptoms such as bladder and bowel problems and loose of sensation in the saddle area... on Friday April 3, I started to get a pins and needles sensations in my saddle area, it lasted for about 20 minutes... Since Friday this has happened about 4 more times.... It doesn't last it comes and goes. I also have to urinate a lot more frequently and constantly feel like I have to urinate even after urinating.... I understand that no one here is able to give medical advice, I am just wondering if anyone else has experienced this?


  • You are describing signs of Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES). It is a medical emergency. Ring your neurosurgeon AND family doctor. Tell them exactly what's happening. If you can't get hold of them, go straight to your nearest ER.

    If your Uni is anything like mine, they will allow you extra time to write your exams under extenuating circumstances.

    If you don't get CES symptoms treated quickly, they become permanent. Worst scenario you could become paralysed. Best scenario you would be wearing a nappy for the rest of your life.

    Get it looked at. Quickly.

    Sorry to scare. This is very important.

    L5-S1 herniation. Both knee meniscus tear. L4-5 herniation - 2 x nerve block injections. L4-5 discectomy. L1-2 nerve block injection. L4-5 reherniation - TLIF fusion. 2016: L1-2 and L5-S1 retrolistheses and multiple facet joint degeneration.
  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 04/06/2015 - 2:45 PM
    Did you phone your doctor today? Have you been in to see him? Please don't 'wait & see' with this. You were told the warning signs for a very good reason!
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • i agree you should call the dr, although i occasionally get some nerve pain in my groin area...it is very random...as are all of my symptoms..maybe had it once or twice.
  • KatinaaKKatinaa Posts: 6
    edited 04/08/2015 - 11:40 AM
    Thanks for taking time to reply. On Monday morning I called my neurosurgeon he was in surgery so I was sent to my neurologist who ran an emg, which showed normal results. The neurosurgeon gave me an appointment during his clinic hours on Tuesday for 11:30am but around 7:30am he changed his mind and told me to go to emerg and he would have his neuro team meet me there. I was admitted to hospital by 8:00am and waited until 10:00 for a bed, they did neurological tests that showed weakness and opted for an mri. I got my mri around 5:00pm and by 7:00pm they decided the surgery needed to happen last night it couldn't wait.
    I had a microdisectomy to removed part of the disc. I woke up earlier today and my leg pain was basically gone. However I can't pee. Which is really stressing me out, the only urinary symptom I had before was frequent urinating and a little leakage. Now I can't pee at all and it's almost been 24 hours, I know there are a lot worse things that could have happened if I didn't have surgery but it is really stressing me out... the doctors are telling me this is normal as the disc made a little tear in the nerve that controls my bladder. Has anyone else experienced this? Sorry for the long rant I am scared and nervous.
  • As I have heard, normally it takes a while nerves to get back to normal routine.
    BTW, was it a disc herniation or protrusion?

    Get well soon!!
  • KatinaaKKatinaa Posts: 6
    edited 04/08/2015 - 12:34 PM
    Thanks!! They are calling it a ruptured disc and from what I read i think that's the same as a herniated disc?
  • I wouldn't be too nervous at this stage as it will take awhile nerves to get back into order. Your leg pain has gone which is great!

    However, keep in mind not to do any heavy lifting, bending or prolong sitting until it get healed.

    I've almost gone through these procedures and I know it's quite stressful. But apparently you have done the right thing and it will bring results slowly. Patience is a key factor to survive with a back issue. Eventually you will get there.

    I hope you will get well soon.
  • That's great news about your leg!! Please take your recovery slow & steady no matter how you feel. I've read way too many times people say "I wish I hadn't pushed so hard." or "I wish I hadn't lifted this or that". It seems like those who follow doctors orders & take things gently for ample time to heal do the best long term. Best of luck. Please don't worry. You're in the right place.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • FritzcrackerzFFritzcrackerz Posts: 246
    edited 04/08/2015 - 10:58 PM
    I've had surgery several times over the last few years. Each time I've had urine retention following surgery and needed a catheter. Even after surgery on my knee. So it might be down to your drugs as well as the 'Nick' on the nerve.

    So pleased you recognised the urgency.

    Here's to a speedy recovery,

    L5-S1 herniation. Both knee meniscus tear. L4-5 herniation - 2 x nerve block injections. L4-5 discectomy. L1-2 nerve block injection. L4-5 reherniation - TLIF fusion. 2016: L1-2 and L5-S1 retrolistheses and multiple facet joint degeneration.
  • Thank you for all the replies. It's reassuring to hear that urinary retention happened with other people as well. I was really upset about it last night but my doctor seems to think it's normal and I am doing well. He has ordered an mri for later today to rule out a blood clot and to make sure everything is okay. My right foot became a lot more numb than it was before surgery so that worries me. They are keeping me in hospital for a couple days to see how things go. I am just finding this overwhelming and I am trying to keep a positive attitude.
  • DanielCDanielC Posts: 155
    edited 04/09/2015 - 5:48 AM
    Katinaa don't worry about not being able to go to toilet Whithin 24 hours. I went after nearly 32. At first they stuck a catheter in and as soon as I realised that after I woke up I nearly killed the nurse haha. They took it out and ouchhh the pain. Anyways you will be fine. Walk, don't become a bed potato, take your meds and sleep 7-8 hours at night. Stay positive and mobile. It is very important.
  • It' now day number 4 after my microdisectomy, I am really starting to stress and panic. I still have not been able to urinate more than 75ml, while retaining 500-700 ml.

    Also when I was in the recovery room after surgery, the first thing I noticed was that although my pain was gone in my right leg I had no feeling in it. The numbness in my foot is different than it was before the surgery, I have absolutely no feeling, it goes up the outside of my calf as well but by far the bottom of my foot is worse. I can barely walk, I have to stare at my foot to make sure it is moving in the proper direction. I have never experienced numbness this strong.

    Also to make it worse the doctors told me that going for walks will help so I've been going on as many little walks as possible. But the more I walk the more I struggle with my foot. The doctors also suggested sitting up more/walks in the wheelchair would help with my bowels and bladder movements but even sitting in the wheelchair made my pain feel worse and it gave me pins and needles in my butt again.

    The surgical resident told me he is at a lose as of what to do, my mri appears clean so he's not sure if it's just swelling or scar tissue. Tomorrow he is going to meet with the team and order more tests/come up with a plan.

    Sorry for the long rant, I am sick of being in hospital and i am sick of feeling worse now that I've had the surgery.
  • Each of us can only speak from our own experiences and they are all different. I did a lot of academic research on CES and it can manifest itself in many different ways, depending on which nerves are compromised. We are all wired differently too. Bladder disturbance can be caused by 'nicking' a nerve, by scar tissue, by inflammation of surrounding tissue, by the release of certain chemicals from other damaged tissue, etc. it can be to motor or autonomic nerves and, most of the time, you just have to be patient for the function to return to normal.

    IF you are retaining urine, that's a good sign. The concern would be if you lose the ability to hold it in or stop it mid-flow.

    As for position, for me, sitting always was the worst for me. I still get pins and needles in my feet when I sit for extended periods so prefer to stand or lie down. ( I was lying down on the floor during a church service this morning!)

    You are the best judge of what hurts you or causes discomfort and, whilst keeping moving is necessary, you shouldn't do more than is comfortable this early in your recovery.

    Hope that encourages you,

    L5-S1 herniation. Both knee meniscus tear. L4-5 herniation - 2 x nerve block injections. L4-5 discectomy. L1-2 nerve block injection. L4-5 reherniation - TLIF fusion. 2016: L1-2 and L5-S1 retrolistheses and multiple facet joint degeneration.
  • DanielCDanielC Posts: 155
    edited 04/12/2015 - 11:25 AM
    Don't worry too much. Keep walking. You need to keep moving after the op. It will be difficult to go to the loo properly of you don't walk enough. I also had numbness in my foot after about a week from the op when it seemed that they were completely gone. They lasted for a few days and they were gone and never came back. Pain is normal after the operation. Do you sleep at night? How's the pain compared to pre op? But be objective when evaluating this aspect. Is easy for us to freak out and not be objective. Pain after post op is normal. The surgeons handled something that does not like to be touched let alone handled and moved away from its place and kept like that for more than an hour. It will take time and you will get all sorts of pain. But trust me it will get better. Get up of bed properly rolling in your side and lifting your body and lowering your legs at the same time while helping your upper body with your arms pushing it to assist the movement. Same with getting in bed. And keep walking don't let yourself frak out and stay in bed more than you have to. Don't become a couch potato :). C'mon chin up and slap some ice on that leg and back, take a pain killer and get yourself moving. Oh and by the way stick in some nice chocolate :))
    Take care


    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

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