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Herniated L5/S1 Symptoms and Recovery of Athlete

leogingel5lleogingel5 Posts: 18
Hello all! I will start by saying this forum has helped a lot with my hopes. A little about me. Very very athletic, active, and healthy at 6'5" 32 years, 230 lbs. Competitive Crossfit athlete, swimmer my whole life and in college, kitesurfer, surfer, stand up surfer, etc. I say this to show how active I am and how even with this trial I am going through I will come back strong.

So 17 days ago on 4/3/15, I did a Crossfit workout after a work shift. About 2 hours after, I felt a weird sharp pain in my right thigh when driving. I felt like I had to extend my leg and relieve pressure, as if I was pinching a nerve. I did not know what it was. The next day it started to throb a little more and more. I could sit for more then 5 mins without walking or laying down. It killed. I went to work that eve, had a hard time driving and at one point I got out of my car only to discover my leg and foot was completely numb and heavy. I felt like a gimp.

The next day I went to my primary physician who said I might have a herniated disc. She got me an MRI ASAP that eve magically. She said to go ahead and work my overtime shift that eve and see how I felt. The next day I got a call from her and she said not to work and my disc was protruding a lot. She did not say nor did the report say how many MM. She gave me an oral steroid which helped the pain a lot. My calf and thigh was tight. I was walking with a good limp as well. My heel, and last three toes were pretty much numb. So was the right outer part of my thigh.

It has been 17 days now. My spine doc told me to swim like I know how to do well, workout supporting my back and focus on my core. I did not do a PT session, but am PTing myself because I know how to do so well being as active as I am. Each day for the most part I have been getting stronger and better.

I have all feeling back in my foot and leg. I have no pain in any part of my body. On a scale from 1-10, the occasional pain with a small shooting pain in the mornings in my leg is a 1 or 2 which goes away after I swim, warm up, and workout.

The right 4 and 5 toes on my right foot are the only ones with some slight tingle and my heel barely, not even noticeable. My back again does not hurt one bit. I even kitesurfed (I know not smart) and believe it or not I feel better today! ha.

The only true weakness i have left in my leg is the ability to stand on my right toes without assistance. I do 100 toe raises a day in the pool where I can because the weight is less with water.

So this is my story. I will compete again one day in Crossfit, and I will do all my sports. I even SUP'd a few times but have stopped because I realized I should really focus on healing then proving to myself what I can do still...Type A personality needs humbled.

My main question on this forum is...how do you all think I am doing, and with the weakness in my right toe stand alone is this a huge issue and does it just take time? I have read where people have had similar problems for years and with the micro surgery as last resort the strength comes back. Then I get worried where people say a few weeks can give perm damage to a nerve. It seems like it is a different case for everyone so I can imagine a straight answer is impossible.

Thoughts, compliments, criticisms please.



  • tiffany00ttiffany00 Posts: 3
    edited 04/22/2015 - 3:05 AM
    i felt d same i have this pain in my left startng in my lowerback down to toes. it hurt so much. im done undergo with physcal therapy for 6session but it doesnt work for me. doctor said i need to go on mri/xray. :(
    i suffered for a 3months i dont know too how it last????

  • Hey G I am sure you'll be the envy of this whole site. I am glad you are doing better now. When it first happened to me I took things easy and got an office job that also involved walking around the site and had nearly zero pain after about 5 months. I then got into a more demanding job and was back at square one.

    So my advice to you is take things slowly and never forget your back is pretty much compromised. Keep that core strong and loose a few pounds. Drink plenty of water and eat your veggies :) Stay away from colds and flu as coughing and sneezing could further damage your spine.
    Strength in the calf muscle will come back. In my case I regained strength after a little over 2 months.

  • leogingel5lleogingel5 Posts: 18
    edited 04/22/2015 - 11:12 AM
    Dan, did you have a Micro surgery done? I have yet to get the surgery and actually see a nuero surgeon today..and my spine ortho on Friday.

    I am healthy, weight wise and strength wise. I will forever have to definitely watch my back which I am prepared to do.

  • Yes i had It done 8 weeks ago. But i thought you Said you are recovering well and don't need surgery. See what your doctor says. You should avoid if you feel you are getting better. It's common sense.
    I couldn't avoid it as after recovering from the whole thing and with zero pain for a good while I screwed it again like an idiot by getting the job I mentioned :).

    I am feeling well after surgery but lost a lot of mass. I dropped from 180 to 150 and I had very little fat to loose so it was mainly muscle mass.
    Now on the road to regain at least some of what was lost. I am resigned to being confident and optimistic though.
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