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Big Herniation at L5S1 - What are you/have you done?


I am a 52 year old male, office worker/computer junkie who loves to rock climb, officiate Ice hockey and play as well. I have been suffering for the past 4 weeks with sharp pain down my left leg and buttocks. In an attempt to provide as much info as possible, here you go:

- When did this first start?
I originally moved a piano upstairs about 6 months ago. I hurt my lower back, had 3-4 chiropractic visits, rest, and stretching. the problem seemed to alleviate, although I was left with what seemed to me to be very tight hamstrings on my left side. 4 weeks ago I went to a friends 50th birthday party and roller-bladed for two hours in an old pair of skates that I had forgotten that did not have insoles in them. That set off the current situation.

- Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
I believe that moving the piano caused the issue. I have had similar back issues earlier in my life - but they seemed more along that lines of muscle strains and spasms.

Sitting for more than 20 mins is miserable - lumbar pillow helps
Standing and walking ok for up to about 20 minutes. I can be fairly active - no forward bending or lifting.

- What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)
I have seen a Chiropractor for 6 visits in the last 4 weeks, and I have also seen my family doctor 3 times.

- What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?
Ice, heat, peppermint oil rub, OTC and prescription painkillers, TENS unit application, all daily, Inversion table in the last 3 days.

- What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)
MRI Scan
Disc dessication and interspace narrowing at L3 and L5 interspaces. Mild disc dessication at L4.
L3-4 has a broad-based disc bulge effaces the ventral thecal sac and lateral recesses, greatest on the right side. In addition, there is a right lateral disc protrusion which contributes to mild right neural foraminal narrowing
L4-5 has a broad-based disc bulge mildly effaces the ventral thecal sac. There is a focal left lateral disc protrusion which results in moderate left neural foraminal narrowing
L5-S1 has a large central and left paracentral disc protrusion. Disc material abuts several traversing nerve roots in the central canal on the left side and the traversing left S1 nerve root in the lateral recess. This disc
herniation measures 1.5LR by 1.0 AP by .7 SI CM.

Degenerative arthritis of the lumbar facet joints, mostly marked inferior.

- What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)
Norco 7.5 - 325 MG - nightly to sleep
1000 mg Acetominophen and 625 mg aspirin - every 4 hours during the day - just keeps the pain at bay, and I cannot miss. If I am late the next hour is pretty miserable.
- Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
Not yet

- What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?
My family doctor recommended meeting with a neurologist/neurosurgeon when he saw the size of the L5-S1 herniation.

Upcoming meeting with the neurosurgeon this week.

Wondering what others experiences are with herniations that large? Surgery? More conservative treatments?


  • Hi there. Independently of how you got the l5s1 disc bulge your MRI screams spinal issues.
    Try conservative treatment but for the love of god stay away from chiropractors!

    Hopefully you will be able to avoid surgery. Even if you will be successful in avoiding it I think it is time for you to seriously start caring for your spine. Core strengthening, waking and resting. I would get some time off work too and focus on getting better. You will be glad you did it.
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