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Need advice on Sciatica Situation, feedback appreciated

thejerrybesttthejerrybest Posts: 2
I just found out about this site yesterday, so much useful information. I spent most of my day reading through the forums and finally decided, I should post about my situation and see what feedback I can get.

I am a 32 year old male, I used to be super active, until about 3 years ago I herniated my L4/L5 disc doing a deadlift. I was in extreme pain, and went through pain meds, PT, chiropractic care, and 2 epidurals. The pain initially got better than it go worse again. I saw a neurosurgeon who recommended a microdisectomy, had the surgery and immediately after all leg pain was gone. Within 2 months I was back to being mostly active, but obviously more cautious.

About 6 months ago, I started having severe back pain and sciatic pain. Symptoms were similar so I thought I did something to my L4/L5 disc again. I had an MRI and was surprised to see that disc was fine but my L5/S1 was no herniated. The pain subsided but never went away. It seems to be a rollar coaster since, I have weeks of low level pain (around a 3 out of 10) and flare ups where the pain gets up to a 7 or 8 out of 10.

I am going PT, chiropractic care and pain meds again. I have been consistently doing PT, and I usually go on meds when I have flare ups. This has hit my activity again and I am regulated to just swimming to stay in shape.

I am not sure what to do, I am wondering if I should maybe go the microdisectomy route again, and then get activity 2-3 months after the surgery. I really fear chronic pain from these herniation as I get older or the pain always being there. I almost feel lost dealing with this, I shuffle between thinking the pain is tolerable and doesn't limit me from everything I should just tolerate it and it might go away. Then I think I should be able to live life to the fullest and be pain free, maybe I should talk to the neurosurgeon about a microdisectomy.

I am not looking for anyone to say "you should do this or that", obviously a medical professional is where I need to get that instruction from. I am interested more in if what I am experiencing now is similar to what any of you had, how did you cope, etc.



  • I feel for you. At 29 I was told i needed a fusion on L4/L5 but refused due to active child possibly putting so much pressure on my back with bending/lifting etc, it would have led to further surgery higher up my back. I suffered huge back pain but not sciatic pain and use osteopath and the gym under supervision to rehabilitate. I had surgery in Jan 2014 for L5/S1 large herniation with extreme sciatic pain and then revised surgery on that disc, discectomy n L4/L5 and Wallis inswing stabilisation on L4/L5 on May 1st 2015. I only resorted to surgery due to extreme sciatic pain and onset of numbness in right leg/foot. This developed during waiting time for surgery and wish that list had been shorter!

    Everybody has different conditions and my surgeon told me that my surgery would help with leg/nerve pain but it was not a solution for back pain and thats what guided me. I have learnt to accept back pain over the years (now 49) but the nerve pain I could not tolerate or the risk of permanent nerve damage, so surgery had to happen.

    Not sure if any of this helps but I felt our situations were similar in some ways
    Good luck
    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015

  • AJGormit, thanks for your post. I could not imagine the level and frustration you have been going through. We do have some similarities for certain.

    I suffered through pain for a long time after my first disc herniation, I was terrified of surgery and tolerated as much as I could. Once the sciatic pain became constant and I started having numbness in my foot, I decided to see a neurosurgeon who said I needed a microdisectomy ASAP and I got a second opinion who said the same thing.

    My surgeon told me the same thing, the microdisectomy would end the sciatic pain but it may not help the lower back pain. I was amazed that I had absolutely no leg or back pain right after the surgery. Since the surgery, I really have only had a few real minor episodes of low back pain that only lasted a few days, I really thought I would out of this problem.

    It wasn't until Jan that this started up again, with the sciatic pain being more recent (2 months ago) and not I have low level pain in my foot. None of the pain is as strong as what I dealt with the first time but its having the same effect, I can't get active and I often just go straight home from work and have shy ed away from social events. This is the exact opposite of how I was living life prior.

    The frustration is definitely building and I can imagine it has in your case too, although you have definitely come to terms with it better. I want to get back to weight lifting, doing cardio, and catching friends and family out after work and on the weekends. Its sad and upsetting I can't do these things, or don't want to because of my condition.

    I also worry about a 2nd microdisectomy, if I go that route, will if just be temporary, will it overall hurt the stability of my back? I have a lot of mental anguish over this.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    Please see the ....new member...forum on this site.

    It will let you know how to get the best use from SH site. There is wealth of info here.
    Also,...search...upper right on page, type in your concerns and you may be led to,older posts and articles and videos, all in every person language so easy to understand.

    You're not alone!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I just had decompression surgery on 4/27 for a herniation at L5-S1, both sides, even though my leg pain was mostly on my left side. Had instant relief of leg pain and within a few days, no back pain. However, 2 weeks after surgery, I started getting severe cramps in my left calf and also pain on top of my left foot. Dr gave me pain meds and valuim for the cramps. It has now been 5 weeks since surgery and I have horrible back pain right above at L4-L5, which was buldged when I had the decompression surgery. In fact, every disc in my back up is buldged, except for the L5-S1 and the disc at top of back/neck which is also herniated. I am scheduled for an MRI as Dr warned me that having surgery could actually cause a buldging disc to herniate. Next step would be a fusion. Has anyone else experienced this? I really don't want a fusion but I also don't want to take pain meds and valuim for the rest of my life. I am a 50 yo f, but very active, 4 wheeling, diving, hotseback riding, ice hockey, hiking, etc
  • I wanted to chime in. Some of your story is similar to mine. I herniated a disc several years ago by doing deadlifts. I used to love working out and lifting heavy weights. Though, all of that has taken a toll on my spine. Last night, I had another Lumbar MRI and I'm waiting on the results, but I know there are cervical and thoracic issues, too, with associated sciatica.

    I've had to learn the hard way that many different weightlifting movements (besides deadlifts) put a strain on the spine. Overhead press or back row, for instance, cause trouble. Even walking a dog that strains against its leash can cause a flare up and more injury. I'm 35 myself (feel like 100), and I can certainly attest to how difficult it is to modify an active lifestyle to help avoid back problems. Accidents still happen, though, because none of us are perfect. I hope you find the answers you're looking for.
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