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Pregnant with l5s1 moderate bulge

fedup100ffedup100 Posts: 46
edited 06/15/2015 - 7:56 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi everyone really hoping to hear peoples stories.

I have had back problems for 5 years now and its been a journey as I'm sure all of you can relate to. It all started with my first pregnancy but did improve about a year after birth considerably but I did have pain but it was mild.

I got pregnant again and had a better pregnancy and not too bad of pain until about 6 months after delivery. I started to not be able to sit any more than 10 mins at a time with backache and sore tailbone.then the horrid sciatica started it was horrendous I could barely walk or get out of bed at times. I ended up with a mri eventually and found out I'd multiple bulging discs,spondylosis and degenerative disc disease in l5s1. In l5s1 I had a moderate buldge. So got physio and slowly was fit to move again but then a year later I got tingling in my crotch and incontinance problems so i had to get another mri cause I flagging cauda equina symptoms.

Most recent diagnosis as I seen a surgeon not long ago was that I had a moderate bulge in l5s1 and the rest of my spine was stable. I got to see the mri myself and my bulge was about half way maybe a little more into my spinal canal. I have no idea how bad that actually is but he said it was moderate. L5s1 was black on the mri and this meant I had little fluid in the disc.also I did not have cauda equinna. He said it was OK for me to get pregnant and providing I had no weakness in my legs I would be able to deliver naturally. He checked my reflex's and done some tests and said that I had no sciatica (even though I feel some discomfort in my toes at random times) and that I was doing well so as it stands I do not need treatment. I was having mild pain in my hips but it eases when I walk so he wasn't concerned.

A few days later I found out that I was pregnant with my third pregnancy. So thankfully I had asked him about pregnancy. He said I would experience more sciatica and it was hard to know if further damage would be done. I would love to know other peoples stories on being pregnant with spinal problems. I am in the early stages of pregnancy so I am a bit apprehensive. This pregnancy came as a surprise so I am a little in shock but I am very grateful to be pregnant as I love children.


  • LisajgxLLisajgx Posts: 9
    edited 07/28/2015 - 11:25 AM
    Hi fedup100
    I'm also pregnant with baby number 3 after spinal problems in the same area. How far gone are you? I'm 15 weeks.
    I had lumber fusion twice at L4-S1 in 2012 an 2013. I've also had all the metal work removed in Feb this year as it was causing problems. So far in this pregnancy so good, not too much pain but like you sitting down for long periods of time is an issue.

    Thanks Lisa
  • Hi

    I am so pleased to hear someone else is in the same boat as me. I am 10 weeks and had been good until my back went out last week and I couldn't walk. Though it seems to have healed a bit but still having searing pain in my legs.

    I have never had surgery though I have been told it may be an option in the future as my disc will get worse and won't heal. Did you find surgery helped?

    I am so scared about delivery I want it to be natural like my others as I know how that works but have been told if I lose power in my legs a section will be needed. Being pregnant ain't fun never mind having back problems as a complication. Are you over the morning sickness yet? Mine is easing a little not fun being sick with back problems.

    Have you any tips or advice? I feel like I've tried everything but nothing keeps the pain away.
  • Firstly congratulations on being 10 weeks pregnant thats great news.

    Yes I did find that the surgery helped but it was a bit of a rocky road and a long story. In the end I felt like a new woman, I've detailed the whole story on the website if you want to read it.

    Like you I'm hoping for a natural delivery like the last 2. Having met my obs consultant for the first time last week this is what we're aiming for. My body has done this twice before so there's no reason to think I can't have a natural delivery again. It's not that I'm against a c section it's just the recovery time after that I think will be hard. I rely on my stomach muscles a lot and if they're cut to deliver the baby I think it will be more problematic for me back. But at the end of the day as the pregnancy progresses, if they tell me I need a section then that's what it'll have to be.
    Have you spoken to anyone about pain management yet? Also do you have a good physio that can help you out with flare ups? These are my top tips so far. I'm also trying to use ice and heat when my back is sore. I think with your case the medical professionals will probably recommend ice to take down the inflammation.

    Another thing to look into is a game ready machine. I used one of these post surgery and it was amazing. Have a chat with your physio to see if they have one and if you can use when pregnant. It's just a machine that is filled with ice water, a tube run to a belt around your waist. Then ice water is circulated around the painful area under pressure for about 20 mins. Could be a good option for you.

    Keep in touch and let me know how you are getting on.
  • I have never heard of a game ready machine is that new? It sounds like something that is worth a try.

    I am waiting on my physio appointment which is taking ages. So I feel quite alone on my pain as I don't know what I can and can't do. I have a si belt but not sure if its Ok to use during pregnancy as it isn't a pregnancy one and I don't know if its Ok to restrict my bump so early on.

    I'm feeling the lack of support from my gp as they say rest but I've always found when I move about slowly this works best for me. The physio usually helps with my questions but I'm not sure how much longer I will have to wait to see them. I don't have a pain management Dr but I do have an open appointment with the surgeon. Though I don't feel that I should make an appointment with him as I wouldn't really be taking the injections when pregnant anyways. It's all very confusing and I feel lonely about it all. Most drs try to push you onto someone else.

    Because I have had pain for so long people have started to ignore the fact that I am in pain. They dont want to hear me complain about it. Even when im limping badly some days its just ignored and i have gave up explaining cause i feel they dont care. My husband is the only person who truely listens and supports me totally no matter what.So apart from my husband I have no one to talk to about it all which gets lonely as I feel I am struggling though most days. I don't know if its the hormones making me feel like this or the fear of what is going to happen. I'm usually a positive person.

    I suppose I am just going to have to be patient regarding the delivery and all and see how it goes. Like you I wouldn't refuse a c section if its needed il do what I have to make sure baby arrives safely. I'm just worries as my disc is sitting half way into my spinal canal and I'm worried it will get worse but no1 knows the future I suppose.

    How has your pregnancy went so far you had any bad back episodes? When my back went out the other week they suspected cauda equina again so I had to sit in a and e for 9 hours it would make you fed up. Thankfuly I didn't have it and things have improved and I'm back walking reasonable distances.

    What age are your other children?mine are 5 and 2 so they still need lots of attention so I have to be able to be active.

    Sorry about the moan but I'm having one of those days. Tomorrow will be better.

    P's I don't know how to read other peoples stories on this site. Any insight on how to?
  • Hi Fedup 100

    It's fine to have one of those days. Managing with back pain while still carrying on a normal life is really difficult. My boys are 6 & 8 now so they can be quite independent, no heavy lifting. However they were 3 &5 when I had my first spinal fusion so know how you feel, I couldn't even be left alone with them for about 8 weeks post op.

    Have they said when you'll be getting a physio apt through? When I spoke to my consultant he recommend I self refer to the NHS physio's that deal specifically with pregnant women and didn't think there would be too long a wait for an apt. I'm lucky that Bupa have paid for my physio up to now however they won't continue this whilst I'm pregnant. So I either have to refer to the NHS or pay to see my physio from now on.

    People shouldn't be ignoring the fact that you're in pain and limping, especially whilst you're pregnant. Friends and family should be rallying around offering to help even more. Surely they understand you can't take certain medications that would help with the pain. Maybe you ned to have an honest discussion with them about how you are feeling. But you're right people don't get it.

    When I had my first OP it was Sept 2012, I was in agony afterwards and still on crutches in January. My mum actually told me to pull myself together and try harder. It wasn't until May the surgeon realised the screws had fallen out. Everytime I moved they were just scraping on the bone and causing the pain. At this point I was on 100mg of slow release morphine a day. People felt pretty guilty when I told them why I was in pain and it wasn't that I hadn't been trying hard enough!

    I think you need to go see your GP. I agree with you, rest just makes my back seize up and gentle walking and exercise is what makes it better although I didn't have a bulging disk. Explain you need help and support and want to put a care plan in place. If necessary book a double appointment to ensure they have enough time to go through all the options.

    Let me know how you're getting on :-)
  • If you don't mind me asking how comes you needed the op?

    My mother has had spinal surgery herself and is having a hard time dealing with her own pain. She can't really help me much cause of her operation on her neck.

    It's just everyone ignoring the fact I'm limping like it should be OK I gave up trying to explain myself to anyone if they don't get it I'm not going to try and make them. Ive tried the honest discussion everything it doesnt seem to matter.It just makes me hurt but that's how it is unfortunately. People just think you are moaning and have no idea how badly it can affect your everyday life.simple things seem so difficult.

    I'm feeling more positive now though I got to see my gp and my physio appointment got lost so she sent it again for me with urgent on it. So at least that is sorted.

    I got to see for a few mins a scan of my baby and it seemed to be doing well so made me feel like the pain has been worth it. They told me they would send me to an anthestist to discuss labour options for me to see if its possible for an epidural. I also am going to see a consultant because of my back problems.

    So after having to be persistent and chasing things up I feel like I'm being seen by the right people. Just hopefully all these appointments come through for me esp the physio one.

    I am back able to walk again a little though still limping and nerve pain in my hips and legs which is annoying. But I am trying to stay hopefully it will go away soon for a while anyways. My legs have got weaker so I need to be fit to walk to get my strength back in them again.
  • LisajgxLLisajgx Posts: 9
    edited 08/11/2015 - 8:19 AM
    Hi sorry been away for a few days.

    I needed to have the operation as I had grade 3 spondyolisthesis and I was losing the feeling in my legs as my spinal cord was becoming pinched. I'm in a much better place now I've had the operations and had the metalwork taken out.

    I've been struggling a bit over the last few days with pain and movement. I've had to start using crutches and a maternity belt. But it will all be worth it in the end when I hold the baby in my arms.

    How far pregnant are you now?
  • What is spondyolisthesis? It sounds like you have been through alot. I have not had any operations yet as I dread the recovery after. Your symptoms sounds similar to me even though I have something different (bulging disc). My disc is in my spinal canal a good bit over half way but the spinal fluid had a clear path and wasn't being compromised on my MRI. I'm assuming before your operation yours wasnt?

    My mother had spinal cord compression she was losing the power in her arms and legs before her operation. Her disc collapsed and she had to have an operation to fix it. So I have seen how hard surgery can be on you.

    I'm 12 weeks pregnant now how far along are you? My physio appointment has finally been made have to wait to sept which I think is a joke but at least I have an appointment. They were trying to send me to an antenatal class for pelvic pain and I had to be very firm for them to listen I had a bulging disc which is not the same and I needed to see a physio.

    My back went really bad at 9 ish weeks I couldn't walk and ended up in a and e where they were worried about cauda equina. All was OK though. It has taken me to now to say that I am at a comfortable level of pain. The searing pain in my hip and legs was horrendous. I suffered it out and thankfully it's improving. Still have pain but I think I'm going to have to expect it. I can't walk any sort of distance without it flaring though.

    Sorry to hear you have to use crutches I hope it heals for you and you are able to get away without them. I was thinking the pregnancy belt would be a good idea.what one did you get?
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