I have had on and off back problems for 20 years. Basically it felt like a vertebra popped out of alignment. Either 10-15 days of pain medication or a visit to the chiropractor would solve the problem. In the beginning I had an issue about once every 1-2 years. Then each year. Then multiple time per year etc. At some point the chiropractor could no longer 'pop it back' so I had to take muscle relaxing medication (Valium/Diazepam) to make that possible. About 5 months ago the problems got more serious. Much more pain. Numb feeling in one leg (mainly below the knee) and bad sciatica. After waiting almost 4 months I got an MRI and turns out to be a big herniated disc at L5/S1 and some smaller issues in the 2 discs above that. My specialist (neurologist) and I are in agreement that if possible surgery should be avoided. My leg numbness has completely gone away but not the pain has gotten very bad, in my back mainly but the pain radiates down to my leg (other leg than the one that was numb) and sometimes both legs. But it is only pain that radiates down, so no numbness or loss of strength at all.
Went to see a pain specialist to discuss what to do. She feels that my current problems are coming from either L3/L4 or L4/L5. So not from the main herniation. I personally also feel that this is the case (it feels that after the MRI the small herniation at L4/L5 might have become a big herniation??).
I had to go from standard pain medication to the following per day:
- 2 times 100mg diclofenac (anti inflammatory) with stomach protection (2 time 20mg omeprazol)
- 4 times 1000mg acetaminophen (paracetamol)
- 3-4 times 50mg tramadol
I live in Europe so this might be a different kind of recipe than in the US?
My question now is what the experience in this group is. Should I continue with this strong pain medication for a longer time (months?) or opt for surgery (which I feel would not be necessary since it does not look like there is a blocked nerve).
Thanks for the help!!!
45 yr old male. 6ft4, 190lbs. Big disc prolapse L5/S1. Small disc prolapse L4/L5. Bulging disc L3/L4.