Symptoms of L3 Herniation?

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Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
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Joined: 11/16/2010 - 9:14pm
Symptoms of L3 Herniation?

This question is posed to those who have had fusions of their lower spine. In January of this year I had a PLIF of L4-S1. Initially, I was pleased and confident that my surgery had been the appropriate decision. However, during the past 6 weeks I believe that my recovery has "plateau'd" and that I now am feeling a different type of back pain. This condition has coincided with 14 sessions of physical therapy, so it's not one of inactivity. In fact, prior to surgery I was an extremely active person (runner) and since the surgery I have walked at least one mile each day to remain mobile and to stimulate my motabilism.

Here's my question - what are the symptoms of mild herniation of L3 and above? I am now feeling discomfort higher in my spine and I am apprehensive that it may be the beginning of sympathetic herniation, but since I have never hernitated at that level I don't know what the symptoms are. I have herniated at the low levels and at the high levels, but not in between. Can anyone provide a description of the general symptoms of herniation at the L3 or L2 level?

Aviatrix36440's picture
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/29/2009 - 10:35pm
L2 or L3


My fusions presently are cervical, but I am herniated at the L2/3 and L3/4 (with stenosis at the 3/4 level). Hopefully my symptoms will be of help to you.

1. Upper lumbar pain, ramps up FAST when standing more than a few minutes.

2. If I continue to *try* and stand and bend forward, my back screams in pain (I think that is the stenosis getting worse).

3. The process of sitting or getting up hurts.

4. Of the above, many times the pain will wrap around my mid to outer buttocks, and then diagonally I get nerve pain across the front of my thighs to the inner knee.

5. I can't walk very far (mail box and back not good) due to left leg weakness, and then thigh pain.

6. Of recent, sitting is getting more uncomfortable.

7. If I arch my lower back, I get a little relief, but laying down with my upper body and legs elevated is my "least" pain area.

8. I also get 'buzzing' at about the same rate of when we shiver? <-- Best way I can describe it. If I am standing or walking when this happens, my legs get so weak I feel like they are going to fail. Last night my left leg did start to go - the refrigerator became my friend of support! (G)

I hope this is of help. Please let us know what you find out.


PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

trishdownunder's picture
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/29/2008 - 3:46am
Hi Jim

Not sure if what happened to me is similar, but I was thinking the same as you at around about 4-5 months out. I had a couple of months of physio, but not sure if that's related. When I became more active or tried to sit for longer than 30 minutes, I experienced really bad spasms in the thoracic area, something which hadn't been there before. I was really worried.

At about 7 months out, I started doing Chi Kung, which are stationary breathing/stretching exercises, and that's what helped me, so I think my problem was muscle spasm, but at the time, I did think I may have herniated a disc/s. It eventually eased and I was so relieved.

I'm nearly 2 years out and I still need to do these breathing/stretching exercises. They give me more relief than the exercises from the physio, and they strengthen the core muscles.

I hope you haven't herniated any discs. Are you due to see your neurosurgeon soon to check on whether you've fused? At my 6 months check, I had a CT scan, and everything was fine.


XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
ALIF L4/5 2009
Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008

Paul's picture
Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 07/15/2008 - 9:18pm
This is a dermatome

This is a dermatome map

kind of a guideline to give a general idea but necessarily gospel

On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008